Coldplay fans are bereft at the prospect of being unable to see the band’s new double album Everyday Life performed out in the wild, after Chris Martin told the BBC that they would not be touring it.
Instead, the band will spend the next year or two figuring out how best to put on a “sustainable” and “actively beneficial” live experience that places environmental concerns above scale and convenience, addressing the climate-ravaging issues of flying and single-use plastic, for example, in the live music industry. The future they imagine is a para-, para-, paradi... oh, never mind.
In an era that sees celebrities criticised for speaking out about the climate emergency, then strung up again for flying to do so, of course it is Coldplay who are putting their money where their mouths are. I will not hear a word said against Coldplay. When actors use tear sticks to help them cry during emotional scenes, I wonder why they don’t just pipe in Fix You on a loop instead.
Coldplay’s latter career has pulled off the impressive feat of bringing the aesthetic of a decades-old semi-illegal world music festival in the Midlands to a global audience. Chris Martin is a superstar, a stadium frontman who clearly loves being on stage in front of thousands, even though he carries the vibe of a GCSE drama teacher who can’t stop talking about his Monday night reiki course. I love Coldplay. I don’t see how anyone can fail to love Coldplay.
Coldplay’s vast money mountain should make the prospect of not touring an album a little easier on the financial front, even though playing shows is one of the only ways left for most musicians to make a living from music. As a result, it will be more tough for performers at a lower level to follow their example. However, Martin has already thought of that. “I think it is a question of just accepting that you have to do your best, not to be over-zealous in criticising others because everyone will catch up if you prove it is easy to do the right way,” he said. He’s the Elon Musk of carbon-neutral touring. Basically, trust him, he’s got this.
One of the biggest issues, when it comes to live concerts, is the audience. We are a huge part of the problem, comprising a significant proportion of a tour’s carbon footprint by simply making our way to the show. I like watching live music, and so I want Coldplay to fix this. Here’s an idea to get them started. If Chris Martin stopped making guest appearances during literally everyone’s sets at Glastonbury, it might just be enough of a cut to save us all.
Rebecca Nicholson is an Observer columnist
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