OMAHA -- Walking into the CenturyLink Center Monday, concert goers were handed a wristband with a square plastic box in its center and a button.
The wristband, which lit up in multiple colors was a cleverly used part of the production of Coldplay’s concert. The button, emblazoned with “Love” defined the theme of the uplifting show.
The wrist-aided production kicked in from the jump, the lights going red and bouncing around in the sold-out arena as Coldplay launched into “A Head Full of Dreams,” which was punctuated by explosions and the first of the nights four confetti launches.
By then, frontman Chris Martin had spun up and down the central runway a couple times, singing all the way -- and he kept up that momentum throughout the night -- spinning through lasers on one song, then lying on his back to sing the ballad “Fix You.”
That was followed by a joyous, singalong version of “Viva la Vida,” Coldplay’s biggest hit. But as the 23-song setlist reminded, the soft-rocking English band has a ton of hits -- and they can really execute them live, instrumentally and via Martin’s flawless falsetto.
The show was beautifully structured, flowing to multiple peaks throughout its 1 ¾ hour running time. For example, moving to the end of the runway, a “b-stage” for a short acoustic set that reached its crescendo with a gorgeous “Magic.”
The production, from the wristbands and the giant balloons that were turned loose on “Adventure of a Lifetime” to the lights, smartly used video board and confetti was exquisite, evidence of a tour that has its show down pat.
Monday was, according to Martin, the 96th show on Coldplay’s globe-circling A Head Full of Dreams Tour and it replicated concerts that it come before it, right down to Martin stopping “Charlie Brown” to ask the crowd to put away the phones and feel the music.
But it felt fresh with the enthusiastic performance and Martin’s Omaha-centric quips to the crowd -- multiple references to Warren Buffett and Berkshire Hathaway and, when encouraging the audience to sing a verse of “The Scientist’ saying “it was always intended to be sung in a Nebraska accent.”
The peak the Omaha-ization came during the encore.
After the band marched into the crowd and up to a small stage set up in the lower bowl stands and played three songs, including “Don’t Panic,” the first song from Coldplay’s first album and a gorgeous audience requested “Green Eyes,” Martin stood alone on the small platform with his acoustic guitar and launched into an original composition.
Martin didn’t announce a title -- I’ll call it “Monday Night in Omaha” from one of its lines, the best of which was “It was a place I didn’t know/Until I heard that song by Counting Crows.” A Moby Grape reference there would have been hipper. But Grape doesn’t rhyme with know.
Then, back on the main stage, came “Something Just Like This,” Coldplay’s latest hit that, mercifully, didn’t include The Chainsmokers live and a runout of “A Sky Full of Stars” and “Up & Up” that capped the top notch show.