Playing the O2 to promote their second album Wild World, around 9pm Bastille came out to a rapturous welcome – made all the more intense by the latest news that their song ‘Good Grief’ had just won Q magazine’s Best Track award for 2016.
“We’ve been reminded that five years ago today we were playing our first headline gig at the Barfly in Camden, so we can’t actually believe we’re allowed to be performing here,” admitted lead singer Dan Smith. “So thank you all for making that happen.”
And with that they were away into the first song from an extensive set list, perversely entitled ‘Send Them Off!’ Instead it was the audience who were blown away by an especially intense vocal sound.
While the vocals were high octane, the staging was understated: a large apron (stage), a screen each side and another, triangular screen just above where they were performing. The minimalist set-up meant there was nothing standing between where the speakers were positioned, and my seat in Block 421.
It certainly was a blast!
The set list was the perfect mix of old tracks from Bastille’s first album, Bad Blood, newer tracks from Wild World, and the latest songs which haven’t been released yet on record – a total of 22 tracks altogether. The crowd greeted every old song with a cheer, but responded with less enthusiasm towards the new.
Those that had come for the classics, were in for a treat. Highlights included ‘Things We Lost in the Fire’, ‘Bad Blood’ (the title track from their first album), ‘Of The Night’, ‘Weight of Living Pt 2’, ‘Icarus’, and perhaps their most well-known song, ‘Pompeii’, with its especially catchy chorus. (On my way into the venue I heard one security guard say:“If you can’t sing along with ‘eeh-eh-oh-eh-oh, eeh-eh-oh-eh-oh, you aren’t allowed in.”)
For me, the new songs were a high point of the night. Sure, it wasn’t going to be to everyone’s taste, and sure, not everyone in my section enjoyed these as much as I did. But as a huge fan of their latest album, it was one of those nights when I just wanted to sing along to everything.
However, the real highlight of the whole event was the rendition of what I had previously considered their most overrated song. Even Dan Smith dismissed it as “their first and last attempt at singing an ‘actual’ song.” I can honestly say ‘The Draw’ wasn’t something I’d been drawn to much. But on this night’s showing, there seemed to be so much more to it than I’d ever heard before.
Of course, after the first 19 songs, no one was happy with it being (nearly) over, so of course we clapped them back on for another three songs. Of these it was ‘Two Evils’ which sticks in the mind. It had been merely my dream that Bastille’s lead singer would throw himself in at the deep end and venture all the way up to us in Block 421, but that’s exactly what happened during this track.
After waiting since their first record deal five years ago to see them live, to come that close is something I will never forget: worth every penny of the £40 ticket.
By now Bastille will have played the last date (Newcastle) of the UK leg and now they’re off on a world tour which ends in North Carolina on 12 May 2017.