Review: McBusted (Metro Radio Arena, Newcastle)

Categories Featured, Reviews, There Goes The Fear

It was on Friday, January 14th, 2005 that English pop rockers Busted officially split. The announcement was made during a press conference in London, which came just days after Charlie Simpson revealed he was pursuing his new band, Fightstar. Almost 9 later, in 2013, it was announced that McFly and Busted would form the ultimate supergroup, without Simpson. Named McBusted (though I’d have preferred BustFly), the six-piece band revealed details on a UK arena tour, which they would embark on the following year.

Fast forward to Monday, April 28th, 2014 and, following a successful 3-day run at London’s O2 Arena, the McBusted tour arrived in the Metro Radio Arena, where a sell-out crowd highly anticipated the first of the supergroup’s two Newcastle dates. As the house lights faded and the sound of screaming fans echoed inside, the iconic press conference was projected on to screens at either side of the stage. This was followed by newly shot scenes that acted as an almost parody of the 1985 film ‘Back to the Future’, in which James Bourne and Matt Willis travel forward in time to join McFly as the newly-formed McBusted.

Arriving on stage in a DeLorean, the iconic car from the ‘Back to the Future’ films, James and Matt were greeted to the loudest screams of the night so far, which got even louder as Tom Fletcher, Danny Jones, Harry Judd and Dougie Poynter of McFly also made an appearance. Before the screams had died out, the ever-so-familiar riff of the Busted classic ‘Air Hostess’ started playing as the excited onlookers went wild. As the supergroup performed further Busted hits ‘You Said No’, ‘Britney’ and ‘Who’s David’, the synergy between the two bands was beginning to show and, quite surprisingly, felt perfectly natural. Jones brilliantly replicated the gravelly tones of Charlie Simpson, while Bourne and Willis regularly took the lead vocals on a number of McFly’s hits.

The lively concert continued as they performed the first McFly hits of the night (‘5 Colours In Her Hair’ and ‘Obviously’). However, this soon changed as McBusted also showed their softer, more emotional side. As Bourne took to the front of the stage by himself, the audience swayed their phones and lighters, bellowing out the words to ‘Sleeping with the Light On’. It was an unforgettable sight that brought the opening section of the show to a fantastic conclusion.

The second section began with a video clip containing a fake news report showing members of the band dressed as farmers and hillbillies discussing a UFO sighting. Meanwhile, the supergroup were descending from the roof of the Metro Radio Arena on a circular spaceship, landing just above the mixing desk located in the centre of the venue. The position of the second stage allowed the band to be more interactive with the audience, as they joked about the appearance of Cheryl Cole and Ant and Dec at their gig. This was followed by ‘Star Girl’, ‘Nerdy’ and ‘Room on the 3rd Floor’, all of which were well received by the concertgoers.

McBusted returned to the main stage following another brief clip to perform ‘Thunderbirds Are Go’ – written specifically for the 2004 film ‘Thunderbirds’. This was preceded with a cover of The Jackson Five’s ‘I Want You Back’, which seemed like an odd inclusion considering the two bands have a staggering 27 UK top ten hit singles between them. Nevertheless, McBusted were soon back on track with ‘Shine a Light’ and ‘What I Go to School For’, which saw the introduction of giant inflatable balls to the crowd.

It was during this stint that McBusted really showed their sense of humour, which had featured throughout the gig. Poynter and Willis participated in a game of “Penis” (in which they took it in turns to see who could shout “penis” the loudest) and Jones attempted a Geordie accent, which was quickly ridiculed by his fellow bandmates. The humour reinforced the synergy between the two bands and provided light relief from the hugely dynamic setlist.

As the venue descended into darkness once more, a clip of Fletcher’s wedding speech (which, incidentally has received over 13 million views on YouTube) played out on the screens, accompanied by comical comments from Bourne and Willis. The clip came to an abrupt end as McBusted returned to the stage to perform, yup, you guessed it, ‘Crashed the Wedding’. Even during the set’s climax, which finished with ‘All About You’ and ‘Year 3000’, the band demonstrated the same energy and stamina they showed at the beginning of the concert.

As the supergroup left the stage, the onlookers left the Metro Radio Arena in Newcastle with huge smiles on their faces. The set list was perfect, the group’s energy was astounding and the music was incredible. McBusted provided the ultimate pop experience that won’t be forgotten in a hurry.

University of Lincoln Journalism graduate David Wriglesworth is a Social Media Manager at tgi MEDIA in Darlington and is the founder of What’s On Darlington – a community hub for the town of Darlington.