Opinions are divided on the merits of Coldplay’s musical offerings, but its latest tour showed that when it comes to providing a visual spectacle, the band is anything but dull.
The four-piece was backed by a magnificent set of animations on a massive scale created by Bristol design studio Hello Charlie, which helped the band to deliver performances that filled venues as large as Wembley Stadium.
Hello Charlie was approached for the project by Coldplay’s creative director and unofficial ‘fifth member’, Phil Harvey. The agency had animated a small project for the band’s performance at the Brit Awards earlier this year and has a wealth of experience creating visuals for major artists including Muse, Queen, The Who and Robbie Williams.
The visuals were to provide the backdrop to five songs - Life In Technicolour (intro Violet Hill), Lovers In Japan, Speed Of Sound, Glass Of Water, and Life in Technicolour II – plus a ‘digital curtain’ to be used at various points throughout the show, such as before the encore.
The movies were output onto a giant LED screen the width of a football pitch.
The intro begins in space before turning to show the Earth and crash zooming down to aerial views of the continent, country, city and then stadium that the show’s being help in. This gives the idea of each show being a spectacle in its own right, rather than just part of the tour, and help the audience to feel special about being there.
The cosmic theme is repeated across a number of the visuals – primarily Speed Of Sound. This takes the gig-goers on a journey through a solar system where the stars coalesce to form an eye shape that goes supernova and engulfs the screen in flames.
However, other sections of the show displa completely different styles. Lovers In Japan uses a series of archive footage and animations across the screen at the back of the stage.
These were varied in size and used in separate ‘windows’ for visually appealing randomization and to avoid using them at sizes where they wouldn’t look good.