Chris: We have got some incredible balls
Hello Chris. How are things?
Well, it's quite a nerve-wracking time, but it's also tremendously exciting. We've finished the album, it's been released, we've decided what some singles are and we're in the process of making videos. We've also finished planning our actual tour concert, which is a good feeling.
How much do the band control that planning?
A thousand percent. We think about where we're gonna play and what mix of old and new songs we'll have. We think about reinterpreting songs and how we can make the journey of a concert as exciting as possible. And basically we try to make something that's as entertaining as any other night out; we are trying to compete with Cats and Starlight Express. Our one goal is to make sure that people who spend their money get entertained. We think about that a lot. We think about how every song looks and what the ideal place to be is and who will see this best from which place. We probably get a bit too obsessed with it, to be honest.
How long have you been planning the show?
For about four months. But the live side of things always affects how the album sounds. You're thinking, "What does our concert need? What's it missing?" We felt this time that we'd like something that's louder and something that's heavier and something that's more emotional and something where we sing lower and something where everyone can sing along. We've got a lot of singalongs this time, actually.
Can you hear people singing along while you're playing?
Totally. I live for the sound of people singing together.
So, presumably you have lots of exciting plans for the shows which you can't tell us about yet?
Oh, I'll tell you everything. For starters, we've got some incredible balls. And I mean that in the most technological of senses. If you come to our concert, you'll see the most magical balls you've ever seen. In fact, they're the most magic balls since John Lee Hooker had about 50 kids. And ours is the first concert in the world to feature them.
Where did you get these magic balls?
We found them in this place in the north of England that makes clever things. They're part of our continuing mission to make a big room feel as small as possible.
Is that why you play arenas rather than stadiums?
Yeah, we're not a stadium band yet. I think we're still trying to figure out how to make a room full of 10,000 people as exciting as possible, let alone a stadium. To me an arena feels like the perfect size canvas, so we're trying to master that.
Are you thinking about set lists already?
Yeah, we have our set list 90% ready to go. We know where we're going to play which hits and which misses. And what might go down better in Detroit or Philadelphia than it might in Prague or London.
Do you really think about tour plans to that degree?
Yeah, of course. Then once we have some ideas, we hire as many talented people as we can to make them work and be better than we'd thought of them. We care pretty strongly about playing concerts.
And you're not one of these bands who are too proud to play your hits?
No, we'll play as many hits as we can. Although in some places we only really have half of a hit. So we might play Clocks nine times in certain places. And then Fix You 12 times. And then finish off with an encore of Yellow 27 times.
Once you've recorded a new song, is it difficult to learn to play it live?
Not this time, because we spent so much time recording live. And we wouldn't have finished the record unless we thought it would make the concert better. We're still searching for the perfect hour and a half evening out. And given that we can't recreate Terminator 2 everywhere, we've got to come up with something new.
Do you decide your outfits too?
Totally. This will actually be the first Coldplay tour where the clothes are home-made by the band. When we put them on, we feel like we're in a proper little gang.
You've got a lot of shows coming up in the next few months. Does it feel daunting looking at your diary?
No, it just feels like a great big challenge. The time I feel most alive is when we're playing. It's the only time that my head makes any sense.
Does it still feel like that 30 gigs into a tour?
It feels the same after 230 gigs. We can't wait to get on the road. Oh, and we're also hoping to do this thing where we give away a song with every ticket. We have this song called The Goldrush, which Will sings. We want to play it as part of the show, so we'd like to give it away with the ticket. That way the only people that know that song will be the people coming to the concerts.
So they'll be able to sing along.
Exactly! I think Will's gonna need all the help he can get, to be honest. He doesn't love me for making him be the lead singer for a song. But I think now's the tour to do it.
Will he sing the song from behind his drum kit?
That's a surprise.
Ah, so you're not giving everything away.
There are lots of surprises, including butterflies and painted drums and lots of colour and probably some things we haven't even thought of yet. We're just totally focused on making this tour as great as it can possibly be.