Fans are used to watching Coldplay in massive stadiums and arenas, but a handful of SiriusXM subscribers got to spend some time with the superstars on Wednesday (Jan. 15) at the broadcasting company’s new performance space, The Garage, in Los Angeles.
The lucky group of about 50 packed into the space, spanning generations, race and gender, speaking to the band’s tremendous reach over their decades-long career. The hour-long experience featured an in-depth Q&A session with Chris Martin, Jonny Buckland, Guy Berryman and Will Champion, plus some performances of Coldplay classics and songs off their recent album, Everyday Life.
They opened the show with the humanist anthem, “Orphans,” which Champion noted is “about displaced people” and “young people who really only just want to be with their friends and grow up as one should.”
“All of us, after seeing humans labeled as migrants or refugees or whatever,” Martin chimed in. “So that was very much in our thinking…How can we have a song that’s about the humanity in everybody? So all those things converged and then the song just kind of popped through.”
Of course, it wouldn’t be a proper Coldplay show without a few witty anecdotes from the frontman, who admitted that he realized a bit too late that the beginning of “Orphans” sounds a lot like “Here Comes the Bride.” “My son was singing it the other day and I was like, ‘I think that’s ‘Here Comes the Bride,’ the first bit,’” he joked. “So if it has a togetherness in it, it’s because it’s stolen from weddings.”
The group then delivered their universally beloved tune, 2008’s “Viva La Vida,” and Everyday Life‘s “Daddy,” which Buckland noted is “the emotional heart of the album,” before chatting about a variety of inspirations, which included stars, books about humankind, and…Back to the Future.
After performing “Cry Cry Cry,” Champion revealed that the swinging tune is an “homage” to the iconic scene from the 1985 film, in which Marty McFly is playing with the band at the school dance. The song they perform, “Earth Angel,” Champion chuckled and called “one of the greatest songs ever written,” revealing that the Everyday Life cut was an “attempt to emulate that.”
Martin also delved into a discussion about one of his all-time favorite artists, Bruce Springsteen, and his recent tattoo in honor of the Boss. “It’s not an obvious Bruce song but it’s a song called ‘Working on a Dream,’ which is quite recent Bruce,” he gushed. “That was kind of my gateway drug into Bruce. Of course, that’s what we’re doing every day, working on a dream.”
“Of course, Bruce could fart in my face and I’d think it’s amazing, so I’m a bit biased,” Martin jokingly added.
One of the more surprising moments of the night was when the Coldplay frontman admitted that he loves Justin Bieber‘s newest single, “Yummy.”
“I think it’s brilliant,” he revealed, unprompted. “Sometimes, new songs come along which make you feel like everything we’ve done is terrible and, in fact, it inspires you all over again. The most recent thing that did that to me is his new song, ‘Yummy.’”
Before ending the night with “Champion of the World” off the new album, the band was asked what advice they’d give to their younger selves. “We’ve now been a band long enough that our early publicity photo seem charming. But for a good while, they just seemed awful, and it’s because we were existing solely on chocolate milk and anything you could buy at a gas station,” Martin joked. “So my advice would probably be to eat more greens, and we might have done better commercially.”
And as we ring in 2020, how has the band stayed so solid while making music together since the release of their 2000 debut, Parachute? “I think we’re a bit nicer to each other probably,” Martin admitted. “We have less fallouts and we are more communicative when we don’t agree on something. But other than that, there’s always been a little production line that starts sometimes with me, then goes to Jonny, Will and Guy. When we’ve all contributed on a song, then it’s ready and it’s finished.”
Champion concluded by expanding the band’s consistant message of unity from throughout their career to a global level. “We feel as a band, our message to deliver is—we feel like citizens of the world, rather than people who come from specific countries or believe in certain things,” he noted. “We feel very happy to be on this planet and share it with everyone else. I think it just comes from a desire to show that we’re all one really and we’re all happy to be playing music together. It’s just trying to be aware that we’re not the only type of person on the planet, there’s lots of other people and we’re happy to be with them.”
Coldplay’s performance was broadcast live on Jan. 15 on The Spectrum (ch. 28), but there will be replays on SiriusXM’s Alt Nation (ch 36) to be announced. Highlights from the Q&A and performance will be included in an expanded edition of Coldplay’s Pandora Story.