McBusted at LG Arena, Birmingham (17/05/2014)


The announcement that McFly and Busted were going to form a super group back in late 2013 was surrounded by excitement and confusion but also was taken as a bit of a joke. Performing on Children in Need Rocks without plugging any of their instruments in caused a lot of controversy for a collective that obviously have a lot of talent. Despite all of this, fans have happily paid more than forty pound per ticket to watch the two bands perform together. And, it pains me to admit that the show was worth every penny.

With more than ten years of experience in the entertainment industry for all of the guys involved, it is virtually impossible to argue that they do not know how to put on a good show. The set list consisted of mostly Busted tracks, understandably as McFly haven’t long finished their Memory Lane tour, but you could tell that some of the crowd were more familiar with the McFly tracks. This was evident in the louder cheers every time a McFly track infiltrated into the Busted heavy set.

The money that went into the production of the show is evident from the onset. It opens with a VT of Busted announcing their split in 2005. It then cuts to Matt Willis and James Bourne exiting the press conference, clearly in the present day but dressed as their 2005 selves, fit with Matt’s extravagant fringe. They attempt to travel “back to the future” to the current show in the tour, that being 17th May 2014, Birmingham. Moving between a VT and reality, the audience are blinded by flashes and smoke as a car, very similar to the famous Back To The Future one crashes onto the stage. The audience are in the palm of the six pairs of hands that make up McBusted from this moment onwards.

Each member of the super boy band arrive on stage through a hole in the floor, jumping out of them doing the famous ‘Busted jump’ we all know and love, before flying straight into the first track of the set, ‘Air Hostess’. Following this was a relentless array of both Busted and McFly songs accompanied by an expected sing-a-long from the sold out crowd.

Throughout the performance their were hilarious VTs including a clip from Tom Fletcher’s wedding speech preceding the one and only ‘Crashed the Wedding’. The thing that had me in a complete state of shock was when the entire arena went black and a few minutes later a glow in the dark UFO floated down from the ceiling in the middle of the crowd. Predictably followed by ‘Star Girl’ they performed a small selection of songs on this UFO fit with glow in the dark guitars. It was a touch that sent the show into the realms of the stratosphere (excuse the space-related pun).

What struck me about McBusted’s performance the most was how they have transformed the tracks from Busted’s short-lived career from a three person arrangement to one for six band members. The huge Charlie Simpson sized gap I expected from the show simply wasn’t there! Charlie’s parts were shared across the McFly guys and this was fantastic. It eliminated any sense of lack due to Charlie’s absence and emphasised the transformation into McBusted, rather than simply being two bands performing alongside each other.

Tom Fletcher is incredibly talented, he often elevates tracks that he has written years before in the live setting by altering his vocal melodies. The inclusion of beautiful five part harmonies on tracks such as ‘Sleeping With The Light On’ really demonstrated the collaboration. Instead of simply playing old songs everybody knows and loves, they have been changed and improved them for the crowd.

One thing I couldn’t shake throughout the entire performance was the apparent melancholy in James Bourne’s face. Compared to Dougie Poynter and Matt Willis’ adorable on stage bromance, he was flat. For anyone, this tour probably means the absolute most to James, who never truly found himself after Busted, but whether he was overwhelmed or not, he seemed sad rather than elated on stage. Especially singing an almost solo cover of Jackon 5’s ‘I Want You Back’, he seemed to be struggling more than he should be.

All in all, McBusted is a fantastic idea and despite the initial mockery, I was completely enthralled throughout their entire set. It wasn’t just a gig. It was a show! Concerned as to how it would work on stage I was won over by the professionalism of the six young men. Some fans have even admitted to buying further tickets for other dates on the tour after seeing the show once, and I don’t blame them, I would definitely sit through that all over again. Nostalgic, exciting and so much fun, the McBusted tour is worth every penny.


About Author

I’m Megan Downing, an English Literature graduate from University of Southampton. I am the Music, Arts and Culture Editor for The National Student. I am the Membership and Communications Officer for the Student Publication Association, I write about music for 7BitArcade, and contribute regularly to The Culture Trip. I have a passion for live music and this is where I began in student journalism. Reviewing a gig or festival is still where my heart lies four years on. I will be starting at MTV as a News Intern in June 2015. One thing you should know about me is that I have an unhealthy obsession with Kevin Spacey.

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