As front man of early noughties quartet, Keane, singer Tom Chaplin made a permanent mark in pop music penning tracks like Somewhere Only We Know, Bedshaped and Everybody’s Changing. The band lasted 5 studio albums before taking another hiatus, but it was between band breaks that Chaplin set out to carve a new solo path for himself starting with the release of 2016’s The Wave.
Chaplin recently released a brand-new record in the shape of Midpoint and is now wrapping up a month-long tour in support of the album, culminating on Saturday night at the capital’s famous, London Palladium.
Opening with the melancholic All Fall Down, Chaplin arrived to a boisterously welcoming applause by a packed audience keen to take in a night of smooth crooning. With a cello complimenting the slow burning intro, Chaplin’s crisp and seasoned vocals swept through the world-famous performance space, known for its Royal Variety shows and Christmas pantos, casting a nostalgic spell over the venue.
Admitting early on into the set that the first half of the show would be more intimate and quieter, it was this structure that unfortunately dragged the night down to a place it was unable to fully recover. The laid-back pace of tracks like piano led Rise and Fall and Gonna Run had us yawning and wondering what happened to the Keane front man that we had fallen in love with so many years ago. His transformation, musically and lyrically, in this live setting sounded preachy and similar to a performance from a Christian rock band.
While up-tempo numbers like Still Waiting, The River and Stars Align – the latter Tom describing as his “manifesto for life these days” after taking us back to his early musical days trying to find global success and adoration before finding that “happiness comes in the smaller things in life that you don’t need to pay for”, attempted to pepper the first half of the set with a bit of energy, the mood was set too sombre too soon for us to feel engaged.
Despite the inconsistency in the set and Chaplin’s change in style, there was no denying the talent of the vocalist who’s impressive range filled the venue’s beautiful acoustic space with ease; sounding unweathered from the years since Keane’s breakthrough as well as Chaplin’s struggles with addiction; something the singer spoke candidly about ahead of a performance of Hardened Heart from 2016’s The Wave.
During the midsection of the show Chaplin answered an envelope of questions submitted via social media, allowing for banter between the crowd and their idol. While a question from one fan drew attention to the ongoing rocky relationship with fellow Keane bandmate Tim Rice-Oxley, drummer Richard Hughes was in attendance to support Chaplin; something the singer was grateful for as he acknowledged the relationship between the two and Richards unwavering support through Chaplin’s darker days.
The second half of the set found us in more familiar stylistic territory with a more upbeat string of numbers getting the crowd up on their feet and in a proper Saturday night mood. While the leading man of the night paid tribute to his kids and wife in the shows encore with tracks New Flowers and Overshoot being dedicated to them, as his parents watched on from the Royal Circle seats, it was Keane tracks Bend and Break, rarity Direct, This Is The Last Time and signature hit, Somewhere Only We Know that provided a decent slice of nostalgia and flair to the otherwise scattered and subdued night of music and reminded us, albeit intermittently, of Chaplin’s ability to turn out some pretty incredible hits – even if those chart topping days can only be found in the rear view mirror.
All Fall Down
Rise and Fall
Bend and Break (Keane song)
I Remember You
Dirt (Keane song)
This Is the Last Time (Keane song)
Somewhere Only We Know (Keane song)
See It So Clear
Sovereign Light Café (Keane song)
::: RenownedForSound.com’s Editor and Founder –
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