♫ “The Stage and the Screams, Where It’s Just Me and Keane” ♫

Keane live at the Molson Canadian Amphitheatre, Toronto

I never need an excuse to blog, but I’ll tell you up front this one is simply to gush about Keane, a band I adore and got to see play live in Toronto on Friday, July 30th.

I’ve been a fan since 2004 thanks to a college radio friend who suggested I check out their debut album Hopes And Fears, (Thanks, Jackie!), but I don’t often get to see them play live. They’re a fabulous band that are huge in their home turf (the UK) and have decent success worldwide (OK, pretty great success – over 10 million albums sold!), they just don’t get to the US as much as I’d like. Before this weekend, I had seen them once in Detroit and twice in Toronto (not a lot for a band a consider one of my absolute faves). So when I heard they were touring in North America to support their new EP, Night Train, I was stoked…until I did not see a date in Detroit!  😦

What’s worse, I didn’t hear about the show in Toronto (one of my favorite places on earth) until after the tickets went on sale AND the good seats were sold out…AND my best friend who lives in Toronto told me she’d be out of town the day of the show anyway. I was truly bummed!

It doesn’t help that I’ve missed a bunch of other great shows this summer. But we won’t focus on that.

If you know me, you know I don’t give up easily. So I checked StubHub.com and front and center tickets were in fact available for the show. Now I just had to find someone to go with me!

After little success finding a girl friend to drive four hours with me to Toronto, I tried my damnedest to convince Rich to go with me.  He likes Keane, but does not LOVE them like I do. He was not really interested. So I tried bribery. And I tried convincing him that the good deal I found on Stub Hub was simply TOO good to pass up. But nothing was working thus far. I was getting really discouraged.

Then out of the blue, four days before the concert, he told me he thought he could get out of work early enough to go. I was ecstatic! My hubby’s a keeper. 😉 I immediately purchased the tickets (which had gone down in price again) and was so stoked!

The thing we noticed immediately upon arriving at the venue was how empty it appeared. The Molson Canadian Amphitheatre is an outdoor venue like Pine Knob, only smaller. There was no one on the lawn at all!  I was shocked. As I’ve mentioned, I’ve seen Keane two other times in Toronto and both shows were very well attended. Their latest EP is selling very well and they have a very passionate fan base, so I was not concerned about the turnout. I figured that it was just Friday and more folks would show up after they got out of work. Also, since our tickets were in the general admission area, I hoped we’d be able to get right up front! 😉

The first anecdote of the night happened as we walked up to the ticket takers. A friendly couple walked right up to us and asked if we wanted an extra set of tickets. They told us they were good seats. I didn’t want to be rude and say that we bought tickets in the section with the closest vicinity to the stage, so we politely accepted their extra tickets. Rich offered to buy them a beer, and the husband accepted. As Rich went to buy a couple of beers, I chatted with the couple.

The husband told me that he’d never seen Keane and asked me if they any good. I think I convinced him that they were when I told him we drove 4 hours to see them. When he asked where I was from and I mentioned Michigan, he got excited. He told me he’d been a Michigan State University football game last year. I was just as excited to tell him that I’m a proud alum! Small world!

He then asked, “They are the Wolverines, right?” Hehehehe, um, no. Wrong team. In fact, I told him, the University of Michigan Wolverines are our fierce rivals. Too funny. It was the thought that counted. Regardless of his MSU vs. U of M blunder, he and his wife were sweet. I hope they enjoyed the show!

Tom Chaplin of Keane

9:30pm finally rolled around and Keane hit the stage! What I enjoy most about seeing this band live is not just their incredible musical talent (not to mention Tom Chaplin’s amazing vocal range!) that translates so well from their albums to the stage but also how much they play off the audience. The smaller but very mighty crowd, was REALLY into the show. At one point, Tom Chaplin, the lead singer of Keane said, “I’d ask if you were enjoying yourself, but I don’t think I need to!”

The highlights for me included “Perfect Symmetry,” my long-time ringtone and probably my favorite Keane song; “Your Love,” with vocals by Tim Rice-Oxley; “A Bad Dream,” a sad, but gorgeous song; “Spiralling,” and “Is It Any Wonder,” two very upbeat tunes that are always AMAZING live and “Crystal Ball,” a PERFECT song to close out the show. “Clear Skies,” “Stop For A Minute” and “My Shadow” off their new EP were awesome too. Always hearing songs off their first album is a treat too. OK, I’ll stop with this list. I really loved EVERY song!! 😉

Tim Rice-Oxley of Keane

The concert was 1 hour and 45 minutes of pure bliss! Most concerts have the power to stop time for me, but when it’s a beloved band like Keane, it’s a given. This band’s passion and enthusiasm for their music is so infectious. It was a instant Top 5 concert for me (I’ve been to hundreds) and definitely the best I’ve heard from Keane thus far!

The second anecdote of the night came after the show when Rich and I went for a post-show drink. We ended up at a cool microbrewery in downtown Toronto and not only enjoyed good beer, but a Canadian specialty, poutine (fries with gravy and cheese). No, it’s not healthy at all, but damn it’s good once in a blue moon!

Anyway, Rich had to change his shirt before we ventured out from the hotel to the bar because he spilled some of his dinner on this other shirt. In the rush to get out of the hotel and find a watering hole, I hadn’t noticed what shirt he put on. As we sat down, I giggled and said, “Your shirt matches Tom’s shirt from tonight.” (A black polo – see picture above.) He very quickly corrected me by telling me Tom’s shirt was a Fred Perry shirt and his was a Brooks Brothers shirt.

This was hilarious to me on several levels. First, “Mr. Casual Keane Fan” noticed the brand of shirt the lead singer was wearing. And second, he was familiar with this particular brand, which apparently popular in the UK. (I felt so uninformed about British fashion – LOL!)

I would be remiss to mention that Rich really did enjoy the concert.  (The power of Keane!)

For me, the night was PERFECTION.

I have not had the opportunity to meet the members of Keane. Someday, when I do, I’ll tell them that no matter the song, their music is always an instant pick-me-up and it’s impossible for me NOT to smile when listening to them.

Thank you, Keane.

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