Lose Control / Waltzing Along / Ring The Bells / Hey Ma / She’s A Star / Don’t Wait That Long / Senorita / Born Of Frustration / Stutter / Out To Get You / Dream Thrum / Upside / Getting Away With It (All Messed Up) / Sometimes / Laid / Sit Down / Tomorrow / Say Something / Gold Mother
So after another blistering hot summer day with temperatures bordering on 100 degrees fahrenheit and 70%+ humidity, which made soundchecking a nightmare, James return to the stunning Earth Theatre for the second of three shows. As the previous night, the venue is sold out and the hillside seats are packed as the band take the stage around 9.30. As the previous night, they start with an acoustic version of Lose Control, with Tim, Larry and Andy starting at the top of the banking and making their way down through the crowd to the stage during the song. The crowd is evidently as fervent as the previous night and sing every word.
True to their word last night, the set does get quite a major workover. Waltzing Along gets the standing area dancing, Tim loses himself in his own dance over the instrumental sections, and if it could happen here, it’s warming up very quickly. Ring The Bells sees Andy take centre point on the extended front section of the stage. The sound is superb in the venue, crystal clear and just about the right level, so you can hear the subtleties without losing any of the power.
Tim introduces Hey Ma as a song about George Bush and Tony Blair which is met with a series of boos from the crowd. The song is met with mass arms held aloft and clapping as it builds to its climax. She’s A Star starts with Saul playing guitar with his violin bow.
Tim introduces Don’t Wait That Long as an ancient song. It’s beautiful, dreamy and lilting, with Larry’s guitar piercing through the heat as Tim dances next to him with Larry apparently oblivious to his presence. They hadn’t played this particularly well when they’d attempted it on previous post-07 tours, but tonight it was pretty perfect.
Having witnessed the response to Senorita last night, it’s less of a surprise just how the whole venue gets up on their feet, waving, singing as they play it. Born Of Frustration is epic from the opening yodel which the crowd do back to Tim, through the middle section where Tim comes down into the crowd as Larry and Andy take the song off in a different direction.
Stutter is next. Tim jokes that hardly anyone in the audience will know it. That’s probably true but the sheer power and chaos it creates sucks everyone in. It’s fast, frenetic, the lights spasm and jerk as the song builds. Saul comes to the front of the stage with a drum which he beats, Mark joins Dave on his drums and Andy takes on keyboard duties. By the end of the song, Larry has joined Saul at the front of the stage and Saul uses Larry’s guitar as a drum. Outstanding.
Out To Get You sees Saul take centre stage for the end of the song with the spotlight on him at the front as he plays like a man possessed. It’s a different take on the end than the normal huddle around Dave’s drumset and works beautifully with the sound allowing every note to be heard.
Dream Thrum, as Tim describes as not one of our pop songs, is next and has revised lyrics in the first verse but sounds, like it’s name, dreamy. Upside does fail to quite get the euphoric response it has on UK shows in the past year and a half, although it’s played beautifully, with a pause before the crash into the final chorus and the outro.
The whole place erupts for Getting Away With It. Everyone on the banking is on their feet, hands in the air, singing along, almost drowning out the band. It’s astonishing to see the song get this reaction, but the Greeks have taken it to their heart more so than even some of the better known hits.
Sometimes and Laid finish off the set. The crowd join in at the end of Sometimes without prompting from the band, but the singing isn’t as long and vocal as the previous night, so the band come back in and finish the song off, before Saul kicks into Laid, which is wilder and longer than it’s been for a long time, particularly with Andy playing trumpet over the top.
Coming back on for the encore, Tim asks the crowd what they want to hear. I’m surprised he can hear anything above the melee but they play a laid back languid version of Sit Down, before hammering a vicious version of Tomorrow. Say Something, which couldn’t be left out after the previous night’s singing from the crowd, sees the last of the planned encore, but as the band take their bows, it’s clear noone wants to leave, so they decide to play another.
Saul and Tim ask for dancers as they kick into Gold Mother and 10-15 people are pulled out of the front rows to dance on the stage. Saul urges them to dance as the song builds and builds to its climax. It’s a great way to end the set and the applause and cheers from the crowd at the end confirm that it had been another special set in a stunning location with a crowd that’s fully up for it.