James embark on an arena tour of nine dates including sold out dates at Wembley Arena and Manchester Nynex, supported by Stereophonics and Gene. Eight new songs are unveiled during the tour.
SetlistIntro / Laid / Sometimes / Waltzing Along / Say Something / Heavens / I Know What I'm Here For / Confusion / Destiny Calling / Born of Frustration / Out To Get You / I Defeat / Surprise / She's A Star / Tomorrow / Sound / Come Home / Top Of The World / Johnny Yen / Sit Down
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SetlistLaid / Sometimes / Waltzing Along / Say Something / Heavens / I Know What I'm Here For / Fred Astaire / Destiny Calling / Born of Frustration / Out To Get You / Lullaby / Vervacious / She's A Star / Tomorrow / Sound / Sit Down / Top Of The World / Johnny Yen / Come Home
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SetlistJohnny Yen / Sometimes / Waltzing Along / Heavens / I Know What I'm Here For / Just Like Fred Astaire / Destiny Calling / Born of Frustration / Out To Get You / Laid / Vervacious / She's a Star / Tomorrow / Sound / Sit Down / Say Something / Come Home
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Mark Barnett, Manchester Evening News
From sub-folk wastrels to huge stadium act, James, Manchester’s most enduring popsters, have come a long way in an eventful 15-year career.
Their adoringly received sell-out show on Saturday just goes to show what near-contemporaries the Stone Roses and the Happy Mondays could have achieved had they not pressed their self-destruct buttons in such spectacular fashion.
Granted, Tim Booth’s ascetic voice might not have been quite on top form — “you may have noticed that my voice sounds a little raggedly sexy this evening” — but the show still made for a top night out.
On a huge set, which looked as if it had come from a 1970s Habitat catalogue, James kicked off with an extended version of perennial live favourite, Johnny Yen.
Immediately, they managed to do what a number of big pop acts, most notably Radiohead, have failed to do in an arena this year — fill it with sound.
It’s been said before that James were made for stadiums, and a slowed down moody version of Laid, and a muscular Destiny Calling, all lush and rounded, proved it.
What made the night all the more agreeable was the unveiling of a trio of new tracks from what must be their umpteenth album, due in April. They sounded a touch introspective and melancholy.
A return to an earlier style, it was a brave thing to do, and although it meant we had to do without How Was It For You?, there were few unhappy faces at the end.
The other memorable occurrence was the sight of Booth singing Say Something from the upper tier of seats at the back of the hall.
It probably gave the security staff kittens, but the fans, many of whom had dug out their James T-shirts for old times sake, loved it.
As clearly, did Booth himself.
Piers Martin, NME
Beee-hiiind yoouuu! Twelve-thousand heads suddenly twist round and look up, up and up some more. There, perched like a pantomime dame in his spangly, mirrored showbiz coat, Tim Booth – friend of Zen and generally ‘on one’ spiritually – is belting out ‘Say Something’ from the toppermost stand and wriggling in a manner only the bravest would term dancing. It’s more arthritic flamenco, really. Still, James, Arena; Arena, James – you’ve met before, haven’t you?
And how deafening it is on their home patch, where just some of the 600,000 souls who’ve bought their ‘Best Of’ album are gathered to hear quite a good band shimmy through lots of songs that consistently dented the Top 20, maybe even the Top Ten.
An impressive occasion, then, though one our hosts fail to capitalise on initially. Sure, ‘Johnny Yen’, ‘Sometimes’, even new one ‘Fred Astaire’ are all familiarly rousing yet Booth, who has ditched the coat to reveal a black sarong and tight tiger T-shirt, seems genuinely too weird for his legion of fans. Even stranger, as the six other Jamesblokes try to work miracles through the muddy PA, Booth mingles with the crowd purely because, it seems, this is a stadium show and that’s what frontmen do. A Christian among the Coliseum’s lions, he is duly mauled.
