Those Days Are Gone: Busted’s Night Driver Tour marks a new era.

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Less than a year ago, I saw Busted reform in front of my very eyes at Wembley Arena in May 2016. Since then, the boys have completed their comeback tour, recorded and released their newest album Night Driver and begun a second tour promoting their new sound.

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When Night Driver was released back in November, I was completely bowled over and gave the album 5/5 when I reviewed it earlier in the year. So imagine my excitement when I heard they were going to be touring the new album AND they were coming to my home city, Brighton, to play. My good friend Rob and I snapped up tickets and spent the next few months stewing in our excitement waiting to see them.

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The physical set up compared to the Pigs Can Fly Tour is vastly different. The boys have gone from huge arenas to more intimate venues like O2 Academies and the Brighton Center, which meant that their staging was simple, compared to the Pig Sty which they exhibited on the Pigs Can Fly tour. It wasn’t plain by any stretch of the imagination, as the boys had cool strip lights behind them that pulsed, throbbed and flashed in time with the music.

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In fact, a lot of the set up for the new tour was different, including the set list as it now included songs from Night Driver. It was a great mix of old and new songs, the old mainly being their hit singles with the exception of Nerdy which is a fan favourite but was never released. You Said No didn’t make an appearance, much to my personal dismay, as I feel it’s one of their strongest. A girl can’t have it all though. As promised on their last tour, Thunderbirds didn’t make an appearance.

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The boys opened with Kids with Computers, which was a surprise to me considering that it comes further down the track-listing on Night Driver, and I assumed they would open with the title track or Coming Home like they had done on the Pigs Can Fly tour. Never the less, it was a strong opening, followed by Thinking of You, which was recently announced as the band’s newest single and On What You’re On, which started the ball rolling for the Night Driver era.

Air Hostess got the Busted purists in the crowd going and singing along, which meant there was a very clear divide between fans that wanted to come and sing along to the old songs, and fans that were, perhaps, more tolerable of the sound change. Never the less, it was an ice breaker for the fans that didn’t know the new material as well.

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Night Driver, the title track of the new album, completely lit up the room. Charlie’s front man role as been more established with the new record, as he takes most of the lead vocals and has swapped out the guitar for a synth machine. I worried he would look uncomfortable, as behind a guitar is clearly where he feels most comfortable, but he coped with the change well. For me, that was the moment when it felt confirmed in my mind that Charlie really is happy in Busted. He looked so at home that there should be no dispute.

Without It appeared after Nerdy, which in my eyes is strong enough to be a single. I Will Break Your Heart followed suit and was the perfect bridge between their old upbeat pop sound and their new 80’s influenced sound. Matt’s larger than life personality, as always, carries right to the back of the room. His passion and love, and natural show-man-ship was infectious, especially when he encouraged a dance competition and had no qualms dancing around the stage himself like a dork.

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The boys followed with a re-invention of one of their hit singles, Who’s David, that has been completely rearranged into a more mature sound. I’m now begging them all on Twitter for them to release it because it sounded so good! I didn’t manage to get a recording of it, but I’m hoping someone did. More classics followed suit, Sleeping with the Light On, Crashed the Wedding, 3am, and one of their strongest from the new record, New York, which was truly anthem-ic. Year 3000 ended the main part of the set, and left the crowd on a high before the boys came back again for an encore made up of What I Go to School For, Coming Home and my personal favourite Those Days Are Gone. 

James’s vocals, particularly his harmonies with Charlie, were on point and effortless. His cheeky, wacky nature was honed, but he set off his unique sparks throughout the show, dancing around like a goofball and reminding everyone to wear a seat belt whilst thanking them for coming to the show. Upon amping up the crowd, he cried, ‘I didn’t wear my shorts for nothing!’ Each of the boy’s brings something different to the band, which, in my opinion, is why the dynamic works. The transfer from recorded songs to live was great and shows their capability and legitimacy as a live band. I left the venue, singing and dancing all the way home, and I’m sure everyone else was too.

Ending on Those Days Are Gone, on the album and on the live set list, felt like a message to the fans. Those days are gone but we’re excited about the future and this is what it’s going to look like. The boys circled around each other like they did on the first night of their reunion tour when they played Coming Home. We’re here, it says, we’re here coming home. Those days really are gone, and I’m excited to find out what happens next.

5/5

Album Review: Night Driver by Busted

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(c) Daily Star

When Busted announced they would be getting back together, the whole world went mad. But not only did they share news of their reunion with the world, they also said that their come back would be accented with new music. Cue the screams of a thousand fans lying dormant for 12 years in waiting for this day to arrive!

I know I certainly screamed my head off. The idea that Matt, Charlie and James would be in the same room together was enough to bring me to tears of joy, let alone a tour… and an album as well!

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(c) Daily Star

But when Busted first released their new come back single Coming Home in May 2016, I will admit I was a bit surprised and a bit worried. I liked hearing their vocals together on a track again, and I wasn’t worried that it sounded different at all, it just sounded a bit empty. Busted’s songs were so rich, and so hearing something very simple was certainly a shock. However, after seeing the boys on their tour in Wembley, my mind was put to rest as they also debuted new songs Easy and One of a Kind. Also, hearing Coming Home live made me like it much more. It was anthem-ic and filled up the arena easily. I don’t think the digital production did it justice.

So I was EVEN MORE excited for the album, and when the first single On What You’re On dropped, my excitement sky rocketed through the roof. Yes, it was a different sound, and yes it wasn’t the pop rock we were used to with Busted’s first two albums, but they weren’t the same band. For a starters, 12 years had passed and both Matt and Charlie had become fathers in that time. Secondly, the band split up on the grounds of creative differences, so to come back together and make the same music wouldn’t be logical. Thirdly, pop music moves on, tastes change, people grow up – it was always going to be different.

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(c) Wikipedia

I genuinely loved the new sound. And when Night Driver dropped, I got a whole album full of it! The record starts off strong with Coming Home, the single released back in May to promote their Pigs Can Fly Tour, and Night Driver, the title of the album and one of the strongest songs on the record. It makes you want to get up and dance, and is the perfect blend of pop, rock and synths. Charlie’s vocals, overall on the album, are outstanding, but on this particular song just send shivers down your spine.

Next up is On What You’re On, their lead single, and New York, another of the strongest on the album. On What You’re On is a great bridge between Night Driver and New York, with it’s more melancholy tone, but is no less anthem-ic than the previous tracks. I can see the arena now, with this song closing the set before an encore. Camera lights, fireworks and loud sing-a-longs. I can feel the tears coming.

Thinking of You and Without It are another two compelling tracks that really confirms just how strong the first half of the record is, and leads nicely into One of a Kind, another song that the boys played on their Pigs Can Fly tour as a teaser to the album. I Will Break Your Heart and Kids With Computers fly by in a haze of electro-synths and catchy lyrics, rounded off nicely with Easy from the Pigs Can Fly tour. Easy is the song that closely resembles the band’s first two albums, and has become some fans firm favourites because of this reason.

But I think two of the strongest songs on the album finish off the tracklisting. Out of Our Minds and Those Days Are Gone are both fantastic encores to Busted’s comeback album. The latter almost sounds like a song from Simpson’s solo albums, with his slick and deep vocals running all over the melody until the synths kick in. Even then, the song is sweet, with a gorgeous ending to the record. Yes, those days are gone, but there are many more to come. And I for one, could not be more excited.

5/5

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(c) Digital Spy

You can purchase Night Driver by Busted from the following retailers:

Amazon / HMV / Tesco / iTunes / Google Play / Webstore