Hero's welcome for Charlie at homecoming

FIFTEEN thousand fans gave Charlie Simpson a hero's welcome at his homecoming gig last night.The Busted star and his bandmates thrilled the fever-pitch crowd in Christchurch Park, Ipswich, with a stylish show of pop power.

By Jonathan Barnes

FIFTEEN thousand fans gave Charlie Simpson a hero's welcome at his homecoming gig last night.

The Busted star and his bandmates thrilled the fever-pitch crowd in Christchurch Park, Ipswich, with a stylish show of pop power.

This was the first time the chart-topping band had played a major gig in Charlie's home county and family and friends of the Ipswich-born star helped generate a party atmosphere.


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Singer and guitarist Charlie, 19, told the masses: "You've got to prove you're louder than any other crowd, because this is my home town."

The band are due to play a similar show on the south coast today, so Charlie, whose family home is in Woodbridge, didn't have much time to hang around, but he was determined to make the most of his big night.

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Opening with Air Hostess, Charlie, James Bourne and Matt Jay, backed by a slick band, stormed through their hits in a show of just over an hour.

The storm clouds over the park earlier in the day had long gone by the time Busted hit the stage, and they turned up the heat with ear-splitting versions of hits What I Go To School For, Who's David and new single 3am.

Reminding the crowd of their double Brit Award winning triumph earlier this year, they rattled through a cover of the Undertones' Teenage Kicks – the song they played at the ceremony – and treated fans to new song Thunderbirds.

Charlie paused between songs to pass on some advise to the townsfolk. "Go to Rex Records," he said of the independent store in Queen Street. "It's my favourite record shop."

He then dedicated You Said No to "a girl called Jasmine" before a hit-packed encore of Year 3000, Sleeping With The Light On and set closer Crashed The Wedding, complete with fireworks at the climax.

Fans might have hoped for more for their money than an hour of music from their favourites, but the trio, with their jumps, spins and sprints across the stage, gave a performance so packed with energy that fans were still buzzing with excitement as they filed out of the park.

The predominantly young audience had seen a soggy start to the day, but there was plenty of sunshine to mark the start of the music at 5pm.

Following a host of support acts, including a frenetic set from boy band V, fast-rising popsters McFly got the crowd moving with their catchy tunes.

They recently completed a notable hat-trick when their debut album, Room On The Third Floor, matched the feat of their first two singles by going straight in at number one.

Those two huge hits, Five Colours In Her Hair and Obviously, brought a rapturous response from the crowd, and their overall polished performance suggested they are soon going to be the topping the bill at shows of this size.

But Busted were not to be upstaged on Charlie's big night and the teenage star will never forget the night he came home to mass hysteria.

n McFly have confirmed a date at Ipswich Regent for Saturday, October 9.

Tickets are £18.50 advance with a £1 booking fee and go on sale today at 10am from the Central Box Office, Princes Street, Ipswich.

They can also be booked by telephone on 01473 433100 or online at www.ipswich-ents.co.uk.

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