Forestry England’s ‘Forest Live’ Concert Series: Keane Live at Westonbirt Arboretum – Review

Photo Credit: Frankie Lewis

Westonbirt Arboretum is one of the most beautiful and peaceful public locations in the cotswolds and it is such a stunning setting to host Forest Live. This year’s Forestry England’s ‘Forest Live’ Concert Series has been an incredibly popular line up with shows played by Rag ‘N’ Bone Man, Madness, Texas and Keane.

Keane have previously played Forest Live and are quite clearly a very popular act hence being invited back.

We arrived at the Arboretum at around 7pm on Friday June 10th. The car park wasn’t difficult to get into and was handled wonderfully by staff. The staff in general were great throughout the evening. The only issue I had was getting out of the car park and not really knowing that there were two lanes, one to turn left out of the event and one right. I couldn’t see anywhere to go but one direction but that may been my error.

Forest Live was held within the open space just before the Old Arboretum. Most people, including us had bought our own seats and were ready to just relax and enjoy the concert – People were here for the music yes, but also to socialise with family and friends and have a thoroughly enjoyable evening which from what we saw, everyone did.

Keane are a sensational band. Is it any wonder they have had success for so many years and fans who have been incredibly loyal and supportive since the start of their career?

Lead vocalist Tom Chaplin is incredibly likeable and always comes across very humble on stage. He thanked the audience a few times and stated how great it was to be back in front of an audience of thousands after taking time off to raise kids.

The atmosphere from the start was really lovely with respectful guests all over. The queues for food were fairly long but didn’t take too long to get through. The queues understandably were minimal to none during Keane’s set so it was nice to grab food for my son with ease at that point.

Photo Credit: Frankie Lewis

Keane arrived on stage to a roaring crowd. So many people at the front had clearly arrived very early for their spot and deservedly so as they were part of what made the night so atmospheric. The crowd sang along so loudly and so beautifully and it was actually pretty emotional at times. Tom and the band certainly felt that too.

Beginning the set with Disconnected, everyone was up from their seats and dancing. Chaplin’s voice was breathtakingly flawless. He really has such a distinctive tone that is absolutely gorgeous . The band played a stunning set throughout and as far as I could tell, note perfect. The sound was brilliant too which isn’t always the case in an open aired concert but we could hear it all perfectly. I do wish the screen could have been bigger as we were right at the back and I have very poor eyesight but that didn’t take anything away from an enjoyable evening.

Photo Credit: Frankie Lewis

Hardcore Keane fans knew every single song that they played, word for word. Fans such as myself who are mostly familiar with the hits, got to fall in love with the songs which were new to their/my ears.

All of Keane’s songs are lyrically creative and sonically divine. So many songs are incredibly emotive and relatable. Somewhere Only We Know holds an everlasting love for me and probably does for many as it is a song that you truly listen to every word and take it all in.

The crowd of course, became more alive during the big hits. I do think it was a smart idea to leave those better known songs towards the end of the set else there is risk of people leaving early. I saw this happen with Bryan Adams. Despite being towards the end of the set, the hit songs were spread out slightly. Everybody’s Changing was followed by Is It Any Wonder and the set typically ended with Somewhere Only We Know which of course went down a treat but before that was Bed Shaped which live, is something else, just perfection. The encore if possible, was even more energetic than the rest of the show. The audience were just wild! That happens often during encores but this just felt really special, maybe in part because we have missed live music for so long.

Photo Credit: Frankie Lewis

One memorable moment was when the whole audience lit up their phones, for which song? I fail to remember so if anyone can help on that I would be grateful.

The encore included

Neon River
Crystal Ball
Sovereign Light Café

Crystal Ball in particular sounded amazing live, what a song!

Keane delivered a masterfully spectacular set. A timeless band, Keane will continue to enrich the lives of old fans and new with their music for many years to come.

One tip I would have if you can’t get there early for a good spot, move to the side where all the food outlets are after the first few songs of the main set. We went from seeing nothing at the back to getting a great side stage view and all the space we could want once all those queues died down.

We will definitely be back for more Forestry England’s ‘Forest Live’ Concert Series and will also definitely go and see Keane again!

Set List

Day Will Come
Silenced by the Night
Nothing in My Way
Strange Room
Bend and Break
She Has No Time
The Way I Feel
You Are Young
Try Again
Love Too Much
Everybody’s Changing
Is It Any Wonder?
A Bad Dream
My Shadow
This Is the Last Time
Somewhere Only We Know


Neon River
Crystal Ball
Sovereign Light Café

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