Concert Review: Keane at The Bank of America Pavilion in Boston, MA
Bank of America Pavilion
August 3, 2010
Reviewed by: Sally Feller
I was really excited to have the opportunity to see Keane live after being a fan since their first breakout album Hopes and Fears back in 2004. Back then, the band stood out as being one of the only bands out there with no guitar backups and for relying on piano and vocals on their entire album.
Come 2005, we were treated with Under the Iron Sea, which broke their original mold by including a more diverse lineup of instruments and sounds, but with similar lyrics that fans knew and loved. In other words, we got a slightly edgier Keane. Some fans were turned away by this change, others felt the album showed the growth of the band, and new fans were turned on by the new sound. Following this album was Perfect Symmetry, a further journey into what they began with Under the Iron Sea. This one included more synths and electronic elements to draw attention to the piano.
Their latest offering Night Train seems like a more optimistic album than Under the Iron Sea, while still maintaining the Keane identity they’ve worked so hard to create and develop over the years. I haven’t heard the entire album, but from what I heard at the show, it sounded like some great stuff, with an occasional 80s synth beat that I didn’t expect to hear from Keane. But this isn’t an album review—how were they live, you ask?
With a packed venue and a truly unique variety of fans, kids to grandparents; hipsters to Gapsters, Keane opened with one of the songs off of their new album that really hyped up the crowd. One thing that really stood out with the whole show was the fantastic set list…they played just enough new songs to get fans’ interests piqued and enough of the familiar that people could sing along.
The vocals and the music just sounded fantastic, crisp and clean, instruments and vocals balanced sound-wise, but I still ended up disappointed. The disconnect was with the fact that Chaplin didn’t quite have the stage presence to pull off the role of frontman. I realize that sounds harsh, but before you snort and call me a tough critic, let me ‘splain. Chaplin had a lot of energy and really tried to rile up the crowd, but I think most of them were with me and thinking, “why the hell isn’t he behind a piano?” There was also a distinct “Teen Choice Awards” feeling about them…which probably explains all of the younger fans I was surprised to see. Now, part of all of this wholesomeness may have been due to the pretty family-friendly venue (as opposed to dirty bars with sticky floors and very questionable bathrooms). I found myself thinking, you know, Keane would be really fun to see in a small venue that held only a few hundred, but something just didn’t click for a show of 5000 people. I think they may have interacted with an older (20s+) audience in a different way than this did on this show.
Despite this complaint, it’s worth seeing Keane live, if only to hear their music at the best quality you can get. Plus, the energy they emit is palpable and contagious, leaving you with that “concert high” we here at TWRY thrive on. I’m totally stoked to hear the new album and see how it fares against the other great collections they’ve given us. Would I go see Keane live again? I would. Unfortunately, I think they’re too popular now to ever do shows in a small, intimate venue as I’d like them to…that’s what happens when you’re popular enough to have all of your albums make it easily onto the Billboard 200 Chart—Under the Iron Sea debuted at number four.
Explore a bit for yourself:
Check out some of their intriguing videos here — “Stop for a Minute” is particularly fun.
To see them in your town check their full listing of tour dates here.
Get yourself a copy of Night Train and let me know what you think in the comment box!