Is it smart to stand on the beach for hours on a cold, windy evening, right after recovering from pneumonia? Probably not. But is it worth it if it means seeing Keane perform again after their hiatus of nearly six years? No doubt about it. Here’s why.
(PSA: be careful with your health kids, In KeyMagazine does not endorse dangerous activities).
The Netherlands has always had a special affinity with Keane. As singer Tom Chaplin says on stage, we Dutch have supported them ever since they first played our country in 2003. And so it is no surprise that, seven years after their last Dutch headline show, there were still thousands of fans ready to brave the elements to see Keane perform.
And perform they did. Because even after having been away for so long, Keane are still at the top of their game. Their stage décor is quite sober, only having six relatively small, pillar-like screens which change colours, a large background screen that simply says “Keane”, two big side screens for the people at the back, and some coloured lights. But Keane does not need a fancy, elaborate show with props and bits and bobs, because Keane simply being Keane is already enough.
Tom Chaplin looks completely in his element on stage, interacting smoothly with the already pumped up audience and moving like a silhouette in front of the colourful pillars. And his voice is still as good as ever. With a career-spanning setlist, there was plenty of space for him to showcase his vocal range. ‘Spiralling’ showed his capabilities in the lower vocal regions as he let his voice spiral downwards, while the hauntingly beautiful ‘Bedshaped’ showed his skill in extremely high regions. I don’t say it lightly when I say that Tom Chaplin is truly one of the best singers, period.
And when I say career-spanning, I truly mean career-spanning. Songs from all albums were played, even the lesser known song ‘My Shadow‘ from the EP ‘Night Train‘. This song was played while the audience held up their phones like fairy lights, creating a truly special moment. In fact, there were many special moments during this evening. Moments where someone lets the audience sing only work if the audience is truly committed and hyped up – but when Tom pointed the mic at the audience, nearly everyone sang along, creating a magical atmosphere. Keane also played some very special songs: ‘Can’t Stop Now‘ was played for the first time in thirteen years, ‘Somewhere Only We Know‘ and ‘Everybody’s Changing‘ remain in a realm of their own, and Keane even played a song as yet unheard by anyone before.
Speaking of new material, Keane’s new, post-hiatus songs shone brightly on stage. Sometimes new material falls flat on an older and perhaps nostalgic crowd, but here the new songs were delivered with such power and joy that it was impossible not to receive them well. It seems the upcoming album, ‘Cause And Effect‘, will prove to be a worthy addition to their already impressive catalogue.
Keane seems truly happy to be back on stage. And let me tell you Keane, we’re very happy to have you back.
P.S. Shout out to all the lovely support acts, musicians, and crew who made Live on the Beach possible!
Keane is currently touring the UK. Their new album, ‘Cause And Effect’, will release September 20th on Island Records.