Keane at Hampton Court Palace
One word that can be used to describe the sound of British band Keane is “classic” – and what better venue to host a classic band’s first performance of the year than a historic royal gem? Hampton Court Festival returns this year with an outdoor stage nestled between the iconic palace walls, with attendees even invited to picnic in the gardens beforehand. In classic great British fashion, drizzle was an extra uninvited guest, but it certainly didn’t rain on this celebratory parade of Keane hits as the band blasted through over 90 minutes of music.
“We’re all here… We’ve been let out!” frontman Tom Chaplin exclaimed, as the group, who have been together since high school, opened with tracks Day Will Come and Silenced by the Night. The poetic lines, “Though it seems so far away, you know the day will come” and “we’re gonna rise again” were perfectly apt. Such relatable lyrics, combined with distinct soaring vocals and Tim Rice-Oxley’s signature keyboard-led accompaniments translated into a much-needed, feel-good evening of soft rock. “The cobwebs are fully off!” Chaplin noted, as the band effortlessly drifted from track to track with a simple but appropriate setup to focus on the music.
In the almost two decades since their bestselling debut album Hopes and Fears, Keane have amalgamated strings of hits including Is It Any Wonder?, This Is the Last Time and, most famously, Everybody’s Changing and Somewhere Only We Know. It’s these singalong fan favourites that charged the gig with an electric energy and sent the whole crowd up on their feet, but they were held back for nearly an hour amid an extensive setlist of a whopping 22 songs. With the exception of stripped-back piano ballad Try Again and She Has No Time, it often felt like the live performances carried less variety, but it was more than good enough for the legions of loyal fans who screamed and swayed throughout. There was a particularly rousing reception for Bend and Break and Bedshaped, plus the band got to finally perform tracks from fifth album Cause and Effect, the original tour having been cut short in 2020.
A throat infection caught from his young son meant some top notes felt less comfortable, but fortunately the audience still got to enjoy the beautiful falsetto for a majority of the concert. As Chaplin thanked the crowd for “making all that noise…and carrying me through some of it”, it was undoubtedly still the sound of a triumphant return to live music. The singer remarked, “There’s been an energy here tonight you can’t get anywhere else”, and he was absolutely right.
Photos: Virginie Viche
For further information and future events visit Keane’s website here.
Watch the video for the single Dirt here: