A Rush Of Blood To The Head Tour


From WikiColdplayA Rush of Blood to the Head tour poster

Coldplay’s A Rush Of Blood To The Head Tour was a global concert tour that supported the band’s second album, A Rush of Blood to the Head. Officially, the tour ran for almost nine months in 2003, covering five continents in the process. In 2002, Coldplay also performed a series of concerts in Europe and North America to support the album. However, these shows were not advertised as being part of the official album tour.

The tour DVD Live 2003 was filmed at the Horden Pavilion in Sydney, Australia on July 21 and 22, 2003.

Headliners for the tour included extended appearances by Idlewild and Ash in 2002 and Feeder, The Music, Eisley, and Ron Sexsmith in 2003.


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Show structure

Overall, Coldplay’s concerts during this period showcased its progression as a bona fide live act. The band began playing more shows in arenas and ampitheatres, moving away from the club venues that dominated earlier tours. Shows also had more elaborate stage and lighting effects. For example, strobe lighting for the song “Daylight” featured the image of a rotating sun superimposed over the stage. Taking a cue from U2’s recent Elevation Tour, Coldplay also adopted a series of back screens that displayed video footage of each band member simultaneously.

Other highlights included:

  • Lead singer Chris Martin sang with Ron Sexsmith on the track, Gold In Them Hills during the headling set.

  • Guitarist Jonny Buckland regularly played a harmonica solo on the track Don’t Panic. He tossed the harmonica into the crowd after the solo’s completion. Buckland also performed an original electric guitar introduction for the track.

  • The aformentioned back screens were unfurled mid-concert, usually during the beginning of One I Love.

  • At some shows, Martin sang lyrics after inhaling from a helium balloon.

  • Martin usually wore a Make Trade Fair t-shirt during 2002 shows to promote the Oxfam campaign. Make Trade Fair booths were present at venues, where concert-goers could sign petitions and learn about the campaign’s objectives.


Coldplay’s shows during this period was noted for its use of strobe lighting

The 2002 shows contained a rough 50/50 split in material from Parachutes and A Rush of Blood to the Head. The official tour in 2003 focused on songs from the second album, as well as many unreleased tracks. For example, future Live 2003 single Moses and b-side Pour Me were introduced during the tour. Other new songs included Gravity, The World Turned Upside Down and Ladder to the Sun.

Coldplay also made a habit of covering other artists on the tour, often as outros to their own songs. Covers ranged from a tongue-in-cheek excerpt of Avril Lavigne’s “Sk8er Boi” to the Louis Armstrong classic “What a Wonderful World”. Coldplay also regularly covered Echo and the Bunnymen’s Lips Like Sugar in its entirety, in homage of Bunnymen frontman Ian McCulloch’s role as a mentor during recording of A Rush of Blood to the Head.

The musical introduction to the concert featured selections from Brian Eno’s Apollo: Atmospheres and Soundtracks.

The following is a sample setlist, taken from a concert in Toronto, Ontario, Canada on June 11, 2003.

Main set

The Oracle on A Rush Of Blood To The Head Tour

June 22, 2010 – submitted by Natalie, United Kingdom

Q. Hi Oracle!

I was going through some old issues of the Coldplay e-zine and came across an article where “the riddle of 1560” was mentioned. Please enlighten me, what is it?


The Oracle replies:

In 2003 there was a Coldplay competition based on the opening lyric from Politik followed by the number 1560 on the back page of the AROBTTH tour programme.

Giles Greenwood (who also designed the programme as well as other merch items) came up with the idea that drove thousands of fans crazy. Very few people worked out the answer to the riddle which was asking what the significance of that number 1560 was.

It was all connected to how many days it had been from the band signing to Parlophone to the last tour date on the AROBTTH tour.

December 10, 2009 – submitted by Jacob, Australia

Q. Dear Oracle

Could you please clarify this for me once and for all so that I may rest peacefully. What is the intro music to Coldplay’s 2003 tour concerts. Most people claim it’s a piece from Eno’s Apollo album but I don’t think they’ve ever actually heard that album because there is no part that sounds like that. Thank you!

The Oracle replies:

The band did indeed use Eno’s music from the film For All Mankind before they took to the stage. However, Apollo: Atmospheres and Soundtracks was the album released 6 years earlier that largely soundtracked the movie.

The actual piece the boys walked on to is called An Ending (Ascent).