Bastille at Alexandra Palace Park
Celebrating 10 years of Bad Blood, Bastille brought a nostalgic show to a wet Alexandra Palace Park. For some, the rain might have been a deal breaker, but it works for Bastille. They play the album top to bottom, starting with the career-shaping Pompeii. Drums define their sound and they’re out in full force already, commanding the stage, the crowd, the sky. “Grey clouds roll over the hill” is a surreal lyric to sing out on the hill overlooking London, grey clouds dark as ever above.
Things We Lost in the Fire receives a roar, with title track Bad Blood following. The stage setup makes interesting use of the space, including several levels and a rotating circle; lead singer Dan Smith owns it well, appearing in all corners, bringing a dynamic performance.
The show is punctuated with behind-the-scenes tour videos: on buses, getting tattoos, hitting number one. The interludes are sweet and intimate, catered lovingly for original fans. Overjoyed plays after the first interlude, a slower piano ballad with haunting background harmonies. The band continue down the album, playing These Streets, Weight of Living Pt II and the haunting Icarus, its rhythms vibrating throughout the park.
There seems to be a sound problem for the first quarter of the performance, which makes it hard to hear, but it is thankfully sorted in time for Oblivion. Accompanied by a cello and a thousand voices, it’s a highlight of the night, a tender moment that stirs the crowd. Get Home is similar, with Smith sitting on the bench onstage in front of an oversized full moon. The sky is a deep blue now and the choice to have this show outside feels more perfect than ever. They finish the album by projecting a handwritten thank you note from the band onto the screen. This concert is truly for those who listened and loved in 2013, and Bastille do a beautiful job of giving their thanks.
The second part of the night is the party, with hit song Good Grief radiating good vibes, everybody dancing and holding hands. The Draw is a dazzling track, the loudest of the night yet, with a striking acapella chant and rows of hands in the air forging Bastille’s signature triangle symbol. The celebrations only get crazier when the sensational Ella Eyre joins the band onstage for No Angels.
The closing number is Shut off the Lights, a funky, upbeat, more recent track, every soul bumping their head to its melody. The words “shut off the lights, we don’t need them to dance” are what people head out to, and so Bastille send their fans home with positivity, gratitude and a memorable night on the hill.
Photos: Nick Bennett
For further information and future events visit Bastille’s website here.
Watch the video for the single Hope for the Future here: