Part of MTV’s 5 Night Stand series of gigs. Support came from Coldplay.
Top Of The World / Say Something / Crash / I Know What I’m Here For / Destiny Calling / Vervaceous / Junkie / So Swell / Senorita / Out To Get You / Stutter / Born of Frustration / Sometimes / Laid / Someones Got It In For Me / Come Home / Tomorrow / Sound
Kent / Coldplay
by Zoe McGeechan, Music 365
Well, tonight was a game of two halves. There’s no other way of describing it. Because, even to die-hard James lovers, most of the gig was excruciatingly dull.
They kick off the set – well, drift off really – with a swoony lullaby.. It is beautiful, it is serene, but it’s not the hand-clappy choral chant that the crowd are here to see. The first half of the set, mainly lifted from last year’s frankly appalling ‘Millionaires’, would be more appreciated in the confines of a well-padded lounge or boudoir. Well, somewhere comfortable, anyway, should you feel an urge to sleep.
And while the music sounds milky and ineffectual, Tim slithers, pivots and raspberry ripples around his little iso-booth world – what is the Perspex for? To fend off the sweat splashes of the pretty string section, one suspects.
This ‘mature’ James have left all the fun behind. There’s no whooping, yodeling or spasming in their new material, but that’s what we want. A glimpse of greatness sneaks out with ‘Destiny Calling’ but the lid is firmly pressed down to make way for more of James’ newest sound, monotony.
As the night drags by, it’s gradually punctuated with hits, a rogue ‘Say Something’ here, a renegade ‘I Know What I’m Here For’ there, and its so obvious that the audience aren’t here to be wooed by smooches or serious propositions. They want to jump and clap and whoop and wail.
You start to think James need a lesson or two in assembling a setlist; when you have a handful of hits, it’s always best to include them in the set, for instance. Witness the rapturous reception of the EMF-esque ‘Come Home’, or the godsend of ‘Laid’, which conjures up a huge anthemic explosion.
So there’s no ‘Sit Down’ – fair enough, this isn’t a youth centre disco – but it does climax with the goods, the pure pop that James are all about. The encores burst into crescendos of strings and guitars and the audience finally get to whoop their little hearts out
Beguiling us with an encore of hits so we leave feeling elated; a cheap trick, but everyone falls for it.