Busted are BACK.
I was so happy to be at their first gig back at Wembley Arena on May 11th, after 11 years away. And it was so much better than I even expected.
First, though, Wheatus were the second support act (I missed Emma Blackery, sorry Emma) and they got the most love I’ve ever seen for a warm-up band. Frontman Brendan B. Brown thanked fans for keeping the Teenage Dirtbag love going all these years, but people showed appreciation for all the other songs too. They were cheeky, fun and still rocking.
Busted were definitely still fun and rocking too (but have got noticeably less cheeky with hardly any onstage banter). Opener Coming Home, the new single debuted with a lyric video and free release shortly before the tour, is perfect for arenas and lyrically gets the tone just right for the band’s return after all this time. Charlie’s first line was definitely an emotional moment.
After that, the hits were all there. Air Hostess, Crashed The Wedding, What I Go To School For. Year 3000 was the huge finisher (although I was in denial that it was the end even so, since the gig somehow didn’t feel long enough).
And some of the best old Busted album tracks were there: 3am, Dawson’s Geek, Why, none of which were played by McBusted which made this even better. The latter in particular was something special, showcasing Charlie as it did – and it was Charlie that is the real draw to this tour, of course, because he’s finally back, playing with the other two and therefore completing the trio.
Two other brand new songs were played too – One Of A Kind saw James get a keytar out and they rocked some 80s-influenced pop-rock. Any gig lulls slightly with new songs that no-one knows yet, but this kept momentum up surprisingly well.
The other was Easy, one of three songs played on the B-stage in the middle of the arena along with Who’s David and Meet You There which saw the band get vulnerable. The latter in particular was a chance for them to showcase their vocals, alongside James’ piano playing, and it was a magic moment amidst the frenetic poppy stuff Busted are more known for.
New drummer Cobus Potgeiter worked fantastically with the trio as well and even stood out for his own drum solo while they made their way back to the main stage after the B-stage set. No wonder he seems to be getting a following of his own.
The staging was simple but effective. As the curtain fell down with the opening notes of Coming Home, hundreds of masked fans in three levels of the ‘pig sty’ at the back of the stage were seen, and that was really powerful. Then there was the walkway that went out from the main stage, allowing the band to get closer to more people. But otherwise it was pretty straightforward, letting the comeback speak for itself.
I expected it to be good; for the band to rock through their old songs, and for the fans to lap it up. But, despite some clear first night mistakes, this show far exceeded expectations. Busted are back, and hopefully they’ll stick around this time.