Keane return to the scene with grandiose Royal Albert Hall show
When Hopes and Fears was released in 2004, the British music scene was thriving. Every few months a different band would come up, with some of them establishing themselves as major international acts. Now that the number of new rock groups is diminishing, the comeback of Keane seven years from the release of Strangeland is more than welcome. The three-piece from Battle – who officially became four in 2011 – return to the Royal Albert Hall for the first time since their Teenage Cancer Trust performance in 2005. Many things have changed since then and, in some ways, it feels like this is their first proper concert here.
The show begins with You’re Not Home, the new album’s opener. It’s a slow-burner, with a Sigur Ros-like soundscape, starting with Tom Chaplin’s voice over synthesised sounds and ending with the entire band joining in for a bursting finale. Fans have waited a long time for this night and Keane repay them with a rich setlist, spanning their entire career. Sometimes the mix seems a bit random – Atlantic then Stupid Things; Bedshaped close to the end of the set without being the closer; a four-song encore featuring only one song from their latest record – but it makes sense for an act that is coming back together after years apart.
It doesn’t go unnoticed that the songs from their debut album are those making every member of the audience stand up and sing along, but it’s not a surprise given the incredible success of Hopes and Fears. Everybody’s Changing and Somewhere Only We Know brought a completely new sound to the charts; Tim Rice-Oxley’s unique use of the piano – which Coldplay’s songs like Trouble, The Scientist and Clocks paved the way for – is still incredibly refreshing. Funnily enough, before the two bands were successful, Chris Martin offered him a place in Coldplay at the keys.
The interaction with the crowd makes the night extra special: a request from the front row, supported by a loud scream from the stalls, persuades the four-piece to perform one of Keane’s fans’ favourites – Hamburg Song. Despite some rustiness, it’s a moment of heartfelt authenticity.
Jumping from one period to another, the show is a rollercoaster, emotionally as well as musically. High points include Put the Radio On – one of the best new tracks together with Phases, which, regrettably, doesn’t make an appearance – Perfect Symmetry, This Is the Last Time, The Way I Feel and You Are Young. The concert ends with Sovereign Light Café: it’s a stroll down memory lane, for Keane and those who love them, making for a brilliant conclusion.
Filippo L’Astorina, the Editor
Photos: Filippo L’Astorina
For further information and future events visit Keane’s website here.
Watch the video for The Way I Feel here: