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Coldplay Soar at All Points West With Anthems, Beastie Boys Cover

August 3, 2009 8:55 AM ET

It's terribly fashionable to criticize Coldplay but unless trenchfoot is the latest hipster accessory, there wasn't anyone being fashionable on the third day of All Points West. With the rain and sludge double-whammy demoralizing the thousands of fans in Liberty State Park, the sound of the London-four piece spinning out a decade's worth of stadium anthems and a few other party favors was just the unpretentious tonic that Sunday night needed.

(Check out the best of All Points West, in photos.)

Dressed in their now familiar (but no-less conspicuous) French revolutionary clobber and backlit to within an inch of their lives, Chris Martin and Co. reached high gear almost instantly, dispatching "Clocks," "In My Place" and "Yellow" before they'd even said a proper hello. "As four British people who grew up in the mud and the rain, we salute you for coming out to what can only be described as a mud Jacuzzi," gushed Chris Martin before spinning and spiraling around the stage during "42" like a little boy who's just discovered how fun it is to make yourself dizzy.

(Read our report on the rest of All Points West's third day, featuring Echo and the Bunnymen and the Black Keys, here.)

Although the band is nearing the end of a touring cycle that has been in motion since last year's Viva La Vida or Death And All His Friends, they attacked the set with all the verve and energy of a band who've just come out of hibernation rather than beginning to go back into it. It's a prowess that made the woozy psychedelic sway of "Strawberry Swing" sound more like a mesmerizing tribal stomp, transformed "God Put A Smile On Your Face" into a synthetic, New Order-esque dance number and even saw them throwing in an All Points West-related surprise in the shape of another Beastie Boys shout out.

But while Jay-Z damn near blew up the main stage by tearing through "No Sleep 'Til Brooklyn" in honor of the absent hip-hoppers as his opener on Friday night, Martin paid his own homage by cantering through a priceless piano-ballad version of "Fight For Your Right (To Party)," bringing out belly laughs as well as sing-alongs from the crowd. Corny as hell for sure, but there's not a soul on site who could have questioned the sincerity of Martin's tribute. That charming combination of the silly and the profound was repeated during an brief acoustic set (played from a mini-stage in the center of the crowd) when all four members added to the continual stream of Jacko-tributes by putting their spin on "Billie Jean" — complete with some admirably precise Martin falsettos.

Yet, even after such an impressive set, the singer's self-effacing streak was no less prominent. "You probably won't see us again for a while… which is probably good news for some of you," was his preamble before the band wound down with "The Scientist." On balance, the prospect of spending some time away from Coldplay is no where near as exciting as taking a break from All Points West. It'll take a year off just to scrape the mud off.

Set List:
"Life In Technicolor"
"Violet hill"
"Clocks"
"In My Place"
"Yellow"
"42"
"Fix You"
"Strawberry Swing"
"Talk"
"God Put A Smile Upon Your Face"
"Fight For Your Right"
"Viva la Vida"
"Lost"
"Green Eyes"
"Death Will Never Conquer"
"Billie Jean"
"Politik"
"Lovers In Japan"
"Death And All His Friends"
"The Scientist"

"Life In Technicolor (II)"

More All Points West '09
Jay-Z Unleashes Epic Set at All Points West
Tool's Dark Metal and Stunning Visuals Take Over All Points West

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

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Song Stories

“Bird on a Wire”

Leonard Cohen | 1969

While living on the Greek island of Hydra, Cohen was battling a lingering depression when his girlfriend handed him a guitar and suggested he play something. After spotting a bird on a telephone wire, Cohen wrote this prayer-like song of guilt. First recorded by Judy Collins, it would be performed numerous times by artists incuding Johnny Cash, Joe Cocker and Rita Coolidge. "I'm always knocked out when I hear my songs covered or used in some situation," Cohen told Rolling Stone. "I've never gotten over the fact that people out there like my music."

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