Laid / Ring The Bells / I Know What I’m Here For / Crash / Say Something / Sit Down / Johnny Yen / Someone’s Got It In For Me / Shooting My Mouth Off / Waltzing Along / Sometimes / We’re Going To Miss You / Vervaceous / Stutter / Just Like Fred Astaire / Out To Get You / Destiny Calling / Tomorrow / Sound / Top Of The World / Come Home / She’s A Star
Mike Barnett, Manchester Evening News
James umpteenth album Millionaires has been met with what is known in the trade as mixed reviews.
Even their most ardent fans would have to admit that it’s not their most inspired piece of work and sales, by their standards, have been comparatively modest.
Frontman Tim Booth, who, despite the presence of half-a-dozen colleagues is James, acknowledged as such when he playfully introduced We’re Going To Miss You, the new single.
“It’s going straight into the charts at number 55 next week,” he offered, more in hope than expectation. And even that might prove to be a touch optimistic.
Producer Brian Eno coated Millionaires with an over-bearing polish which camouflaged its contours and near-strangled its nuances, but on Saturday night, tracks like I Know What I’m Here For, a typical James call-to-arms, and the haunting Someone’s Got It In For Me sparkled into verdant life.
As a live act, they know how to fill huge halls with flowing cascades of sound. My gig-going friend Phil, like me a fan of many years, said at one point that “James give good arena” and he’s dead right.
The fascinating thing about James is watching how they’ve evolved over the years. Sit Down, almost their theme tune, has now disappeared from the set. Such is it’s familiarity, that was no great loss, for everyone knows what they say about familiarity.
But there are still some constants. Dressed at the beginning of the show like an extra from Doctor Zhivago, Booth still dances like a flicker-book unfolding in the wrong order.
His eye for the theatrical is also still sharp. Having earlier ascended the stairs to say hello to his Mum, watching from a private box, Booth closed the show by clambering onto the trapeze normally used for launching Manchester Storm’s ice-hockey mascot onto the ice.
Floating above the packed house like an all-seeing angel, it was Tim Booth all over.