This morning at 3.15am (UK time) Coldplay returned to the stage (ACL Live in Austin, Texas) for the first live performance of the Ghost Stories era. No intention of writing a proper review this late but here is a setlist, screenshots and some first thoughts.
The overwhelming impression was one of a simplified and slightly stripped-back set (an immensely welcome development). Gone are the colours and flamboyances of Viva La Vida/Mylo Xyloto and back are the casual, plain-coloured clothes and clean instruments.
Always In My Head (new song, Ian McCulloch-esque)
Magic (initial guitar line is actually Guy’s bass)
Clocks (seemed to be played more like the pre-VLV live version)
Another’s Arms? (really promising new song, great soundscape)
Viva La Vida (a little stripped-back, Chris less dramatic)
Atlas (welcome return for Jonny’s e-bow and slide, wonderful)
Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall (spiderweb-like confetti, bit over the top but guess it fits the ghost theme?)
Fix You (stripped-back, Chris singing in lower key and sitting at piano throughout)
Midnight (very cool, bass kicks in half way through, Guy playing with some light device which seemed to be an instrument, vocoder effect on Chris vocals)
All in all, a really promising hour-long set. No Yellow – Coldplay’s most played live song – or any others from Parachutes, and only one from A Rush Of Blood To The Head. But previously unheard songs, Always In My Head and Another’s Arms, sounded great. Hopefully the production on the studio versions will make them sound equally dark and stripped-back. For now, it seems a more old school Coldplay may be back. Exciting.