Brighton Centre

Saturday, October 5

“LET’S go on a journey through Keane old and new,” says frontman Tom Chaplin.

And quite a journey it has been for the boys from Battle. In the early Noughties they sparred with Coldplay, trying to win the stadium-filling, middle-weight pop crown from U2 – selling millions of albums along the way.

Then there was a dark descent to rehab for Chaplin and a lengthy separation, if not an irrevocable split, for the band.

But after years on hiatus Keane are back and, judging by their ecstatic reception from a packed-out Brighton Centre, it’s not a moment too soon.

This was no cosy, self-congratulatory lap of greatest hits either.

Some of the tracks from new album Cause And Effect could stand with the classics, especially Strange Rooms, a gentle breeze of a song that gave Chaplin the space to fully express his dazzling vocal range.

If there was a slight criticism it was in the rather flat big-screen visuals during the gig’s midsection, some of which had the added distraction of highlighting Tim Rice-Oxley’s rather pedestrian lyrics.

The pianist can pick beautiful melodies like leaves from a tree, but he’s no Leonard Cohen on the typewriter.

None of that mattered, however, during a barnstorming final half-hour which included the mighty Everybody’s Changing and the blast of pure incandescence that was Bedshaped.

Best of all was Somewhere Only We Know, that quintessential slice of Keane that combines Rice-Oxley’s driving piano and Chaplin’s wistful yet rhapsodic vocals.

By the encore, Chaplin – suffering from a cold but still easily filling the cavernous arena – had the enraptured crowd acting as a blissed-out backing band, before sending them home with the hope that the wait won’t be nearly as long next time.

Sam Thomson