Keane Live review by Ryan Beardsley

For many, Keane have always been something of a guilty pleasure, I mean, half of their songs don’t even have a guitar in them for Christ’s sake…

But here we are, twenty years on from the release of their debut, the multi-platinum-selling Hopes and Fears and the boys from Battle, East Sussex are playing a second consecutive sold-out show at the o2 arena, needless to say, they’ve had the last laugh.

Thankfully they’re not the only ones smiling as this is a show centered around their debut LP and kicking off with Can’t Stop Now, it’s clear everyone is here to embrace the nostalgia and sing along to every word from beginning to end.

I’d genuinely overlooked just what a special record Hopes and Fears is/was, Bend and Break showcases Tom Chaplin’s flawless vocals whilst reminding me that it wasn’t all piano ballads and Coldplay-inspired naval gazing, they’ve got some bangers too!

It’s interesting to see the change in Chaplin, I still remember seeing the band in a support slot just before they hit the big time and there was an earnest, deer in the headlights way about him that has now been replaced by a steely confidence and a man at ease with himself, I suspect he’s embraced that he’ll never be the king of cool and he performs all the better for it.

It’s far from a one-man show as the band are whip smart and note-perfect throughout, Tim Rice-Oxley’s skills and passion on the ivories have long been underrated and he’s the backbone and heart of so many of the band’s best compositions, notably crowd favourite Everybody’s Changing.

It’s easy to forget that Keane had 5 consecutive no1 records in the UK and although their light never shone as brightly as it did for those first 18 months, there are still some gems to be found in their back catalogue, previous lead singles Is It Any Wonder? and Spiralling are sprightly pop gems and showed a clear ambition and drive for something different when the band were at the peak of their popularity.

The set proper ends with She Has No Time, a beautiful little ode to the lonely from Hopes and Fears which saw the band hit that sweet spot of melancholy and accessibility and provides Chaplin an opportunity to show off his full vocal range, identifying with all those lost souls who were touched by this track all those years ago.

They relocate to the centre of the arena and ladies and gentlemen it’s time for your main event, Somewhere Only We Know. Being an old curmudgeon I don’t understand TikTok but apparently, this app has made this song and the band relevant again, racking up half a billion odd views in the process, I’m sure they’re not complaining. The song itself is still transcendent, an otherworldly quality soars throughout the o2 and with 15 thousand plus belting out every word, it’s almost biblical.

A truly awe-inspiring evening and a much welcome trip down memory lane from a band who’ve never sounded better. God, I’ve just remembered that awful cover Lily Allen did of Somewhere Only We Know it for a John Lewis advert, gross.

Keep up to date with Keane HERE.

Comments are closed.