the vamps

REVIEW: The Vamps at The O2 Arena, London, 28th April 2018

The Vamps have become regulars to the pages of CelebMix, their lovable personalities and exciting live shows are just two of the many reasons for this. With them, in the midst of their Night & Day Arena tour, we made our annual trip down to the O2 Arena date on Saturday for a fun-filled evening. As Tristan revealed on Twitter the day before this show would mark the sixteenth time The Vamps would play the O2 Arena, now that’s pretty impressive if you ask us!

Now with a number one album under their belt, The Vamps are bringing out all the tricks for their show with one of the first being Brad Simpson, Connor Ball and James McVey rising up through the middle of the stage during the opening number whilst Tristan Evans sat firmly at his drumkit ready to unleash the chaos. Opening with their collaboration with Matoma, Staying Up sees the energy levels increase rapidly and Brad running down the walkway making sure every fan in the arena knows they’ve arrived.

Performing a set full of fan favourites, Shades On sees the audience don their shades and have a little dance at the band’s request. It’s clear from the onset this isn’t just a special night for the fans but also the band as smiles beam across their faces throughout. The Vamps weren’t rocking Barbados but instead were rocking the O2. With the Day edition of their Night & Day album set for release on the 13th July, this tour gave the perfect time to show off new material. One example of this being sultry Just My Type, stepping away from the poppier side of the band it shows a matured sound. Repetitive guitar lines, harmonies and a singalong chorus make this a winning live track with fans singing along before the track is out. We can’t lie we’re now even more excited for its release! The newer material also came with latest single Hair Too Long, released just over a week ago it hasn’t taken fans long to learn every word to the catchy number. It’s clear this is a shock for the band seeing fans take the reigns singing along without them even really needing to sing at all. Having been waiting to hear this track live since Brad told us about it last year it was definitely worth the wait!

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Shades on ? @thevamps #london

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Collaborating recently with Maggie Lindemann for track Personal, the American songstress has been appearing with the quartet throughout the tour. Oozing in confidence with this being her first time being the O2 we love the pure excitement shown on her face when strutting across the stage. Following on from their collaboration it was time for Maggie to take centre stage to perform single Pretty Girl, this power anthem is enough to make every girl in that room realise more about their self-worth and we love her for that. Thanking London before leaving the stage it was a great mid-set change up before The Vamps through us right back into the funky sounds of Hands. Fans in the arena listening to every word the band says as arms are swinging side to side in time to the catchy chorus with Brad having a cheeky dance onstage. Unafraid of mixing up what they know a slower, vocal focus version of Middle Of The Night gets showcased. The slickness of Brad, James and Connor is admirable working perfectly in sync to captivate every inch of the audience’s attention both now and throughout the set.

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Hands!!!! @thevamps #london

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It is, however, true that the oldies are goldies with Wild Heart and Somebody To You receiving some of the best crowd responses of the night and rightly so. Musically it’s nice to see that they love playing the tracks which helped them get to where they are today as much as with their newer material. Thanks, The Vamps for giving us the dream mix of old and new!

Throughout the quartets, musicianship and friendship has been highlighted and we approach the section where the individual talents of each member shine. Live is truly where The Vamps excel and here’s a couple of reasons why. The London audience was lucky enough to have the addition of Conor Maynard to the line-up meaning their iconic Shape Of You mash-up with a sing-off between Conor and Brad was showcased. If you’re yet to see them mix a multitude of popular songs into another hit track be sure to check it out on YouTube. You won’t be disappointed. We weren’t. Each year we’re blessed with a drum solo by Tristan Evans, giving him a chance to show off just why he’s the musical backbone of the band. Sometimes it can be hard for drummers to get the attention they deserve and this is why we love this segment year after year. On Twitter fans, each show have been given the chance to pick which acoustic James and Connor affectionately known as Jonnor (Brad made fans chant this following on from their special showcase) would perform. Tonight’s being fan favourite and heartfelt track Risk It All, with the duo being in the middle of the sold-out arena lit up by thousands of fans lights it was a breathtaking moment. The Vamps even through just this section of the show proved they’re going nowhere, getting stronger as each tour passes and gaining fans globally.

We couldn’t miss out some of the standout moments from tonight when writing this review. Firstly with James’ birthday two days after the London show what better way to celebrate it than getting a couple of thousand people to sing Happy Birthday to him and make him a little embarrassed. Sorry James, hope you had a great day though! The Vamps have always been a fan orientated band shown by their willingness to meet fans regularly and this was shown again at the O2. Bringing back the Onstage With The Vamps part of the show YouTuber Saffron Barker selected a couple of fans from the audience to meet the guys in front of the crowd. Unknown to many in the crowd were two fans Maria and Krissy who’d flown from New York for part of this tour desperate to get onstage with the band to celebrate this important trip. With fans shouting from around the arena and spamming the quartet on social media it was Brad who took this chance to get them from within the crowd and bring them up onstage. Fan goals or what? These lovely gestures showed off the genuine adoration for their fellow band mates and also fans which makes The Vamps such an easy band to love.

As the main set drew to the close Oh Cecilia (Breaking My Heart) had the pressure of ending it on a high. This was a sure-fire success thanks to everyone whether a fan or a parent knowing the track, getting on their feet and clapping along in unison when commanded to by the band. It’s truly hard to not enjoy yourself when seeing The Vamps but this wasn’t the end of the show even if people were tricked into believing it to be.

Throwing themselves back onstage with anthemic Wake Up, it started with a literal bang of pyro heating up the venue and keeping the energy alive for just a little bit longer. With the star-filled video playing in the background, it was hard to work out who to watch, the quartet giving every drop of their energy onstage or the storytelling video. Now is the perfect time to mention how impressive the tour visuals have been, making it impossible to choose who to watch it’s created a full arena stage fitting performance. Penultimate track Same To You has since it’s release provided an emotional outlet for many fans and also been hailed as one of the most personal tracks to the band, in particular, James McVey. When performed live the raw emotion sends a tidal wave through the venue making it a heartfelt number with a couple of tears thrown in. Closing the set came with All Night, signifying the triumphant set which the quartet had put on it was only right that the venue became scattered in blue and purple confetti before they took their final bow and thanked the fans once again.

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Goodnight London! #allnight @thevamps @theo2london

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Many fans will have definitely been up all night remembering parts of this special night. Not once tonight did the quartet lose momentum and remove the smiles from their faces. Instead, they reminded us why they’re an arena-worthy band and will no doubt be back filling up the O2 in 2019. We’ll see you there guys!

Be sure to keep an eye on CelebMix for all news about The Vamps. Have you been to any of the Night & Day Arena Tour shows? Tweet us @CelebMix to share your favourite memories!

Written by Nicola Craig

Lover of all things pop, a boyband or two, and discovering new artists to get hooked on. You'll usually find me at a gig, truly living my best life without a care in the world.