Line Up: Coldplay / Lily Allen with Special Guests: Robbie Williams, Guy Chambers and Tim Rice Oxley / David Brent & Foregone Conclusion with Special Guest: Dom Johnson / Dynamo / Rizzle Kicks
Hosted By: Fearne Cotton
Coldplay have been involved in the Kids Company charity for six years and largely kept their involvement under the radar until 2011 when they hosted the first Under 1 Roof concert. On that occasion it was held in the O2Arena and raised nearly half a million for the children’s charity set up by Camila Batmanghelidjh. Tonight though the setting was to be the far more intimate Hammersmith Odeon...
Ok ok so the old Hammy O is now called the Eventim Apollo, I realise that, but there have been legendary concerts in this venue down the years by so many artists including The Beatles, Queen and Springsteen to name but three, that to call it anything different seems odd. Strangely this was the first gig I have seen at the venue although I did come here to listen to a playback of the last Queen album in 1995 (yes, yes I’m a nerd) however of the previous twenty three gigs I have seen in London not one was at this famous old venue.
Luckily for me Mrs Rock somehow managed to secure two tickets for the show after I had failed miserably. She didn't gloat too much. I got the feeling that for a gig, which is for charity, at Christmas time, seeing a big band in a small venue…that everyone was going to be in good spirits. Add to that a diverse line up that included the true definition of girl power herself, Lily Allen, my comedy hero Ricky Gervais (in character as David Brent) and in Coldplay, one of the biggest bands on the planet, then tonight was always going to be special.
Unfortunately I had the pleasure of wearing my ‘space boot’ for the show as I am currently recovering from an Achilles tendon injury. As a result, although I may not have looked cool, and although I was in pain, I was safe in the knowledge that I would stand even taller than normal and so manage to piss even more people off. I’m not sure the doctors would be too pleased with me standing for four and a half hours and by about the half way stage my heels felt like they were burning with pain. Despite my discomfort though it felt like a privilege to be at this concert. Alas due to my footwear we had to hang back at the rear of the venue otherwise I would have been up front in the mosh pit (never too old to mosh) however with the sloping floor it meant the view was good from anywhere.
Fearne Cotton hosted the show and did a fine job of linking the whole thing together. First on the bill were the Rizzle Kicks who, although not my ‘thing’, were actually very entertaining. The highlight of their set was Skip To The Good Bit which is EMF’s Unbelievable with different lyrics…trust me when I say it is much better than that description sounds. An energetic performance from the two lads backed by a stellar band. Good stuff.
A bit of magic from Bradford’s own Dynamo was next up. Not a natural stage performer it seems but fun nonetheless…and no, I haven’t a clue how he does it.
I’m a huge Ricky Gervais fan and I was delighted he was playing in character as David Brent for the show. Brent afterall is national treasure. It did seem that the joke was lost on some in the audience though especially those from other countries but for me his six song set was not only funny but musically excellent as well. Ricky / David proved that he possesses a highly accomplished rock voice and I found myself singing along to Life On The Road (“And you know just where you'll be heading, it's equidistant between London and Reading”), Lady Gypsy (“the sex is free but the heathers a pound”) and Equality Street (“Oh dayo, dayo, dayo, me say dayo. Biddly biddly biddly biddly biddly biddly bong yo”). For the latter he was joined by Dom Johnson (Doc Brown)…Brent’s very own Jay Z. The set closes with Freelove Freeway which is just a bluddy good rock song...who knows Ricky may get his music career afterall some thirty years one from his last attempt. Top set, top bloke. Looking forward to seeing Brent on the road next year.
Lily Allen is not only a very good singer, she also happens to be a very good songwriter managing to be both funny and catchy…and she swears a lot. I like that. Although as she admits herself she is ‘not tour ready’ she still manages to be pretty spectacular tonight. Opening her set with Chris Martin to sing The Fear, her five songs are full of surprises not least a certain Robbie Williams turning up to sing Dream A Little Dream with her (he looks thrilled by the rapturous welcome he receives…not least from my Mrs…a well know Robbie fan). Current Number 1 single, Somewhere Only We Know, closes her set and features its song writer, Keane’s Tim Rice-Oxley, on piano. Lily has an excellent rapport with the crowd and if this is anything to go by we have much to look forward to in 2014 from her.
Coldplay are not everyone’s favourite band. If we are being honest they were often seen as...well a little boring. In their own country they were seen as been about as rock n roll as my mother (trust me she ain’t no Marianne Faithful) whereas abroad they seem to garner much more respect. Over the years though they have changed their style and spent a lot of time developing some great music but also marrying it with stunning visuals. They have evolved which has been essential to their continued success and where other bands have come and gone Coldplay remain. What is often overlooked is what a very good band they are musically. A group of four extremely talented musicians including of course Chris Martin, who has developed in to an outstanding front man, and in Will Champion they have one hell of a drummer (worth the entrance fee alone). And the songs…they only played ten tonight but every one of them is huge: Clocks, Charlie Brown, Fix You (goosebumps every time), Atlas (played for the first time ever), Viva La Vida, Paradise (I love that bass intro), The Scientist, Every Teardrop before getting into the full Christmas spirit with a rendition of White Christmas and finishing with the criminally underrated Christmas Lights.
So although I was limping at the end, although a fight broke out just as we were leaving (I mean seriously lads, a fight, at a Coldplay concert, at Christmas, for charity...fucking idiots) and although getting out of the Apollo was not easy, I still managed to come away with a nice warm fuzzy feeling...and I’m pretty sure that was because of the show and not the pain killers.
Ticket Price: £75.00