"This is pretty exciting for us, not just singing in front of the world's most exciting skyline but such exciting people," exclaimed Keane frontman Tom Chaplin, perched atop a speaker at the Williamsburg Waterfront on Friday (Aug. 6). Throughout the show, the English piano-rock band didn't hesitate to express its gracious excitement, offering 19 high-energy renditions of songs spanning from 2004's "Hopes and Fears" to its most recent endeavor, "Night Train."
Keane worked hard to engage the mostly mid-20s-and-older crowd. The audience clapped with their arms raised above their heads to the opening piano chords of the band's staple hit, "Everybody's Changing," and piped in to sing along with the chorus. The spirit of participation carried into "Clear Skies," with its synth xylophone and slightly psychedelic vocals mesmerizing the crowd in the warm breeze of the East River.
The band played the catchy "Stop For A Minute," the single off the "Night Train" EP that also features rapper K'naan, while one of the highlights came when bongos and tambourine were added to a version of an older song, "Try Again." Opening with bare vocals and a ballad-like piano created a chills-worthy moment, with the band members' silhouettes reflecting against the stage's side curtains. The song allowed Chaplin to demonstrate a full vocal range, as he lightly pled with a lover and continuously declared to "try again."
One of the most pleasant surprises of the night was when Chaplin revealed two of the band's songs as his favorites. The 80s-inspired "Your Love," his favorite track from the new EP, which ironically features lead vocals from the band's primary songwriter, Tim Rice-Oxley. The song was followed by Chaplin's favorite-ever Keane tune, "Perfect Symmetry," which he described as about "trying to communicate not with bombs and violence but with love and peace."
Before launching into the melodious "Somewhere Only We Know," Chaplin once again encouraged a sing-along, telling the crowd, "All right, you're the choir of the city of New York." A loud guitar boom and simultaneous explosion of lights introduced the sweetly haunting falsetto of "Bedshaped," which marked the final track of the night before the two-song encore. The band gratefully dedicated "My Shadow" to the audience, while the chorus of "Crystal Ball" continued to spin in everyone's heads as the night concluded.
Staten Island native Ingrid Michaelson opened for Keane, offering equal attention to all of her albums as well as covering Radiohead's "Creep" and Britney Spears' "Toxic." The singer-songwriter's airy pop vocals were more robust on songs like "Die Alone" and new track "Parachute," while her signature soothing husk beautifully mixed with her ukulele strums during "Soldier" and "The Way I Am."
Throughout her nine-song set, Michaelson often added humorous choreography for the audience to follow, such as a breaking-heart hand motion to accompany the upbeat drums of "My First Love." She also demonstrated her pop culture prowess, whether segueing into Lady Gaga's "Poker Face" after "Soldier" or spitting Will Smith's "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" rhymes before the romantic, stripped down "The Way I Am," which was featured on an Old Navy commercial.
Here is the set list for the night:
Back In Time
Bend and Break
Again and Again
Nothing In My Way
Stop for a Minute
You Haven't Told Me Anything
Is It Any Wonder?
Somewhere Only We Know
My First love
Creep (Radiohead Cover)
Ice Ice Baby (Vanilla Ice Cover) /The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (Will Smith Cover)/The Way I Am
Toxic (Britney Spears Cover)