Opening the evening were, trio, LostAlone. Now it’s no easy feat to open a sold out show and rile up a crowd of die hard McFly fans, but this band certainly did just that. As a British rock band, who have previously supported the likes of My Chemical Romance and Paramore, opening a McFly show was plausibly a bit out of the ordinary. However the band came armed and ready, with a vast array of guitars; that were switched out between almost every song. They brought a larger than life energy to the stage, working on a crowd that was quickly filling to all four corners of the venue. The interaction between band and crowd left nothing to be desired. The crowd were chanting, hands were up in the air. LostAlone had the crowd in battle, between the left and right – who could raise the volume to the next level, chanting ‘Lost’ and ‘Alone’ – and of course a gag in reference to Norfolk’s very own Alan Partridge didn’t go amiss, with the band’s lead, Steven Battelle, joking about having passed the pedestrianisation of Norwich City centre to get to the venue.
Now, the tone was set, anticipation in the air. The lights dimmed once more as the unexpected rhythm of ‘YMCA’ hit the speakers. As the lyrics hit, the black curtain lining the stage dropped to reveal a wall of light illuminated in the letters ‘YMCA’. McFly entered the stage to a rolling wave of screams and applause. From the outset the energy was infectious. Danny Jones shouting “F*** yeah!” as they began their set with ‘Where Did All the Guitars Go?’; from their new album, ‘Power to Play’.
The atmosphere was electric, the crowd fully engaged. The lighting provided an unbelievable backdrop for the set; making the 1,550 standing capacity venue feel like an arena. Of course, no McFly gig is complete without the co-ordinated jumping of Tom, Danny and Dougie; replicated by those gathered at the front of the venue during their song ‘Lies’.
Those in the crowd that weren’t familiar with McFly’s newest material needed not fear, as the setlist was picked to perfection. The band, who straddle between the rock and pop genre, filled the evening with a plethora of songs from their vast array of albums. By song six on the setlist, we had already revelled in music from 4 different albums.
A special moment in the set, particularly for one fan, took place during ‘Everybody Knows’. The lucky fan, Frankie, was fortuitously selected from the crowd to join the band on stage for the performance. Given a big responsibility, Frankie was enlisted to play the cowbell. An opportunity taken with both hands, as Frankie matched the band’s energy on stage and played to the crowd. A moment in which you could not help but smile; as Frankie’s efforts were rewarded with the gift of the cowbell and drumstick to take home.
McFly finished the main body of their setlist with ‘Red’; a song of blues and rock undertone, built from a strong guitar riff. Once described by Harry as “being an awesome song for Iron Man”. What a way to bring the set to a close as Danny made his way from the stage, down through the middle of the crowd in the centre of the venue. A revelation for those fans who had spent hours queuing in the cold to secure a good spot inside. As Danny returned to the stage it was time for the entire crowd to have their moment. Everyone in the venue was asked to drop to the floor and on the count of three the LCR launched into the air.
The lights dropped. The band left the stage. The venue stood in darkness. Cheering filled the room once more as the band returned to the stage for their encore. The crowd were enticed with ‘Forever’s Not Enough’, ‘Honey I’m Home’, and the song that started it all, ‘5 Colours in Her Hair’. There was a temporary pause at the beginning of ‘Forever’s Not Enough’ as McFly halted the performance to check on the welfare of a crowd member. Welfare check complete, the band joked that they were still cool enough to make people faint and it was such a “retro” thing to do. “This s*** happens because of you!” Danny declared before McFly departed the stage for the final time that evening.
Whether a new or nostalgic fan, the ‘Power to Play Tour’ was everything you could ask for. McFly gave a textbook display on how to smash a live performance. Vocals, energy, engagement, entertainment. It really is no surprise that in Norwich alone, this band has sold out 2 live shows on this tour. McFly… It really is “all about you…”
Words – Mollie Maddox
Photos – Kayleigh Francis