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Coldplay keeps crowd guessing

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COLDPLAY, SLEEPERCAR and JON HOPKINS, EnergySolutions Arena, Saturday

It was anyone's guess where Coldplay would pop up at the EnergySolutions Arena on Saturday.

Sure the band — vocalist/keyboardist Chris Martin, guitarist Jonny Buckland, drummer Guy Berryman and drummer Will Champion — cranked it out on the main stage, but they also grouped together on one of the stage extensions and even appeared in the middle of the crowd in the back corner of the arena.

Regardless where the band played, the nearly sold-out audience loved every note and nuance.

Not only did the band play the hits "Speed of Sound," a condensed version of "Talk," "Clocks" and the encore-ender "Yellow," but also pumped out "Chinese Sleep Chant," "Lost" and "Strawberry Swing."

Martin danced and jumped around like a frenzied Dionysus as he led the band and the audience through a communal journey of music and energy. His voice, including his smooth falsetto, was in top form as he hit the highs in "Violet Hill," "Fix You" and "The Hardest Part."

"God Put a Smile Upon Your Face," which segued into the aforementioned rendition of "Talk," were performed from the stage extension. And while Champion didn't have a full drum kit set up, he played an electric drum pad.

During the acoustic set played in the back of the arena, the band went through "The Scientist" and "Death Will Never Conquer," the latter sung by Champion.

One of the biggest cheers came during "Viva La Vida," which was played on the main stage. Champion traded his drums for massive tympanies and the audience became part of the show during the sing-a-long chant at the end of the song.

Throughout the evening, live videos of the band and other abstract images were projected onto six massive orbs and two video screens that hung about the arena.

During each dynamic song, Buckland's crisp guitar leads soared on top of the booming foundation provided by Berryman and Champion.

The main-stage backdrop also served as a video screen and gave all in the arena some up-close-and-personal-time with Martin and the boys.

Opening the evening was the restless southern-tinged tunes from Sleepercar and the chill mix from DJ Jon Hopkins, which got the audience hot and ready for Coldplay.

E-MAIL: scott@desnews.com