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Busted @ AO Arena review and gallery – Noughties pop sensations return to the spotlight for 20th anniversary

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Featured image and gallery: Ben Redshaw


Noughties pop sensations Busted returned to the spotlight for their 20th anniversary. With a surprise announcement of the Greatest Hits 2.0 album, Matt Willis, Charlie Simpson, and James Bourne have reunited and hit the road again on their worldwide tour, kicking off the Europe leg with a sold-out show at the O2 Arena in London.

Manchester has been treated with not one, but two shows this September. With special guests, Hanson, and support from The Tyne, this was sure to be an unmissable event.

Warming up the crowd tonight was alternative indie band, The Tyne. Kicking the night off with a cover of ‘Teenagers’ by My Chemical Romance, the audience were quick on their feet. Moving onto their own songs, The Tyne performed singles ‘Work is Hard, Life is Easy’, ‘Funeral’, and ‘Happy in Love’, showcasing their upbeat rock style.

Closing their limited set, they took a moment to thank Busted for the opportunity to be able to tour around the UK and perform for such special audiences. Soon after, they ended their performance with ‘Bad Mood’, warming up the crowd for the next performance with Hanson.

After a very short interval, Hanson took the stage to a huge ovation from the crowd. The 90s pop band had been selected to join Busted on this tour to bring the nostalgic feel to the show. Launching into ‘Fired Up’, they kept the energy high. Hanson soon surprised fans with a more downbeat song. They asked the audience “Can we play you a song we wrote over 25 years ago”, before playing hit ‘I Will Come to You’.

Closing their set, the crowd were expecting the band’s most notorious track, ‘MMMBop’. Little did the audience know that Busted had a surprise in line for them later on in the show. Instead, the performance concluded with 90s pop-styled melody ‘In The City’.

As the lights went down and the curtain dropped to reveal a video tape of esteemed actor, Christopher Lloyd, reprising his role of Doc Brown from the film franchise Back to the Future. He announced: “The 20 anniversary of the band, Busted. The only thing we need now, is to start the show.” Then after a big bang, Busted appeared on stage recreating the pose from their newest album, Greatest Hits 2.0.

They began the show with fan-favourite and all-time classic, ‘Air Hostess’. Fans in attendance of the sold-out arena were screaming and singing along to each of the songs as Busted went on to perform ‘Meet You There’ and ‘Loser Kid’ soon after.

Busted had a surprise for their fans tonight as they invited Hanson back on stage to perform the infamous ‘MMMBop’. Engaging the crowd with this all-time classic, Hanson then asked Busted, “Now that we’ve sung one of our songs, could we sing one of your songs?” Then led into ‘Sleeping With The Light On’ as the arena filled with lights from the participating crowd.

Busted took a moment during the show to really appreciate the Manchester crowd and even mentioned their recorded performance back in 2004 at Manchester Arena. In a ball of excitement, Matt Willis couldn’t help it but yell: “I f*cking love this town! Come on Manchester.” He added: “There’s not many bands that we know of that lasted 20 years, but we did it!”

The comment received a thunderous applause, which was convenient as the next song threw it back 20 years as they performed the theme to Thunderbirds with ‘Thunderbirds Are Go!’

Towards the end of the night, Willis made a special announcement for a member of the audience. “This is the first time we have ever done this, but I think someone named Joe wants to ask his girlfriend a very important question”. Busted helped set up the ultimate proposal for the couple – and she said yes! With a huge ovation from the crowd and Busted themselves, they launched into ‘Crashed The Wedding’.

Simpson, Willis and Bourne each took a bow and exited the stage, as a chant of “Y3K” emerged from the crowd and rapidly filled the arena. Busted took the stage one last time to perform a cover of ‘Teenage Kicks’ by The Overtones and ‘Year 3000’. It was a night of nostalgia and partying for the Manchester crowd as they finished off the lyrics of ‘Year 3000’.

Due to high demand, Busted have added another show to the tour later this week at Manchester AO Arena. They are continuing their UK tour over the next few weeks making stops in London, Cardiff.

Busted’s latest album Greatest Hits 2.0 is available on all streaming platforms.


The Tyne Supporting Busted at AO Arena


Hanson Supporting Busted at AO Arena


Busted at Manchester AO Arena


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Ben Redshaw

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