The Script at O2 Arena: A sugar-coated night of feel-good hits
The Script make entertaining a sold-out O2 Arena look like a piece of cake. The show they have prepared ticks all the boxes, and the audience respond with joy. First of all, they have the songs – ten top 20 singles taken from five number one albums (their worst performance is a lone number two) – which hook you even if you haven’t heard them yet. The melodies are soft, polished and quite infectious. The lyrics are relatable and more often than not, pleasingly corny. Their pop sound is tender yet powerful, fairy dust that keeps it all together.
Something Unreal kicks off the night. It’s also the opener of their latest album Sunset & Full Moons, and it nicely sums up what The Script are doing now: their usual, with the addition of some EDM touches here and there. It’s far from being their best track, but it works. Superheroes keeps the cheerful crowd standing, inducing the first proper singalong – mobile phone in hand. The songs from the first two albums, though, are a breath of fresh air. It’s funny because, despite being the oldest, they do to the band’s setlist exactly what they did to the radio stations ten years ago: they bring something new, easy and beautifully written. Talk You Down is wonderful, form and content going hand in hand as the chorus suddenly rushes the pace along following the lyrics.
Their debut was a brilliant record but, like good bands do, The Script stepped up their game with the follow-up, Science & Faith. Nothing is the first real highlight of the show. This post-break-up song sees Danny O’Donoghue interact with a random audience member, asking them to call their ex before he takes the phone and sings to it as he performs.
The downside of this concert is that the three-piece (plus a couple of live members) try too hard to tick all the boxes and please their audience. They play from three different spots in the arena – Coldplay style; they constantly repeat how this is London’s best show ever; the frontman sings next to his fans, whilst holding an action camera that broadcasts to the arena. The list goes on and on. For those who attend concerts seldom, if ever, it’s exciting. For those more familiar with these happenings, well, it feels like – excuse the pun – scripted.
Also, playing from the smaller stage at the back doesn’t always work. It does for acoustic numbers, but when they perform full-band songs such as Science & Faith and The Man Who Can’t Be Moved, with the whole sound coming from the empty main stage (where the speakers are) and the singer, drummer and guitarist on the opposite side, the effect is detrimental to the music – which would otherwise be some of their best.
Back to the traditional set-up, they continue with a very convincing rendition of Six Degrees of Separation before closing with Hall of Fame. A three-song encore kicks off with Last Time and ironically (setlist wise) ends with For the First Time, which is hands down the peak of the night. In between, The Script play another of their sound-defining classics, Breakeven.
It’s a feel-good show. Even when a track is about a breakup, you feel positive. Probably because of the way O’Donoghue writes and sings, which is comforting and makes you feel understood. With less sugar-coating, though, it would really be brilliant.
Photo: Filippo L’Astorina
For further information and future events visit The Script’s website here.
Watch the video for For the First Time here: