Busted live in Cardiff with support from The Tyne and Henry Moodie

Busted are celebrating 20 years of being a band as well as the forthcoming release of Greatest Hits 2.0 which features a whole host of guest stars and they are doing it in style with an incredible live performance as Lizi witnessed in Cardiff.

On a warm early September day in Cardiff, thousands of people young and old descended on the newly renamed Utilita Arena Cardiff to celebrate 20 years of Busted and there was a lot of excitement both in the queue and inside the venue.

It’s the first time since 2019 that the trio (and drummer Eddy) had played in the venue and tickets sold out extremely quickly.

Before Busted graced the stage, however, fans were thrown back to the early 2000s with the venue playlist, with videos including Avril Lavigne’s Sk8r Boi and Fall Out Boy’s Sugar We’re Going Down playing on the big screens, leading to some early singalongs. This would be a feature throughout the intervals between sets, and it was great to hear as it was reminiscent of so many emo nites.

First up in terms of live music was The Tyne. The band are relatively new, but I’d previously enjoyed listening to them and was excited to see them live. Right before the set, new single Bad Mood and its video was played to the crowd, before the band came on stage and kicked into a cover of Teenagers by My Chemical Romance. A great choice of song as it got the crowd on their side immediately, with another huge singalong.

After this, The Tyne treated the crowd to their own tracks including my personal favourite Funeral and of course new single Bad Mood as their closing song.

The Tyne were full of energy, the vocals were great and it was an overall fun set which was tightly honed considering they’re such a new band but looked right at home on the arena stage.

Up next was Henry Moodie. In all honesty, I’d not heard of this act before but I am definitely a fan. I personally think it was an unusual choice to have Henry after The Tyne because The Tyne were more energetic in both sound and stage presence which would work better for main support for a band like Busted who themselves are full of energy but I think Henry did a great job. Before coming on stage, Henry’s music video for Drunk Text was played on the screens.

It was clear to see why the music world has fallen in love with Henry and he’s already received more than 45million streams. His Ed Sheeran-esque sound including lyrics is delivered by absolutely breathtaking vocals. Drunk Text was given a live showing, as was Eighteen, You Were There For Me and a cover of Blank Space by Taylor Swift which I thought was much better than the original (Sorry to any of you Swifties out there). He also played some unreleased songs which were really heartfelt.

For a solo artist, Henry’s stage presence was brilliant. He split his time between two mics, a keyboard and his guitar as well as making sure that those outside of the wow pit weren’t left out by making use of the catwalk.

So after two really impressive support acts (who I would love to see in their own shows), more emo singalongs which then ended with everyone in the crowd screaming along to Eminem’s Lose Yourself, Stephen Fry’s voice booms out to say that the show will be starting in five minutes.

As the five minutes passed, the fun began as Doc Brown’s face appears on the screen telling everyone how they’d travelled to the year 2023 before Busted took to the stage and kicked straight in with Air Hostess which immediately had the crowd screaming along.

As the tour was celebrating the pending release of Greatest Hits 2.0 and 20 years of Busted, the majority of the set focused on the band’s older music, which delighted the crowd. There was the likes of Who’s David, Thunderbirds Are Go, Crashed the Wedding, What I Go to School For and You Said No, as well as one of the tougher songs to play (in the band’s own admission) in She Wants to Be Me.

Charlie proved he was human when he messed up the lyrics to Sleeping With the Lights On, which got a laugh out of the band, before they stated how they’ve ‘fucked up worse’ and Charlie jokes about just handing the mic over to the crowd.

Alongside the older songs including my personal favourite 3am, were some newer tracks including Coming Home as one of the three-song encore, and the currently unreleased Good One which despite not being out until Friday, September 8, the crowd were able to join in with thanks to the lyrics appearing on screen.

There was also some fun covers including the jam of ‘Mmbop’ and a really nostalgic version of Teenage Kicks which kicked off the encore as the band’s Best Breakthrough Artist BRIT Award win from 2004 was played on the screen, with the accompanying visuals featuring their performance of the song at the awards.

The night ended with another appearance from Doc Brown who told the crowd that Busted had – you probably guessed – travelled to the Year 3000 and took the crowd along with them! It was a great song to end with and very fitting for the tour’s theme of being 20 years closer to the year 3000.

Throughout the set, it was clear to see just how happy Busted were to be back on stage and performing these classic songs night after night. There were lots of moments where James, Matt (especially Matt) and Charlie spoke about what it meant to them to be back doing what they loved, particularly highlighting how they had to add more dates to the tour.

Matt had a cheeky dig at McFly when stating that Busted are yet to have a number one album and McFly have had two, jokingly saying to ‘fuck them’ before backtracking saying “they already have too many kids”, which got a laugh from those who caught the remarks.

There was a joke about not promoting the forthcoming Greatest Hits 2.0 album, with James owning up to arranging for the album promo to appear on screen.

The interaction between the band members themselves and with the crowd was a delight to see as you could clearly tell everyone was having the time of their lives, and the band acknowledging shouts from the fans sent them into a frenzy.

The set was full of extremely high energy, particularly from James who spent a lot of time running around and doing laps of the catwalk and the band performed their signature pop rock jumps a number of times.

The catwalk was probably the downside to the show. Busted have a wow pit for fans which this year was covered off as it had a catwalk surrounding it for the band to perform on, but the catwalk was only used for two songs (aside from momentary visits by each member to parts of it) and this could have been used better to give those fans outside the wow put a bit more interaction, although I’m sure they all enjoyed it just as much as those of us in the wow pit and I’m probably overthinking that.

However, it was great to see Busted come back to Cardiff and put on what I would honestly say is up there as one of the best gigs of my life.

Elizabeth Birt

September 6, 2023

Band management assistant. Goth princess and lover of all things music and sport.


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