Sunday, 22 April 2012

McFlying in London.

21/04/2012.
Last night I revisited my pre- and early teen years by going to see McFly live at their penultimate show on their Keep Calm and Play Louder tour at the HMV Hammersmith Apollo, London.



I am a fully-fledged Galaxy Defender. I dragged my little sister along to the show, who is a more recent fan after seeing Just My Luck and following Harry Judd on Strictly Come Dancing 2011, and spent the two weeks leading up to the show educating her in all things McFly. We downloaded songs, first those included in the setlist and then eventually every other song from every other album ever. So when the day of the show came around, we were word-perfect and ready to go crazy.

We stood in the stalls frantically checking Tom Fletcher's Twitter updates, wondering how McFly would make their entrance and speculating as to what the boys were doing right now... After playing a series of cheesy 80s/90s tunes through the speakers, including the YMCA (which true fans will know is the song they always play right before they come onstage) the beautiful boys came out at last. They played their first three songs without stopping; Nowhere Left To Run (amazing opener!), One For The Radio, and Star Girl. The girls all around me were going wild; some of them were wearing tour T-shirts from the Noughties, and some had even painted little stars on their faces. Everyone wants to be Tom's Star Girl, myself included.


I thought to myself several times as I watched them, it's hard to believe that these are the same skinny lads with ironed hair who just 9 years ago were gracing my television and radio every day with their pretty, poppy music and cheeky ways. Now, Danny is far (for lack of a better word) hunkier, and seems taller somehow. Harry is mullet-less, chiseled and strides about the stage like a gorgeous caged animal, that is when he's allowed out from behind his drum kit. Tom has undergone the most drastic transformation, having lost all his trademark puppy fat to reveal a genuinely beautiful face and enviably toned body. Dougie, thank goodness, is still Dougie, looking gorgeously scruffy and being teased by the other guys for being "the slow one".
Dougie shouts "are you ready to have a bitchin' good time?" into his microphone, Tom does a naughty bum-wiggle when singing the lyrics "I fell in love with Uranus", Danny licks his microphone stand and flirts with the fans in the front row, Harry flexes and poses between solos. The boys have grown up, but not too much. And bless them for it.

I have always thought of Tom Fletcher as the lead singer of McFly, although over the years he and Danny have shared the spotlight equally. However, last night Danny Jones established himself as a contender for lead singer. His voice rang out with a rich throaty quality, and his range had me floored. One of the highlights of the night for me was the medley of Living On A Prayer / We Found Love / What Makes You Beautiful / Somebody That I Used To Know / I Wanna Dance With Somebody... Danny drove the audience insane.



It's no secret that my favourite member of McFly is Harry Judd. Ever since the beginning, Danny and Harry have fought for my affections, while Dougie was somewhat overlooked (also, my best friend had dibs'd him) and Tom seemed like my ideal husband personality-wise but put me off with his bleached hair. Harry won over my entire family last year as we all sat down every Saturday night to watch Strictly Come Dancing, and we may have jumped off the sofa and done a lot of screaming and crying when he won. So when the McFly lads walked onstage last night, it was Harry who I was screaming for. His drumming was pretty incredible, too.

Say what you will about McFly (the most common reaction to telling my friends I was going to see them live was: "what are you, fourteen?!"), the boys know how to put on a good show. They put everything they've got into their performance, and then some. There was real heart in their voices, and you could see the pure joy they felt while playing onstage. Tom was spinning around and headbanging while playing guitar, Danny did the classic rock 'n' roll playing guitar behind his head move... One of my pet peeves is artists being way too "celebrity" and shouting "hello London!", "this song is dedicated to each and every one of you!" or "you all look so beautiful!" in between songs. I find it a little too much, too cocky... But when it's Danny Jones, somehow I don't mind so much.

Another lovely touch was the amount of audience participation involved; every now and again the lights on the audience would come up and Danny or Tom would tell us they needed our help singing, and the Galaxy Defenders were more than happy to oblige. We sang the entire chorus of Obviously, clapped along to Everybody Knows, and held our hands up and jumped while they performed their new song Do What You Want (Danny Jones holding up his hands and singing "do what you want, do what you want to me"... The sixteen year-old girl inside me was very happy).



I also loved their sudden mood change halfway through the show, effortlessly moving away from electric guitar rock and into chilled acoustic loveliness. "This is the intimate section," Danny whispered, shushing the audience. They played No Worries, a personal favourite of mine originally intended to be a B-side single, recommended to me several weeks before the show by a fellow fangirl and friend who also sent me the setlist. The song is sweet and was beautifully sung, each lyric melting the hearts of every girl in the room.The show ended with Five Colours In Her Hair, of course, to the delight of the crowd. They then performed an encore; Walk In The Sun, sung only by Danny accompanied by a guitar, and then Shine A Light, another crowd favourite.

The outstanding songs were broken up by banter between the boys. The four McFly lads communicate with such ease, throwing cheeky barbs at one another and providing plenty of laughs. Dougie explained to us all that Tom must now be referred to as Teabag, Danny declared Harry a Dancing Queen, and Dougie had himself re-crowned onstage as King of the Jungle. They ended the show with a series of thank yous; to those who voted for both Harry and Dougie on Strictly and I'm A Celebrity, to Tom's  Twitter followers for wishing his cat better, and to everyone who has been with the band for the past nine years ("that's me, Danny! That's me!").

The boys' friendship is really what makes the band so special, and it is glaringly apparent both onstage and off. I also feel as though I know each of them personally, as I follow/stalk them all on Twitter. It's that personal touch, the love they have for their fans, and their undeniable musical talent, that makes McFly so special. To me, and to Galaxy Defenders everywhere.

"Another year over, and we're still together.
It's not always easy... But McFly's here forever."

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