SetlistWhat Is It Good For / Stand / Senorita / Say Something / Sometimes / Just like Fred Astaire / Johnny Yen / Scratchcard / Getting Away With It (All Messed Up) / Coffee and Toast / Someone's Got It In For Me / Give It Away / Gaudi / The Shining / Destiny Calling / She's A Star / Born of Frustration / Junkie / Laid / Ring The Bells
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The tour billed as James returning to their roots started at Leeds University Refectory, a truly horrible venue designed for cheap student fare rather than the delicacies James were about to present us with.
Kicking off with a trio of new songs “Work It All Out”, “Stand, Stand, Stand” and “Senorita” made an immediate statement of intent. Out with the singalong Best Of set and the polished sound of Millionaires, this was the rough, raw, risk-taking James playing the songs they’d just knocked out in the studio the week before. Thank God for that!
The sound however was a constant battle through a muddy PA and the horrific acoustics. Say Something and Sometimes brought a more familiar response from the crowd. The former however had not aged too well, but the latter was more evocative and pulsating as ever. Perennial favourite Johnny Yen with Saul’s criminally underused violin brought the usual euphoric response from the audience.
Fred Astaire followed and preceded three more new tracks – Scratchcard, Daniel’s Saving Grace and Coffee And Toast – and provided an interesting contrast between the lush arrangements of Millionaires and the raw energy of the new material. A slightly bemused crowd looked on, contemplated and then danced.
Someone’s Got It In For Me gets more epic, vivid, emotional and simply mind-blowing every time it gets played. The crowd cheered the opening bars and the prolonged applause at the end was no less than the band deserved.
Tim then stopped to remonstrate with a heckler demanding obscure tracks. Jim plucked the opening lines to Scarecrow before Tim admonished the heckler asking him to make sensible requests in future.
Three more new songs followed – First On The Tape, Gaudi and The Shining – a “pop song” reminiscent of second album Inspiral Carpets, an uptempo stomp and a beautiful emotional sweeping masterpiece respectively.
To wrap up the show, James launched into a trio of hits – Destiny, Star and Frustration and the world, or at least the privileged 1,500 of us, went mad again.
Everyone’s A Junkie, another newie, opened the encore before the band went back to romps through Laid and a frenetic Ring The Bells with Tim captivated by a floating balloon as the band played faster and faster and then they were gone.
So no Sit Down, Come Home and Sound but ten new songs – this was old school James taking risks few others would dare to. As Tim bemoaned Leeds United’s youngsters failure to beat the mighty Man United, his other team with youngsters of its own overcame the chronic sound problems and won without its big guns.