THE ROYAL ALBERT HALL GETS A BLAST FROM THE YEAR 3000
00s pop rockers Busted took to the stage at the iconic Royal Albert Hall this week to the delight of fans young and a little bit older. With their debut album coming out in September 2002 the evening was a celebration of the last 15 years.
It was a night of two halves, opening with a beautiful acoustic set and then into a full throttle hit parade an hour later. The trio started the night with ‘When Day Turns into Night’ which hasn’t been heard live with the full band since 2004. The atmosphere in the hall was magical, it might have been 13 years but the fans knew every word. Bourne, Willis, and Simpson looked infinitely cool and infinitely (but unsurprisingly) more grown up. Suited and booted, they are 15 years older, but so are their fans who had in turn brought along both parents and younger siblings. The night, for lack of a better pun, was ‘a present for everyone.’
The acoustic set could have been in the Royal Albert Hall or an intimate studio session. The simple but effective set up and accompanying musicians turned tracks such as ‘Who’s David’ and ‘Sleeping With The Light On’ into haunting reworkings of past hits.
A highlight of the night was their cover of Crowded House’s ‘Don’t Dream It’s Over’ inspired by James Bourne’s memories of watching Crowded House on the same stage when he was a kid. There was something quite special about hearing five thousand people singing the words back at the band which clearly meant the world to Bourne.
The acoustic set was followed by a short DJ set from BBC Radio 1 Rock Show’s Daniel P Carter who got the crowd rallied up with pop punk classics from the likes of Green Day and Blink 182.
As promised, the band returned in full force with all the energy expected of a Busted show. Opening with the hit ‘Air Hostess’ and then straight into ‘On What You’re On’ from their current album Night Driver. They were here to blow the roof off the Royal Albert Hall and have fun whilst doing so – I must admit they succeeded. As cheeky as ever, the boys were very much there for the fans just as much as themselves. From hopping out of songs to take selfies with the crowd to Matt climbing through the seats, guitar in hand, no one was left uninvolved. Even after 15 years the near enough patented “Busted Jump” made a few sneaky returns. They might have been older but they still had the enthusiasm of teenagers on their first tour.
For long-time fans and those who had recently been converted no one was left disappointed. Pulling out the old fan favourites of ‘3am’, ‘Crashed the Wedding’ and ‘What I Go To School For’ alongside tracks from their current album such as ‘Coming Home’ and the titular ‘Night Driver’. A personal favourite from the night was hearing ‘Loser Kid’ live, which was a live debut despite featuring on their debut album. Closing the set on the epic ‘Year 3000’ meant not one person wasn’t jumping, dancing, or singing their hearts out.
I remember hearing Busted when I was a kid thinking how amazing they were, it was bands like them that started my love of pop rock and the like. Always being a smidge too young to see them when they initially formed I would have given anything to have gone to one of their shows. Now as a twenty something I can finally fulfil my childhood dream of seeing them live. I danced and sung until my throat went dry. To paraphrase the band, I suppose that’s what I go to gigs for.
STREAM BUSTED'S BRAND NEW ALBUM 'NIGHT DRIVER' BELOW: