Bastille's Dan Smith Talks Their First-Ever Headlining North American Arena Tour, A 'Mad Visual Experience'
If you aren't familiar with how British alt-pop group Bastille got their start, frontman Dan Smith will tell you that his band's beginnings were definitely not indicative of the success that was to come just years later.
"This band started on a little piano and a laptop in my bedroom, at the end of my bed, with some songs," Smith recalls to Billboard. "And then it was four friends playing those songs in pubs, cramming into a car that we borrowed from our friends’ mom and driving around the U.K."
Here we are in 2017, and Smith and Co. are kicking off the Wild World tour -- the band's first-ever set of headlining gigs in North America that includes arenas, such as Brooklyn's Barclays Center and Toronto's Air Canada Centre, where they'll be beginning the 30-date trek Friday (March 24). When you ask Smith to comprehend their latest trip to North America, he can't help but laugh. "It’s not something that we ever imagined we’d be doing."
Smith says he and the rest of the Bastille guys (bassist Kyle Simmons, guitarist Will Farquarson and drummer Chris Wood) have spent more time thinking about how they wanted to present their live show on this tour than they ever have before. While he acknowledges some fans simply want to see them to hear their music, especially from the band's latest record, Wild World, Smith says the visuals that appear behind them are nearly as crucial to their concert experience.
"We want people to have the catharsis of hearing the songs that they like represented live in a more rowdy fashion," Smith says. "I think the show that we put together is kind of loosely commenting on news and news media, and how we see the world and politics, but hopefully in a visually beautiful way. It’s important to us to not be too heavy-handed -- it’s music, and we’re just four idiots that make songs. We wanted to put together a tour that felt thought-provoking, relevant and a tour very much of and about 2016-2017."
Although he is the band's frontman, Smith admits that he's not really someone that wants attention. Nevertheless, Smith can't help but go a little crazy once the show begins.
"I’m quite a reserved person, but when it comes to being on stage, something just clicks, and I sort of run around like a mad man. I find myself jumping in the crowd, climbing up on things and dancing absolutely atrociously," he laughs. "I like to see the whites of everybody’s eyes, jump around with everybody."
Bastille will be hitting some new cities on this tour, which Smith says suggests is just as exciting for them as it is for the fans who live there -- especially in New Orleans. If you happen to be a Bastille fan located in The Big Easy, don't be surprised if you see Smith walking around looking like the ultimate tourist.
"I’ve never in my life been to New Orleans and I’ve always wanted to go, so I am crazily excited about going there first the first time," he gushes. "As a music fan, I can’t wait to wander into bars and hear some amazing musicians. I can’t f--king wait, I really can’t."
As indicated by Smith's kid-in-a-candy-store tone while talking about Bastille's latest North American tour, he can't wait for the entire trek. This is probably true for the fans attending as well, but in case it isn't, Smith's description of what Bastille has in store will likely do the trick.
"A mad mix of everything we’ve done song-wise and a slightly provocative, thought-provoking, mad visual experience," he says. "We just want it to be a really f--king fun night."
Bastille 2017 North American tour dates
3/24 -- Toronto, ON @ Air Canada Centre
3/26 -- Montreal, QC @ Bell Centre
3/27 -- Boston, MA @ Agganis Arena
3/28 -- Fairfax, VA @ Eagle Bank Arena
3/30 -- Brooklyn, NY @ Barclays Center
3/31 -- Uncasville, CT @ Mohegan Sun
4/2 -- Lafayette, IN @ Elliott Hall of Music at Purdue University
4/3 -- Chicago, IL @ Aragon Ballroom
4/4 -- Peoria, IL @ Bradley University
4/6 -- Sugarland, TX @ Smart Financial Center
4/7 -- New Orleans, LA @ Bold Sphere Music at Championship Square
4/9 -- Grand Prairie, TX @ Verizon Theatre
4/11 -- Phoenix, AZ @ Comerica Theatre
4/13 -- Salt Lake City, UT @ UCCU Center
4/14 -- Las Vegas, NV @ The Chelsea at The Cosmopolitan
4/23 -- Berkeley, CA @ Greek Theatre
4/25 -- Portland, OR @ Keller Auditorium
4/26 -- Seattle, WA @ WaMu Theatre
4/27 -- Vancouver, BC @ UBC Thunderbird Arena
4/29 -- Boise, ID @ Taco Bell Arena
4/30 -- Bozeman. MT @ Theatre at Brick Breeden Fieldhouse
5/2 -- Omaha, NE @ Orpheum Theatre
5/3 -- Des Moines, IA @ 7 Flags Events Center
5/5 -- Nashville, TN @ Ascend Amphitheatre
5/6 -- Charlotte, NC @ Charlotte Metro Credit Union Amphitheatre
5/7 -- St. Augustine, FL@ St. Augustine Amphitheatre
5/9 -- Orlando, FL @ Orlando Amphitheater
5/10 -- Atlanta, GA @ Fox Theatre
5/12 -- Raleigh, NC @ Red Hat Amphitheatre
5/13 -- Camden, NJ @ BB&T Pavilion