Coldplay will livestream a concert from Madrid just as the band is releasing its fifth album.
The concert will be streamed live on YouTube from the Plaza de Toros de Las Ventas on Oct. 26 (4 p.m. ET). The concert, part of the ongoing online series "American Express Unstaged," takes place two days after Coldplay releases "Mylo Xyloto."
"Until we can come to a video as good as 'Single Ladies' by Beyonce, we have to rely on just the meat and vegetables of playing songs live," says Coldplay frontman Chris Martin, speaking from Cape Town, South Africa, where the band played Wednesday. "And this is just a nice way of doing it for a few more people at once."
"Unstaged" has frequently paired acts such as Arcade Fire, John Legend and My Morning Jacket with famous directors. The Coldplay concert will be directed by Anton Corbijn, the photographer, music-video maker and filmmaker of "Control" and "The American."
Corbijn is known for black-and-white and color-drained images in his work with Joy Division, Depeche Mode and R.E.M. He's directed several Coldplay videos but has one quibble with the planned concert.
"I don't particularly like lasers," says Corbijn, speaking from London. "At the moment, I've given into two songs."
Says Martin: "He'll win, of course. He's much better at the visual stuff."
Corbijn says it's challenging doing a concert like this without designing the whole show, and without the band being on tour ahead of it. Coldplay is currently playing a handful of festivals. But Las Ventas, a famed bullfighting ring, is a unique location.
"Even if you just look through one camera, it's going to look great," says Corbijn. "The arena is so beautiful."
It's the first international concert for "Unstaged," which is eager to benefit from a global audience. It will be streamed via music video service VEVO and also will be available through YouTube and VEVO apps on some smartphones and tablets.
Rich Lehrfeld, vice president of global sponsorship, access and experimental marketing for American Express, says the series has been a success and will continue. Lehrfeld declined to say how many people have watched the five previous "Unstaged" performances, but American Express says there have been more than 40 million streams altogether.
Coldplay is planning a wristband experiment for the Madrid crowd. Corbijn will shoot a pre-show segment of banter among himself and members of the band.
The concert comes as a welcome distraction for Martin.
"When we're in countries which don't speak English, it's harder for us to understand bad reviews," says Martin. "The week an album comes out is a tense week. So if you go and play in a place where the audiences are very loud and very passionate and even if they're swearing at you it sounds melodic — that's a nice way to distract you."
Martin and Corbijn, though, don't consider themselves bullfighting fans.
Says Corbijn: "I'm a Taurus myself, so I feel sorry for the bulls."