Saturday, 26 April 2014

McBusted spaceship lands at the O2

When boybands McFly and Busted announced they were teaming up to create a superband, so many logistical questions ran through my head;
  • How would they decide which songs they would sing? Would they alternate between hits from each band, or would they dedicate half of the show to each band? 
  • Would there be squabbles when reassigning the lyrics of old favourites? 
  • Would they come out on stage in different colour shirts, like two football teams, allowing fans to distinguish them?
From a personal point of view, I have very little interest in music, but professionally, this is one music interview I'd love to do.

Much of the fan base of the bands has stayed the same. That is, the once 14 year old girls are now 20 somethings, worried about mortgages instead of maths homework, and the previously compulsory chaperoning parent replaced at the concert by bored boyfriends. But deep inside, the screaming teenage fangirl lives on, and 20,000 screamed their hearts out at the O2 on Friday night.

The bands burst onto the stage in a pyrotechnic explosion, making quite an entrance, and showing that they are still the cheeky chappies they'd always been. Launching straight into Busted's Air Hostess, even The Boy was forced to admit it was "quite a good start".

They hopped between songs from both bands throughout the show, covering Busted classics such as Crashed The Wedding (featuring Matt Willis in a wedding dress), What I Go To School For and Thunderbirds Are Go, and McFly favourites such as StarGirl, All About You and Room On The 3rd Floor. There was also, randomly, a cover of The Jackson Five's I Want You Back - an odd choice of song to cover, resulting in a performance that was fun, but forgettable.

And yet despite the perfectly crafted pyrotechnics, there was a definite suggestion that the choreographer/director had a nightmare trying to organise the boys into any sort of order. The energy was there - they raced around the stage never stopping, dropping in the iconic Busted scissor kicks at every opportunity. The movement never once waned, right through to the stage exit where they took it in turns to take a running leap into an offstage pit.

Despite the relentless pace, the overall effect was one of organised chaos, reminiscent of a teenage boyband doing their first ever gig, wanting to cover every inch of the stage and put their all into it, in case they were never invited back. Perhaps this was intentional, a nostalgic nod to their earlier successes when they were barely out of their teens themselves, or perhaps they'd been hitting the energy drinks a bit too hard backstage.

At one point they descended into the centre of the O2 onboard a spaceship.
Ultimately, the high energy performances, pyrotechnics and, yes, nostalgia (songs such as Nerdy, I'd forgotten even existed until I heard them) resulted in a lot of fun, but not once was there that spine-tingling, goose-pimply moment that a strong performance will evoke in every single audience member simultaneously.
Certainly the atmosphere wasn't as strong as when I saw McFly at the Hammersmith Apollo in 2009. Perhaps they have taken on too big a venue, or perhaps they're trying to flog a long dead horse. Or perhaps they were sticking to what they do best; tongue in cheek, rather than tears in eyes.

An aside: On a completely separate note, whilst walking along one of the corridors of the O2 we passed actor and all round legend Rob Brydon. We later realised that he was three boxes along from ours. My claim to fame will now always be that I sat closer to the stage than Rob Brydon did.

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