Beyond a Concert Review: Coldplay’s Mylo Xyloto

Concert reviews won’t be a common occurrence on my blog.  Although I enjoy good music, I use it more as background for writing, studying, and exercising than as a regular activity.  But Coldplay is an exception to this rule in many ways.  They have special significance for me.

Coldplay Viva La VidaI first fell in love with Coldplay during my junior year of high school.  “Everything’s Not Lost” pulled my through long hours of AP studying, and then the ever more dreaded college applications.  When my parents bought tickets to see the Viva La Vida tour in Houston the next fall, it didn’t matter that I was going with my family and my sister’s friends to see Coldplay–I was still going to see Coldplay live.  The concert was by far one of the best live music experiences of my life.  Mostly this was because the band ran up my aisle, only inches away from me, and played “The Scientist” acoustically just a few feet behind our seats.  I almost touched Chris Martin.  But this concert didn’t only impact my fan girl obsession with hot rockstars; it is inextricably linked with all my college success, too.  The next morning, while we were still in Houston, I visited Rice’s campus one last time and completed a campus interview.  It was the only college interview I had and just a little under a year later, I started my freshman year at Rice University.  I like to think Coldplay helped me get here.

Chris Martin Running

I could have touched him . . .

When I was in Oxford last fall, Coldplay came to the rescue again with their new album: Mylo Xyloto.  I had faithfully plugged away at essays in my first few weeks, but the long hours in the Bodleian were still getting to me.  And I loved walking everywhere in the city–from my room to college, from college to tutorials, from tutorials to the English Faculty Library, and even the ten minute walk from my room to the Hertford College boathouse–but I didn’t have walking buddies very often.  I had run through my favorite playlists multiple times and was really missing my old staple, Pandora, when my dad sent me the link to the iTunes download in an email.

Coldplay in Christchurch Meadows

Me walking by Christchurch . . . with Mylo Xyloto pumping in my headphones. Trendy, right?

It made everything better.  I remember putting the album on continuous repeat and focusing entirely on the latest Victorian novel or bit of WWI history.  Running all the way out to St. Hilda’s to turn in my latest tutorial essay wasn’t so bad when I could listen to “Up With the Birds” on my way there and back.  And then to bring it all home, what did I do after I finished my final tutorial for the term, my last official academic duty at Oxford?  I watched the newest music video for “Paradise.”  It might have been the highly emotional moment, or maybe I’m just a silly emotional girl, but I cried.  I feel like Coldplay’s album kept me sane while I was in Oxford, but it also intensified the wonder and awe I felt at getting to walk in the city and study in its ancient libraries and colleges.

So when my dad offered me one of the tickets he bought for the Mylo Xyloto concert in Dallas this summer, I prayed that I could find a way to go.  Thankfully the stars aligned (even more miracles than I expected), and I made it to the Friday June 22nd concert.  It definitely lived up to my hopes from the past few years and the last concert, in spite of our seats in the second-to-the-top row of the entire auditorium.

We mostly skipped over the opening acts, showing up half-way through the first band and then leaving for refreshments during Robyn’s performance.  It’s funny because I liked her when I was about six years old, but back then she did more poppy music.  I hate to say it to the real music lovers, but I liked the sappy pop version of Robyn better and couldn’t stand her live today.  But once the lights went off and Coldplay entered the auditorium, everything changed.  They opened with the first two songs from Mylo Xyloto.  I loved the fast start with “Hurts Like Heaven.”  My dad and I jumped up and down, trying not to fall down the steep incline of the nosebleed section, but we couldn’t help it.  I loved Viva La Vida, but Mylo Xyloto made for a much better, more interactive concert.  Although we were no where near the spot where the band came out and played in the crowd, Coldplay still found ways to keep everyone in the auditorium included in the wonderful chaos.  Chris Martin’s antics  and yoga moves kept me entertained even from hundreds of feet away.  And most importantly, they handed out wristbands when we first entered the auditorium.  Every person put their band on, waving it in the air, and whenever they played one of the new songs from Mylo Xyloto they lit up in time to the music.  It was the coolest and simplest lighting effect I have seen in a long time.

I would have loved for them to play “Everything’s Not Lost,” but I still almost teared up while shouting for them to enter the stage for the first time and left the concert soaring on the final notes of “Every Teardrop is a Waterfall.”  I just have to hope that this Coldplay concert bodes as well for my imminent future as the last one.  If I got Rice University after Viva La Vida, what, dear God, will this bring?

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About austinausten88

Playwright in love with Classic films, afternoon tea, and Noel Coward. She recently graduated from Rice University. In the fall, she will be exchanging her English major undergraduate status for that of Theatre & Performance Studies graduate student.
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