As Far As I Can See / Wave Hello / What’s The World / Monkey God / Bless Them All / Consequences / Dance Of The Bad Angel / Gloria Descends / Old Ways / You Can’t Tell How Much Suffering (On A Face That’s Always Smiling) / Down To The Sea / Bone / Shatters / Falling Down / Monsters / All About Time / Fall In Love With Me / The Point Of Darkness / Buried Alive
review by oneofthethree
An interesting evening as ever in Leeds. A full house, Tim having to tell people to stop yelling through every song, a fight and another performance by the band that’s getting stronger and stronger with every show. It starts with Tim coming through the audience with the band for As Far As I Can See and it’s great to see people singing along – the crowds on this tour haven’t been huge, but they’ve been knowledgeable about what’s being played and have been willing to listen. Leeds were great in that respect as well, despite the girl screaming through the first few songs – “come on Tim” every few minutes and “oggy oggy oggy” – who Unkle Bob had warned Tim about.
Despite reservations at the soundcheck, the sound in the venue is excellent once it’s full of people and the fact that it’s in a railway arch makes it very intimate – that extending to the stage which struggles to fit all six of the band on it without them being hidden behind speaker stacks.. Wave Hello is more effervescent and fresh than it’s ever sounded and the crowd, very up for it for a Wednesday night, go wild. What’s The World has as much energy and vibrancy as I’ve ever heard it being played. Tim has to tell people to get off the stairs at the front of the stage. Monkey God maintains the pace of the set and the band rescue it mid-song when it threatens to go wrong.
The set slows down with a beautiful yearning version of Bless Them All and a slighting menacing Consequences, demonstrating that the band can do subtle as well as rocking out. Tim’s voice is sounding as good as it has done for a long time. Tim has, like those around him, had enough of the girl screaming out during the songs and stops Dance Of The Bad Angel to ask her to stop or move away as “this is different to James”. He handles it very well and the girl, to be fair to her, does seem to comply. The song starts again and is delivered beautifully, building into a crescendo of guitar and violin at the end.
Gloria is introduced as a story about a friend who took Tim moonlight surfing and again is a demonstration of the fragility and beauty that can be created by music – Lee and Dan’s backing vocals at the end are jaw-dropping. It’s then the rockier side coming back for the remainder of the main set. Old Ways was recorded with Angelo Badalamenti and Bernard Butler, but it has a new lease of life on this tour and has been a definite stand-out track.
Saul gets heckled before the start of Suffering, but can’t tell what the heckle is, which leads to a comic moment where Tim introduces him as Fred Davies, Saul’s better looking and more talented twin, before Lee calls him Richard Hammond. Saul gets his own back by describing Lee as George Samaras, the Celtic striker, Tim then gets called Ming the Merciless, which he turns round to Ming The Effeminate. Into Suffering and again you wonder how many people recognise it as a James song. Not that it matters, it fits in with the mood and tempo of the rest of the set perfectly.
Tim goes out into the crowd for Down To The Sea, a brave move given that there’s been a fight and blood spilt out there already, but he’s mobbed by people as he stands in the middle of the crowd singing. Bone starts with what can best described as a sax solo from Dan and benefits from the great sound in the venue. Shatters fills the hall with sax and guitar and seems to have an harder edge to it than some of the previous nights.
Falling Down is full-on wig-out. Dan gives Tim a run for this money in the visual stakes as he jumps and hops and hammers his keyboards and Monsters follows suit, the ending of most of the band shouting “there’s monsters coming to get you” the sort of thing that could scare children. Tim forgets the opening lines to All About Time, so we get the treat of an extended intro jam, which is then followed by an extended outro jam as they pull the song out and take it in new directions, stopping and starting it again and you can hear the crowd singing back the chorus with some gusto.
Fall In Love With Me, as with most shows, is very well respected and people keep quiet and listen, whilst The Point Of Darkness doesn’t quite reach the heights it has done on previous nights, but Buried Alive seals the deal for the evening, manic violin from Saul stealing the show as the song spirals to its conclusion.
Another great show, not spoilt too much by the screaming woman and the fight for most people hopefully. It was good to see the venue full and people dancing and singing along as well. This show and set needs to be seen by more people and in bigger venues, people need to get past the “it’s not James” line as well – of course it’s not James, that doesn’t mean it’s not going to be good, it’s different, and in lots of good, exciting ways if you take a chance and go with it. Tim Booth solo is in addition to James, not instead of. Catch one of the remaining shows if you can and prepare to be treated.