Coldplay Live 2003

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The obvious Then-Album to compare to Coldplay’s latest, Ghost Stories, is Parachutes—one of the best debut albums of all time. Still, praising Parachutes would be a silly undertaking given that most listeners give it five stars and always have.  The most useful album of their canon to compare to Ghost Stories is Live 2003 because of its authenticity, because of its proof that they can actually perform the songs they record.  And it may also be one of their more ignored albums.

The musicianship on Live 2003 proves Coldplay is a real group capable of flying the studio and getting out on the road. The drum machines of Ghost Stories seem incomprehensible.  Will Champion’s drumming and Guy Berryman’s bass carry the group on these live tunes.  It’s clear this is a working group, one of the most talented of the era, with Berryman, Champion, Chris Martin (lead vocals), and Jonny Buckland (lead guitar) all being capable of playing many roles on stage—including the interesting fact that on this keyboard-heavy band all members can and do play keyboard!

The Highlight of the Album?

I can remember the reaction of the crowd on Wings Over America when McCartney hit the first chords of "Yesterday," the collective scream and gasp of the whole audience. Coldplay get the same reaction on Live 2003 when they cut into “Yellow.” And to flavour the authenticity of that movement, we are treated to the fact that they do not do a by-rote version of the song; in fact there is a good dose of unpredictable feedback here and on the rest of the album.

All this is to say the formulaic Ghost Stories is disappointing—and there is no need for it to be so. Perhaps when it’s live on stage and the musicians are putting it out to the audience, it can have the immediacy of their first live album, one produced by them when they only had two studio albums to their name.  Obviously, as it was that tour, their Live 2003 featured more songs from A Rush of Blood to the Head; hopefully their next live album will feature the great potential of Ghost Stories in a live and authentic theatre. It should be great to hear.


Certainly more produced than their live tunes from Live 2003, but still promising:



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