Kaiser Chiefs’ first headline slot at the O2 was nice enough for the fans, but it must have felt oh so sweet for the Leeds quintet.
Effectively left for dead at the side of the road in 2012 by drummer and chief songwriter Nick Hodgson, who announced he was “finishing the band”, they came back with a number one album, a Saturday night telly role that revealed singer Ricky Wilson to have star appeal beyond the insular indie world, and now this arena tour.
No longer fighting for banter time with his drummer, Wilson and his Tiggerish energy carried the journeyman band towards greatness.
Working his way through a veritable kama sutra of frontman moves, he was climbing into the crowd by the third song, mounting the drum kit by the fourth and sprinting to a tiny solo stage in the centre of the arena not long after that.
Thankfully, this was not a Kaiser Chiefs version of Liam Gallagher’s Beady Eye, snubbing the absent member’s best tunes in a vain bid to move forwards.
The old favourites still dominated, including the seizure-inducing I Predict a Riot and the wilfully dumb Na Na Na Na Naa. But there was one thing hardly anyone could have predicted: Coming Home, a new one and possibly their best song yet, which added emotion and depth to their usual buoyant catchiness and provided what every arena band needs, the confetti moment.
Wilson has kept the group in the popular consciousness by running 10 miles a day to become a trim semi-hunk — “Ryanair Gosling”, as he puts it. He has also risked any credibility he had on BBC talent show The Voice.
But without decent new material, he’d be nothing more than daytime panel show material.
The pounding Ruffians on Parade and a brand new, keyboard-led one, Falling Awake, proved that this fading band are burning bright again.