No matter, because he’s up again, mincing across the stage with a bad smell under his nose. Perhaps it’s churlish to read his between-song prose as arrogance, but when Tim introduces ‘Waltzing’ as “a prayer for a strong heart and an open mind”, or oozes, “Trust us, we might know what we’re doing” before the swaggering ‘Vervacious’ (sic), there’s an overwhelming desire to squirm, or to slap him for being so patronising.
And still the hits keep coming. ‘Destiny’, ‘She’s A Star’, the anthemic Simple Minds strut of ‘Born Of Frustration’: all big, all with clever lyrics, all playing in an elevator near you now.
Surprises? Other than Tim’s glittery, neck-cricking encore entrance, no, especially since most of the people are already sitting down when that tune gets played.
The flags are unfurled, the lighters held aloft. James have seen their future and, frankly, it’s enormous. Be afraid, if you like.
SetlistIntro / Laid / Sometimes / Waltzing Along / Say Something / Fred Astaire / Confusion / Destiny Calling / Born of Frustration / Out To Get You / Vervacious / I Know What I'm Here For / She's A Star / Tomorrow / Sound / Come Home / Top Of The World / How Was It For You? / Sit Down
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SetlistDestiny Calling / Laid / Heavens / Waltzing Along / Sometimes / She's A Star / Johnny Yen / Surprise / Real World Jam / Vervacious / I Know What I'm Here For / Lost A Friend / Tomorrow / Born of Frustration / Sit Down / Out To Get You / Come Home / Sound
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Daniel Booth, Melody Maker
For James, a century on from their inception, the enormity of tonight’s show is an absurd aberration, fit only to be corrupted and lampooned. So, as the encore begins, following the first farewell of a typically swaggering “Sit Down”, Tim reappears in the seats at the rear of the arena, swarmed over by delirious, goldfish-mouthed fans. Genuine or simulated spontaneity?
Either way, it’s hilariously slapdash (Tim, stranded several miles from the band, wails “Come on guys, get back onstage!”) and the nonchalance with which it’s executed shows admirable bravura. Magnified on the screen, he gasps a breathless, “Wow!”
His astonishment at the resurrection of James’ career is touching if occasionally irritating, their we’re-not-worthy deference rivaling an Oscar-winning speech for inappropriate modesty.
But bands like James are supported by the weight of their history and they could easily present themselves as a soulless greatest hits vending machine. This puts James in the enviable position of being able to smuggle in a hatful of new songs (the sub-aquatic glide of “Vervacious” being the standout), once the crowd have been placated with some well-loved classics, be it the cyclonic propulsion of “Tomorrow” or the strumming frenzy of “Sometimes”. They can’t fail — even abandoning another newie, “Real World Jam”. Halfway through, as guitars and drums jacknife into each other, is interpreted warmly as a “they’re-human-after-all” sign, like Gary Kasparow losing a game of draughts.
“Ok, whose fault was that?” laughs Tim, walking up to drummer Dave like a solicitor approaching a witness. No one knows. No one cares. James are back from the wilderness and nothing’s going to halt this renaissance.
SetlistDestiny Calling / Laid / Sometimes / She's A Star / Waltzing Along / Heavens / Born of Frustration / I Defeat / Vervacious / I Know What I'm Here For / Out To Get You / Lost A Friend / Say Something / Tomorrow / Sit Down / Top Of The World / Confusion / Sound / Come Home
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(as posted on the wattyco messageboard)
Tim wearing a dress-type thing and a buddha t-shirt with a dodgy looking leather jacket.
Saul being polite and assuming as usual – flicking me the finger at the end of the main set for no apparent reason, shouting Come Home and a tirade of swear words at the beginning before having his mic cut off (we think).
Tim climbing on speaker stacks and then the main speaker, scaring the life out of everyone ending up about six feet over Kulas head.
Tim dedicating Heavens to the lifers.
Gene – surprisingly – although Martin Rossiter has eaten all the pies
Soundcheck – they played three other new songs in the soundcheck, one which we think is called “Millionaires” which has a chorus “feel like Fred Astaire”, “Surprise” which some of you know and another one that we couldn’t work out a title for.
