Destiny Calling / Born Of Frustration / Oh My Heart / Boom Boom / Ring The Bells / Hey Ma / Bubbles / Come Home / Of Monsters And Heroes And Men / I Wanna Go Home / Out To Get You / Whiteboy / Waterfall / She’s A Star / Sound / Tomorrow / Upside / Laid / Sometimes
Onto Sheffield and the third ever gig at the new Academy. Teething problems abound, the band are forced to use a lot of the venue’s PA which leads to difficulties on stage, ticketing issues lead to some being refused entry and there’s so much security doing so little as there are a few rogue elements in the crowd.
The set opens with Destiny Calling, a new addition to the tour set, and it doesn’t work as an opener in the way Frustration has throughout the tour, even though the crowd, quite predictably, love it. Never fear, Born of Frustration still sounds great wherever it is dropped into the set, tonight it’s second.
What’s clear immediately is a much more together feeling on stage, there’s smiles, looks and people facing each other as they play in a way that hadn’t been apparent previous to this on the tour, and the whole mood, celebratory as it is, seems much better on stage and it spreads to the audience. The new songs sound as strong as they have done the whole tour, even allowing for a Jamesian moment as Hey Ma is brought to a halt at the first chorus as it wasn’t sounding right on stage. Tim and Larry look at each other and smile knowingly, then the song is a great success, the crowd singing along and clapping as if it’s an old favourite.
The best receptions are reserved for the old favourites, Come Home sends the crowd delirious and Out To Get You, on its tour debut, sounds as fresh and poignant as it ever has. Prior to it, Monsters and I Wanna Go Home have had the same effect on the crowd, particularly the latter which is making a claim to be the new song of the tour. Freed from the minimalist treatment on record, it’s a massive track and has the crowd dancing and clapping, a sign that the new record isn’t being lost on the audiences.
Whiteboy and Waterfall bring the crowd nicely to a boil before the hat-trick of She’s A Star, Sound and Tomorrow ignite the already seething mass in a communal singalong. People sit and stare as Sound rises, drops and rises again in a way James have no peers at.
Upside opens the encore and is sang back with a ferocity not evident to date on the tour. Laid nails the victory though, fast, frenetic, extended – it’s a simple track and an easy win for the band, but noone in the venue is complaining. Sometimes follows the pattern of Newcastle, the crowd taking the mantle and starting the singalong which again has the band visibly moved.
An excellent gig, not the best so far, but Newcastle was going to take some beating. The interaction on stage was a joy to see and bodes well for some great performances to come in some of the more traditional, Carling-free venues of the next leg of the tour.