Coldplay "Viva La Vida" on MTV Movie Awards

The new Coldplay record, Viva La Vida, is set for release in just about two weeks. Last night, as part of the to-the-hilt publicity blitz, the band made a triumphant return to American television on the MTV Movie Awards.

Let's start back a little bit. There are always those transcendent performances that tell you everything is going to be alright. In the weeks leading up to the release of Kanye's last record, he performed "Stronger" on Jimmy Kimmel and straight up destroyed everyone. The show's closing credits rolled as he went right into "The Good Life," screaming "I, I go for mine/I've got to shine/Now throw your hands up in the sky." The crowd lost their collective minds as the show cut off and went to whatever your local ABC affiliate decided to play at 12.30 in the morning. So as the cold-intro to Home Improvement ran, all you could think was, "holy shit, this album is going to level everyone." Kanye had this great, inverted dramatic irony. He knew something we didn't. He knew he had a great record and in one great, completely live moment, he lifted up the curtain and gave us a preview. It was like saying, "You guys thought that first song was good? Wait 'til you hear the rest of this thing." Cue Tim Allen.

Coldplay had a similar moment last night playing "Viva La Vida" for the first time live. The song is completely absurd: strings, bells, and lyrics about revolutions. But it functions. It's actually kind of epic. Coldplay outfitted their drummer with a war drum and a timpani and a bell. And not a concert bell either. A bell like the smaller and more intact cousin of the Liberty Bell. Chris Martin was magnanimous and perfect. If you close your eyes you realize how much he owes to (and is on his way to becoming) Bono. This is the moment everyone waited for on Coldplay's last record. This is the heir-apparent. In 2005 it just never happened. We waited for something transcendent and we got "Speed of Sound." "Viva La Vida" is a directional shift and it's perfectly huge.

The performance on last night's Movie Awards had the scent of an acceptance speech or a victory rally. Martin was spilling around the stage as confetti exploded around him in fits of red and white. More importantly, the crowd felt like it was going to lift off the ground. Even when Ed Norton was doing his packaged intro, the crowd started to buzz and by the time Martin was yelling unintelligible words near the end of the song, everyone had completely bought in. You could make out Martin say, "everybody ok?" and the crowd yelled back. As all the band members sung the "ohs" in the last movement, you realized you were seeing something special. We closed with a "thank you" and a feeling that this band is definitely, certifiably back. Sometimes a band knows something you don't. And in this case, Coldplay knows they have a great record and they can't wait to lift the curtain.

And like Kanye, what came on after Coldplay? What was the next thing on our televisions? The Coldplay iPod commercial.

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