The Vamps have been touring around the UK and Ireland, along with two of the groups signed to their Steady Records label, The Tide, from Los Angeles, and UK group, New Hope Club. Joining them on their tour is US singer songwriter and actress, Sabrina Carpenter, who is signed to Hollywood Records, with whom New Hope Club will be releasing their debut EP in the USA.
We were fortunate to be able to catch the tour at its London show at the O2 Arena, where the bands treated the 16,000 strong audience to a slick and polished evening’s entertainment.
First up was The Tide, who originally came together through auditions by The Vamps in 2014 to find a guitarist and drummer to form a band. They’ve accompanied The Vamps on tour two previous times, in 2015 and 2016, and their live show is very good, with quite a strong stage presence, as they sang four songs, ‘Click My Fingers’, ‘Naked’, Put The Cuffs On’ and ‘Young Love’.
While the stage was being set up for New Hope Club, we were treated to the new video for their song, ‘Fixed’, which had only been released the day before. The band opened up with an energetic cover of DNCEs ‘Cake By The Ocean’, which had many in the audience out of their seats dancing. Next they performed their best known song, ‘Perfume’, followed by new song, ‘Fixed’. NHC lead us through the chorus, which proved a very effective way of imprinting the song in our memories, with lots of audience members humming it later on. Considering NHC were among the youngest performing on the night (Blake is 17 while Reece and George are 18) they put on a brilliant show.
Sabrina Carpenter came on stage next, wearing a stunning long red coat and thigh high boots. Accompanied by female backing vocalists, she opened with the Ariana Grande-esque, ‘Feels Like Loneliness’. Sabrina followed this up with a cover of Bruno Mars’ ‘That’s What I Like’, before telling us all to bounce and twiddle our thumbs…while she sang her very catchy song, ‘Thumbs’, released in February. She completed her set with ‘On Purpose’, which had the whole arena singing.
The stage of the O2 Arena was configured in such a way as to allow the artists to get close to the audience on the lower levels. There was an oval catwalk, as well as a normal stage, far away from most of those in attendance. If we had any criticism of Sabrina’s otherwise lovely show, it’s that she kept herself largely to this area, but her performance was still well done, and she made good use of her considerable acting abilities.
The Vamps started how they meant to finish, slickly and professionally, having banter with the audience, before launching into their song, ‘Wild Heart’, which had us all singing and up out of our seats. They followed this with a new song, ‘Hands’, which they’d said nobody had ever heard before. Sabrina joined them again on stage, singing the song ‘Somebody To You’, taking the Demi Lovato part. She was presented with an England shirt, in honour of her recent 18th birthday, and Vamps lead singer Brad Simpson led the entire 16,000 strong audience in a rendition of Happy Birthday. That wasn’t the end of the surprises – it was announced that The Vamps self-titled debut album had gone platinum, and people from their label appeared on stage to present the boys with their awards. The Vamps have only been around since 2012, and in that time they have had three world tours and three albums, with their fourth, ‘Night And Day’ set to be released as four versions over two dates this year. The first part, ‘The Night Edition’, comes out on 14 July.
Another highlight of the show was the video for The Vamps song, ‘Paper Hearts’. The band had tweeted lyrics for the song, and asked fans to send in a photo of themselves with a lyric on a paper heart. They had over 7000 responses, which they sorted through and put together in a lyric video.
The band played a rather skilled mashup of various songs underpinned by Ed Sheeran’s ‘Shape Of You’, which included ‘Rockabye’ (Clean Bandit ft Sean Paul and Anne-Marie), ‘Hard Times’, by Paramore, and ‘TLC’, by No Scrubs.
Next was a fun interlude featuring Brad and Tristan having a “drum off”, with each challenging the other to see who was the better drummer. Given that Tristan won “Drummer Of The Year” in 2010, it’s not hard to guess who won! They followed it up with a more gentle and down-tempo song, an acoustic version of a track from their new album, ‘Time Is Not On Our Side’. This slowing down was only temporary however, as they were joined on stage by Danish DJ and producer, Martin Jensen, who collaborated with them on the song, ‘Middle Of The Night’. Before singing this, Jensen first played his track, ‘Solo Dance’. ‘Middle Of The Night’ is a bit of a new direction for The Vamps, but the audience lapped it up.
The Vamps had something for everyone in their show – new songs, old songs, fast songs, slow songs, covers, and originals. They finished the official part of the night with their first hit song, the one we’d been waiting for, ‘Shall We Dance’. We took our opportunity at the conclusion of this song to leave, knowing that they would likely do an encore. As we went, we could hear the crowd cheering loudly. It had been a long night according to our watches, but it had gone very quickly, testament to the talents and professionalism of all the artists involved.