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Coldplay and Imagine Dragons lead a stacked alternative show in Los Angeles

Photo by Drew A. Kelley

Also Avril Lavigne was seen performing during the 2022 iHeartRadio ALTer EGO event at The Forum in Inglewood on Saturday evening


There were more than four-hour concert at The Forum in Inglewood for the iHeartRadio’s ALTer Ego concert last Saturday night. Their annual show which featured Coldplay, Twenty One Pilots, Maneskin, Willow, All Time Low, Imagine Dragons and Kings Of Leon, as well as surprise guest Avril Lavigne, who very nearly stole the show.

With COVID-19 cases climbing in Los Angeles County and some live events once again postponing, some ticketholders expressed concerns about a last-minute cancellation on social media.

But the event went on as scheduled without any acts dropping out due to illness and the venue firmly stuck to its protocol in requiring proof of vaccination or negative COVID-19 tests, enforcing face masks indoors and there was even available quick testing on-site.

Though it was impossible to police everybody, the staff inside did make sure to remind fans to keep their masks on and it seemed like a majority did.

You deserve a night to just let go and enjoy yourselves and the people around you,” Imagine Dragons vocalist Dan Reynolds told the enthusiastic crowd after playing the band’s hit “Believer,” the very first song of the evening.

Photo by Drew A. Kelley

Imagine Dragons was the opener, coming in hot with “Whatever It Takes,” “Thunder,” “Radioactive” and the song “Demons,” before which Reynolds candidly shared with the audience, “Therapy has saved my life,” he said. “Your life is always worth living.”

Coldplay’s set felt a lot like a polished dress rehearsal for its forthcoming stadium tour, which hits SoFi Stadium April 26 and 30. The band blended brand-new material with a few of its early hits. They opened with the intro to its latest album, “Music Of The Spheres,” and the very ’80s-sounding “Higher Power.”

Then they squeezed in “My Universe,” which featured BTS’ parts piped in, and “Human Heart,” with R&B sister-duo We Are King from the new record.

Coldplay’s Chris Martin thanked the crowd for braving all that they had to go through — traffic, tests, vaccines, masks — to watch the show. Martin’s hard work and amiable personality, like thanking the crowd and joking that Kings Of Leon wrote better songs than “Viva La Vida,” but “we still like playing it“.

They also played “People of the Pride,” a much harder Coldplay song that vocalist Chris Martin prefaced by saying this was the band’s “first rock song.” He said he had no idea why they’ve been referred to as a rock band all of these years when “We are like a soft thing,” he said with a laugh.

Photo by Drew A. Kelley

The band also played “Clocks,” “Yellow” and a stirring version of “Fix You.” They closed up their near hour with the anthemic “Sky Full Of Stars,” which has become a modern arena favorite.

Kings of Leon got right to it with “Crawl” and “Waste a Moment.” “Sex on Fire” brought energy into the venue, fans swayed along to the moody “Closer” and roared back at vocalist-guitarist Caleb Followill when he threw the mic out for everyone to sing the chorus of “Use Somebody.”

Pop-punk band All Time Low was excited and humbled by its placement within the line-up. “Can you believe Coldplay played before us,” guitarist Jack Barakat asked. “I don’t even believe it.”

In the time of COVID, no one expects a special guest, but ALT pulled it off and brought out Avril Lavigne for four songs and the crowd loved it. She was so much fun and came out with “Girlfriend,” played her latest hit, “Bite Me,” “My Happy Ending” and she ended with her first big hit, “Sk8er Boi.”

Between the recent pop/punk resurgence and nostalgia for the 2000s, the timing is right for a huge year for Lavigne, who has a new album, Love Sux, out February 25.

The evening wrapped with Twenty One Pilots, a duo that consistently puts on a wildly entertaining live performance. Vocalist Tyler Joseph and drummer Josh Dun make a lot of noise for only two guys on a stage, but they managed to captivate an audience that sang so loudly along to “Stressed Out” and “Heathens” at the start of the set.

Photo by Drew A. Kelley

During their superb set, Joseph expanded on the Coldplay theme by sharing how Martin once left him a voicemail about how much he loved the band’s music and what it meant to him. Made for a very nice and real moment. Now of course Twenty One Pilots are also one of the biggest live acts in the world, headlining arenas on their own

The guys played a wild version of Elton John’s “Bennie and the Jets” and incorporated a bit of My Chemical Romance’s “I’m Not Okay” into its own hit, “Shy Away.” Joseph did brave going out into the audience to sing with fans during “Ride” where he encountered Muse frontman Matt Bellamy in the audience dancing along with him.

Video by: Carlos Casillas Gómez