Tim reports back from yesterday’s Belgian festival show
I think the Werchter festival yesterday was my favourite festival ever. The organisers seemed to have hit upon the novel idea of putting some thought and money into making it a real quality event. The best thing, and most important of course, was the quality of the bill. We got there at about lunchtime and I watched every band on our stage over the course of the afternoon – Razorlight, Amy Winehouse, Snow Patrol, The Killers and Peter Gabriel. I’ve somehow managed to miss out on seeing Razorlight play live over the last few years, and I thought they were great. Johnny Borrell’s voice is sounding really great, which I kind of didn’t expect.
My highlight was The Killers, though. I’ve seen them play quite a few times and they’re always entertaining, but yesterday I thought they were absolutely brilliant, really full of energy and soul. They’re one of those bands who seem to have an hour-long ‘greatest hits’ set after only a couple of albums. Read My Mind was sensational. Anyway, needless to say we knew we’d have to put on a great show to follow a run of acts as good as that, so were really fired up for it. Crystal Ball seemed incredibly slow when we started, which is a sure sign that the adrenalin’s pumping! I loved every minute, and for me it was easily our best festival performance. The crowd was absolutely massive by the time we hit the stage – about 60,000 apparently – and they were incredibly loud and enthusiastic. Funnily enough I remember that the crowd at our last arena show in Belgium (at the Forest National) was memorable for the deafening volume of the singing and cheering. Must be a Belgian thing. Chocolate and noisy music fans….my kind of place.
It was a fun day behind the scenes too. We had been asked by the fabulous Dutch band Bløf if we would play at a festival they were headlining yesterday in Holland. We couldn’t play in the evening obviously, because of Werchter, but the idea came up that we could zoom over to Holland, play a few songs, and zoom back to Werchter in time for our set. Richard and I came up with an even better idea, which was that Tom could perform on his own, while we would stay at Werchter watching all the great bands and generally having a nice relaxing time. Brilliant! Anyway, Tom was up for it so he rushed over to the Netherlands and serenaded the crowd with a few songs. On returning he reflected that it might have been marginally less terrifying playing his first ‘solo’ set to an audience slightly smaller than the 50,000-strong crowd at Concert At Sea, but it seemed to go down a treat, and
he made it back to Werchter just in time.
Backstage at Werchter, the atmosphere was very friendly and relaxed. We feel a certain kinship with The Killers, both bands having come to prominence at about the same time, and it was great to see them and hang out a bit. Ronnie Vannucci is always a lovely man to chew the fat with, and Dave seemed disappointed to discover that the rumours he’d heard that our third album was finished and about to hit the shops were not strictly accurate. Johnny and Tom from Snow Patrol were reclining gracefully on the outdoor sofas and were as modest and lovely as ever. I caught up with excellently-mustachioed Franz Nicolay of The Hold Steady, with whom I shared the somewhat drunken experience of the Entertainment Weekly “Five Rounds With Keane…” interview in New York last year. You may recall my slightly random suggestion that Paris Hilton has crocodiles for feet. And the delightful Andy Burrows and I formed the Dithering Idiots Society.
All in all, it was a brilliant day – one of my favourite days in Keane history actually.
On a final festival-related note, can I take this chance to apologise once again for the late cancellation of our slot in Tenerife. The whole situation was unbelievably frustrating for us, and to the many people who I know were looking forward to seeing us there I can only say we’re very sorry and assure you that we did everything we could to rectify a situation that was not our fault. Our Spanish fans have always been exceptionally good to us, and we can’t wait to get back to Spain in August.