July 2016: Three Coldplay concerts in one week
A once-in-a-lifetime experience that started with a Chicago rain show
Seven years ago this month, July 2016, I saw Coldplay three times in one week: two nights in Chicago and one night in Louisville.
This was my first time seeing Coldplay, and it’s one of the things that took my love of Coldplay to an even higher level. It was the summer before I started college and I was living it up as much as possible, while simultaneously freaking out about moving away from home.
The first night in Chicago was particularly memorable. We didn’t even have tickets to the show, as we were planning on only going the second night. Unbeknownst to the friends I was with, I’d been tracking ticket prices on Stubhub the entire day and ended up pulling the trigger.
The weather was terrible, and we spent over an hour huddled in the concourse with over 50,000 other Coldplay fans. There were chants of “Viva La Vida” and “Yellow,” and everyone was clearly having a blast despite the conditions.
As the show finally started, the weather hadn’t subsided and it was obvious Coldplay wouldn’t be able to play their entire show.
Around halfway through the concert, the rain started to pick up. Coldplay had to restart “Charlie Brown” because the rain meant the Xylobands didn’t work properly the first time around.
When Soldier Field officials came out to tell Chris Martin the show was over, he was adamant they play one more song: “A Sky Full of Stars.” If it weren’t for the Soldier Field officials walking onto the stage, I don’t think Chris had any plans on stopping the show.
“This could be it, I don’t know. I hope not,” Chris said as the song started. The thrill of the Avicii collab combined with Chris’ antics, the rain, the thunder, the lightning, and the Xylobands made for one of the most incredible things I’ve ever experienced.
I don’t have any video of the moment, but I found this on YouTube. Rewatching it today gave me goosebumps. What a moment.
Towards the end of “A Sky Full of Stars,” Chris’ microphone started to die and it was clear the show was over. But it was clear he didn’t want the show to be over. In total, we missed out on about six songs – including the entire C-stage acoustic segment – and a lot of banter that Chris had to cut back on to fit in as many songs as possible.
As 50,000+ Coldplay fans departed Soldier Field in a torrential downpour and thunderstorm, the mood remained incredible. The “Viva la Vida” singalongs never died and the rain meant everyone’s Xylobands were lighting up sporadically.
We ended up walking almost two miles in the pouring rain from Soldier Field to get an Uber that, if I recall correctly, cost almost $100 for a 10-minute ride.
And that was only night one. The second night, it stormed again and both opening acts were canceled. Luckily, Coldplay was able to do their full show. A few days later, I went to my third and final Coldplay concert of the year in Louisville1. This was an arena show, not a stadium show, which made it surprisingly more “intimate.”
During the “A Head Full of Dreams” tour, Coldplay would play stadiums on the weekend in the big cities, then play arenas during the week in smaller cities like Louisville. I wish they still did this, but with Chris’ vocal issues and logistical problems, I understand why it’s not possible.
One year later…
A year later, I saw Coldplay once again at Soldier Field. A few songs into the show, it started to rain. “Oh shit, it’s raining. Fuck,” Chris said. “We’ve been all around the world and the only place it’s been raining is every time we’re in Chicago.” Still, the band put on a full show.
Since that last show in Chicago in 2017, I’ve seen Coldplay two more times, both in 2022: Dallas and Atlanta.2
Of the five times I’ve seen Coldplay, that first night in Chicago is still the most memorable. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Never again will I get to dance to “A Sky Full of Stars” in the pouring rain with my best friends.
Coldplay puts on the best live show of any band3 nowadays, especially among bands that play stadiums. Granted, there aren’t many bands that can fill stadiums to the level that Coldplay does.
At the time, Chris was dating Louisville native Jennifer Lawrence. This made for a fun little “tabloidy” experience.
For the Atlanta show, I was lucky enough to get tickets from Coldplay’s PR team to check out their green energy and environmental initiatives on behalf of Electrek.
Taylor Swift fans: note the “band” vs “artist” wording here.