SetlistLullaby / Surprise / Waltzing Along / Say Something / She's A Star / Sometimes / Laid / Jam J / Out To Get You / Five-O / Destiny Calling / Johnny Yen / Sit Down / Tomorrow / Come Home / Top Of The World / Sound
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Arriving at Carlisle Sands Centre, a Doncaster Dome type atrocity of a building awaited us, but once inside the venue, our fears were allayed as the main hall was actually a very decent venue. After a short support slot from the excellent Hillman Minx, James came on at about 9.20. Tim apologised for the postponement of the gig in July due to his bronchitis and, as at Oxford, they launched into Lullaby, a typically bold James move in front of an audience hungry for the hits.
Introducing new song Surprise, Tim informed us I that this was the only new I song they’d learnt, despite “the fan club that follows us around everywhere wanting new songs”, and we’d have to believe him how great the others were. On the basis of Surprise we have to. Michael’s backing vocals blended into Tim’s in the chorus and the verses demonstrate Tim hasn’t lost any of his wordplay ability – “we all prayed you’d rise again, phone in resurrection, what the doctor ordered”and “love and laughter, I surrender, have no fear of what comes after, I’ve got a message for you, you’re the one who makes it come true”.
Following Surprise, James launched into a series of Greatest Hits – Waltzing Along, Say Something, She’s A Star, Sometimes, Laid “shamelessly enjoying their own songs” as Tim put it.
Jam J followed and was, alongside Surprise, the highlight of the evening with Tim dancing again and an awesome strobe display. Out To Get You and Five-O followed, James slowing the pace down and wowing the stunned audience with their more fragile side.
Johnny Yen was strangely curtailed when the audience gave them a “standing ovation” before launching into Sit Down. Tim came out into the audience to meet the adoring masses and to soak up the red hot atmosphere before launching into Tomorrow as the finale.
The inevitable encore began with Come Home, now a shadow of its former self having aged less well than other songs from the early nineties. “To test your concentration” Top Of The World followed and the show was rounded off by a ten minute frenzy of improvised noise called Sound. Carlisle left impressed and judging by the business at the t-shirt counter, James had won over a new young audience that had come to see one of the few gigs in the town that year .