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COLDPLAY MAKES IT ALL BETTER.

Byline: Fred Shuster Music Critic

Steely efficient, gentle yet purposeful, perfectly planned, seamless, reminiscent of friendlier times.

Yup, parking at the Greek has never been better - and the band Tuesday wasn't bad either. In its first major headlining tour, Coldplay managed to erase the day's troubles using little more than charm and wonderfully constructed pop tunes.

You must know Coldplay. The anemic Britpop quartet whose biggest hit, naturally, was titled ``Yellow,'' is a perfect amalgam of cleverly obscured influences, genuine talent and an image that pleads: ``Don't hurt us. We're really just harmless university students.''

The band's best songs - ``Politik,'' ``Shiver,'' ``Trouble,'' ``God Put a Smile Upon Your Face,'' ``Spies'' - have the same reassuring effect on the psyche as a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on whole wheat with a big glass of milk. Comfort music.

Radio stations like KCRW and KROQ are tripping over themselves to suggest they were onto Coldplay first (the truth is, I was onto Coldplay first, but that's another story).

The gig was packed. Coldplay singer and songwriter Chris Martin showed an obviously instinctual sense of melody, and his instantly engaging songs felt like a warm breeze in the leafy amphitheater Tuesday.

Even a number such as the painfully earnest ``Don't Panic,'' with its fey chorus of ``we live in a beautiful world,'' came across as unexpectedly poignant on the eve of Sept. 11. False but poignant.

While Martin's musicality was delightful, he should learn a bit more about Los Angeles audiences in particular before attempting stage patter. Although an ad lib that ``this is the first time we've played a place where Yogi Bear should hang out'' drew appreciative laughs, self-deprecating references to nose jobs and feeling sad and lonely left the audience confused. Sensing the cultural divide between Los Angeles and everywhere else, Martin tried for an emergency repair: ``Next up is the winner of 'American Idol.' '' It worked. The laughter drowned out the guitar.

As the last notes wafted into the air and the crowd clogged the exits, another popular phrase sprang to mind: ``Dude, where's my car?''

CAPTION(S):

photo

Photo:

Coldplay's Chris Martin needs to work on his stage patter, but his music scored with concertgoers Tuesday at the Greek.

Tom Mendoza/Staff Photographer
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Title Annotation:Review; U
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Sep 12, 2002
Words:374
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