Coldplay...you either love 'em or hate 'em, but they're popular enough to be in the music business for the long haul. Like all music artists who have achieved their level of international success, they've got a very sizeable and rabid fan base. Not everyone likes them, but it's safe to say that they're one of the most popular imports from the UK in recent memory. Their music isn't anything the world hasn't heard before…it's just good, catchy British rock. So far, they've released two studio albums: 2000's Parachutes and last year's A Rush Of Blood to the Head. Not wanting to sound like a record-shop snob, I can say with confidence that I liked their first album better. Still, that doesn't count for a lot here…both albums are fantastic releases, each with their own strengths.
With their new-found international success has come a daunting task: pleasing all of their fans. Coldplay embarked on a massive world tour in support of their second album, which may or may not have come to a city near you. Thankfully, this new release treats fans to a taste of their recent globe-spanning tour. This compilation is simply titled Coldplay: Live 2003, and covers a nice cross-section of the band's experience on the road. While not a definitive live compilation, it proves to be an excellent value and should be on any Coldplay fan's wish list. There's a nice selection on the menu…let's have a look at everything included here, disc by disc:
The main feature, of course, is a full-length concert from the Hordon Pavillion in Sydney, Australia. This was one of Coldplay's smaller venues on the tour (although the place looks jam-packed!), and they played to a sold-out crowd. This was an excellent show from top to bottom, and the power and talent of the band is undeniable. While they've only got little more than two CDs worth of songs, the group manages to get a wide range of sounds going---and the fans are more than appreciative for their efforts! Here's the complete track listing for the show:
2. God Put A Smile Upon Your Face
3. A Rush Of Blood To The Head
6. The One I Love
7. Don't Panic
9. See You Soon
10. Everything's Not Lost
13. The Scientist
15. In My Place
17. Life Is For Living
Also included on this disc is a Tour Diary which shows the band before, during, and after some of their live performances. While it occasionally drifts into their own political preaching and other tangents, this 40-minue short film will be an enjoyable watch for Coldplay fans. Like the concert itself, the Tour Diary is a mixture of black-and-white footage and color. Also of note is the multi-angle feature for the concert. Available during a select number of songs, this feature gives viewers the option to switch between vantage points: most are behind-the-band stage views, but there's some interesting composition choices here. The only other notable features were some web-links, production notes and lyrics (which didn't really help, and should have been included as subtitles).
Seemingly a tacked-on addition, the bonus CD is essentially a shortened version of the concert from the DVD. 12 of the 17 songs are included here, with a total running time of just under 70 minutes. I know the concert was shortened for the sake of CD space, but it seems sort of odd in context with the rest of the release. Still, it's nice to have a more portable version of this show for the road, in any form. Anyway, here's the track listing for the shortened version:
2. God Put A Smile Upon Your Face
3. A Rush Of Blood To The Head
4. The One I Love
5. See You Soon
7. Everything's Not Lost
11. In My Place
Although I would have loved to hear more tracks on the CD itself, what we do get is very good. The editing that takes place between some tracks is well-done, and not distracting in the least. While the DVD is definitely the star of the show, this shortened concert is still worthy of a spot in your CD player. Anyway, that wraps up the total content...let's see how this release fared in terms of techincal quality:
Quality Control Department
The video is well done here (applicable for a portion of the DVD only, of course). The concert is filmed in 1.85:1 widescreen, and looks good. Pretty typical for a concert captured on film: it's not demo material, but still well presented. The overall look here is a bit on the grainy side in certain spots (though this is intended). While I appreciate the neat stylistic choice, I think a more polished look would be suitable for Coldplay's style of music. Personal tastes aside, everything looks solid and shouldn't disappoint fans...this is about as good of a video presentation as you'll find for any concert DVD. Also, this was mentioned before, but the widescreen aspect ratio was an especially nice touch.
Obviously, the audio is the star of the show here. Thankfully, there's three options to choose from: Dolby Digital 2.0, 5.1 Surround, and DTS 5.1! The DTS track in particular was a welcome surprise, and was my choice for the show. Everything sounded really clear, and came through loud enough to capture the appropriate mood of a rock concert. Just for technical purposes, I listened to a sample of the other two tracks. They won't disappoint by any means at all. However, if you have a DTS-capable system, that's my recommendation for this concert. The audio presentation was stellar for this release, and I hope to see similar efforts from other artists in the future. Of course, the live CD also sounds good. This was a great job in the audio department, and ranks very high on my list of concert DVDs.
Technically, the CD is the bonus feature. While it's nice to have a concert on CD (albeit a short version), that doesn't go very far in the long run. Still, I suppose the Tour Movie and a few other things from Disc One could also be grouped in this department, so there's a good amount of stuff here. Overall, this release is fantastic, though: the concert is the main selling point, and it's well worth the price of admission.
Menu design and Presentation:
The menus were nice to look at. They're very simple, featuring some familiar designs from A Rush Of Blood to the Head, with some nice effects during menu transitions. This was a very attractive presentation, and suited the overall package well. Navigation is simple and well-planned. One comment, though: I've seen two different packaging types for this DVD release. The first is in a DVD keepcase (most likely a slim-double), and the second is a slim-double jewel case. My copy is the latter jewel case. While I don't know the reasons for these different packaging styles, I'd assume that everything is identical (other than the insert size). If anyone gets the DVD keepcase version, let me know if it's any different than this one. Anyway, the jewel-case packaging was nice enough, and included an insert booklet with your pictures and an index of contents for both discs.
Should anything else have been included?
Hmm…I'd like to have heard complete footage from more than one concert (mostly on the bonus CD), but that's just a minor nitpick. The concert is great and worth the cost itself, but the other stuff edges this release over the top. An awesome job overall.
The recent world tour was obviously a major event for Coldplay, so it's good to see such a thorough presentation from an excellent show. The DTS audio track was a very nice surprise, and the extras were all welcome inclusions. I said before that this compilation wasn't as complete as it could have been, but it's still a tremendous value for the asking price. If you were lucky enough to be at a recent live show, this concert should bring back some good memories. For everyone else, though, this will be an especially ear-opening experience. Highly Recommended.
Randy Miller III is a part-time cartooning instructor based in Harrisburg, PA. He also does freelance graphic design projects and works in an art gallery. When he's not doing that, he enjoys slacking off, general debauchery, and writing things in third person.