hmv reviews… Frank Turner @ London's O2 Arena
The story of Frank Turner, the former punk rock frontman, the man who tours harder than anybody else, is one of the most heart-swelling there is.
Starting off in London's tiniest boltholes and grottiest pubs, he's risen slowly but surely, album by album, gig by gig. Pubs have given way to top rooms of venues, which have given way to theatres, which, in 2012, gave way to Wembley Arena.
This time out, touring in support of new record Tape Deck Heart, he's taken on arenas all over the UK, including the biggest of all, the O2. Let's see how he got on…
Frank Turner. The folk troubadour who suddenly discovered in 2012 that he could fill arenas…
London's O2 Arena. It's massive.
Was it full? And how were the crowd?
Not quite. The top tiers of the arena were cordoned off, but the rest of the place looked pretty full, we're still talking over 15,000 people…
So what was the set like? What did he play?
It was a lengthy one, clocking in at almost two hours. It drew from across his back catalogue too, kicking off with 'Photosynthesis' and finishing up 23 songs later with 'Four Simple Words'. Along the way he played a show-stopping version of 'Recovery', a soaring 'Long Live The Queen', a chilling 'Broken Piano' and rousing 'I Still Believe'.
Any good between song banter?
Plenty, Turner takes a leaf straight out of Springsteen's playbook in that he manages to make everyone in the room feel like they're in a tiny pub backroom with him, talking just to them. There was plenty of self-deprecation and lots of thanks. He also admitted he wrote most of his songs to play in bedrooms and bars rather than enormodomes, not that you'd have ever picked up on that from the way he delivers them.
Did he put on much of a show?
More than everyone was expecting. A couple of big backdrops, a few lasers and, at the end, some falling sparks. He's growing into this arena lark is Frank…
What was the highlight of the set?
'The Way I Tend To Be', there were many highlights, but that was a real hairs on the back of neck standing up moment.
Where can I catch him next?
He's off round Europe and then he and his band head off to the US and then back for the festivals. He's playing Sonisphere for sure.
Frank Turner's new album Tape Deck Heart is out now. You can preview it now by clicking on the icon on the right hand side of the page.