International pop-rock sensations Coldplay have been exploring the world throughout their incredible-looking Music of the Spheres tour and have finally made their way back to gloomy Southern California after a little over a year from the band’s canceled tour stop at SoFi Stadium in early 2022.
Swapping out the sometimes awful sound quality of SoFi Stadium for the packed parking of the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Coldplay returned to the venue, where they enlightened and partied with concertgoers in 2017.
The parking situation wasn’t a full-blown nightmare, from my perspective as someone who approached the lawn-styled parking layout a few hours before the stadium’s “capacity prediction” of 4:30 PM. Luckily, I didn’t have much of an issue leaving the venue either, and I escaped from parking hell in probably 15 minutes. However, the online voice has a different story of many stuck in uncoordinated traffic for extended periods.
It took about 20 minutes to find the correct entry gate for quicker access to my seat, luckily again escaping Gate A’s wrath and snake-forming line. I swapped out that experience for a cooling-off experience at Gate F, where there never seemed to be much of a crowd, and it made for a better experience overall.
It didn’t take long to find my seat after a few awkward interactions with the night’s ushers, who didn’t entirely seem to understand the Rose Bowl’s seating arrangement, a trend I would notice as the night continued as my wife and I found ourselves constantly helping other concertgoers find their correct section and seat.
It didn’t take long for the night’s first opener to take the stage: the phenomenal Bobby Gonz, an artist I did not know of until this show, but his performance and energy were enough to make me a late blooming fan as his message and onstage antics got the bustling crowd fired up for an evening of fantastic music and connection.
His personal story ahead of his performance was captivating, showing the struggles of life and the triumph when you overcome your past and throw yourself head first into the unknown with a clear mind and clean spirit.
The standout of his short set was the exhilarating “Time In Space,” which caters to significant themes and life lessons, a fantastic song for a grand opening that painted the scene just right.
Bobby Gonz would quickly drift off into space. At the same time, the crowd continued to mingle, going head-to-head with each other, powering up aspects of the show with various dance pads and stationary bikes, an overall fun activity I highly recommend trying if you find yourself at any of Coldplay’s upcoming show dates.
It didn’t take long until the enigma known as 070 Shake would make the stage her own with a fiery performance that rocked the Rose Bowl, injecting the crowd with a perfect amount of raw energy, quickly twisting the vibes sent throughout the venue by Bobby Gonz to overload with fantastic singalong moments and blaring noise that perfectly rocked my body.
070 Shake’s set was tight, crazy, and the perfect energy for a gloomy Saturday evening to get crowds amped, while some would prefer to stay bored clicking away at their phone. Luckily, my section connected with 070 Shake perfectly as we all sang along, danced, and let loose in the best ways.
As the clouds above made their way over the dazzling lights of the Rose Bowl, 070 Shake’s latest song, “Black Dress,” would become an instant highlight of the night for me; the song is raw, holds nothing back, and lands quickly, and the live rendition of it is filled with unapologetic energy and freedom that it’s hard not to love on a different level.
Just as fast as 070 Shake took to the stage, she was gone, leaving yet another void filled with powered-up dancing and battles between the left and right of the stadium as fans continued for another round of energy collection.
So far, the Rose Bowl’s stop on the Music of the Spheres tour proved successful. Still, the quick rain and frantic crowd afraid of a little water would try and put a stop to the positive vibes, which didn’t seem to bother the sensational H.E.R., who would take the stage with her spectacular live band and turn the rain into their party.
Aside from Coldplay, H.E.R. was the only other act I knew about ahead of time, and they did not disappoint. The energy, the vocal range, the insane guitar playing! This was a performance I’ll remember for years to come, as Gabriella Sarmiento Wilson hit it out of the park and made the stage her own, connecting with the audience on a different level.
