James’ UK tour starts with an intimate warm-up show at Stirling’s Albert Halls before heading to Oxford, Cambridge, Bristol, Liverpool, Glasgow, Newcastle, London’s Royal Albert Hall and Brixton Academy, Birmingham and Leeds. Support comes from Starsailor other than Blossoms in Oxford.
They then head to Portugal where they perform an afternoon guerilla gig in Porto’s Sao Bento station where 3,000 fans turned up to a gig announced in the morning before headline shows in Guimaraes, where they are accompanied by Nicolinos drummers, and Lisbon.
Moving On wins Best Animation In A Video at the UK Music Video Awards.
A radio edit of All I’m Saying is released a single with an exclusive b-side Let Us Die.
SetlistLose Control / Oh My Heart / Walk Like You / Frozen Britain / Seven / Curse Curse / Laid / What's The World / I Wanna Go Home / All Good Boys / Quicken The Dead / Just Like Fred Astaire / Jam J / Dream Thrum / PS / All I'm Saying / Getting Away With It (All Messed Up) / Moving On / Gone Baby Gone / Sound / Born Of Frustration / Interrogation / Sometimes
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James concluded their touring for the year with a twenty-three song set in the cavernous surroundings of the MEO Arena in Lisbon. Urged on by a fanatical Portuguese crowd they made the hall feel intimate as they ran through eight tracks from their recent La Petite Mort album as well as classic singles and rarities from their back catalogue.
The La Petite Mort tour came to a conclusion in Lisbon, scene of James’ unforgettable performance at Rock In Rio a couple of years ago and this was their first visit since then. The 20,000 MEO Arena was an ambitious choice of venue, but they still pulled in a crowd in excess of what they get in most British cities, testament to their undying appeal here.
They start with Tim walking through the crowd with Andy singing Lose Control. Immediately you feel the enthusiasm and vigour of the Portuguese audience, the noise almost drowning out the music as they cheer and clap along. It’s a theme of the evening, as it was in Guimaraes the previous night, none of the incessant chatter from the wings that you get in Britain. The Portuguese don’t get bands coming here as if on a conveyor belt and they make sure they enjoy every minute of it when they do.
Oh My Heart is the first of two tracks from 2008’s reunion album Hey Ma, which has generally been ignored throughout this tour, and it’s an unusual choice for the first full band song of the evening as opposed to a more obvious crowd pleaser, but its soaring chorus where Tim Booth implores his heart to “come break me in two” is sung back by 10,000 voices with arms and camera phones raised in salute of one of Portugal’s more unlikely musical heroes.
The band are on good form tonight. Tim thanks the crowd with the only Portuguese word he claims to know before Saul Davies, once a resident of Porto, speaks to the crowd. Tim jokes that Saul’s probably talking dirty in Portuguese. It’s reassuring to note how well they are interacting up on stage this year as it’s that which drives their creativity and their instinctive ability to jam new ideas into songs and get themselves out of trouble when things start to go wrong technically.
Walk Like You and Frozen Britain are two of the high points of a series of peaks on this year’s La Petite Mort album. As the gig is being filmed we’re treated to eight of the ten songs from the record. The former clocks in at over eight minutes and feels like three songs rolled into once as it muses on the parent / child relationship whilst musically it’s a song that opens up so many possibilities and never quite sounds the same every night. Frozen Britain was the first focus track (single) from the album and has been (in my view wrongly) somewhat overshadowed by the big guns of Moving On and Curse Curse, but live that guitar hook is an invitation to dance and throw off the shackles. It’s a joyful exclamation of finding love after a series of let downs, there’s sexual overtones mixed in there as there are in many of the lyrics which the crowd around us sing back to him word for word.
Seven is the first of the songs from the album of the same name that broke them here and it turns the already feverish atmosphere up a notch further. Probably exhausted from all his exertions over the past three weeks, and he tells us later he’s getting by on sticky tape and ibuprofen, Tim goes down on to the barrier to sing and crouches down as the song reaches its “love can mean anything” conclusion. Tonight love means James, the adulation the band have here is unlike anything I’ve seen with them anywhere else.
