Sit Down / Sound / She’s A Star / Dream Thrum / Dust Motes / Tell Her I Said So / Ten Below / Just Like Fred Astaire / Ring The Bells / Crazy / I Wanna Go Home / Out To Get You / It’s Hot / Say Something / Laid / Stutter / Jam J / Tomorrow / Sometimes / Top Of The World
VIP Soundcheck – Basic Brian / Just Like Fred Astaire / Waterfall / Got The Shakes
review by BRD
Tonight in Royal Oak was one of those special nights when James let their collective contrarian nature get the best of them. This evening they freed themselves of the setlist running order straightjacket they had been wearing for most of their 2010 North American tour plus threw in a few songs they had not yet done or only played once or twice.
The night starts off with the acoustic duo of Tim and Larry at the back of the theatre getting the crowd geared up with a great take of Sit Down. By the time the pair hit the stage the full band is ripping through the up until now predictable mainset closer Sound. Having Andy’s trumpet solo showcase song so early in the night really works well. They then launch into the rarely heard She’s A Star; just delicious. Later in the night they finally admit they did Millionaires with a great version of one of my favourite songs, Just Like Fred Astaire. The song is highlighted by Mark’s heavily reverbed piano and a bald woman who hops onto the stage to dance around Tim for it’s duration. Speaking of forgotten albums, James do a song off of 2008’s Hey Ma, Wanna Go Home. Not quite sure why they have been ignoring their last full cd in favour of 6 or 7 songs off Laid. The clutch of five newer songs off of tMAtNB continue to impress tonight with their instrumental variety and richness, whether it’s Andy doing backing vocals or Saul playing drums in tandem with Dave. I think that Tell Her I Said So has to be my live favorite off the new mini cd with it’s audience choir.
Towards the end of the night, Tim gets the audience going again as he jumps through the crowd during the tried and true Say Something, quickly followed by the North American radio favorite Laid. Then surprise surprise, the set comes to a close with the distorted guitar flavored Stutter; words cannot describe how wonderful the closing drum trio of Dave, Mark & Saul sounds in this song; it’s really the proper way to end the main portion of the night. The surprises continue with the fifteen year old plus Jam J kicking off the encore; the audience are not quite sure what to make of this unfamiliar and energetic song. James then bring the crowd back into the encore with the usual mainset song Tomorrow, now featuring a dramatic staggered close.
To turnaround the now predictable singalong which Sometimes has become, James invite 10 or 20 people onto the stage, which rapidly expands to an overflow of 40 or 50 singers/dancers. Tim and Andy have just a great time sticking their microphones in front of all sorts of new stage partners which include some of James’ children from backstage. Meanwhile, Saul has long since vanished from the stage as the night seems to have come to a raucous close with Tim saying that’s it. After about a third of the audience has left for the night, the final surprise of the show has four of James returning to share Top Of The World with us as Tim says its just too much fun for him tonight. Truly wonderful moments filled with another moving violin solo by Saul, comparable to his jaw dropping work earlier in the night during the last half of Out To Get You. And then the unusually longer night is indeed over. Some really great memories tonight which will be difficult to match never mind exceed over the rest of this tour.