The four British men of the band Bastille took over Agganis Arena at Boston University March 28, transforming the hockey rink into a “Wild Wild World,” the namesake of their 2017 North American Tour. Boston was the first North American city on the nationwide tour after they debuted in Canada the weekend before. The sold out stadium made Bastille’s arrival in the U.S. a night to remember.
They chose to open with “Send Them Off,” one of the songs from the new album. Despite being a new song, the audience roared with applause as soon as the first bars were played, immediately recognizing the new hit. This set the tone for the entire concert, as no matter the song or the year it debuted, the crowd knew every lyric and passionately sang along.
The upbeat attitude of the concert was balanced by some of the band’s most cherished slower and sadder songs. Recognizing his group’s tendencies to write downright depressing lyrics, Dan Smith, the lead singer, addressed the audience and prepared them for what he coined as one of the saddest selections they have written.
“For anyone that’s listened to a lot of our music, you’ve probably realized that we have a lot of depressing songs,” Smith said. “This next one is balls out our most depressing. Hope you enjoy!”
That song was “Four Walls (The Ballad of Perry Smith)” and Smith was definitely correct in his preface of the piece. The usually rowdy audience adapted to the somber mood of the song instantly, swaying to the ballad’s steady drum beats and letting the lyrics sink in.
The only other moment that paralleled to this was during the song “Oblivion.” Without prompting from the band, one-by-one a chain reaction of cell phone flashlights lit up the entire arena, filling the crowded space with stars. The applause that came after the song had finished was awe-inspiring and prompted Smith to once again thank the audience.
“Thank you so much for your kindness,” Smith said. “We love being back in Boston and it’s an amazing way to start our time in the states.”
On a more uplifting note, Bastille also played selections that Smith described as “deceptively happy,” but nonetheless got the crowd dancing in between the more melancholy songs. He made sure to make his rounds through the stadium, high-fiving fans and ultimately ending up on the top of the balcony in section 103. Atop the balcony, Smith and lead guitarist William Farquarson played a stripped-down version of “Two Evils,” a haunting song relying on not much else but strong vocals and powerful lyrics.
Bastille’s set concluded with the radio-hit of 2013, “Pompeii.” Before the song, Smith invited the opener, Mondo Cozmo, back onto the stage, asking them to help perform the last song of the night. Graciously thanking the crowd once again, Bastille left the stage and boarded their tour bus to the next location on their long list: New York.