Having already seen the likes of Muse and the Killers this month already, it was nice to finish the month with a breathtaking end. Keane are one of my favourite bands, so I am not going to pretend that this is acompletely unbiased review. I am sure as I mentioned Keane, there were some music snobs out there that will be tutting, shaking their heads or some more foul mouthed telling me to fuck off with my shit taste in music… Well I won’t and don’t use that type of language with me.
Already the gig was set to be something very different, it was being performed “in the round”. Now I’ve never seen band that has played in the round, and I was very interested to see how this would work or might not work. Another major difference to this gig, was that the standing area on the floor, was changed so that they were seats there instead. Now even though this would sacrifice some of the attendance, it made sure that those lucky enough to be on the floor (me) would get an intimate atmosphere in an arena setting.
Support was provide by Wolf gang, who I thought sounded excellent. Annoyingly their lead singer, decided to stick to only to two ends of of the stage. We managed a quick glance at the side of his head at times but that was it. This only added to the anxiety that we’d be the unlucky one, and end up having to look at the back of Tom Chaplin’s head for the majority of the performance. There wasn’t long for me to worry about this though, as soon the lights was turned off. A wonderfully atmospheric walk on music played as Keane walked through the audience on to the stage; a nice touch. Soon thankfully, the fact this was a seating ground floor lost all meaning as the crowd stood. This was great, it struck me at the time as how rare this is, I could stand so close to a stage, and have so much room.
The show got straight in to full steam with the soaring (expect that word a lot, he has a soaring voice) You are young. The show carried on with always popular Bend and Break, before moving on to On the Road. On the road, is a song that can quickly warm up a crowd, and Tom Chaplin did his best to get the appreciative, but quiet crowd going. On the Road is a song with plenty of “Ohhh ohhh” moments for the crowd to sink there their teeth into. Soon any fears that I would be stuck seeing the back end of the band for the entire gig, had ended. After 3 songs; Tom had already done 100 laps of the stage, giving everyone a good view, we had seen Richard on the drums revolve round on a turn table, Tim on Keyboard change to a piano on the other end of the stage, and Jessie on bass, had done a few laps around also. This carried on throughout the whole show, the planning and rehearsal quality could clearly be seen. There was a real effort by the lads to make sure everyone got an equal amount of the view.
I had seen Keane live earlier this year, at the 02 academy in Leeds, it was great show. But comparing it to this arena version, would be unfair. It was a superbly designed set. Now It didn’t have the wow factor of bands that the likes of Muse have. But never-the-less, it looked great. It was a simple design to the one in Leeds just bigger, but the real difference was in the lighting. It was perfectly suited to each song. And from what I hear, it looked even better from further away from the stage.
Once they played Everybody’s Changing, the set was in full swing. Slightly disappointingly though, was the lack of the audience’s going all in, when singing the song with the band. Though a deafening applause after the song showed how much the crowd appreciated the band. Half way through the set, there was a slow down in the pace of the performance, as Keane (and one song with just Tom Chaplin and a guitar) played two beautiful acoustic songs. Then the pace soon sped quickly back up with Disconnected.
Soon Keane pulled out the big guns, playing Is It Any Wonder, This Is The Last Time, and Somewhere Only We know. During which the stage took another slight transformation as huge spiralling pillars of light appeared from above the stage and came down. The main set ended with Bedshaped, I have mentioned before this is my favourite song, and it was great to hear the audience sing a long with this. Tom was great in getting the crowd involved, in a very Freddie Mercury way. He talks to the crowd through the whole set, and lets them feel that they are a part of something special and unique.
Of course as usual there, was a quick pause as the band took a few minutes to do the traditional encore. Once they came back on they played the emotional Sea Fog, the rousing and addictivly catchy Sovereign Light Cafe, and they finished on the rocky Crystal Ball. During Sovereign Light Cafe, 3 large disco balls descended. And of course these disco balls stayed for crystal ball.
This was an absolutely amazing gig, and if you see Keane are touring your town (or just close by) sometime soon, I would whole heartedly recommend seeing them. Even if you are not the biggest fan of the music itself, you won’t be disappointed with the performance.
Till next time Keane….