Powering through “We Made It,” “Hard Place,” “WE GOING CRAZY,” and an incredible medley that included “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll/We Will Rock You/Glory.” Between almost every song, a soaring guitar solo would constantly send the growing crowd into a flurry of cheers and shouting as we all sang along, danced, and forgot about the rain from before entirely.
H.E.R. continued to set the evening’s mood perfectly, transcending all reality as the Rose Bowl became a playground of experimentation and outright fun as the crowd began to let loose just a little more as connections were made and sensational live music became our home.
H.E.R. would thank her backup singers and excellent live band as they escaped into the background while their simplistic yet articulate stage was taken down quickly for the evening’s primary energy source.
The evening was beginning to wind down before the lights hit to black, and the album artwork of Coldplay’s phenomenal Music of the Spheres took to the screens, letting fans know the band was on their way to the stage.
With the power of John Williams’ “Flying Theme” powering their flight, Chris Martin, Guy Berryman, Will Champion, and Jonny Buckland began to take the stage as the Music of the Spheres intro guided them into an explosive performance of “Higher Power,” a song I connected with during its initial single release; a song I had been waiting to experience live since the band’s failed SoFi date.
Coldplay would quickly jump into their high-energy single, “Adventure of a Lifetime,” sending the stadium a blaze in color and high levels of positivity as longtime friends and those who had just met each other sang and danced together in perfect harmony.
An extended intro and outro rendition of “Paradise” would also grace the performance ahead of the tearjerker that is “The Scientist,” as fans cried as they sang along to the band’s beautiful performance, creating lasting memories.
Coldplay would quickly make their way to b-stage, where they would once again set the Rose Bowl ablaze with “Viva la Vida,” “Hymn for the Weekend,” and a beautiful performance of “Everglow” featuring a shy Christina, a member of the crowd who was at the evening’s performance celebrating her 21st birthday.
It’s the small things Coldplay does with their fanbase that truly set them apart from other acts.
Quickly jumping into the always energetic “Charlie Brown,” Chris Martin would follow up the high-energy single with bait, getting the massive crowd to all put their hands in the air as our wristbands would quickly shift from “Charlie Brown’s” playful colors to the awe-inspiring yellow as the band performed their massive hit single, leaving tons of space for crowd singalongs.
Coldplay’s extensive 21-song setlist would also include a “Human Heart” performance featuring We Are KING and the For Love Choir’s Jacob Collier and Stevie Mackey, who all had singing parts on the band’s latest album.
The evening would continue to zip through the night as Coldplay bounced from “Clocks” to the sign language performances of “Infinity Sign,” “Something Just Like This,” and “Midnight” before jumping into their BTS-featured mega-single “My Universe,” cutting to fans in the crowd holding up their bias’ fan cards further showcasing their connection with the Korean pop group.
Chris Martin would go on to joke around with the crowd during their incredible performance of fan favorite, “A Sky Full of Stars,” in which the Coldplay frontman would ask the audience to share a moment between themselves and the band and plead to put phones away and to let loose entirely throughout a restarted performance of the hit single, which created the most beautiful moment of the night as the stadium shined bright.
The night was quickly coming to a close, but not before Coldplay was joined by The Mzansi choir from South Africa, who had also just recently performed a beautiful rendition of “My Universe” during AGT’s 2023 finals.
The Mzansi choir would perform an incredible version of “Abantabani,” a Sipho Gumede cover, before joining Coldplay for the bottom half of their emotional smash hit, “Fix You,” which is already a monster of feelings. This unique arrangement of “Fix You” incorporated so much culture into the track, leaving the crowd further in tears and excitement as the band would quickly close out the night with “Biutyful” so as not to interfere with the state’s curfew.
Coldplay’s Music of the Spheres tour will possibly go down as one of the best concerts I will ever attend. Everything from the relaxed and high-energy crowd to the opening acts and the monster energy wall that is Coldplay made for a memorable experience that is truly one of a kind.
If you can experience Coldplay live during the remaining dates of their world tour, your best decision of the year will be to pick up some tickets and have some fun.