Of the newies, Confusion is a fast-paced “brother of Laid” with a killer guitar riff, I Know almost has a breakbeat backdrop to it and the lyrics are all changed from Oxford and they’ve deleted the”nah nahs” at the start, I Defeat is a slowie, with excellent lyrics about being in a good relationship and then throwing it all away and Vivacious starts off slow, builds up, heads off on a tangent and then slows down again.
So the big questions:
WILL THEY CHANGE THE SET LIST?
WILL SAUL GROW UP?
WILL WE SUFFER DEATH BY STEREOPHONICS FAN CRUSH TONIGHT?
we’ll let you know…..
P.S. Don’t you think it’s sh*t that CoS can’t sell fanzines before the show? will they remember that if the next LP flops and they’re slumming it back at the Forum? buy a fanzine, because the program is full of nice photos but little substance for £5
James are a band who through their 1991 single Sit Down became associated with the Madchester scene but who are really a band with origins and inspirations far away from the spirit of those times. James from their early eighties origins have always been an unpredictable unit, even fey at times. There is none of the belligerent aggression of the Stone Roses in James but there are very adroit lyrics. Partly this is down to the lead singer Tim Booth. Oh rare Tim Booth! If Freddie Garrity of Freddie and the Dreamers danced like a frog in a blender in the 1960’s then Booth, when he gets in the mood, dances like a frog in a really, really fast blender.
Proving their longevity the band achieved something they had never previously achieved when, in 1998, their Best Of album reached number 1. James had started out in 1983 at Factory Music. Championed by Morrissey of The Smiths and manipulating influences from very diverse sources – early songs included sea shantie references – they built an amazingly devoted following which sticks by them up to the present. Their reputation grew through albums such as Stutter and One Man Clapping to the excellent Gold Mother in 1990. The single Sit Down followed with its well known middle section where all the audience are required – you guessed it – to sit down. It reached number 2 in the singles charts and in no time at all James became a big stadium player on both sides of the Atlantic.
This followed a re-release of Gold Mother and a new album Seven . Their recording high point was reached with perhaps one of the finest albums by any Manchester band, Laid , in 1993. Here the group with Brian Eno in attendance produced an ethereal mix of innovative sounds which sustained itself over most of the songs. Laid came as close as any subsequent Manchester music had to the sheer inimitability of The Smiths. The band’s best work after Laid was Whiplash in 1997 which was followed by the Best of album mentioned above.
Love or hate Apollo 440’s version of ‘Sit Down’? Reckon James care that it has the Top 10, just like the original did seven years ago? Surely it will generate extra sales for that ‘Best Of’ album, already topping figures of half a million?
Certainly, the success of the remix is timely for James, who are also marking their return to the big arenas – something which hasn’t happened since the early Nineties. The tour is being promoted as a celebration, as opposed to a retrospective, with the promise of new songs off a forthcoming album. You get the feeling they haven’t given up on the Big Time; yet. A band who started their career at Factory Records (home of miserabilists Joy Division) and ended up being folky WOMAD faves. A band who would never let their pop anthems fake their orgasms. Flower power. The sound of violins. Well, the sound of one violin, anyway. And Tim Booth. An earnest voice with a penchant for high notes (move over youngster Brett Anderson) and the reason James will never become just another Hothouse Flowers – even though he converses with his angel (s) and knows the correct order of colours in a rainbow.
“Britain’s answer to Michael Stipe,” they’ll be saying. Again. Although, undoubtedly, he’s closer to Julian Cope. So shake off that wintertime apathy, polish your Cheshire cat smile. It’s that time
5 ASIDE – look out for
Since the Apollo 440 boys are reputedly very shy, watch out for the boys in disguise, trying to hide from all those hardcore James fans who hate the remix
Odds on, old James fave Brian Eno will be around
Listen out for new songs.
Listen out for old songs in new outfits. And watch out for occasional guest appearances too.
Try and get yourself invited back to Youth’s place. You can bet the band – or some of them – will be there, rather than at the after-show shindig.