For everyone, nostalgia almost always presents moments for wide grins and joyful laughter and the first night of June was to be no exception. When it was announced months ago that two of the most recognised pop rock acts McFly and Busted were to join forces as McBUSTED for a UK-wide arena tour, social media went crazy. Ticket sales went wild. And furthermore, Odyssey Arena in Belfast was to host them for two wonderful nights as they come to the end of an epic run of shows.
Kicking off the night to an arena full of expectant fans eager for the main showcase, Young Brando appeared. Celebrating their first year together, their brand of pop punk was simple and enjoyable with ‘Made from Each Other’ and ‘Out at Sea’ being the particular highlights of their set. With more experience under their belts, their music could easily cause waves amongst the masses.
EofE, who we interviewed ahead of the show, were next to bounce on stage and went straight into a cover of Nirvana’s Smells like Teen Spirit backed up with vocals from Michael Jackson’s Billie Jean – a strange mix indeed but went down well with the Northern Irish crowd. Following up with the solid ‘Kiss Me Like You Mean It’ and the ballad ‘Piece of You’ which had hundreds of camera phone lights’ swaying in the air, screams and cheers filled the arena each time energetic frontman Tom Harris gave them an opportunity. Closer ‘Lust’ proved to the key ingredient as EofE signed off on a night well played and easily a few hundred Belfast fans on board. Expect to hear more of them no doubt.
As the house lights dropped again, we were graced with Hollywood Ending’s comical rap music video introduction before they burst on stage with high energy and a strict no holding back policy. ‘One Wish’ proved a solid opener which sent girls in the crowd into frenzy as vocalist Tyler Wilson and Cameron Boyd commanded the stage equally well. They raised the bar and made for the perfect introduction with their on-stage antics and great presence. With the announcement that they will be returning soon, I expect a few to revisit this four piece.
Without doubt, the main show started now. The packed out arena went black, the screens came to life with Matt Willis and James Bourne renacting the famous Back to the Future scene as they lowered on stage in the DeLorean and waved hello to the crowd before fireworks introduced McFly as they were fired up into the air from below the stage and straight into ‘Air Hostess’. The deafening screams, that were very impressive, continued throughout an array of Busted hits such as ‘You Said No’ and ‘Who’s David.’
The energetic Dougie Poynter and Tom Fletcher made use of their impressive stage setup frequently taking advantage of the front platform as they exchanged dance moves and trademark banter throughout McFly’s ‘5 Colours in her Hair’ and ‘Obviously’ – both gaining equally impressive applause and gratitude for. ‘Sleeping with the Light On’ provided the introduction to an alternate stage as the band prepared a surprising entrance from the roof on a UFO stage lowered from the ceiling and straight into ‘Star Girl’. The banter no doubt continued as the band picked out audience member’s posters and even sang Happy Birthday to a lucky girl in the crowd – a night made I’m sure.
Back on the (original) stage and no holding back, ‘Thunderbirds are Go’ relaunched their assault on the Belfast fans before transforming into a three-man fronted Jackson 5 with dance moves to boot for ‘I Want You Back’. The surprises didn’t stop there as Dougie made a slightly terrible reference to Titanic before a helium-effect fuelled rendition on Celine Dion’s ‘My Heart Will Go On’ – you just had to be there to witness that. The crowd soon recovered after for Busted’s ‘What I Go For School For’ as the band prepared to finish their last night in Northern Ireland.
Danny Jones proved pivotal in controlling the night and commanding the audience leading cheers and calls for screaming. ‘Crashed the Wedding’ helped proceedings climb to epic proportions before ‘All About You’ had the crowd singing in tandum. Of course, the set finished with the song that kicked off one of the biggest genres of our time in pop rock – ‘Year 3000’. They’ve still got it and with rumours of a new album pretty much confirmed, I wouldn’t rule out a return in the near future. Mark Dunn, GiggingNI.com