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Audience size doesn't matter to Britpop band Coldplay
UNLIKE Coldplay's frontman and singer Chris Martin who is a bundle of energy on stage, the band's guitarist Jonny Buckland tends to cut a more sombre figure during shows. Never mind if he is playing a soaring solo, chances are the audience will find the 39-year-old wearing a stone-faced expression during concerts.
When asked about it, he chuckles before replying: "It's a strange thing to describe but you tend to get lost in the moment - sometimes you spot someone in the crowd having a good time and you connect with them but there are some days you're thinking about what song comes next."
Buckland and Martin formed Coldplay in 1996 when they were friends at University College London. Bassist Guy Berryman and drummer Will Champion joined later to complete the line-up.
The band will play Singapore for the first time in eight years next year as part of its A Head Full of Dreams world tour.
All tickets for the first show at National Stadium sold out in two hours but additional seats plus a second show was announced on Thursday to cope with the demand.
One of the world's best-selling music acts, Coldplay has shifted over 80 million records and won multiple awards including seven Grammys and nine Brits. The current world tour is named after their latest album, which has sold more than five million copies since its release last December and spawned the singles Adventure of a Lifetime, Up and Up, Hymn for the Weekend and Everglow.
The record is their most pop-sounding one to date, with elements of electronic dance music, thanks to hit-makers Stargate producing it, as well as collaborations with Beyonce and Tov Lo.
"We've never really been comfortable with being called a rock band (anyway)," notes Buckland. "But there was definitely a conscious effort to make the album sound as positive as possible."
Coldplay's previous album, Ghost Stories (2014), was more downbeat and moodier because it was written in the wake of Martin's high-profile split from actress Gwyneth Paltrow.
To promote the new record, the band has been playing around the world since March and over 2.5 million have watched them across Latin America, the United States and Europe. The tour will wind down in Australia and New Zealand in December before the second leg kicks off in Singapore next April.
"We try to change the set list every night to a certain extent," replies Buckland, when asked if the upcoming show will be similar to the current one.
But he hopes the part where Martin makes him take over vocals on one of the band's earlier hits, Don't Panic, will be dropped by then. "I don't think I would dread it so much if he didn't (sometimes) make me do it twice," laughs Buckland.
For a change, Coldplay also played a rare, intimate, hometown show at the London Palladium earlier this month for 2,000 lucky competition winners but nothing beats the feeling of performing in stadiums in front of tens of thousands of fans, admits Buckland. "Honestly, I prefer the big concerts because there is something about the energy," he explains. "We're grateful to play anywhere ... We have a dream job that is also not really a job."
And despite having played about a thousand shows over the last two decades, Buckland still remembers the first time they played Singapore in 2001: "It was with Travis and we remember the gig very well because there was a guy outside (the venue) selling T-shirts with a picture of Travis and the word Coldplay under it!"
- Coldplay will play the National Stadium on March 31 and April 1, 2017. Tickets go on sale at Sports Hub and all SingPost outlets on Nov 25 from 10am.