Sound — 7
After the album A Rush of Blood to the Head came the CD/DVD set Live 2003. Coldplay's Live 2003 CD is more or less the little sister of their DVD. However, what makes Coldplay enjoyable (their strong melodies and ethreal musical backdrop) remains the same on the disc. With that being said, the only song that I felt stood out and was better live that on record was "Amsterdam".
As said earlier, the music stays the same, but due to it's nature, a live performance does alter the sound some. In most Coldplay songs, the music compliments the song itself, rather than makes the song. Due to this, the music is usually more atmospheric and fragile. This does translate well live, but it's just not as good as the album versions (though no one is really to blame performance-wise).
Lyrics — 8
Chris Martin's lyrics often deal with a personal dilemma -- his own fears and insecurities -- and are very easy to relate to. With that being said, for the most part, the lyrics feel very honest. Songs like "See You Soon" showcase this. As for the vocal performance, Chris Martin does a good job. Behind his voice is both energy and clarity during the live performance. As stated earlier, the performance of "Amsterdam" stands out, and the most obvious reason is the dual harmony between Chris Martin's falsetto and drummer Will Champion.
Overall Impression — 7
If you are an average Coldplay listener, don't buy this album. The three new songs aren't good enough to really justify buying a disc of songs you've already heard. If you are new to Coldplay, don't buy this, buy A Rush of Blood to the Head. However, if you really like live DVD's, the DVD is well worth the money, as it includes more songs and a few extras. When you buy a live album, you're not buying it to hear the crowd roar, you're buying it to hear songs (old and new) translated into a live venue. The inclusion of hearing the crowd cheer and sing along is a bit pointless on this album (take for example, Nine Inch Nail's live album "And All That Could Have Been") and only gives it a more spaced-out and less focused sound.
The biggest problem with this disc is the song selection. Don't get me wrong, half the songs on there are great, but some songs (like Politik, See You Soon, Everything's Not Lost) should have been replaced with songs better suited for live performances. The exclusion of hit singles Trouble and The Scientist is a bit surprising, since they both appear on the DVD (and are good performances in their own right).
Overall, the album can be a good listen, but is really dwarfed by the DVD.