Born Of Frustration / Seven / Ring The Bells / Tell Her I Said So / PS / Lookaway / Getting Away With It (All Messed Up) / Jam J / Out To Get You / I Wanna Go Home / Sit Down / Rabbit Hole / Just Like Fred Astaire / Laid / Sound / Stutter / Say Something / Tomorrow / Sometimes
VIP Soundcheck : Just Like Fred Astaire / Rabbit Hole / Lookaway / Destiny Calling
Sometimes James deliver against the odds. Not content with having a lead guitarist with a serious back injury, Glasgow sees James with a singer with a throat infection / cold that makes the soundcheck difficult as certain songs aren’t going to work despite audience requests. It feels like a bad sign when they play James-by-numbers-not-actually-that-different Destiny Calling in the soundcheck and you almost expect a greatest hits set that could be explainable in the circumstances. But that’s not James. They come out with the most unusual looking set of hits, new, old, hits, favourites, new that you could think of, and it works.
The trio of Seven singles kicks off the set and gets the expectant Glasgow crowd going. It gives the space then for some indulgence, but people continue to clap along and respond to Tell Her I Said So, before relaxing for PS and for Lookaway, although the latter is really a killer single in the wrong era, although the big screen camera focus on Tim’s guitar playing is a bit unfair. The set then moves from hit to obscure track to album track that everyone knows and loves to more recent track that everyone’s getting to know and love and it’s all brilliant. The Glasgow crowd, of which I’m not normally so complimentary, is superb, attentive, excited, up for it. Sit Down is the trump card in the set, you can see the audience rise as one to sing along but then sit back and admire as the band play the joker of something that’s unexpected and isn’t just a run of the mill hit on the way down to the encore. Rabbit Hole is simply beautiful. Just Like Fred Astaire sees Tim and Saul standing on the monitors, before Laid kicks in and sends the crowd wild and then we’re into an extended fresh-sounding version of Sound and the catalysmic coming together that is Stutter.
The encore starts with the James-by-numbers of Say Something, but tonight it feels right, not contrived. Tomorrow is loud and brash and quite wonderful, before Sometimes, with an ending that noone seems to know how to do finishes off the set.
The best show of the tour so far, a great appreciative audience and a brilliant performance despite the illnesses, or maybe because of. James thrive from that adversity and tonight was an example.
Let’s just hope on home turf tomorrow they follow this through, give the crowd something that represents their Mancunian roots of the late eighties and early nineties (What For, Hymn From A Village, What’s The World) rather than the hit-fodder of the mid to late nineties – we can see you Destiny Calling, which showed in the soundcheck to be a bit of a one-trick pony or similar later singles.. A show as good as Glasgow that says thank you Manchester would just top off the best set of shows since the reunion.