Following a European stint in the capitals of cool including Amsterdam and Paris, Frank Turner returned back to the greens of the English isle to play his best gig to date, Wembley.
Before his headlining performance at the big W, Frank Turner was certainly not shy about sharing his thoughts and potential bladder shattering nervousness about taking on such a momentous gig. Posting on his blog: “I was down at Wembley Arena the other day to do some interviews and the like, and the reality of the show hit a little closer to home. I’m happy to say, though, that rather than shitting my pants, I felt quietly confident that it’s going to be a great evening for everyone,” and that it certainly was.
His story is the journey of how a folk riddled, waste coat wearing man made his way from Winchester to Wembley with as much hard work you could through a stick at. With the makings of a stand out performer with rock n roll flowing through his English bones Frank Turner was destined to do this gig. Fans are used to the tweets, the radio interviews, the merchandise, but Turner went above and beyond and blogged, sang and even used technology to his advantage by creating an app to do something a little different. This one night stand was at festival level, celebrating Wembley like it was Christmas.
With a soul as British as Thomas the Tank Engine and lyrics that plough their way through your hearts, Frank Turner is a standout performer who truly deserves to shout the two words that any artist would sacrifice their winning lottery ticket for: “Hello Wembley.” Opening with Eulogy taken from his latest album England Keep My Bones, the words resonate with any self deprecating individual beckoning for that much needed kick up the arse. “But on the day I died, at least I’ll say I fucking tried” have been ringing in my ears since the first time I heard the album and has been my inspiration track ever since. But to hear it live accompanied by the blissful tune of a trumpet? That enters goosebumps territory.
Supported by the an interesting mix of acts from the humorous Beans on Toast, the brilliant Dan Lee Sac and Scroobius Pip and the legend that is Billy Bragg, no one expected the awe moving duet of The Times They Are A-Changing between Bragg and Tuner, a spine tingling moment indeed. I think his mum was probably even more surprised to be one of the band as her Eton educated son beckoned her on stage to play the harmonica. But the one song that held my breath and put a lump in my throat most of all was his performance of The Queen is Dead, almost bringing a tear to my eye. In a jam packed two hour set, Turner filled it with every musicians wish and even belted out the Queen classic Somebody to Love, perhaps this was a subliminal sign for someone to take him on, I’d definitely give it a go. Finishing off the set by announcing a string of gigs later on this year, he also ticked off another item on the rockstar bucket list getting a tattoo of his Friday 13th Wembley gig, throbbing with pride above the date he supported Green Day in that very building in June 2010. I don’t know what could possibly top what I personally believe is the best arena gig I’ve seen to date, but I’m sure he’s got an idea for his next inking.
Rhyme and Shine factoid: Frank Turner uses a Seinheisser 840 because the robust build of the microphone can handle his copious amounts of sweat and saliva compared to other microphones which would just deteriorate.
A brilliant video made by NME on Frank Turner’s road to Wembley