Curse Curse and Laid are like a match made in heaven together in the set, their central themes, their joie-de-vivre making them blood relatives and they both induce the whole hall to bounce along to their rampant hedonism and slightly cheeky slightly disconcerting lyrics about sex and desire. Tim takes to the crowd, surfing over a sea of arms, many ignoring his request to put the camera phones down and live for the present and not save it for later. It takes a brave man in his fifties (he calls himself an “antique”) to put himself in that vulnerable position, but you see the joy on his face and the people he goes out and connects with and James make ultimate perfect sense in those moments, a group of outsiders coming together and celebrating that very fact.
They go right back to their early days for first single What’s The World, which sounds as fresh and vibrant thirty one years after its release as it did back then. It’s been adapted for the times, no more so than in Dave Baynton-Power’s opening drum salvo, and toughened up to allow it to fight with the better-known big hitters around it. The Portuguese crowd probably don’t know it, but they don’t care, they’re here to party and dance and they love it. Next up is I Wanna Go Home, not played in the UK, but tonight it’s a real show-stopper despite Tim’s claims to not remember the lyrics, building, brooding, hovering over the red-hot atmosphere until the key change where everything comes crashing in, guitars, violins, bass, keys and drums in a crescendo of noise that departs as suddenly as it arrives leaving Tim’s voice on its own for the conclusion “I am dying”.
All Good Boys has been the revelation of the tour, a discarded b-side the band admit to have forgotten about until recently (and guitarist Larry Gott, who wasn’t in the band when it was released, never having even heard it until tour rehearsals), but which fills rooms like this perfectly. The group vocals approach to the refrain is something James don’t do very often and Saul gets to sing a whole verse as a contrast to Tim. It’s powerful and testament to the quality and depth of their back catalogue that they can pull a gem like this out of the hat.
Quicken The Dead hasn’t seen much time on this tour, but it’s clearly one of Tim’s favourites and he explains that it’s a summation of the themes of La Petite Mort, that it’s important to live with death at your shoulder and to kiss those that you love. It’s a curious almost-waltz in parts, not what you’d expect from a James song, but it fits ideally into the set tonight.
Just Like Fred Astaire is one of James’ most popular and most requested songs and one that they’ve shied away from playing regularly until this tour. It’s a song that connects with their audience in a different way to most James songs – it’s not fighting self-doubt, relationship issues, death, it’s a pure unadultered declaration and love and not surprising that so many James fans have got married to this song. Lisbon is united in one big expression of its own love.
Tim jokes that the next song is one that no one gets married to unless they’re dark. The front rows gesticulate wildly to Tim that the second microphone he uses to sing this song (the same one that’s failed a couple of times on Greenpeace) isn’t working so we’re treated a wild instrumental section of Jam J, complete with a show-stopping light extravaganza. Tim tells us it’s not how you fuck up that matters, it’s how you handle it, before they kick it up again and Tim grabs the megaphone and goes with that and rescues the song and without the distortion it feels different to the other nights on the tour, an accident resulting in something unique. It’s not the type of thing you’d associate with James, but hidden away on Wah Wah there’s a few pieces of this industrialist jam-fuelled material that will shock and delight you if you’ve never investigated it (see also Honest Joe).
They take the mood back down for two tracks from Laid, James’ most popular album here. Dream Thrum showcases a different side to James, the almost heraldic nature of the lyrics being suppressed by understated guitar that makes it feel like a beautiful musical interlude in the midst of what’s going on around it. We’re further soothed by PS, the dark spite of the lyrics being enveloped by James’ mastery at these lower volumes, evidenced by both Jim Glennie’s spine-tingling bass and then when Saul takes centre stage with his violin. This is the James that makes people fall in love with them, the flip side to the big hits, the songs with a different gamut of musical excellence, improvisational genius and the desire to take risks and play these type of songs whilst other bands churn out album tracks that are mere imposters and weaker siblings of their singles. The Portuguese crowd respect this in a way that would shame some of the louder UK crowds this year. This continues for recent single All I’m Saying, a eulogy to his close friend Gabrielle Roth. As they play it, a guy stood near us closes his eyes, looks up and sings every word with his eyes closed.
