A show performed in Switzerland at the personal request of F1 driver Jacques Villeneuve.
Out To Get You / Sometimes / She’s A Star / Destiny Calling / Just Like Fred Astaire / Senorita / Johnny Yen / Come Home / Someone’s Got It In For Me / Born Of Frustration / Ring The Bells / Sound / Top Of The World / Sit Down / Laid / Tomorrow
It was almost unbearably cold on the night of January the 13th. We were somewhere in the Swiss Alps, not too far away from the French and Italian borders, more than 6000 feet above sea level, in a little village called Villars, a first class ski resort. In fact, it looks even better in real life than on its brochures. Formula One driver Jacques Villeneuve was amazed by the landscape and decided to make it his second home and therefore bought a house nearby. Together with his British American Racing ( BAR ) team colleague Craig Pollock they founded the “24 heures Grand Prix de Villars”, an annual benefit ski race, first run in 1998. The event comes along with a big party including several DJ’s and bands performing on a an outdoor stage surrounded by snow, ski slopes and lifts, bars, restaurants and hotels. A rather extraordinary sight.
Tonight’s headlining act though: James. Jacques Villeneuve himself invited the band over to Switzerland. He has been a diehard fan from very early on and was spotted many times at their gigs in the UK. It was around 9.30 pm and freezing cold when they hit the stage all dressed in woolly jumpers or long coats, apart from David, who only had a t-shirt on, since he obviously got warm from all his drumming.
They kicked off with a slow one. “Out to get you” was absolutely suitable and created a great atmosphere. It was followed by “Sometimes”, those songs also happen to be the first two tracks from their highly acclaimed and (probably) best album to date “Laid”. What a great opening for every James obsessive!
More and more people gathered together when they started into their “Best of” set. The largely Swiss audience were not too familiar with their newer songs, since the best (or only really well) selling album in Switzerland was”Seven” back in 1992. Nevertheless, the crowd was won over by the band. Their new “Senorita” song received a very warm reaction. Some more classics followed,the likes of “Johnny Yen”and “Come home”.
The band then started with three songs off “Seven” which were well known by the crowd. The gig reached its peak. Everyone was singing and jumping along. At one stage a girl, who must have had one too many “vin chaud” (this was evident because she was short sleeved in minus temperatures?!?) leapt on stage and not only got to dance but also kiss (aaahhh) the fabulous Tim, who was in great form. You can tell by the way he does his shake dance. Incidently she injured herself by jumping off the stage onto rock hard snow. The entire band was also in a brilliant form and ended their set with a hypnotic version of their epic “Sound” and believe me it sounded amazing.
After a short break, they returned and performed “Top of the world” which couldn’t had been more appropriate followed by the anthemic and bestselling single to date “Sit down”, which, by the way, they don’t perform in the U.K. anymore. The highlight of the gig was still to come. It was when Jacques Villeneuve walked on stage to support the the band on his guitar for “Laid” and “Tomorrow” and finally everyone of the about 3000 strong crowd went bananas! He did a great job even tough he looked a bit lost sometimes, especially when it came to changing chords. Well, his guitar wasn’t really turned up loud. It was an absolute triumphant and astonishing night for James who came and won! An unforgettable night for everyone who was there, despite minus temperatures!