December 2001, by Robert Meakin, © Manchester Evening News
Frontman bows out recalling his days as a “nerdy wimp”
As singer Tim Booth prepares for a final appearance with his bandmates in Manchester, the James frontman has been recalling his rather less glamorous debut in the group’s home city.
Booth, due to quit the Manchester band after almost 20 years at the end of their current UK tour, performs an emotional swansong in front of thousands at the Manchester Evening News Arena tonight, before pursuing solo material, writing and acting projects.
And the setting is certainly a far cry from the more humble Princess Street venue where he first cut his teeth with the group in 1982 as their new vocalist.
He tells me : “My first gig with James in Manchester was at the Cyprus Tavern to a load of hardcore James fans who didn’t know what to make of this nerdy wimp who’d become their new singer. It was very intimidating!”
The star admits tonight will prove to be a poignant occasion, adding: “It’s highly emotional. It’s really hard not to start crying actually. But at the same time it feels really good, it should be a celebration. Manchester has been our base.”
Nostalgia has been rife in recent days, with the group filming around their home city for a forthcoming DVD release, which will include footage from tonight’s show.
Booth will also be embarking on a rather different tour from next year when he travels around the UK, fronting “creativity workshops” with a system of dance and meditation designed to encourage a flow of ideas.