I can’t be the only one who cried a little when Busted announced their reunion tour, Pigs Can Fly, last year. When they announced they were coming to UEA for a two-night special I was far too excited to see them, more than any normal 23-year-old should be. It was the chance to relive my year nine glory days and finally sing along with Charlie about crushing on Mrs Robinson. I received the album Night Driver in the post about a week before the gig and decided to give it a test run: three songs in I was bored and switched back to ‘Crash the Wedding’, dancing around the room and singing until my flatmate told me to shut up. I left the CD in the car and promptly forgot about it’s existence.
Yet, the night of the gig it was clear that I wasn’t the only fan who hadn’t bothered listening to their album all the way through. The evening began with support act, The Natives. I hadn’t heard of them before, but their music was catchy and I found myself tunelessly singing along by the end of their set. Then came the moment that the crowd had been waiting for. Charlie, Matt and James came on to the stage to the sound of audible swoons from the crowd: it may be over a decade since their debut, but they still have it. Busted opened with three songs from their new album and the crowd politely bobbed along, swaying and pretending to know the words. Then they switched to an old classic ‘Air Hostess’, from their 2003 album A Present for Everyone and the crowd lost it (myself included). Swaying energetically and belting the lyrics at the top of my lungs, I felt as if I was in high school again: all that was missing was my blue mascara and black waistcoat.
Four minutes later it was back to the title track of the album ‘Night Driver’ and the polite bobbing returned. A few hard core fans at the front sang along, but a lot of people at the back used this down time to head the bar and stock up on drinks. The rest of the gig continued much the same way, the classics balanced out with new music. The crowd would scream along with the classics (“You stupid lying bitch, who’s David?!”) only to sway mildly to the new songs. By the end of the gig it was all beginning to feel a bit forced. I had had my 2000s fix, but found myself getting bored whenever a new song came on — perhaps I should have done my homework a bit better.
Whilst the boys danced about the stage when performing their old songs, they stood motionless behind synthesisers, heads banging, as they belted out their new material — and I’m not sure I can quite forgive Charlie for forgetting some of the words to the classics. James barely moved from behind his keyboard all evening — I missed the spiky-haired rockers who use to outrageously flip their way across the stage and at these points, I was grateful for the saxophone player that stole the show every time he appeared.
Perhaps I’m not as hard core a fan as I used to be, or perhaps I’m perpetually stuck in 2003, but let’s be honest, the sequel is never quite as good as the original. Busted, I love you, you were what I went to school for, but perhaps it’s time to graduate and move on.