Filling the 35,000 capacity of the Mall of Asia Concert Ground on Coldplay’s first ever gig in Manila and with tickets selling like hotcakes during Citi pre-sale, Globe pre-sale and public sale in November last year, it was evident that this show was going to be one of the biggest concerts that Manila has ever had. My friends never encountered a bigger battle trying to score tickets at the SM outlets and online before.
On April 4, I finally had the opportunity to see one of the best bands in the world, Coldplay, live in Manila. I knew it was going to be a magical night, and I left the venue feeling elated, knowing I’ve just witnessed something I’ll never forget for the rest of my life. It was all the things you’d expect from the Grammy-winning band: dancing pyrotechnics, fantastical laser lights, huge balloons tossed into the crowd, abundance of star-shaped confetti, blinking wristbands, three stages, and massive sing-alongs.
Show opener Jess Kent warmed up the crowd with selections from her EP “My Name is Jess Kent”. The English-born Aussie musician charmed with stories behind her tracks, including “Get Down,” “Low Key,” and “Bass So Low.” The young songstress radiated positivity onstage, leaving words of encouragement for the audience to embrace themselves and to live freely.
Walking into the event, attendees were presented two things: a “Love” pin and a LED wristband known as a “xyloband”. As night fell over Manila, a kaleidoscope of colors filled the Mall of Asia Concert Grounds as Coldplay kicked off the A Head Full of Dreams show to a crowd of over 35,000. Chris Martin, Jonny Buckland, Guy Berryman and Will Champion put on a show that left lasting impressions.
It’s the band’s first visit to the country, and they opened it with an explosion of colors— a sea of wristbands lit up the grounds while confetti rained down on the crowd and fireworks punched up the night sky. When the song “A Head Full of Dreams” started, something I had never experienced at a concert happened. It quickly followed by their breakthrough hit, “Yellow”. The lights were perfectly in-synch with the music, setting the mood for each song.
The night was filled with the Brit group’s biggest hits that had everyone singing along, from “ Every Teardrop is A Waterfall”, to “The Scientist” and “Paradise,” the latter complete with a Tiesto mix that had the crowd jumping and dancing.
The venue was divided into three stages— the main stage, a platform at the end of the runway, and a third stage located in the platinum section. Frontman Chris Martin explains the set-up allowed them to get close to as many fans as possible.
The band moved to the circular B-stage at the end of the ramp for a stripped-down set and performed three songs: “Always in My Head”, “Magic” and “Everglow” which found Chris taking a piano solo. Coldplay maintained the high energy with a string of hits including “Viva La Vida,” “Clocks,” “Midnight,” “Adventure of a Lifetime,” and my personal favorite “Charlie Brown.”
Martin was friendly and charismatic, with the energy of a teenager, running up and down the ramp and dancing on the stage. After an emotional rendition of “Fix You”, they paid tribute to David Bowie, who died January last year, with a cover of his 1977 hit “Heroes”.
One of my favorite moments of the night was when the band performed an impromptu “Manila Song” as they moved to the C-Stage. The lyrics went: I’m so happy that we are here today, even though thousands of you are so far away. Ah it feels that you can’t see jack, it’s two miles away from front to the back. But we have been touring “A Head Full of Dreams” now we have made it to the Philippines.
The Manila crowd showed we know how to party, everyone in were all killers, no fillers. Screams echoed against barricades and went on for the rest of the event.
Prior to the concert, the band announced via Instagram that they would be taking song requests for their Asian tour. For their Philippine stop, they played “Ink” from the Ghost Stories album, requested by Ken Santiago who Martin paid a hospital visit to on the day of the concert.
The venue was backed up by massive LED screens that made the audience feel like they are right up close to the stage. The security did a really good job with keeping the queue organized to get in or out of the show. Tickets to the show ranged from P1800 for general admission and P22,500 for VIP. I was expecting a better or the same package as provided for the tour’s Singapore stop but they offered a different VIP package. In a big event such as this, network congestion was expected. Wi-Fi was supposed to be our saving grace to give social media updates, I was only able to connect during the second half and had to stand near Globe’s booth to get a better connection, but I’m still thankful they put up internet connection for each section.
Hashtag #ColdplayManila set a record-high for the most number of tweets for a foreign concert in the Philippines.
There’s just so much to experience in the adventure of a lifetime that only Coldplay gig can give. Hands down to the band for giving us the concert of the decade that has left me in awe.
“Thank you for giving us your Tuesday night,” Martin shouted to the audience, many of whom waited out for hours in the parking lot. They thanked all the fans for braving the heat and traffic to come to the show. No, Coldplay, thank you for giving us your Tuesday night.
Special thanks to MMI Live
Write up by: Vince Bern
Photos by: Glenn Michael Tan and Vince Bern
A Head Full of Dreams
Every Teardrop Is a Waterfall
Birds (with “Oceans” excerpt in intro)
Paradise (with Tiësto Remix outro)
Always in My Head
Hymn for the Weekend
“Heroes” (David Bowie cover)
Viva la Vida
Adventure of a Lifetime
In My Place
Something Just Like This
A Sky Full of Stars