Tom Chaplin at the London Palladium
Should a frontman go solo? We’ve seen it many times and it wasn’t always a memorable feat. The path is particularly arduous when the singer isn’t the band’s songwriter; and this is Tom Chaplin’s scenario, at the forefront of Keane but not the three-(now four)-piece’s composer. “I’ve got a master plan to be a better man,” he sings in Better Way. Chaplin’s debut album, The Wave, isn’t simply the rebirth of an artist but also of a person; it served as a long therapeutic process for his recurring drug addiction.
In the gracious setting of the London Palladium, Tom Chaplin enters the stage of the biggest night of his tour (save for festivals); boasting a glittery jacket, a fresh haircut and a slick quiff, he begins on an intense note with Still Waiting – also the album’s opener.
The Hastings singer-songwriter is a seasoned frontman, he moves with confidence as he sings Hardened Heart and Keane’s Bend and Break, which prompts the audience to stand up from their comfortable seats. Although most of the highlights come from his own album – I Remember You, Bring the Rain, Quicksand and Better Way – it’s with his band’s songs that the crowd respond with the loudest roars. Of the 23 tracks, nine are Keane’s, carefully placed throughout the setlist: two solos / one Keane / two solos / one Keane and so on. Chaplin invites singer Jones to join him for a duet during Solid Gold and co-songwriter Matt Hales on Worthless Words; the intimate nature of these two ballads, and their heartfelt performances, make the show extra special.
The usually short encore becomes a sort of second set. After dedicating a song to the city of London (apparently it’s this tour’s tradition to do so for each host city) – The Kink’s Waterloo Sunset – Chaplin launches into Everybody’s Changing, The Lovers Are Losing and Somewhere Only We Know, some of Keane’s most celebrated hits, bringing a sense of nostalgia to the Palladium. He closes the night with See It So Clear, his latest single – a choral song that sees all the guests (Jones, Hales) and opening act Ainslie Willis coming on stage for a group performance.
Yes, if he has something to say a frontman should go solo. And then he should rejoin his band for more music – Brandon Flowers teaches.
Filippo L’Astorina, the Editor
Photos: Filippo L’Astorina
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