SetlistWhat Is It Good For / Stand / Senorita / Gaudi / Getting Away With It (All Messed Up) / How Was It For You / Johnny Yen / Someone's Got It In For Me / Say Something / Scratchcard / English Beefcake / Pleased to Meet You / Sometimes / Destiny Calling / She's a Star / Born of Frustration / Vervaceous / Laid / Ring the Bells
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Making a return to the UEA LCR a year after a storming hits and Millionaires show, James opened their set with a quintet of new songs – Work It All Out, Stand Stand Stand, Senorita, Gaudi and Daniel’s Saving Grace – which left the audience stunned. To be fair, there was very little dissent so one has to assume that the audience were listening and taking in what James were doing. The sound was almost perfect and once again Geoff Buckley’s light show matched the pace of the songs immaculately and captured Tim’s frantic dancing and illuminated him.
The opening bars to How Was It For You? were greeted with cheers from about half the audience, but the expected crush at the front did not really materialise. Johnny Yen followed and as usual was not out of place amongst songs almost twenty years its junior. Someone’s Got It In For Me was as powerful as ever, the band’s performance of this song keeps being raised to new levels, Tim losing himself in the crescendo being produced by his bandmates. The response to the opening bars of the song suggested that many in the crowd had bought Millionaires on the strength of last year’s gig.
Scratchcard with its infectious “Oh Lordy” chorus followed and was perhaps the best of the new songs on the night. Say Something was next, but the opening bars have been significantly altered since I last heard it a week and a half ago. Tim took the opportunity to jump into the pit and stand next to the barriers in front of his adoring crowd, one of whom made an unsuccessful beeline for his trouser button.
Two more new tracks, both new to me, followed – English Beefcake received its premiere and was the more successful of the two, with Tim firing off quickfire lines in the verse. The song itself deals with addiction and the subject’s inability to shake off an obsession. Kulas uses a megaphone to shout himself hoarse over the chorus refrain at the end. Pleased To Meet You had been played at Poole and Blackpool and is more of a slow burner with a repetitive chorus of “Pleased to meet you, what’s your name and where are you from?” The one complaint with both songs is that they tended to last too long, probably due to the fact that the band haven’t yet decided on the best way to end them.
A quartet of hits – Sometimes, Destiny, Star and Frustration – sent the front rows into a frenzied moshpit and placated those in the crowd that had started to get impatient at the lack of hits earlier in the set.
The encore started in true James fashion with a slower number, and Vervaceous was simply stunning. Like its Millionaires companion Someone’s Got It In For Me, this track has to be heard live to do it real justice, the swoops and dives and the highs and lows of the backing track complementing Tim’s dancing and vocal pirouettes and the stunning lighting effects.
Laid returned the crowd to a seething mass, before Tim asked the audience “which song that we haven’t played would you like to hear next.” The sham What’s The World opening slid into Ring The Bells, the crowd moshed, Tim twisted and turned and the band cranked up the speed and noise. And then they were gone.