Busted at AO Arena Manchester, 24/09/23

In spite of it being almost 20 years ago since their last number 1 single, Busted are now riding high again at the top of the charts after their recent album Greatest Hits 2.0 debuted at number 1 in the official charts earlier this week, gifting them their first number one album.

The pop-punk trio – comprising Charlie Simpson, Matt Willis and James Bourne – are coming towards the end of their UK 20th Anniversary tour and tonight play the AO arena in Manchester.

Support is provided by UK rock band The Tyne and American pop rockers Hanson.

There’s an announcement over the PA from none other than Stephen Fry stating the band will be here soon before Back to the Future’s Doc (Christopher Lloyd) appears on the video screen, announcing that Busted have landed in the year 2023, and the trio rise on the rear platform as the crowd go wild. Opening with their number one hit ‘Air Hostess’ the tone is set for the night which is one of singing, dancing and nostalgia. The video accompaniment to the tracks adds to this, with old school references and even some cheeky song lyric updates too (What I Go To School For’s Miss McKenzie has now had an extra 20 years added to her age!) and despite the history that led to the band splitting back in 2005, there is now a real sense of camaraderie between them.

Surprisingly during their stint as support, 90s band Hanson didn’t perform their iconic track ‘MMMBop’, but since this track is featured on the Busted’s new greatest hits album they instead have saved it for the Busted set as they come out and join the band on stage.

All of the classics get a spot on tonight’s setlist, from the heartbreak of ‘Sleeping With the Light On’ to the cheesy bops of ‘Thunderbirds Are Go’ and ‘3am’ is given an emo rock upgrade courtesy of the new album sound and entirely as expected the super fun ‘Crashed the Wedding’ is a real crowd pleaser.

Ending on their smash hit ‘Year 3000’, the confetti cannons, pyro and the electric energy around the arena has the crowd on their feet and it’s without doubt Busted could go another twenty years and still the fans would turn out in their masses for them. What a night!



Izzy Clayton

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