The 5SOS Show arrives as a victory lap to cap off the last decade.
Words: Abigail Firth.
Photos: Patrick Gunning.
It’s been seven years since 5 Seconds Of Summer last played The O2. In 2016, they were a very different band and have undergone quite a transformation on the journey back to the top.
Tonight’s performance, dubbed The 5 Seconds Of Summer Show, honours every version of the group so far, flexing their outstanding versatility over the course of a two-hour spectacular. Amidst a disjointed touring schedule (last year’s album ‘5SOS5’ was toured before its release, in conjunction with a late tour of 2020’s ‘CALM’), The 5SOS Show arrives as a bit of a victory lap to cap off the last decade.
The boys have long been vocal about their want to be taken seriously as a band, but in 2023, the show speaks for itself. Worlds away from the touching album preview show at London’s Royal Albert Hall this time last year, the ability to morph tracks old and new from those sentimental orchestral moments to these wildly fun arena bangers is a testament to the band’s skill and creativity.
Opening with ‘Bad Omens’ – the track they closed that last London show with – it kicks off a run of their more mature tracks: the nostalgic ‘2011’, lovelorn ‘Caramel’ and huge sax-solo number ‘BLENDER’. Where previous tours have seen the boys settle into this flow, with setlists comprising mostly of recent material, this one throws that out of the window, instead enlisting endless fan favourites and tracks that haven’t had live outings for years.
Older album cuts like ‘Babylon’ and ‘Why Won’t You Love Me’ from 2018’s big switch-up ‘Youngblood’ earn a place, but it’s ‘Sounds Good Feels Good’ – the album they were touring on their last stop at The O2 – that really gets its dues, with ‘Vapor’ and ‘Waste The Night’ getting the biggest ‘if you know, you know’ reaction.
5SOS know exactly what the fans want to hear, doubling down by rolling out an inflatable dice with heavily requested tracks printed on it across the crowd to select one, eventually ending up on debut album cut ‘English Love Affair’. One fan also took matters into their own hands by lobbing a DIY dice plastered with ‘If You Don’t Know’ on every side towards the stage; guitarist Michael catches it but unfortunately doesn’t cave in to the request.
It’s just one of the moments in the show that sets 5SOS apart from their peers. The set is divided by occasional video interludes, including one where the boys dress up as surgeons and diagnose the audience as 5SOS fans. Another segment sees drummer Ashton do a bonkers solo in a battle against the crowd for who can be louder, which ends in the other three boys returning to the stage to set off ketchup and mustard bottle-shaped confetti cannons following a vocal cue of “GET SAUCED”.
The whole show is outrageous fun, whether it’s these moments that call back to the nonsense of their old live shows or purely just rattling through the bangers; 5 Seconds Of Summer prove their longstanding relevance throughout the mammoth set tonight. It’s not just a performance that sheds light on the boys’ own skills, but one that also demonstrates the ways in which 5SOS and the fandom have coexisted for over ten years, something shown rather literally during ‘Best Friends’, 5SOS’ ode to one another, that turns that camera on the audience and encourages them to have a cuddle.
As 5SOS prepare to take some time off, The 5 Seconds Of Summer Show is a phenomenal bow out until further notice. Much like their discography, it’s consistently surprising, equally ridiculous and emotional, their growth as a band more obviously laid out than ever before.