Sound / Ring The Bells / Sometimes / Out To Get You / Getting Away With It (All Messed Up) / Sit Down / Laid
supporting The Killers
Wembley Stadium. Not many bands get to play there, and even fewer at the specific invitation of one of the biggest bands in the world. But that’s the unspoken whispered respect that James have from some of them, not that the music press would ever print that.
On just over an hour after doors, the standing area of the stadium is fairly full but the seats haven’t filled up when James start. They open with Sound, an interesting choice as although it was a top ten single, it’s not the most immediately recognisable songs in their back catalogue. The sound takes a few minutes to tweak as well before it starts to sound great on the floor. Necessity of time constraints mean it doesn’t get the extended sections where they can improvise. They go straight into Ring The Bells and you can see they still feel at home on the bigger stages, Tim prowling the stage urging the others on. The reaction so far is mixed, there’s pockets of people dancing, there’s some people in Killers shirts who start to remember who they are and some even start singing along, but, as with all big music crowds, there’s some there just for the main act.
Sometimes is as vivid and evocative as ever and there’s no attempt to start a sing-along. The mood is taken down a bit for Out To Get You, which hasn’t been played a lot recently and has benefited from the rest. They can’t resist some improvisation on this one and Saul’s violin takes centre stage as they lose themselves in the music. The improvisation sadly means they are running out of time already and they have to drop Moving On, which is a shame as it would have been a fantastic opportunity to show new people that they’re still making great music. They go into Getting Away With It (All Messed Up), which feels strangely flat for some reason, but they go into a raucous bouncing Sit Down and suddenly there’s more of a reaction. Tim tells us he wanted to come down into the crowd but wasn’t allowed because of Health and Safety. They finish off with a crazily ragged version of Laid.
It’s way too short a set for a band of James’ calibre and back catalogue and never an easy one to judge. The sensible approach is that they need to play songs people know or may recall on hearing them yet that goes against their natural instincts as a band. They were gutted at having to drop Moving On and there were so many other songs they could have crammed in, but for what they had to play with they did a great job and hopefully gained some new fans or reclaimed some older ones in the process.