So. This is being billed as the farewell to the UK tour, the last time that us UK folk will have to see the full Bowling For Soup experience. On that basis, I had to get a ticket and take it in.
Originally scheduled for the O2 ABC, demand was such that the gig was upgraded to the O2 Academy, a huge building to fill for BFS. But fill it they did, and they filled it with fans that absolutely love the band.
Support band Patent Pending proved more than able to get the party vibe going, with cute songs, and a nifty line in audience participation including a crowd swimming competition between the guitarist and vocalist – first to the stage from the back of the floor. Really, you had to see it.
The crowd were buzzing, and ready for action. Perry Gripp’s “Here Comes Bowling For Soup” signalled the beginning of the chaos. With a 30+ song setlist to work through, the band got stuck in to from the word go.
Who am I kidding? They goofed around, argued with each other, drank beer and bantered with the crowd and generally had a good time. With a bar on stage ably manned by the guys from Patent Pending, this wasn’t just a gig, it was a party and a celebration of everything that makes Bowling For Soup who they are.
How many bands can sing a song devoted to their junk (“My Wena”) near the theme from the Disney Channel’s “Phineas And Ferb”? They’re not out to change the world, they just want to have a party.
And there, friends, is the key. They might not have the best songs ever written. They may not be the second coming of Led Zeppelin as musicians. They’re definitely not Pink Floyd in terms of being politically aware… but you know what? They’re not supposed to be.
They go on stage, and they have fun. And they want the crowd to have fun. If you don’t know the song they’re singing, grab a beer, wait and one will be along soon.
For all I said they may not have the best songs, “Emily”, “Ohio (Come Back To Texas)”, “Girl All The Bad Guys Want”, “Almost”, “1985” and “Turbulence” are damn good tunes. They grab the audience by the scruff of the neck and scream in their face. They defy you not to have a good time.
The banter on stage between the band shows how tight they are as friends, and the banter between Jaret and the crowd is equally as good; he gets how to control and work a crowd like almost nobody else I’ve seen live.
It’s a shame they won’t be returning to these shores on a regular basis, I can honestly say that a Bowling For Soup gig is like the world’s biggest party, and everybody is invited… just bring some beer.