Getting Away With It (All Messed Up) sees Tim back out in the crowd surfing, the song being another favourite in Portugal. Whilst it’s James theme tune, it translate to mean something to everyone in the hall, it’s a big two fingers to convention and fitting in and very apt for the traditional Portuguese approach to life where they’re proud to be different and proud of their culture and history. It’s why this band are so loved by the people here. They then kick into Moving On, Tim dedicating it to anyone who’s lost anyone, but something goes awry at the start of it so Saul leads the audience in a chant of the punchline of the previous song. Moving On feels like as much like a song of union and communion as Sit Down does – it’s a collective arm round everyone else’s shoulder and that’s why James are so special to so many people.
Tim handpicks people out of the audience as the rumbling bass intro of Gone Baby Gone echoes around the room, giving them strict instructions that they’re there to dance. He bravely suggests people should make a run to get on stage, and fortunately no one takes him up on it otherwise the stage might not have held the weight of people. The song itself has been one of the unexpected revelations of the tour. It’s been cut loose, given a new life of its own, it’s a bit ragged around the edges compared to the studio version, it gets extended out to allow Tim to dance with each of those pulled up on stage (as well as Larry joining in and spinning one of the dancers round) making it unpredictable, Tim plays with the lyrics, but it’s got everything that’s core to what makes James special.
After the night before’s events in Guimaraes when they invited thirty local Nicolinos drummers on stage for Sound, it’s a hard act to follow, but what they do is to simply follow their own commands in the song, taking up the invitation to leave themselves behind, do something out of character and show us something they’ve never done before. It’s another song that’s benefited from a rest because they’re now still playing around with it, keeping its freshness and vibrancy and never resting on their laurels. It’s accompanied by a light show that’s every bit as wild and improvised in parts as the music.
Born Of Frustration and Interrogation open the encore proceedings. The former is another song with particular resonance here, the song that started to open doors for them in 1992 when they first came to Lisbon, the latter evidence that with La Petite Mort that they haven’t lost the ability to create songs that transcend the usual verse / chorus routine of so many bands’ complete works. Live, the dramatic twists and turns of the song are multiplied as it builds to the judgement section and then is taken away from us as it soars to its instrumental conclusion.
Sometimes is really the only fitting end to the gig and the tour. It’s the song here that is most identified with them, the one that gets local pulses raising the most. As it drops down the crowd take over, Tim goes surfing again, putting not just himself but the song in the hands of the audience, but it’s a safe pair. The seated area are all on their feet, the band exchange elated glances as they take control back from the crowd and improvise the song to its conclusion. There’s nothing you can do to follow this, not even one of the many big hitters that are conspicuous by their absence tonight (Sit Down, Ring The Bells, Tomorrow, Come Home, Say Something, Waltzing Along et al). It feels like it’s never going to end until people lose their voices.
Whilst the tour has had celebratory moments like this throughout and seen some unusual revelations (All Good Boys, Go To The Bank, Greenpeace), it’s fitting that the songs from La Petite Mort have nested themselves in the setlist and steadfastly refused to budge and be muscled aside. The crowd reactions throughout, both in the UK and Portugal, showed that it’s cemented its place as a favourite already and they still have that same ability to connect and touch with their audience as they had when people first heard them.
SetlistWalk Like You / Frozen Britain / Seven / Curse Curse / Laid / Shes A Star / All Good Boys / Just Like Fred Astaire / Greenpeace / PS / Getting Away With It (All Messed Up) / Moving On / Gone Baby Gone / Sound / Come Home / Born Of Frustration / Interrogation / Stutter / Out To Get You / Sometimes
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James opened their short two-date tour of Portugal with a sold out show at the Multiusos de Guimaraes and a nod to the local Pinheiro festival as well as tracks from their 2014 La Petite Mort alongside back catalogue classics.
