Monday, May 28, 2007

Keane at the Tower Theater, Philadelphia. (05/27/2007)

Keane plus sound engineers onstage
Tom Chaplin at the Tower Keane onstage Philadelphia
(Please don't use these images without permission)

-I'll write this review a bit at a time, so this post will be growing over the next days. This is only a personal opinion- My next post will be on the Tower theater (and more pics from the concert), so I won't cover that now.
It was what a concert should be: songs sounded at least as good as in the record but they weren't replicas, they had other textures and much more strength...The staging was simple and beautiful and the three of them were in great shape, full of energy, making the audience stand up from song nr1.
There seemed to be some kind of problem with the sound of Rice-Oxley's piano right at the beginning but it was soon solved.
Tom Chaplin jumped up to the stage as if literally weightless (I'm not exaggerating, he'd appear in one spot and before you could focus on him, zasss, he was at the other end of the stage), energetic, he moved up and down constantly, never out of tune, looking at the audience in the eye. Tim Rice-Oxley reigned over the keys of his piano (his music sheets are full of 3 and 4 notes chords and octaves played quite fast, all by heart), his hyper peculiar way of feeling the rhythm not as exaggerated as I thought it was once you are actually there, you can tell he's really giving it all, and it actually surprised me how he also looks at the public (I had the idea he kept himself lost in his own world during performances, his keyboard slightly turned so as to not to see the audience) and does quite a bit of singing (sounded way better than the demos I've heard, I bet we'll hear more of him in their next album) and Richard is the perfect blender in this sound (catalyst sounds better but he actually blends, he leaves nice lumps).
Now best and worst (to me):
*Best performance: Bedshaped (and it's not the song I like best). They saved it for last (seems they always end their concerts with this song, I believe many times they don't use sequencer in this one so what you see is what you hear, I guess that's one of the reasons they specially like to play this one live).
*Best staging: Try again (the screens made the Tower look like a train in motion at sunset or sunrise, totally achieving the scenery for the sad commuter song they portray)
*Best sing along: Tom got everybody singing their hearts out in "Somewhere only we know"
*Best sound effect: the "power outage" one on "Atlantic". Amazing
*Best others: their entourage, the people working for them are considerate to the extreme with the public.
*Best moment: Tom and Tim singing and looking at each other. Regardless of how their friendship will end, there's this bond in the air. That kind of friendship is hard to find, and I believe it's the core of this group. (See pic).
*Audience: Keane can't complain, apart from the typical loud one (literally, one, and happy) and one or two screaming cleavages, the immense majority were totally keen and devoted, knew all the lyrics and proved they had a jolly good time. Even at the meet and greet the people there (mostly girls, boyfriends/husbands were by the opposite boardwalk with a look of resignation!!, saints!!) did not utter a single scream, there was no pushing, a 10. There were all sorts of people, all sort of ages (I'd say the media was around 28).
* I can't believe how talented these people are.

* Lighting at Bedshaped was at times like Sesame St ("sun in your eyes":a strike of yellow lights; "in white light"...guess what; thank god there were no more colours mentioned)
*The mix and match of "Fly to me" (still the intention was really sweet, and it received a warm welcome)
*Predictability: you knew exactly how long the concert was going to be, which songs, how many in the encore. No spontaneity there, you can't be if you are so politically correct; but there is some public some places that deserve more than others, and encores should be for that. And a little improvisation never hurts. I know it's difficult because of all the sequencing, but still...
*Did Tom feel it deep inside?. You can't go through so much every other night. Guess he saved his feelings to pour in a couple of songs. And it's OK, really. He sort of "compensated" with all this energy. Still I missed more emotion.
*Why wasn't the Tower sold out?. The balcony was empty and covered by these black curtains. And memorial weekend is bad timing but not an excuse. Anyway, I never got to see/hear any publicity whatsoever for this event anywhere, found out through their site.
Silly curious data:

*Tom said during the concert that "A bad dream" is his all time favourite Keane song.
* The public was so nice, I left my seat for a minute and went to the first row to take pictures, they made room for me with a smile on their faces. (By the way, those, the ones after the concert and the one outside the theater are the only photos I took, the other ones were taken by my ----).
* After the concert there was a mini meet and greet (I never thought this would happen). Asked Richard (the most accessible), he said they had had no time to visit Philly, but he said they had gone to this diner, The continental (food there is reasonably good and amusing, depending on the choice, decoration is cool, olives being the "theme". And by the way, the only thing this place has in common with diners is the shape). Then tried to ask Tim one of my deep thought out curiosity driven questions about his next songs but the words only made it to the edge of my throat before plummeting to my feet, I was already feeling embarrassed enough to be there (damn curiosity of mine!!), then words drowned in my shoes, which were totally soaked (during the concert a hell of a thunderstorm hit Philadelphia and the Tower had some problem with the pipes, so the floor was dripping wet on the Pit, preying on all vulnerable shoes). Instead I silently handed him my poster to sign. I had never intended to ask for an autograph (why bother anybody for a bit of dry ink) but I had this poster and pens dancing in the air...Now I have three cool dry ink scribblings in this really nice poster, anyway. (Somebody recorded this meet and greet (ifeln), one video of Tim's, one of Tom's) and almost at the end of them there's my invisible me handing my poster all folded to each.
It didn't cross my mind to talk to Tom, he was just doing this bureaucracy with a nice smile (they are really asked for too much, am totally sympathetic). Anyway, I'd have said take good care of yourself, which under the circumstances would have been such a silly
thing to say, specially to someone like him, so....
PS July 2007 update on Keane's signed poster: I had the silly idea that my poster would be safely kept hidden under a bed for the "brief" period of time it would take me to have it framed. Unfortunately I forgot about it, and I don't know when but my vacuum cleaner certainly met and greeted it (yes, I'm a thorough cleaner), so the other day I found it all crushed on one of the sides (fortunately not the top where it's signed). I'm not speaking to my vacuum cleaner anymore (sometimes I'm a little unfair). Poster is now on top of one of my shelves, hopefully safe from harm.


Anonymous said...

We traveled from Miami, FL to see the concert. It was my daughter's 17th B-day present. Her boyfriend and my husband are mot fans of their songs, but I hear it constantly in my car's CD player. I agree with all your comments, you forgot to say that it was extremely hot and they opened the door on the side bringing in a breeze and revealing the pounding rain. I'm glad we came it was a great concert!

Spencer said...

Awesome concert - will be posting my review, pictures and videos on my blog soon.

I'll link your blog on mine, if you would do the same! :)

Great insights!