Coming to Manila: Five fast facts for Coldplay fans

The first batch of 8,000 preferential tickets for Coldplay’s debut concert in the Philippines sold out in just six minutes last Friday.

The British rock band will take the stage at the Mall of Asia Concert Grounds in Pasay City, Manila, on April 4. Ticket prices range from 1,800 to 22,500 pesos.

As local fans warm up for their spring date of a lifetime, here are five fast facts every Coldplay nerd needs to know:

1. Coldplay is the group’s third name. At college in 1996, the seeds of the band — vocalist and keyboard player Chris Martin and guitarist Jonny Buckland — were called the Pectoralz. Bassist Guy Berryman joined the group, which evolved into Starfish and enlisted drummer Will Champion. The foursome became Coldplay before their debut EP, Safety, was released in 1998. Coldplay had been a friends’ band, who took the name from an anthology of poems. When they decided on a name change, Starfish asked if they could use it.

2. One of Coldplay’s most memorable songs was named after a telephone directory, but its lyrics make no mention of phone calls. When Martin was writing the band’s first big chart hit Yellow, from the 2000 album Parachutes, he spotted a copy of the bulging directory The Yellow Pages beside him. The word sounded “nice” and just fitted the song, which is about unrequited love, Martin said. No other colour would have worked, he added.

3. Outgoing US President Barack Obama reportedly “digs” Coldplay. Martin said that when he met the world’s most powerful rap lover, Obama told him he had the band’s songs on his iPod. So is he listening to Clocks as he counts down his last days in office? (Or maybe Paradise?) The real question — is Rodrigo Duterte’s nemesis really a Coldplay fan, or was he just being presidentially diplomatic?

4. Producer Brian Eno managed to persuade the band to work with a hypnotist during recording of the 2008 album Viva La Vida, to enable the creative power of their subconscious minds to emerge. They have since admitted that many songs recorded for the album were made while they were in a hypnotic state. “Everything over these past months has been about taking off any shackles,” Martin said in an interview with Q magazine. “Sometimes you need a hypnotist to give you the bravery to do it.”

5. One Coldplay member reportedly said it was great being in such a successful band and yet, apart from Martin, hardly ever being recognised in public. However, Martin said he once travelled to a Coldplay gig at London’s O2 arena by subway train, surrounded by fans, and went completely unnoticed. That wasn’t the case three years ago. Commuters were agog when Martin was spotted on the train heading to the same venue with US rap stars Jay-Z and Timbaland. Keep an eye out for the singer on the MRT in early April. You may get a selfie opportunity.