Celebrations for the tenth anniversary of Bastille’s debut album Bad Blood are underway. Ilaria Riccio attends the first date of their commemorative tour.
The debut album of the British band Bastille, Bad Blood, was released ten years ago. The record debuted at Number 1 on the UK albums chart and features fan favourites including “Icarus” and “Things We Lost in the Fire” in addition to the song with over 1 billion listens, “Pompeii”. Experienced fans, like me, knew that Bastille’s anniversary tour would be an emotional one when it was first announced. On June 28, the Bad Blood X tour kicked off in Dublin. The tour celebrated the band’s career by playing songs from their debut album and other songs from their extensive catalogue.
The stage was built to allow the quartet, along with touring member Charlie Barnes and vocalists Senab Adekunle and Bim Amoako-Gyampah, to fill every corner of the stage. Grey light poles complete the stage with a nod to Bad Blood’s cover art. Even with the sun still bright in the Dublin sky, the show began. The LED screen at the back of the stage added another layer to the celebrations, projecting visuals from the Bad Blood era - including vlogs, music videos, and iconic clips seasoned Bastille fans know by heart - that accompanied the band on stage. To say that I was moved before Bastille took the stage would be an understatement.
Alongside this visual trip down memory lane, the real celebrations began with a spin to the traditional script of Bastille’s concerts: their smashing hit “Pompeii”, usually the set closer, kicked off the show with soaring “eh-oh”s raising from the crowd. With “Things We Lost in The Fire” following suit, it became clear that Bastille were going to honour their debut record by playing it in its entirety. Will Farquarson’s thumping bass was received with cheers as Bastille played the album’s title-track, before they turned their backs towards the screen and watched, alongside the audience, another reel of memories.
The comeback of tracks like “Overjoyed”, “These Streets”, “Icarus”, and “Daniel in the Den” was welcomed with enthusiasm, whilst I had the opportunity to reflect about my first encounter with Bastille when the band played “Weight of Living, Pt. II”. Hearing lead singer Dan Smith question, ten years later “do you like the person you’ve become?” sent chills down my spine. Another visual interlude allowed the crowd to catch their breath before fan-favourite ballad “Oblivion”, the atmosphere rendered magical thanks to drummer Chris “Woody” Wood inviting the audience to light up their phones. Smith’s walk into the crowd during “Flaws” also made a comeback, as the audience attempted to spot the singer as he weaved his way through the crowd.
Smith, who is usually chatty during gigs, repeated that he was trying his best not to get stuck in conversation to respect the curfew. The singer, however, had enough time to introduce another breakthrough single, “Laura Palmer”, asking the audience whether they were “ready to sing about a dead girl from a TV-show”, referencing David Lynch’s Twin Peaks. Another video interlude gave an overview of the places the band has visited since the release of Bad Blood which provided for an emotional introduction to “Get Home”, before “Weight of Living, Pt. I” closed the section of the set dedicated to Bastille’s decade-old debut - and the words “thank you for supporting us” appeared on the led screen.
The remainder of the set pulled from the rest of Bastille’s discography, including “Good Grief” from the quartet’s sophomore album Wild World, and rave-anthem “Million Pieces”, taken from 2019’s Doom Days - clearly, Bastille has a thing for alliteration. “Happier”, the collaboration between Bastille and masked DJ Marshmello, also featured in the setlist, together with rock banger “WHAT YOU GONNA DO???” and “Of the Night”. The latter is a mash-up of dance hits “Rhythm is a Dancer” and “Rhythm of the Night” Bastille made back in 2012 and has been a staple of their live performances throughout the past decade, with the crowd jumping at every chorus and the “drum battle” between Smith and keyboardist Kyle Simmons – one of my favourite moments of every Bastille concert I have been to. “No Angels”, a mash-up of TLC’s “No Scrubs” and The xx’s “Angels” returned for the first time since 2018, having won the fan poll on Instagram for which track they should play, whilst “Shut off the Lights” from the band’s fourth album Give Me The Future closed the set.
I have been to several Bastille shows in the decade that I have been a fan, but this one had something special about it. It might have been spending the day with the friends I have made over the years through Bastille or the feeling of re-listening to songs that have played such an important part in the past decade of my life. Perhaps it was the realisation that Bastille have accompanied me in so many pivotal moments of my life with their music. The Bad Blood X tour is surely a celebration of the band’s debut, but it also celebrates the way Bastille have soundtracked the lives of their fans since 2013. And to think that it all started with a song about the eruption of Mount Vesuvius - I had to find an excuse to mention my Neapolitan roots, I apologise.