Tonight’s 5,000 capacity show is sold-out, testament to the popularity of James in Portugal. Guimaraes is a city of 150,000 people – equivalent to the size of Canterbury to put that into perspective, although the queues of cars still outside the venue an hour after James left the stage suggests that the crowd came from far and wide to pay homage to their unlikely heroes.
They open with Walk Like You, the opening song from La Petite Mort, and the Portuguese fans break into clapping, some of them not stopping from the opening bars of this right through to the close of Sometimes. It’s a song built for big halls like this, the big bold sound contrasting with the parental advice to a child in the lyrics. Frozen Britain has a similar feel, its opening chords unmistakable and with enough room in the song for Tim to dance, and there’s an element of the crowd tonight that are fixated on his every move so there’s a mid-song roar when he starts.
Perhaps due to the height of the stage creating a sense of distance that needs blowing away, Tim ventures down into the pit and then into the seats that flank the arena, perching precariously on a barrier, for Seven. Whilst Sometimes and Laid were what cemented Portugal’s love of James, it was with Seven that they first toured here and it’s these songs that get the best reactions tonight.
Next up are Curse Curse and Laid, perfectly matched together. Whilst Curse Curse gets a fantastic reception in its own right, the sea of arms stretching way back into the venue, it’s Laid that sends the place completely bonkers. It’s like watching a reverse Poznan as everyone in the building bounces and bounces, singing along to every word.
She’s A Star gets the difficult job of following that, but it’s a song that’s struck deep into the psyche of the audience here. All Good Boys, a Millionaires b-side that didn’t even make the Ultra b-sides album, is next and works beautifully. The Portuguese audience, unlike a majority of their UK counterparts, stand and listen to a song few of them probably know.
Just Like Fred Astaire sees Tim make his way down to the barrier and then start walking on the shoulders of the crowd, all without dropping a word. It’s made a welcome resurrection in the set on this tour – its subject matter, a man falling in love, isn’t traditional James lyric territory, but it strikes a real chord here. At the end of the song Tim falls backwards and is carried on a sea of arms back to the front. Tim jokes about the reaction he got going into the crowd in Glasgow and the contrast to how well the audience looked after him.
They then divert to Greenpeace, which builds to a wall of noise and light as it reaches its conclusion as Tim’s two-mic approach tells two sides of the story of environmental ruin. It contrasts with PS, a gorgeous ballad musically that finishes in a delicious Saul violin solo that stuns the crowd.
The whole place goes wild again for Getting Away With It (All Messed Up), a song that seems to have particular resonance in continental Europe as it never fails to get a euphoric reaction. It’s probably coming to its time to take a rotation out of the set, but you absolutely cannot deny the power it has to get an audience going. Tim doesn’t need to sing the first verse because it’s sung to him whether he likes it or not.
Moving On is the one of the new songs that has made the most impact due to its subject matter and its video and we were told earlier that it’s the song that Portuguese radio picked up on of all the singles so far. The venue becomes a sea of arms as far back as you can see. Gone Baby Gone sees dancers invited up from the crowd on to the stage as has become tradition and its stop-start staccato vibe has everyone dancing as Tim prowls the stage looking for people to dance with.
Sound is next and has a twist. As it reaches the breakdown session, thirty drummers in traditional costume march on stage playing the same beat. November 29th is the start of a two week celebration in Guimaraes which starts with an all-night party to which the soundtrack is the Nicolinos (as the drummers are called) and this beat. Somehow, despite about ten minutes soundcheck, it works beautifully, James improvising around the beat. As the song reaches its conclusion, five thousand people holler the “mah bah ooh” refrain back at the band, before they allow the drummers their own minute or so in the spotlight, paying respect to local tradition that the crowd react ecstatically to. The sound on stage is matched by that of stamping feet, both on the arena floor and in the raised seating.
