British alt rock export Keane rocked a Manchester tram on BBC Music Day by playing their hits “Somewhere Only We Know” and “The Way I Feel”. Honey-voiced frontman Tom Chaplin performed with guitarist Jesse Quin, who donned an acoustic guitar for the occasion. The appearance was a real treat as “Somewhere Only We Know” always hits differently when played acoustically, and of course, Chaplin just sang like a bird as he always does.
There was a particularly special moment in the song when Chaplin led commuters in an acapella performance of the final chorus, putting big smiles on everyone’s faces. The duo then launched into “The Way I Feel”, which was the lead single from their 2019 comeback album Cause and Effect. You can watch the performance in the video below.
Keane really nails it whenever they’re called upon to do acoustic versions of their songs. Chaplin being one of the most talented British vocalists to emerge since the turn of the century certainly has a big part to play in that. But it goes further than that, as the songs they write seem like they started as acoustic songs originally and then got rock arrangements, so they always work so beautifully when stripped back.
With “Somewhere Only We Know” being Keane’s signature song, it’s always a must-play when the boys do short sets like the two-song BBC shoot. Another gem from the band was an intimate session they did of “Somewhere Only We Know” to promote their Best Of release. In this version, which you can watch below, the four-piece performs the song in a unique acoustic arrangement that features the full lineup.
Keane fans loved the tram appearance, adding comments such as “Tom’s voice is heavenly! What a pleasure it must have been to be in that tram with him and Jesse” and “Amazing performance. He keeps his clean and powerful voice after all these years.” Many fans also noted how flawlessly Chaplin sings even without the aid of the band’s usual big production or studio tricks, proving without a doubt that he’s the real deal.
“Somewhere Only We Know” was the lead single from Keane’s debut studio album Hopes and Fears and has remained the band’s biggest hit ever since. The single went to number three in the UK and its success helped drive the album to even greater heights and eventually a 9x UK Platinum certification.
A big part of the appeal of “Somewhere Only We Know” is the universality of the lyrics, which Keane drummer Richard Hughes reflected on in comments to Chris Flynn’s fansite, saying “it might be about a geographical space, or a feeling; it can mean something individual to each person, and they can interpret it to a memory of theirs. It’s perhaps more of a theme rather than a specific message. Feelings that may be universal, without necessarily being totally specific to us, or a place or a time.”