The ever-energetic Martin had a way of making each member of the capacity crowd feel special throughout the night, starting at the entrance when every concertgoer was handed a light-up LED bracelet that made them part of the kaleidoscopic spectacle.
Below, Billboard's favorite moments from the A Head Full of Dreams tour stop, from the band's "missing and best member" to a promise for the future of Coldplay.
Coldplay Launches A Head Full of Dreams Tour With Vivid Colors, Multiple Stages, David Bowie Tribute & More
Nothing Compares to James
After introducing the rest of the band -- bassist Guy Berryman, drummer Will Champion and guitarist Jonny Buckland -- Martin brought up the night's only special guest by telling a long (fictional) story about the Coldplay bandmate who got away. "You may know him from things like Carpool Karaoke and that kind of sh--, but we know him as the guy who turned down being in a band with us," he said as James Corden arrived onstage to pay tribute to Prince with a cover of "Nothing Compares 2 U."
"Thanks for letting me back in the band, guys," Corden said with a smile. "This was an idea that Chris said to me -- he said, 'I think you should come and sing this at the Rose Bowl.' I'll be honest: I didn't know how big it was when I said yes." Corden needn't have worried: The Late Late Show host and Tony-winning Broadway star pulled off a lovely duet of the song made famous by Sinead O'Connor, with Martin even ad-libbing the lyric, "Tell us, James, where did we go wrong?" Watch the full performance below:
Hailing a Hero
The James/Chris duet wasn't the night's only tribute: Coldplay also toasted the late David Bowie with a joyous cover of "Heroes." "Send this up for David," Martin exclaimed mid-song.
Flattery Will Get You Everywhere
If anyone was in need of an ego boost when they stepped into the Rose Bowl on Sunday night, they left with a new sense of self-confidence thanks to Martin's endless niceties. "You all look like you could be in the background of a One Direction music video," he told the crowd, insisting, "That's a compliment!" He also changed the lyrics of "Magic" to "I call it magic when I'm with all of you." Martin was impressed with fans' dedication in getting through the infamously thick Rose Bowl traffic to get to the concert. "I mean, I love Justin Bieber, but would I sit in a two-hour traffic jam for him? I don't know," he quipped. And finally, he stopped playing the piano intro of "Everglow" to respond to a gentleman's shouted request. "I don't think it's physically possible for me to have your baby, man," he said, letting him down easy. But he did leave the door open: "Who knows what the future holds?"
Coldplay's Chris Martin Imitates Mick Jagger, Sings David Bowie's 'Heroes' for James Corden's 'Carpool Karaoke': Watch
A Sky Full of (Paper) Stars
Overheard in the crowd: "This is the prettiest show I've ever seen in my life." That fan was spot-on. Between the sea of color-changing bracelets, countless fireworks bursting throughout the concert, multiple star-shaped confetti showers and laser lights slicing through the night sky, it was a visual spectacle that rivaled (or topped?) that same night's Olympics closing ceremony.
Hit for the Weekend
Fans lost their minds when Beyonce's voice rang out, signaling the start of Coldplay's latest single "Hymn for the Weekend." It was the 12th song of a 22-song set, and it felt a little out of place tucked into the middle of the show, given its rising stock (the song hits a new peak on the Billboard Hot 100 this week, jumping 41 to 35). We wouldn't be surprised if it's bumped up to earlier or later in the set as the tour rolls on, but fans were just happy to hear the song, gleefully filling in for Queen Bey on the soaring background vocals.
I'm Alive Because of Coldplay
A sign bearing that poignant message was featured on the big screen as the band broke hearts across the Rose Bowl with "Fix You."
A lot has been made of the future of Coldplay since a December 2014 BBC Radio interview in which Martin compared A Head Full of Dreams to the last Harry Potter book and said, "I have to think of it as the final thing we're doing. Otherwise we wouldn't put everything into it." But Martin left the door cracked open at the end of Sunday's show, telling the crowd, "We'll keep coming back as long as you want us."
Set list for Sunday's concert:
A Head Full of Dreams
Every Teardrop Is a Waterfall
Always in My Head
Hymn for the Weekend
Viva la Vida
Adventure of a Lifetime
In My Place
Nothing Compares 2 U
Til Kingdom Come
A Sky Full of Stars