An Evening with Tom Chaplin of Keane

tom chaplin the wave live 20172As he mentioned to the enthusiastic crowd last night, Tom Chaplin was happy just to be on stage and singing. His life and career has seen plenty of ups and downs of late. Careerwise his successful British band Keane decided a few years back to take a break. On a personal level he had once again succumbed to the ravages of drug addiction. It got so bad in 2015 that he nearly died. Part of it was due to anxiety in the writing of his first solo album. Thankfully, Chaplin righted the ship and has now been clean and sober for about a year.

Out of the dark times he went through comes many of the lyrics and content for his debut solo album, The Wave. The Wave was released in October of 2016 and now Chaplin is in the midst of the North American portion of the Carried by The Wave Tour in support of it. The songs on that album chart the course of his life over the past couple of years. Filled with songs that are dark, but have some hope to them.

This is his first tour as a solo artist. He has a four piece band backing him playing an array of instruments like keyboards, drums, guitar, bass, and violin. Over the course of his 100 minutes on stage he went through every song from his debut album plus eight Keane songs. The new songs demonstrate his range with some country influence as well as “I Remember You” which sounds straight out of the 80s.

It was interesting to see and hear him without Keane behind him. Tricky thing it is for a frontman to make a break from a high profile gig. Trying to carve out your own identity. He totally won people over. That is not too difficult a thing to do when you possess a voice like this man has. It is angelic and soaring. Fits perfectly as a conduit of the poignant, emotional songs he leans towards. It was at its best when during “Bring the Rain” his band left him alone on stage and it was just his voice and the piano (he played). You come to the realization that he truly earned all the acclaims previously heaped upon him for his unique and completely listenable voice.

At this point I will say that the sound at Lion D’Or was great! If you have a chance to take in a show there do not hesitate. The combination of the crystal clear sound and the intimate nature of the venue make it a great place to hear live music.

Despite all that Chaplin has gone through he is confident on stage. Combined with a willingness to be vulnerable (spoke very openly about his drug problems) this made for a compelling watch/listen. The intensity and heartbreaking nature of many of the new songs just adds to the package. Dark, but uplifting is an irresistible package. As opposed to several frontmen who have attempted the going solo though are ultimately just trying to cash in on their former glory this is a whole different Tom Chaplin. This is not more of the same from him rather a whole new career. Though the sound is not so far removed from Keane that you are left scratching your head at it all.

tom chaplin the wave live 20173The 37-year-old has not lost his love for performing live. You can see it in his face and hear it in his voice. The Montreal crowed fed off of that and gave every bit of passion and energy back to him. Applause between songs, whether they were the new solo material or a beloved Keane tune, was loud and appreciative. He was feeling the love and mentioned it on a couple of occasions. Paying the crowd back tenfold he and his band came back onstage for an unscheduled second encore playing the Keane song “Somewhere Only We Know” for a fan named Mathieu.

Setlist:

  1. Bedshaped (Keane song)
  2. Encore:

  3. 2nd Encore:

  4. Somewhere Only We Know (Keane song)

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