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Live Review: Stereophonics – 6th March 2020 – O2 Arena, London

3 min read

Welsh rockers Stereophonics made a victorious return to London’s O2 Arena last night with a mighty suitcase of hits that revealed more of a career retrospective spectacle than one to promote new studio record, Kind.

While the band allocated a worthy segment of the show to their new #1 album, a staggering 25 songs comprising of most career spanning notables meant that punters were guaranteed their monies worth from the Dakota hit makers who have been enjoying the success of their latest record with a European tour throughout January and February, before UK fans started to be treated to a handful of arena shows around the country.

Pint sized frontman Kelly Jones, while petite in frame, dominated the stage of London’s most popular concert venue as he wielded his guitar, tinkered on a vintage piano and unleashed his distinctively gritty and sublimely flawless vocals on some of the bands most prominent hits including Traffic, Have A Nice Day and the flowing Maybe Tomorrow, which allowed for the nights biggest crowd singalong.

The bands latest studio offering found a comfortable nesting spot at the top of the charts and the set list appropriately consisted of a large chuck of the record with the likes of Bust This Town, the lyrically melancholic and almost orchestral Hungover For You, a raw rendition of Make Friends With The Morning, and the gorgeous acoustics of Fly Like An Eagle injecting some new seed into a set predominantly rooted in Stereophonics heyday soil.

Throwing in anecdotes in between songs about the band roads trips and the Jones’ family bath-time, the talkative singer took us back to the front mans upbringing and exposure to the likes of AC/DC and Eagles. However, it was a solo piano tribute by Jones of Before Anyone Knew Our Name to fallen fellow founding member Stuart Cable who passed away in 2010 that provided the closing half of the set with a sentimental and moving moment for the crowd and Jones.

With the Kind flag flying confidently and periodically within the meaty set of 25 numbers and played in front of a stage length white curtain and beneath a sky of bright yellow fairy lights, it was the bands back catalogue that fans found the most comfort and opportunity to empty their lungs alongside Jones and co.

Local Boy In The Photograph and one of the bands softer heyday hits, Traffic found the band set up camp at the end of the stage runway to perform in the heart of the venue while a stunning cover of Handbags and Gladrags showcased Jones’ distinctively raspy vocals as they flowed over a sold out audience of fans that swayed from side to side as the band delivered masterful performances of the Welsh outfits classics – the latter sounding as crisp and effortless as the studio recording.

90’s nostalgia continued to shine throughout the encore with Just Looking sitting back to back with the bands signature juggernaut, Dakota ending the night on an almost orgasmic climax; the wailing of guitar riffs and Jones’ voice still ringing in our ears as we made our way to the Jubilee line alongside fans singing the hits to each other to celebrate the epic performance we had all just been privy to for the last 2 hours in the presence of the truly iconic Stereophonics.

Set List:
C’est la vie
I Wanna Get Lost With You
Bust This Town
Maybe Tomorrow
Have a Nice Day
Mr Writer
Hungover for You
I Wouldn’t Believe Your Radio
Local Boy in the Photograph
A Thousand Trees
Graffiti on the Train
Make Friends With the Morning
Mr and Mrs Smith
Fly Like an Eagle
Hurry Up and Wait
Don’t Let the Devil Take Another Day
Handbags and Gladrags
Before Anyone Knew Our Name
The Bartender and the Thief

Just Looking