The Script show growing pains in Boston

A review of The Script at the Agganis Arena Boston on November 9, 2012

, Contributing Writer

In a city that boats one of their biggest fanbases, Irish rockers The Script hit Boston on Friday night for their most ambitious show to date. The Dublin-bred trio attempted to tackle the Agganis Arena and while there was nothing technically wrong with the show, they struggled to raise their game and meet the heightened expectations with a show that simply fell flat in the bigger space.

Taking the stage with a few rounds of “Here we go, here we go,” The Script immediately seemed more like a rap group than a rock band. The balance of sound, which put heavy emphasis on drums and bass over vocals and guitar, reinforced this feeling. The arena’s overall pour acoustics did not help. Featuring this sound in particular on several songs from their latest album, #3, which included “Hall of Fame” (featuring Will.I.Am) and the trio’s “If You Could See Me Now”, the overall experience felt more like being at a Linkin Park concert than a show celebrating the band that once released the mega-hit “Breakeven”.

It wasn’t just the music, though, that left listeners with a bad taste in their mouths. A band made famous by exuding fairly deep emotions on its recorded music gave none of that to the audience this time around. Constantly jovial, flirting with girls from afar, moving across the stage without a care in the world – The Script had a confidence in their ability that made it feel like they just didn’t care to work at it anymore. The band wore their own unique brand of “swagger” poorly, coming off as arrogant and giving the performance a sort of pre-programmed, inauthentic feeling as a whole.

Moments of breaking away from the script (no pun intended) and chatting with the audience left something to be desired as well. The band were certainly happy to be back in Boston (“Can’t believe we’re playing a place this fucking big in Boston”) and played up the Boston Irish connection throughout (the only place to actually get a decent cup of tea), but stage banter was too much and too long. This all came to a head when guitarist Mark Sheehan asked if the audience would “do something inappropriate” before launching into a speech about how often the band drunk dials, culminating in him requesting the audience to do the same during the song “Nothing”. Lead singer Danny O’Donoghue even took an audience member’s phone after she dialed and sang into it, keeping up the bit long after he (and those watching carefully) noticed that there was no one on the line.

The closest to a genuine feeling of emotion the band was able to achieve all night occurred in a seated, acoustic rendition of “I’m Yours”, closer to the end of the 14-song main set, the quietness of which highlighted the beautiful harmonies that had been drowned out for most of the show. But it wasn’t long before the all the tricks were back with the next two songs, adding an echo effect on the mic at one point and featuring O’Donoghue running through the crowd.

The encore featured two of The Script’s biggest hits, “Breakeven” and “For the First Time”, which allowed for a fan sing-along to cap off the night. All in all, though, it was too late to make up for a show that failed to meet expectations.

Tristian Prettyman kicked off the evening, bringing her own unique brand of pop to the show as she supported of her new album, Cedar + Gold.

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