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Review: Chris Martin, Coldplay put a smile on your face

Rain first began to fall as Coldplay churned through their potent pop-rock hit “God Put a Smile Upon Your Face” at a sold-out Hard Rock Stadium Monday night, and as it gained in intensity so did the soggy fans in the uncovered areas of the venue, where bobbing masses, their outstretched arms ending in colorful halos of band-issued wristbands, jumped, danced and sang through the deluge with escalating passion.

“Is everybody OK?” vocalist Chris Martin yelled to the crowd, which roared in approval. No sooner did the words leave his mouth than the rain stopped, never to return, and Coldplay flipped nimbly into the next song on its set list: “Paradise.”

In an evening filled with Instagrammable moments — including fireworks showers, explosions of confetti, dozens of large candy-colored balloons bouncing across the stadium, and wristbands that turned the crowd into fields of sunflowers and violet poppies — this Coldplay show was defined by the personal warmth of Martin. Such is his unrelenting sunniness that it is not out of the realm of possibility that he personally banished the rain Monday night.

Coldplay’s A Head Full of Dreams Tour arrived in Miami Gardens near the end of an 18-month run that has made it one of the five highest-grossing tours of all time. Eager fans at Hard Rock Stadium — a study in South Florida diversity that encouraged Martin to try out his Spanish and Portuguese — seemed to compel Coldplay onto the stage by executing the wave, one which swirled with an enthusiastic roar that impressed even those who abhor the wave.

With no shortage of fan favorites to lean on, the British quartet — Martin backed by guitarist Jonny Buckland, bassist Guy Berryman and drummer Will Champion — hit the ground running with an opening mix of some of their biggest hits from different eras: “A Head Full of Dreams,” “Yellow,” “Every Teardrop Is a Waterfall” and “The Scientist.”

The latter found Martin seated at a funky upright piano, accompanied by Buckland’s tender acoustic strumming to create the slow-building sound of a heart breaking. While many songs during the evening were punctuated by colorful wristband razzle-dazzle (synchronized by some unseen technician), “The Scientist” was blessedly free of such a flourish.

As Martin and the crowd sang, “Nobody said it was easy / No one ever said it would be this hard,” confetti in the shape of small birds — remnants of “Every Teardrop” — drifted lazily on currents of air.

But the show primarily was about high volume and high energy: “Clocks” spilled from a cage of red lasers as Martin banged the percussive life out of his piano; “Charlie Brown” was a glow-in-the-dark hootenanny with the stadium layered in wildly blinking Christmas-tree lights; “Hymn for the Weekend” was accompanied by towers of flame; “Adventure of a Lifetime” came with large balloons bobbing overhead for your setting and spiking pleasure; “Viva la Vida” was what it is: a life-affirming, fist-pumping party anthem.

Coldplay ended more than 90 minutes of music with a trio of songs to rival their opening numbers: the Chainsmokers collaboration “Something Just Like This,” the hip-shaking “A Sky Full of Stars” and the aspirational and unifying “Up & Up.”

Along with a main stage, there were two satellite spaces where Coldplay performed short sets. On a stage at the end of a catwalk that jutted out into the audience, the quartet offered the slow jams “Always in My Head,” “Magic” and the dreamy romance of “Everglow.”

Later, as the poet Rumi’s ode to mindful living, “Guest House,” was recited, the band found its way to a small stage near the rear of the floor. There, they did the yearning “In My Place,” followed (after Martin surprised an 8-year-old named Isabella on her birthday by bringing her onstage for a snippet of “Paradise” and a chorus of “Happy Birthday”) by a spirited version of “Don’t Panic” that encouraged the audience to accompany Martin as he sang, “We live in a beautiful world.”

Monday’s show was No. 102 on the tour, and the first since Coldplay was forced to postpone a Friday performance in Houston due to Hurricane Harvey. The Texas city was on Martin’s mind as he asked the crowd to “send love out into the world to places that need it, like Venezuela or Syria or Houston.”

With an American flag stuffed into the back pocket of his jeans, Martin’s most political statement of the evening was a reminder that, “Most people in the world like to treat everybody kindly.”

While on the small stage near the back of the floor, Martin introduced a new country song written with Coldplay’s Texas fans in mind. Martin said the band would never again play the song, which he said was titled “Houston.” The song may be best remembered for Buckland’s graceful slide guitar and as a reminder that it’s hard to write a good country song in a weekend.

bcrandell@sun-sentinel.com

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