Keane – Live Review – Scarborough Open Air Theatre

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Keane at Scarborough 2021

By Steve Crabtree, September 2021

The shows at Scarborough Open Air Theatre have been coming thick and fast since they re-opened again in late summer. I’ve been lucky enough to be there to see a few, and this time it was Keane who were there to supply us with the music.

When Keane were in their early 2000s pomp I somehow missed their boat. But I know there were plenty of people who eulogised about them, so when they announced they were touring again, I decided I wanted to be a part of it. See what they were all about.

Keane at Scarborough 2021

“Remarkable”

For this gig, the weather wasn’t being kind to us. Far from it, in fact. But that wasn’t stopping people getting in to full-on gig mode, even if we had no roof. And as Keane came on at 9pm, the crowd were happy to show an immense show of appreciation and adulation. Keane have a loyal fanbase, and they’d turned out in force tonight.

They started the night with ‘Day Will Come’, following it up with ‘Silenced By The Night’. Slow ballad ‘Strange Room’ was powerful and beautiful, and ‘Bend and Break’ remarkable.  They sounded great, and from the off their show was something else. ‘The Way I Feel’ was a standout, and had us dancing away in the rain.

And the rain really was was torrential. There were ponchos aplenty, and a good few pairs of wellington boots around the venue for good measure.  I know a spot of rain can add to the atmosphere – but this was a different level downpour. If, as Peter Kay says, fine rain gets you really wet – this stuff was getting you doubly drenched.

Ignoring the weather, the main thing that really struck me about Keane was frontman Tom Chapman’s voice.  It’s been well documented that he’s had personal troubles over the years, troubles he’s beaten and put behind him. And nowadays he looks fantastic. But his vocals, at times, were stunning. So clear, notes held with ease – and at times even carried a touch of Freddie Mercury about him. I was amazed. I never realised he was that good – in fact, me and the other half were a little bit in awe of just how good he sounded.

And when you’ve got a band behind you doing just as good a job musically, you’re on to a winner.  They were tight and crystal clear. You simply couldn’t help but be impressed.

Keane at Scarborough 2021

“Yorkshire spirit”

Chapman was great with the crowd too. He praised the Yorkshire spirit among us, enjoyed the chants of “Yorkshire, Yorkshire” throughout the gig, and seemed a genuinely pleasant chap throughout. He was just happy to be with us, and the atmosphere in the OAT was reflective of that.

We had a stellar setlist of 22 songs in total. ‘Everybody’s Changing’ came in halfway through, and ‘This Is The Last Time’ obviously went down well. They ended the main set with a gorgeous rendition of ‘Somewhere Only We Know’ and that was one of those moments that will stick in the mind for a long time.

Everything about this gig was great, and after a stunning three-song encore that included ‘Sovereign Light Cafe’ I walked home wet, but happy. I was kicking myself too – I was really impressed with Keane, and wished that I’d have gotten myself into them 20 years ago.

But it’s never too late to correct that. Now, where’s that old MP3 player…?

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