It was almost like being back in London, at least for one night. Well, there wasnít any cigarette smoke, and I didnít have to take public transportation to get there, and the fans were taller, but still, it was almost like being in London again last night as Keane made their San Francisco debut at a packed CafÈ Du Nord. After witness the trioís live magic six or so times last summer in Englandís capital city, I was excited to see if the bandís success (50,000 albums sold first day in the UK) had changed them. I was even more excited to learn it hadnít.
Although the club was full of fans, I felt that the crowd didnít quite know what was in store for them, whether frontman Tom Chaplin could emulate his angelic tones live, and whether their piano/vox/drums (bass on DAT) setup would translate in a larger space. Oh, did it translate. The crowd went crazy for the jaunty numbers like ìBend And Break,î ìThis Is The Last Time,î ìCanít Stop Now,î ìSomewhere Only We Know,î and ìEverybodyís Changingî. Manager Adam Tudhope must have implored Chaplin to open up more since the last time Iíd seen the East Battle three-piece back in October, as the singer now bantered between songs, even soliciting for applause. The set was fleshed out by newer album tracks like ìWe Might As Well Be Strangers,î and ìYour Eyes Open,î as well as tracks from long ago, ìAllemandeî and ìTo The End Of The Earth.î As the gig went on, the applause got louder and louder after each song as the true wonderment of a live Keane show washed over the awed crowd. And as, always, they closed with a blinding rendition of ìBedshaped,î their best song and always saved for last. Nothing like leaving on the highest note possible. People are finally discovering the album; make sure you discover them live as well. Itís got to be heard to be believed. Thanks to Robbie Lloyd/Brent Reineke/Michael Novia for hooking me up.