Come Home finishes the main set and almost feels like the interloper at the party with what’s gone before it, partly as it doesn’t occupy the same heady place in the James canon of songs here than it does back, but mainly because there’s just been one of the moments you get at some James gigs that you can’t follow.
Andy appears on the balcony at the top of the seats for the start of Born Of Frustration and Tim sings most of it in the seats on the opposite side as the Portuguese crowd ape his Indian cry. Interrogation is bold and powerful, exploding at the point the verdict of the song is delivered. This type of song (see also I Wanna Go Home and Of Monsters And Heroes And Men) characterize the reunion of James more than most in that they give the band space and room to take them off at tangents whilst retaining control.
Stutter sees another set of drummers on stage, this time less traditional and more fluid in their approach. The crowd look on with a slight sense of bemusement at the carnage that unfolds on stage. It’s a song that’s been there since the start of James and Tim explains the story about how it’s when his tongue took control of a situation when he was pursuing a girl at University and when she finally succumbed he talked his way out of it. It’s a song that has grown with the band as they’ve developed and one that has always found its way back into their sets. Tonight it’s a rampant sprawling beast, backed up by a light show that almost blinds you but which changes in time with the music (no mean feat given the pace of the song), the additional drummers adding to both the aural and visual chaos. Larry adds a new rougher intro to the song as Tim stands inches away from him, encouraging him to take it to new places and then later he does the same with Jim.
They decide to forego the second encore ritual and play Out To Get You. Again, they’re almost drowned out by the sound of the audience clapping along, although they do shut up when Saul’s jaw-dropping violin solo takes charge as Tim retreats to the drum riser to let the rest of them take centre stage.
Sometimes is the inevitable yet completely appropriate conclusion to the evening’s events. It’s the song most synonymous with James here. The crowd sing along then as it reaches its conclusion, they take up the refrain and then Saul kicks in with a fierce guitar as the others move to bid their farewells sending them back for an improvised outro, again very different to other nights, before finally bringing things to an end, with the audience streaming out afterwards still singing along.
There’s a very special connection between James and Portugal, one that’s very hard to pinpoint. But they are both incredibly passionate people, seen as the underdog but possessing a natural talent and love of life that they harness for them to live their life the way they choose rather than the way others would want to dictate to them, and when you look at it that way, it feels like the most natural bond you could imagine.
A guerilla gig in Porto’s main Sao Bento station, announced on the morning, which attracted over 3,000 people and almost brought the station to a standstill.
Out To Get You / Frozen Britain / Laid / Moving On / Interrogation / Getting Away With It (All Messed Up)
An ornate historic Portuguese railway station in the centre of the country’s second city isn’t your traditional gig venue, but James played a short six-song set to two thousand people ahead of two arena dates later this week.
Estació de São Bento is famous for its ornate decoration, think Wedgewood blue and white but transformed from pottery to a building. It’s the second station in Porto, albeit the most central one, serving regions to the north of the city. This afternoon though it’s transformed into a heaving mass of James fans eager to see their heroes return to the city following their show-stopping rain-drenched headline performance at Mares Vivas Festival in July, just over the bridge in Vila Nova de Gaia.
The hall isn’t really built for loud guitar music, but that doesn’t bother the crowd that have packed the hall despite it still being the middle of the working afternoon, causing travellers to be diverted via side entrances to get to and from their trains. There’s an expectant buzz in the air, huge cheers whenever anyone who might be associated with the band is seen emerging from the back stage area. Just after 3pm they emerge and the rest of the city must wonder what’s going on given the noise that the crowd make.
It’s not the full band today, drummer Dave and trumpet player Andy are absent, travelling out today for the arena shows. Roadie / photographer / multi-instrumentalist Ron Yeadon steps in on drums when required as well as providing backing vocals, so it’s a slightly pared-back take on things, but testament to James’ ability to rework, revamp and recreate their own songs that this whole event is a huge success.
