With large neon wings hanging in the background and flashes of blue and pink lighting all night, The Script essentially recreated the cover of its newest album Freedom Child onstage at Oakland’s Fox Theater on Friday night. Yet its set was rooted in older hits “Breakeven” and “The Man Who Can’t Be Moved,” eliciting an explosive response from the crowd.
Opening with the loud and upbeat “Rock the World,” The Script immediately had the crowd on their feet with a palpable excitement that refused to subside throughout the night, as it slowly transitioned from playing some newer songs to the nostalgic hits that everyone seemed to be waiting for.
The Script clearly emphasized the rock aspect of its sound throughout the night, which kept the audience hyped and dancing, but the band lacked in producing a large dynamic range. The variety was there, as lead singer Danny O’Donoghue was front and center for a quieter acoustic “Arms Open” and “For the First Time,” yet the contrast was rather low. The band almost seemed scared to lose the energy of the crowd, quickly ramping up the slower beginnings of multiple songs.
Though a larger change in mood and dynamics was to be desired, The Script remained true to its quintessential sound that the audience clearly loved. O’Donoghue was on point with his clear, yet ever so slightly rough, vocals all night, hitting the crowd-pleasing falsetto “I’m falling to pieces” in “Breakeven,” and adding his own falsetto flairs to the endings of nearly every song — which is probably overdoing it, but who’s really complaining here?
The harmonies by other members of the band, Mark Sheehan (lead guitar) and Glen Power (drums), are few and far between, as they perfectly complement O’Donoghue’s voice, most notably in the more emotional “Arms Open.”
In addition to the strong musical performance, the lighting and stage presence of the band was an absolute highlight of the whole show. The default lighting of most of the songs seemed to be the sort of blue and pink tint that is featured on the album cover of Freedom Child, creating a visual motif for the show, and making the contrasts in lighting all the more noticeable.
In one of the band’s newer songs featuring more EDM influences, “No Man is an Island,” the bright red and blue lights were changing to the beat of the song, increasing in frequency until they essentially become strobe lights during the chorus. The lighting completely changed to a warm orange-to-yellow gradient for the more personal “If You Could See Me Now,” and white spotlights illuminated solely O’Donoghue’s silhouette at the piano for “For The First Time.”
The sides of the stage were also lit by multiple layers of cubical neon lights that often fragmented into moving white blocks mimicking stars, providing movement and adding to the variety of creative staging the concert had.
Though O’Donoghue very comfortably interacted with the audience and had a great presence on the stage, swearing frequently and running into the audience multiple times, he didn’t really craft any narrative or provide background on many of the songs. And, as it was often difficult to hear the exact lyrics if you didn’t already know them, it left a desire to know some of the motivations and stories behind the music.
Yet it’s clear how much The Script enjoy performing and how much its music means to the bandmembers, as O’Donoghue gave a speech before the final song, exclaiming that music has always been there for the musicians. For The Script, O’Donoghue shared, music is “intrinsically linked” to the most important moments of the artists’ lives.
By the end of the three-song encore, it wasn’t hard to figure out that The Script was probably saving “Hall of Fame” for the end, as it had been noticeably absent from the rest of the concert. But nevertheless, it was the perfect song for the moment, as an uplifting and spirited closer to a night of vibrancy and nostalgia.