Tim is the freight train of the music world. He cannot be stopped, even during the lockdowns, he found a way to keep busy with his Twitter Listening Parties and his critically acclaimed solo album I Love the New Sky. And now he is back in his day job as frontman of The Charlatans touring their latest career-spanning box set.

Bournemouth’s O2 Academy welcomed the indie quintet with open arms and backed by a montage of videos and images from the past 30 years of the band. Kicking off with the perfect opener with 1999’s ‘Forever’, and one of Martin Blunt’s finest bass lines, the quintet treated us to what we all wanted; a showcase performance of all of the old favorites and a few deep cuts.

Tim was the focal point of the show and dressed in a rather fine Christmas sweater, though a tad early. Tony Rogers and Mark Collins occasionally smile through the odd song, but other than that Tim is the only member to engage with the crowd taking as many photo opportunities as possible. His blonde mop keeps the frontman forever young, though I couldn’t stop thinking about how bad his roots must have gotten during the lockdown. The crowd treated their indie heroes with affection, but the fact there wasn’t any security highlighted how polite the modern Charlatans’ crowd is, with their advancing years making the mosh pit a rarity.

Though aptly, during ‘Weirdo’, a random guy in shades and a roll-neck ran to the front flailing his arms around shouting for Tim’s hotel number. Before being rejected by the self-policing crowd never to be seen again.

The only time that the almost sold-out Academy really erupted was during their mid- 90’s Telling Stories peak ‘One to Another and North Country Boy’. Whilst their more recent material has taken a step away from their Brit-pop hits, they are only welcomed by polite hand claps. During ‘Different Days’ a fan in front started googling where the band were from in a show of disinterest. However, when The Charlatans stepped back to their earlier material with ‘You’re so Pretty’ and a rare outing for ‘My Beautiful Friend’ the phones were once again put away and interest restored before the first farewell of set closer ‘How High’ (shame they ignored ‘This is the End’, maybe next time).

The encore of 2006’s ‘Blackened Blue Eyes’ sounded magnificent but following on with ‘Trouble Understanding’ was a miss-step and killed the groove, would ‘Love is the Key’ not have been a better fit to continue the vibe? They of course ended the night with the only way they could; ‘Sproston Green’ their never-ending baggy ending. A satisfying closure for a decent, not spectacular show.