Cast – Live Review – Leeds O2 Academy

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Cast All Change Leeds 2022 - Steve Crabtree

By Steve Crabtree, January 2022

The 25th Anniversary tour of Cast’s All Change album has been a long time coming. Two whole years, in fact. With lockdowns, restrictions and all that sort of thing, some gigs had to be rescheduled for a couple of years down the line. And this tour was no exception.

But Leeds on a Saturday night in January was a fine time for Cast to bring their show over to Yorkshire, and entertain the thousands of fans who’d waited so long to see them. And it was an early start for the Liverpudlians who arrived on stage at 8pm, after a fine support slot from Shambolics.

A healthy number of people were in the O2 Academy, but there was a nice amount of space for everyone to enjoy the 90s indie legends. As they lapped up a rapturous welcome, they went straight in to ‘Promised Land’ giving us a brilliant opener. ‘Mankind’ and ‘Reflections’ followed, and those tunes set us up nicely for the next hour and 20 minutes.

Cast All Change Leeds 2022 - Steve Crabtree 3

“A different gravy”

There’s always a risk involved with playing an album in full as part of a set.  I saw Ocean Colour Scene play Moseley Shoals in order a few years ago, and after the first three tunes were out of the way, it became a bit of a difficult live show to fully absorb and enjoy.  However, All Change is a different gravy. Full of life, and live… an absolute winner. The band did stray from the running order very slightly, but that didn’t matter. It just aided the fantastic set list.

Frontman John Power was in fine form. Sounding great, his patter with the audience was on point too. He led us in to an amazing rendition of ‘Back Of My Mind’, before ‘Sandstorm’ and ‘Fine Time’, predictably, went down an a storm with all of us staring up at the stage. The opening of the latter brought some especially loud cheers of appreciation with it. If there was anyone in the place who didn’t sing along with those numbers, they were here by mistake. ‘Tell It Like It Is’ sounded wonderful, as did ‘Four Walls’.

“A bouncing Leeds crowd”

For me, Cast’s strongest tune will always be ‘Walkaway’. I’m not on my own with that view, and when this came out halfway through the opening set, it sent the O2 swaying from side to side. And another big-hitter ‘Alright’ brought the album set to a close with a bang, and a bouncing Leeds crowd. We were loving Cast, who seemed to be loving Leeds.

Following on from the album set, we had a nice selection of some of Cast’s greatest other tunes. ‘Guiding Star’ was a highlight, and ‘Free Me’ was as good as anything we’d heard all night.

Cast have always been a band who do a great job live. I saw them supporting Shed Seven here four years ago and they were fantastic. They were even better when they played with Black Grape and Dodgy in Millennium Square in 2019.

But tonight we’d been treated to 19 or 20 songs, and this gig topped both of those performances. It was a show that was definitely worth the long wait and with an album that will never date, it was a concert that sent lots of us Yorkshire folk home happy.

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