Led Zepellin, Bon Jovi, Prince, Kylie and now Keane – the boys from Battle have come a long way in five short years as their Perfect Symmetry UK Tour ended at the O2 Arena. And no less than 20,000 people were either seated or clustered in the floor space as the spectacular coliseum was blanketed in darkness just after half-nine.
The stage became illuminated in a light display, reminiscent of their latest disc as the boys made their way out on stage, launching into 'Lovers are Losing'.
Although there had been earlier concerns over Tom Chaplin's voice, it seemed in good shape as he belted out the opener. The assembled fans resembled Manchester United’s ‘Prawn Sandwich Brigade’ in static silence as Chaplin announced that London was "the greatest city on Earth". This may have just been the push they needed, although playing Hopes and Fears classic 'Everybody’s Changing' will no doubt have helped.
What soon became apparent is the excellent sound and lighting team that Keane have choreographing their stage show. The giant screens astride the side of the stage flushed with spell-binding graphics and blinding lasers. These were especially prominent during 'You Haven’t Told Me Anything'. It should also be noted that Chaplin’s voice especially benefits from this, giving it precedence over the noise explosions of Tim Rice-Oxley’s keyboard – certainly compared to their festival showings.
Keane’s stage performance is as genuine as it is sometimes cringe-worthy. Chaplin was the only member of the band that performed on every song, but some of his comments between tunes about "feeling the love" and particularly the whole band taking bows after songs was a bit much. Still, in fairness, the performance of classics like 'Bad Dream', 'Better Than This', 'Again And Again' and 'Spiralling' were energetically and faithfully recreated.
Midway through the gig, the band moved to the catwalk end of the stage to perform rarity 'Snowed Under', as well as the classic 'Sunshine'; it was good for the audience as it gave a personal touch to such formal surroundings. The crowd had finally found their voice during 'Somewhere Only We Know' and a mass clap-a-long ensued during 'Hocus Pocus', which was slightly startling as to the band’s evident popularity.
After a short pause, the Keane returned for an all-conquering encore which consisted of new album classic 'Black Burning Heart', past hit 'Is It Any Wonder?', and the epic closer 'Bedshaped'. It has to go down as a triumphant performance from a band who have scaled to unexpected heights. Say what you will about Keane, but there aren’t many bands that work as hard live or that can sell-out The O2 two nights in a row.