Part of that is down to the choice of songs. Out To Get You is a huge crowd favourite in a country where the Laid album broke James. Think Sit Down in the UK, then Sometimes is that song here. The restraint of the song is perfect for this environment, the beauty of the build and then into Saul’s violin solo, duelling with Jim’s bass as the song builds to its conclusion never fails to thrill an audience and this afternoon, with Ron playing improvised drums, it’s perfect. Frozen Britain is an interesting choice as a song from the La Petite Mort album given it didn’t always make the cut on the UK tour, but it’s a great song to get the crowd going.
They then do a short question and answer session, which wasn’t a wise move in an environment where half the crowd can’t hear the band’s talking voices and the questions tend to be asking them how much they love Portugal, when the answer is a fairly obvious one.
The band put a stop to this by warming up for Laid, strumming the opening chords as Tim answers another question. As they gradually get louder, he jumps off the stage and makes his way down the improvised barriers at one side to connect a bit more with his crowd as they play the “slow Laid” version for the first verse, before cranking it up as he returns to the stage for the second verse. The sound isn’t perfect in the hall, Tim’s vocals sound as if they’re bouncing around all over the place because of the structure and make-up of the place, but everyone is too caught up in the thrill of the moment to bother too much.
Moving On appears to have struck a note in Portugal as well as everywhere else, helped along by its wonderful animated video. Tim makes his way off stage again, this time down the other side and, instead of returning to the stage, mounts the precariously placed speaker stacks and finishes the song stood atop them surveying the scene in front of him.
He stays up there for Interrogation, another song well suited to the set-up and personnel today, and when it reaches the breakdown when he usually starts dancing he looks a little unsure and improvises without ever looking like he’s going to fall.
The crowd refuse to let them leave, they haven’t skived off work just to see five songs. The band discuss what they should play as they haven’t rehearsed anything else in this format and go for Getting Away With It (All Messed Up) a very apt choice seeing as Tim gets his verses in a muddle, but if he hadn’t told us, no one would have cared, and probably didn’t in any case. His bravery borders on the insane as he stands on the unsecured barriers keeping the crowd from the stage, swaying, dancing before plunging forward to be carried back into the hall and then ending up stood in the crowd.
Still the crowd want more, but there’s no more time otherwise the Portuguese rush hour would ground to a halt. People don’t leave, they mill outside, filling the hill waiting for a glimpse of their heroes as they leave. James are serious business out here, the news of the gig happening made the front page of a few mass-circulation papers as well as television and they’re playing arenas bigger than the UK (outside of Manchester), even with the much lower population out here.
SetlistAll Good Boys / Frozen Britain / Say Something / Just Like Fred Astaire / Walk Like You / Curse Curse / Laid / Lullaby / All Im Saying / Born Of Frustration / Go To The Bank / Jam J / PS / Getting Away With It (All Messed Up) / Moving On / Gone Baby Gone / Come Home / Out To Get You / Sound / Interrogation / Sometimes
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The last leg of James’ UK tour saw them head to Leeds First Direct Arena for a Sunday night set of hits, tracks from La Petite Mort and a seventeen year old song they’d never played live before.
The First Direct Arena claims to be a proper music venue for music lovers. Tasked with doing that yet holding over 10,000 people is not easy task, but as these big arenas go, it’s the best in the UK with decent sight lines for everyone even those up in the Gods, a standing area that gets everyone close to the stage and a sound set-up that doesn’t hit you with reverb and echo every time the bass drum kicks in.
James come on and Saul tells us it’s the end of tour party but that we’re going to open proceedings with a song we’ve never heard. Opening with All Good Boys, a b-side that most of the audience won’t know, is a brave move, but sort of what you’d come to expect with them. Always trying to add to the song, Saul initiates the audience clapping along by using his guitar as an improvised drum.
