- Photo: Emanuele D'Angelo
“Good evening Wembley. You don’t know how long I’ve waited to say that,” bellows Harry McVeigh. The answer, of course, is ‘not as long as most people’; White Lies are barely three years old, and their ascent to the echelons of arena-filling bands has been nothing short of stratospheric.
It’s no surprise that the image-conscious three-piece have paid particular attention to visuals tonight, with huge columns of video screens dangling from the rafters of Wembley Arena and vaseline-smeared camera lenses orbiting each of the three members. There are pyrotechnics, too, and the band waste no time in scorching the front row with explosions and fireworks heralding the chorus of ‘To Lose My Life’.
But at times it feels like White Lies are hiding behind their new-found ‘explosions budget’ and have taken advantage of a three-for-one at the Acme store. Fireworks erupt intermittently throughout, giving way to fire-flashes and even a glitter-cannon, which showers the crowd in glittering, shiny confetti that dissipates just enough for us to watch McVeigh groaning about death on the other side.
For all the above grumbles, let’s not forget that when White Lies hit full-throttle they’re captivating, and this is never more evident than tonight. ‘E.S.T’ sends the whole arena into a frenzy and the robotic drum intro of ‘Farewell To The Fairground’ is met with a deafening roar that’s only beaten by 10,000 voices screaming “keep on running, keep on running, there’s no place like home” in unison.
Tellingly though, as the band take their bows under the explosion of yet another streamer-cannon, only rousing set-closers ‘The Power & The Glory’ and ‘Bigger Than Us’ manage to break the crowd-pleasing stronghold of songs from White Lies’ 2008 debut show.
There’s no doubt White Lies will be back in arenas like this – and deservedly, too. Their music is explosive enough to stand on its own two feet.