McFly Live at the O2 Kentish Town Forum – 27th September 2016

September 26th 2006 was the day I sat in Wembley Arena with thousands of screaming girls around me – I know, standard day out, right? I had booked tickets to take my wife to see her favourite band for the first time, and so I sat dreading the moment McFly would take the stage as the sound levels were almost unbearable already. To cut a long story short I was not only proven wrong, but converted into a McFly fan, after seeing what accomplished musicians and entertainers they were.

Fast forward a few years and last Tuesday was our 4th time seeing McFly live, 5 if you include the McBusted show we saw a couple of years ago, but I’d prefer not to. This was the McFly Anthology Tour with each leg spanning 3 days at a particular venue, with albums being played in full at each one. We chose day 2 which would see them perform our two favourites, Wonderland and Motion in the Ocean. I’ve since promoted Radio:Active to the top spot, but that’s another story for another time.

After a snaking queue which seemed to start miles away from the venue, we were in, and sat on cushioned benches to the left on the balcony area. We were near the VIP section that people kept looking and pointing at, but I had no idea who was sat there – wives/girlfriends of the band maybe? My wife was sure she saw Izzy Judd on the way out, but I’ll have to take her word for that. The crowd were not as young as that first concert, with their fanbase growing older with them, whilst grabbing new ones on the way, from both their music and non McFly activities.

McFly Live at the O2 Kentish Town Forum - 27th September 2016

The support was from a Scandinavian girl called My, I think. Her set was just 4 songs which appeared to mix live music with a backing track that even covered some of her vocals at times, or so it seemed. Soon McFly were out and straight into I’ll Be OK, sounding as great as they always do, and stood as they always do: Tom on the left, Danny in the middle, Dougie on the right, all in front of Harry, elevated with his drums.

Two complete albums is a lot to get through in one night so there wasn’t as much chatty bits as usual, but what there was was the trademark banter and chemistry that few, if any acts today can match. I don’t know Wonderland as well as Motion in the Ocean, so the second half was more to my liking, that’s not to take anything away from the Wonderland performances though. I always love to hear Star Girl as that was debuted on the tour we attended in 2006, and is kind of our song as far as McFly music goes. My wife loves Transylvania and they did a rockier version than on the album, which is a trademark of their shows and why I loved them so much live that first time, and still do.

As a wannabe guitar player (about time I get mine out and have my bi-annual attempt to learn) I always marvel at the 6-sting prowess of both Danny and Tom, the latter of whom seemed to get more into that role from around 2012, where he played my favourite McFly riff ever on the brilliant and I hope one day to be released Red. Dougie, never one to just stand and play, took several tours around the stage, into the crowd, out the back, and anywhere he felt like going really. He, along with Harry were the main talkers of the night, which compared to that first gig in 2006 is a massive shift away from the front men of Tom and Danny. What we get nowadays is a band that no matter what role each person plays, it feels equal with each member getting focus throughout the night.

One of the highlights that I’ve been lucky enough to see at almost every McFly gig I’ve attended so far, is Danny’s solo performance of Walk In The Sun. I first saw it as an acoustic number, but now it’s with electric guitar, but just as strong and vulnerable in equal measure. In a venue like the O2 Kentish Forum, steeped in history and intimate even back in the balcony, it was the best I’ve ever heard it. Likewise Tom sitting at the piano singing Little Joanna, I think, feels like being invited to your own personal house gig, especially with the ever present rugs on stage that have become a McFly signature. Tom, if possible, endeared himself to us members of the audience even more with the way he humbly handled a mistake, with full disclosure and a chuckle. It’s Tom Fletcher, we’d all forgive him taking our last Rolo, a missed key on the piano is nothing.

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The venue was hot, almost oppressively so, but the 2 hour set flew by and ending with The Heart Never Lies, with the way it triumphantly builds, was perfect. I say perfect, but it heralded the end of a magnificent performance that each and every one of us wanted to never end – even the girl who turned up late and argued with security because she didn’t have a better seat. Even after 13 years I feel McFly don’t get the credit or recognition they deserve, and I still get sideways glances when I mention them, and that I’m going to see them live.

You absolutely always get your money’s worth when seeing McFly and this was no different, in fact it was better, as it was the longest set I’ve ever seen them do. They have a bond on stage that shines through in the way they play and interact, both with each other and the crowd. This latest gig has only affirmed their position as one of the very best out there, and when they tour again I’ll be there, and I suggest you are too.

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