McFly Anthology Tour: Birmingham

I just got back from one of the most amazing experiences of my life. I got to see McFly live for three nights in a row  at the O2 Academy and they played all their discography, which is quite impressive. Here’s a glimpse into what it was like!

Buying the tickets

My older sister (who lives in England) was the one who rushed to buy them online the first minutes they were on sale. Initially, we wanted to go just two nights but they were sold out so quickly that only three-day balcony packs were available. And we took them, of course. It has been our dream for a long time to see them and they were going to play every single album, so we couldn’t miss it.

The waiting

As for all good things, one must wait. We arrived at the line about two hours before the doors opened and were able to sit on the second row each time. The line for the stalls (that is, the people who were standing on the first floor and closest to the band) was unbelievable. The first day’s waiting felt the longest because we were so excited to see them. Merch was being sold (I ended up snagging a baseball-style tee after the last show) and local bands and singers went around promoting themselves to each little group of concert-goers. Some people took foldable chairs to be wait in comfort or books to read while we just talked about how excited we were and tried to think of McFly songs for every letter of the alphabet.

After we were thoroughly searched for dangerous items and bottled beverages and food, our tickets were scanned and we had to go up the stairs. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t half-run up them. We were in the second row in the middle for the three shows, which had a great view. The opening act was the Swedish singer MY. She seemed really nice and her songs are fun and catchy (I can’t get “Invincible” or “Pretty Little Liar” out of my head!). Her style reminds me of Paramore and Ellie Goulding. By the third night, she had really won over the crowd and a lot of us were singing along. She hangs out with her band after the show so you can also meet them!

Something very simple and seemingly silly was one of the best parts of the night for me: when everyone danced to YCMA. They played it after MY’s set and right before McFly so everyone was pumped. There were just so many people dancing that it looked so visually awesome. Danny seemed to love it, as on the last night he sang the YMCA bit again to see everyone move in unison once more.

The show

The show was rather simple, nothing fancy, which let the music and the band’s personality really shine. In my opinion, their little comments and banter was better than any decorations or fireworks. They sound exactly the same live as on the albums and they were very interactive with the crowd. The only bad things was that those of us on the balcony couldn’t get up and dance because security would come over and yell at us, except for the last song, “The Heart Never Lies”. The first night they didn’t seem to know we couldn’t get up from our seats, but the second and third they did and told us to do it anyways for the final song (much to the security guards’ dismay). Yes, I did hear it three times but it was amazing and the lyric change to “McFly’s here forever” was a nice touch. Some of my other favorite bits of the show were:

  • When Dougie had everyone hold up their phones with the flash on and asked to turn off all the stage lights for “The Heart Never Lies”
  • Learning fun facts like that “No Worries” was meant to be on their first album and they even wanted to call the album by that title but weren’t allowed
  • The ongoing jokes, like that Danny supposedly blames management for everything and Tom taping his glasses to his face
  • When Danny taped a poster of shirtless Harry onto the front of the drums
  • How the slow songs were very personal and emotional, especially when Danny was alone with his guitar under a yellow spotlight for “Walk in the Sun” and when Tom sang “She Falls Asleep” on the piano
  • The fact that they took time to say hi to everyone in the crowd, even those of us on the balcony and the people who were quite far away
  • How Tom apologized for Danny spitting water at them
  • How they acknowledged it when they had messed up the lyrics and laughed at each other

The only thing I can say was missing was hearing “Just My Luck” in full. They were about to play it, with Dougie singing “something something about a jumper” and then the crowd requested “Red” (which I hadn’t heard before but liked) and abandoned it. But I’m definitely not complaining. It was just such an amazing experience. I can’t believe I was there and that I heard so many songs in person that have accompanied memorable times in my life. I would 100% recommend going to see them if you ever have the chance!

Image credit: Karen D.

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