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10 highlights from #BNLUK2016

With the #BNLUK2016 tour now sadly over, Get Barenaked looks back at 10 magic moments from a run of shows which saw the band on top form – and British audiences loving the return of the BNL travelling party. 🇬🇧

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Selling out Glasgow

Barenaked Ladies kicked off their seven-date UK tour in – where else but Glasgow – and were warmly welcomed by a sold-out crowd at the O2 ABC. Often mooted as the band’s favourite place to play, the familiar face of Boothby Graffoe roused the crowd with a hilarious half hour set before BNL’s barnstorming performance begun.

Smashing it out of the park at Bingley

Undeterred by the downpours – well it wouldn’t be a British festival without them, would it? – the Ladies absolutely killed it in Bingley, winning over a legion of new fans in the process. ☔

Billed as a family-friendly festival, BNL’s early evening slot on Saturday was met with rapturous applause from a predominantly young audience experiencing their first taste of BNL. It’s safe to say that many Bingley punters were won over by the Ladies’ charismatic performance – particularly during the hits medley closing the show. The excitement even spilled over into a moshpit at one stage – there’s a first time for everything at a BNL show…

Huw Jones rocking Bournemouth and Cardiff

Ed’s pals, the lovely Jones clan, are a musically talented bunch – and Huw (of Campoverde Reef Band fame) got up to join the band in both Bournemouth and Cardiff. Performing “Gonna Walk”, Huw’s keys skills were a fantastic addition to the set – and he received the biggest cheer of the night at both shows respectively.

The video below is from the Bournemouth gig – and you can also watch him whipping the Welsh crowd into a frenzy here! 👏🏻

Loud Liverpudlians

Easily the best atmosphere on the tour came in the shape of almost 1,200 Liverpudlians crammed into the O2 Academy on this scorching Wednesday night. With Boothby once again in top form – ribbing Jim and Kevin incessantly throughout his set – the BNL foursome then took to the stage in front of an enthused Liverpool crowd. Despite the heat – noted several times by the dripping band members – the gig goes down as one of the most energetic, fun and – most of all – loud shows the band have played in the UK.

Clearly after a gap of 12 years, the Scouse public are keen for BNL not to leave it so long next time. What a noise! 👂🏻

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Even when they’re rusty – they’re amazing

A number of uncharacteristically out-of-sync intros led to any following flubs being dubbed “the Cardiff start”; a recurring theme throughout the show. Even when the band are musically out of sorts, their self-deprecating humour and ability to improvise their way out of situations made this return to Wales unique in its own hilarious way.

Still, no matter to the Cardiff public – or the reviewing press; Wales Online stating that “Catchy tunes, classic covers and fresh hits proved the Barenaked Ladies still have it“.

In a ridiculous moment, a bottle was launched onto the stage during “Million Dollars” 😠 (the idiotic drunk responsible was swiftly removed, much to the relief of those around him). Although understandably and visibly annoying the band – the bottle narrowly missed Ed and Tiny, and soaked equipment in the process – the Ladies carried on rocking. Whilst other bands may have sulked, or at least lost their momentum, the Ladies shook it off, returning for an encore with lead singer Ed Robertson very genuinely praising British audiences as “the best in the world”.

It goes to show the band’s collective experience, professionalism – and above all, class: what could have been a difficult moment in fact prompted a very poignant closing message. 🙌🏻

Monkeying around in Cambridge

Encouraged to the front barrier by his mum, a 10 year old fan sheepishly held up a cute homemade sign requesting his favourite song “Another Postcard” during the Corn Exchange show. His persistence paid off; duly encouraging the receptive-as-ever Ladies to break into an abridged version of the chimpanzee-themed number. 🐒

Oh – and the Cambridge show contained one of the funniest adlibs in recent memory: Ed serendipitously reunited an expensive lost lens-cap to its rightful owner, only to find the forgetful photographer ungratefully nonplussed about its return. In a rap not quite as suitable for the youngster in the front row, Ed suggested he could “shove the lens cap up his ass” – set, of course, to a brilliant backing track spontaneously created by messrs Creeggan, Hearn and Stewart. 😂

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The Howard Jones reunion in London

After “the greatest BNL tour ever” (to quote Mr Tyler Stewart) this summer with Howard Jones and OMD, the good times kept rolling in London, where Jones – the 80s pop maestro behind hits such as “What Is Love?” and “Like To Get To Know You Well” – was reunited with the band for a rousing rendition of “No One Is To Blame”.

Having become a setlist staple throughout the Last Summer on Earth tour, the Camden crowd were treated to the BNL reworking, as shown in this video:

A world of pure imagination

Following the sad passing of legendary American actor Gene Wilder at the end of August, BNL’s very own Kevin Hearn played a heartfelt tribute to Mr Willy Wonka himself at each show on the UK tour. Watch it below:

It’s happy hour again

What a treat to hear “Hello City” from the band’s debut album Gordon night after night.

Reintroduced into the setlist at the tail end of Last Summer on Earth, this old-school fan favourite had audiences across the UK reminiscing at the band’s brilliant acoustic jazzy roots. Jim, too, was struck by the crowd participation – commenting in Liverpool that it was special to hear his brother Andy’s vocal parts sung back from the floor with such vigour.

There are many more moments that could be included in this list (the ‘alternate version to “The Big Bang Theory Theme”, “Blame It On Me” re-emerging as an encore in London, Boothby’s take on “Be My Yoko Ono”, Jim nodding to Yes and Howard Jones in his bass solo.

A huge highlight of the BNL live experience though is the people – the amazing fans, the hard-working, dedicated crew, the people behind the scenes who book and make the shows happen. Many gig-goers this tour commented that they couldn’t remember a happier, more relaxed and enjoyable bunch of shows. Thank you everyone! ☺

for Get Barenaked by @liammckinnon

Did you attend a show on #BNLUK2016? Would you like to write a guest blog? Send your reviews, photos, videos and spare pants to liam@getbarenaked.net to be featured on this site. ✍🏻

Stay tuned for more fun on Get Barenaked soon, including this – a special video feature which leads to a band punch-up. 😉

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