Blog Archives

Coldplay

8/29/16
Denver, CO
Pepsi Center
Map of Colorado, USA
3.5 Stars
Confetti-doused anthems. I know people love to bash Coldplay for not being cool but I am an unabashed fan and have been since their debut. I love their songs, I love the gentle risks they take on their albums and I love their work ethic. Nobody writes anthems anymore — Oasis is gone and U2 only looks backwards anymore — but Coldplay still pulls it off. They’re the one band I can put on in the house or in the car that gets my whole family singing, loud, smiling. That says something. So I was thrilled to bring the kids to this arena stop on their “A Head Full Of Dreams” tour. The staging was bonkers: a giant backdrop made up of thousands of colorful flowers framed a giant video screen; a long catwalk stretching out into the standing area; confetti bombs. And everyone in the crowd got electronic wristbands that glowed in time to select moments in the music, extending the light show into every corner of the venue. The setlist was solid and dipped into each of their albums; they even did an acoustic set curated by fans. Instrumentation was constantly mixed and remixed so you never knew what was coming next. My boys loved it: singing, loud, smiling. Setlist

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Adele

7/17/16
Denver, CO
Pepsi Center
Map of Colorado, USA
3 Stars
Big-voiced charmer. Aida and I lucked out on this last-minute invitation to witness a world tour that sold out in minutes, featuring a superstar as unlikely as they come. I hopped on the Adele bandwagon early — my decades-old interest in British artists led me to her on the eve of her first album — so I relished the opportunity. The concert didn’t disappoint. She played my favorite song, “Hometown Glory,” not one song into the set! The woman’s voice is a ballsy galaxy-shaker, a unique blend of husk and soul and bombast, and it’s p-e-r-f-e-c-t: not a bum note was sung. The crowd was wrapped around her finger, due in no small part to her earnest, self-deprecating (and frequent) between-song banter. And that woman can banter; holy shit, she’s funny, and she’ll do anything for a laugh. The performance was over-produced and too heavy on spectacle … but I expected that. The soccer moms shelling out $300 to get dressed up and see a concert at the massive Pepsi Can didn’t want an understated club show; they wanted a mind-blowing marvel. I would have been thrilled with just that great voice and a tiny piano but I, like everyone else in that arena, was over the moon with the marvel we got. Setlist

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John Mayer

3/23/10
Denver, CO
Pepsi Center
Map of Colorado, USA
3.5 Stars
Big but small. The thing I love about John Mayer live is his ability to bring a crowd in close. Even in a shit venue like the huge, corporate-suck Pepsi Center, his song choices, his no-fuss playing and his stage banter make you feel like it’s you and him at a mutual friend’s back yard. He’s able to strike that delicate balance between satisfying the screaming girls in the front and the snobby dudes like me farther back: sing-along covers of Tom Petty and Fleetwood Mac for them, deep-cut originals heavy on guitar for me. Barely any hits but every song’s a keeper. Such a talent. Setlist

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