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DIM THE LIGHTS: Coldplay - 2001/05/30

setlist: Shiver/ Animals/ Don't Panic/ Spies/ Murder/ Everything's Not Lost/ We Never Change/ God Put a Smile Upon Your Face/ Yellow/ A Rush of Blood to the Head/ See You Soon// Trouble/// In My Place//// Georgia On My Mind [Carmichael/Gorrell]

before Coldplay played arenas, did iTunes commercials (YouTube it!), and wore schticky matching uniforms on stage for shows, a simpler band existed - a British four-piece that didn't need to spice up the stage show w/ cheesiness or other things that made their live sets excessive. the Coldplay that I know (and still appreciate) was back when Capitol Records heavily promoted them as "THE NEXT RADIOHEAD". before Chris Martin started dating (and subsequently marrying) Gwyneth Paltrow (and naming children after fruit), he was rather bashful. you see, Coldplay was actually a modest band once!

so, back in 2001, the band was attempting to rise to the fore-front of the entertainment industry. hits like "Yellow" and "Trouble" where EVERYWHERE. in order to really get their faces and tunes out to the masses, Capitol (or whoever was responsible for their mgmt) booked some of their first North American shows as festival appearances. in December 2000, their first two shows were in California for holiday-themed festivals for KROQ and KCRW. when they returned to the states nearly six months later in the spring of 2001, Coldplay played a headlining show in Chicago that was immediately followed by two festival shows in Boston and Washington, DC. oh, I also forgot to mention that Coldplay was a part of the traveling festival Big Day Out in Australia and New Zealand throughout January 2001, prior to coming stateside.

Coldplay were exhausted. they weren't sure they were prepared for this kind of lifestyle. for two years, they slowly built up a following in the UK and most of Europe. I think, at the time, they got much more than they bargained for when they were getting promotions in the United States. their world was blowing up too fast and they were @ the breaking point. also, w/ these festival bookings, Coldplay weren't always playing to their target audience. they were often thrown in the mix w/ harder and more aggressive bands, which often led to much heckling or audience straying.

all of a sudden, we arrive to May 30, 2001. before the jokes of, "You know how I know you're gay...," Coldplay already had a reputation of being too soft, too quiet, etc. I was even told by a friend @ the time that, "I can't believe you'd pay $25 to see a one-hit band." they had a lot going against them. no one was sure where Coldplay would end up after 2001. and I think that was taking a toll on the band, as well.

while I cannot remember the show vividly, I can remember that it seemed like it started off like any other recent headlining show they did. something that I alluded to earlier was mentioned and that was the recent festival appearances and how they were thrown on stage w/ bands like Metallica and how they weren't sure where their place was in the grand scheme of things. what shocked me the most was how energetic Will Champion was when he just killed his drum set to tracks like "Yellow" and "Shiver". Chris Martin was working out the kinks of his now-trademarked flailing about on stage, so this wasn't so noteworthy as of yet. what I also noticed was how absent Johnny Buckland and especially Guy Berryman were during the set. Johnny appeared to be mailing in solos and atmospheric guitar noodlings while Guy was just not present. you could tell that some in this band had more to offer while others weren't certain of their place.

obv they liked what us Georgians were giving back to the band b/c Chris was certainly feeding off it that. many new songs were peppered into the set, so there may have been a few times during the show that the crowd was a bit lost, but any off-course diversions were quickly corrected when "Yellow" was played... or "Trouble".

this show, @ the time, was freq cited by the band as "the one that got Coldplay back together". that statement would be strange, if it weren't for Chris Martin's impromptu solo cover of "Georgia on My Mind" as the last of three encores. I do recall this as being very special, w/ Chris on piano, the Parachutes globe perched atop the keys, and some members of the band standing backstage just watching. w/ such a big statement as, "Atlanta saved us as a band," it would normally be a stretch to believe, but that comment always resurfaced, whether it be in interviews in between their first and second records or their subsequent returns to Atlanta (that involved guest appearances from Sir Elton John and Michael Stipe, for example). you really got the feel that late spring gig changed things for the band, like it or not.