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Coldplay Tour Opener Inspires Delayed Reaction

After nailing “Shiver” with his trademark falsetto two songs into last night’s opening show of Coldplay’s second U.S. tour, Chris Martin greeted the crowd.

“Sorry we’re a bit later than expected, like three months or something,” the singer told fans stuffed into Boston’s Avalon Ballroom, referring to a date Coldplay scrapped due to Martin’s sore throat. “But it gives you a buildup.”

Vaulted expectations probably aren’t the best measure of a band such as Coldplay, a group supporting a solitary CD, Parachutes, whose sublime pleasures tend to creep up on listeners.

Martin’s cheeriness lent levity to the British quartet’s 80-minute set, which included all 10 songs from Parachutes and a few new ones with a similar chiming, ethereal sound. He paused to spray his throat at one point, only to play off fans’ nascent familiarity with the young band by adding, “I should say this is cocaine, just to spice things up a bit.”

Indeed, obliquely assaultive lighting and Martin’s light-footed bounce into some of his acoustic guitar strumming didn’t divert attention from the quartet’s atmospheric focus.

Cambridge fan Scott Bryant, 30, said he enjoyed the show for Coldplay’s vibe and talent, but added, “I think they’re one of those bands where you’re almost as well off sitting at home with a bottle of red wine at one in the morning.”

The set peaked toward the middle, after Martin moved back to electric piano for “Everything’s Not Lost,” singing beautifully in harmony with Jon Buckland’s floating guitar figures and the band’s overall mood enhancement. That song’s reverberant fade-out segued into Martin’s solo-guitar introduction to “We Never Change.” His bare-bones delivery evoked Jeff Buckley as colors swirled delicately on the backdrop.

Martin’s falsetto next glided through the hit “Yellow,” helped out with more rhythmic muscle and appropriately hued mirror-ball sprays. Coldplay rounded out the show with more subdued song choices. The placement of Martin’s solo closer, “See You Soon,” seemed well-placed only in terms of sentiment.

“It was kind of hard to see the band,” Virginia native Susanne Bines, 25, said of the crowded club setting. “It was the kind of concert where I’d like to sit back and just watch.”

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