Following their hiatus, Keane return to the Royal Albert Hall with songs from Cause and Effect and all the old favourites.
The Royal Albert Hall is undoubtedly one of the most iconic venues in the world, playing host to The Proms (often with the Royals in attendance) and of course the Spice Girls — so eager to get there they jumped Tower Bridge in a double decker bus. Tonight “we’re going on a journey”, so Keane’s Tom Chaplin tells the full house, with a setlist primarily made up of tracks from new album, Cause & Effect, but according to the frontman it’s one of the most difficult venues he’s sung in.
Despite the concerns, however, his voice sounds flawless — arguably even more improved than the impressive pipes that brought the band to the world’s attention in 2003 with their breakthrough single Everybody’s Changing, and even more so throughout debut album Hopes & Fears, with Bedshaped one of many songs which makes this show seem stadium-sized, bringing back memories of the ill-judged Live Earth event where this track provided one of the highlights.
The new material isn’t a million miles away from their debut, but primary songwriter Tim Rice-Oxley has clearly been feeling more experimental, and with David Kosten on board as co-producer with the band, there are electronics and effects underlying throughout. “Tim went to some very honest places on this record,” Chaplin tells the audience, made up of superfans from around the world, from Spain to Mexico, who have undoubtedly read every article on the new album, but may not have expected the sentence to continue, “particularly on this next one — which is about shagging.” Cue Put The Radio On, gaining just as much applause from the crowd as the old favourites, just as The Way I Feel and Love Too Much do.
They’re both upbeat moments, and anyone still surprised to hear the band have them should put Spiralling on immediately, but it’s I’m Not Leaving from the new album — slightly more stripped back, and with Tom’s vocals in the upper register — that gives the real goosebump moment, alongside old favourite Perfect Symmetry, and of course their anthem Somewhere Only We Know. The real treat of the evening is an impromptu audience request of Hamburg Song — initially laughed at by Tom, until he realised that perhaps forcing Tim to deviate from the setlist might not be such a bad thing. And in doing so, the recently regrouped four-piece show that this reunion is all about the music, the friendships, and an incredibly written back catalogue.