Frozen Britain is described by Tim as waking up your life and falling in love. After neglecting it earlier in the tour it appears to be back in favour and rightly so, cramming so much about what’s great about James into three and a bit minutes – a big tune that doesn’t take itself too seriously, playful yet meaningful lyrics which by substituting Emily of the chorus for another name can speak to anyone who’s experienced this situation and an outro that has room for improvisation as half of Leeds joins Tim in their best French accent for the “la petite more pour toujours” punchline.
Say Something sees Tim venture down into the crowd for the first time, fighting his way past a Hello Kitty doll pushed in his face to surf round the standing area and, as usual, not missing a word of the song.
Next up is Just Like Fred Astaire, their one full on love song as Tim describes it. It gets a delirious reaction as it’s a very obvious crowd favourite and soundtrack to a thousand James fan weddings. It reaches its conclusion with Tim and Saul together singing.
Walk Like You has been pushed backwards into the set, but loses not of its impact. As the song hits the breakdown section the band go off on improvisational tangents, Tim seeks out Andy who’s providing the soundtrack to his ecstatic dancing.
Tim introduces Curse Curse as a song about being in the Malmaison and hearing the couple next door and wanting to join in. As with many of the other gigs, it gets as good a reaction as many of the bigger hits around it, Tim emphasizes the “Messi shoots and scores” line with an air kick more at home a mile away at Elland Road as his beloved Leeds plummet towards the bottom of the Championship than the Nou Camp. He ends up singing stood on his monitor surveying the chaos of the mosh pit.
As has been the case at all the other shows, Curse morphs into Laid, the crowd almost drown out the band as they sing the first verse before Tim can start so he lets them have their head with a wry grin on his face. If anything the song has got more crazy in its twenty first year on the planet, an excuse for every one to let go and lose themselves to that drum pattern and the slightly bonkers lyrics.
Having got the crowd warmed up to the point of explosion, they take them back down with a beautiful Lullaby. Tim explains they met a guy in Newcastle who had the whole of the lyrics tattooed on his arm. It’s a beautifully poignant song and most of the crowd gets this and respects it, as they do All I’m Saying, which is more personal to Tim in the context he sings it, but with enough for it to be able to be related to situations that everyone in the room has faced at some point in their lives.
There’s a tease that things are going to go back to the known and loved hits with a frenetic wild Born Of Frustration, which sees Tim returning to the audience, thanking them at the end for the lack of gynaecological experiments on him, and Andy’s trumpet call and Larry’s piercing guitar solo as well as some crazy lighting effects.
If Lullaby was a brave move, what happens next borders on the heroic. Most, if not all bands, get to the last night of a tour and, whilst they’re ready to party, wouldn’t go and cut up the structure of their set and rebalance it. They certainly wouldn’t just pull a song out of their back catalogue that they’ve never played before and pitch it mid-set, yet this isn’t any ordinary band. Go To The Bank was released on Whiplash in 1997 and never made it into a setlist (see footnote), yet they’ve plucked it out of mid-album obscurity and perform it as if giving an intimate rehearsal to 10,000 people. It lacks the pristine polish of the rest of the set, but that alone makes it brilliant. You listen to dull formulaic rabble rousers like Kasabian bleat on about how radical their sound is whilst churning out variants on the same monotonous stupidly-named songs then see James play that – this is what taking risks is, doing something different and if there’s another band around doing it, then I haven’t seen them.
Not content with that, they then crank up the bass to a point where you can feel it rising and punching you in the stomach for Jam J. You can’t see the band for the wall of white light and strobes, but as Tim bounces round the stage as the song jerks to its conclusion, Leeds just stands and stares. The contrast with PS is remarkable. It soothes the ringing ears and the eyes are treated to a stage basked in red light as Saul takes centre stage with a gorgeous show-stopping violin solo. Saul jokes beforehand that they missed it out of the set last night because someone had forgotten to write it on the set lists.
