Coldplay have eschewed a world tour in support of their new Everyday Life album, but that hasn’t stopped them from finding new places to play their songs. Their latest offbeat gig was a drop-by at NPR for a Tiny Desk show, a serious underplay from their usual stadium gigs. But singer Chris Martin was just as excited to rock the office space alongside guitarist Jonny Buckland and a the nine-person For Love Choir for the five-song set that included a surprising cover.
The set opened with Martin — dressed up in a black tuxedo jacket with a red flower on his lapel — playing a gospel-y groove on piano as the choir added some soulful backing vocals on “Cry Cry Cry” and then busting into a joyously stripped-down sprint through “Viva La Vida” with the angelic choir making the Jerusalem Bells ring as loud as thunder. The ever self-deprecating singer thanked the extra singers for “photoshopping” something extra onto the Coldplay catalog.
The joyful gig chugged along with another Sunday morning reverie, “Broken,” which was immediately followed by a slightly more sensual, surprise cover of Prince‘s “1999.” The choir members did some of the heavy lifting on the bouncy party tune, trading off vocals with Martin as Buckland picked up a chicken scratch groove on guitar and everyone got a chance to shine at the mic.
“We really haven’t done many things for this album, we’ve been trying to stay in semi-hibernation, but coming out for something like Tiny Desk is so pure and so wonderful and makes us feel like, ‘Oh, this is why we do what we do,'” Martin said while tickling the ivories. The set ended with the triumphant, gorgeous “Champion of the World.”
Watch Coldplay’s Tiny Desk concert below.