The crowd have generally taken in this diversion from the well-known tried and tested hits in their stride, listening appreciatively (and quietly when needed). But to finish off the main set, it’s back to the songs that people know and which get them dancing and singing along. Getting Away With It never fails to get a crowd going, whilst the reaction Moving On, tonight with an extended intro section, gets is no less forceful – a running theme with all the new material tonight and on the rest of the tour. These songs speak to people in the way the James songs of old used to – it’s just such a pity you have to go looking for them these days due to the lack of media and (with a few exceptions) radio support otherwise these songs would get the acclaim they so rightly deserve.
We then get to the real triumph of the tour. Tim invites a dozen dancers on stage for Gone Baby Gone with instructions to dance, nearly swiping the camera phone out of one man’s hand when he tries to film from the stage. Gentlemen bounce around the stage excitedly, girls dance properly as the song’s staccato jagged guitars whip the arena floor into a frenzy probably only matched by Laid at this point. Tim gets through the love love love blah blah blah section and collapses exhaustedly to his knees at the front of the stage.
They finish with Come Home, a song of communal self-flagelation, the doubt and worries of the lyrics washed away by an invitation to lose yourself in the music created so loose that you can’t help but dance to it.
For the encore, they come back on for Out To Get You and as the song draws to its elongated instrumental conclusion around Saul’s violin and Jim’s bass, Tim disappears, only to appear up in the Gods of the arena as the opening bars of Sound chime out. They’ve never done this before with Tim in the crowd, but it’s no less effective. Tim makes his way round the circle of the seats, pausing to sing in the wheelchair area.
Interrogation is another song that has grown live on this tour so that it doesn’t feel at all out of place given its status in the eyes of some fans as a mere album track. It’s as epic and bold as anything else in the set, the breakdown as Tim delivers his judgement on himself to the sound of Larry’s guitar solo pierces through the red-hot atmosphere that the fans have generated.
It’s down to Sometimes to conclude it and aware of the impending curfew and the draconian punishments imposed to stop people having fun, the band take the song down and let the audience sing it back to them which they do way after the band have departed the stage. Ironically it gives a new twist to the song that’s taken so many on this tour, stubbornly refusing to allow itself to be moved from the end of the set by refusing to become predictable – the mood of the band and the crowd taking it down different roads each night.
So that’s the end of the UK tour – ten nights that have seen the band take La Petite Mort out on the road. Unlike some previous tours, the album has remained firmly in the setlist with between five and seven songs being played from it each night accompanying a mix of some (but not all) of their hit singles as well as songs they’ve rediscovered, reinvented or simply rested for a few tours and they’ve pretty much got the balance spot on. The most heartening thing has been the audience reactions to La Petite Mort, they haven’t felt out of place, they’ve not seen a mass exodus to the bar and they’ve been sung back, danced to and loved just as much as the old favourites.
SetlistSound / Walk Like You / Frozen Britain / Ring The Bells / Curse Curse / Laid / All Good Boys / All Im Saying / Hymn From A Village / Stutter / Out To Get You / Getting Away With It (All Messed Up) / Moving On / Come Home / Gone Baby Gone / Born Of Frustration / Interrogation / Sometimes
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Saturday night in Birmingham and we’re in the soulless pit of the NIA waiting for James to transcend the appalling organization of the place, half-built facilities, stupid rules and the general feeling that this is all a terrible inconvenience to those in charge of ensuring people’s visit to their place of work. Thank God music usually always wins.
Starsailor open the evening and we catch most of their set and to be fair to them they’ve transformed my not particularly warm view of them before the tour into a grudging recognition that they’re not that bad. They play new songs from their forthcoming fourth album as well as some of their classic singles, so there’s reason there to give them the benefit of the doubt, and songs like Four To The Floor and Good Souls have aged particularly well. What’s also clear is that, despite the venue being an absolute hellhole, the one thing they’ve actually got right is the sound.
James come on stage, on time for once (well within five minutes) and immediately break into the opening bars of Sound. It feels a bit odd with it at the start of the set as it restricts the improvisational opportunity a little as a ten minute plus opener might even be a step too far for James. What’s clear tonight is that there seems a real sense of purpose and focus and they’re incredibly tight. Whilst it’s that looseness, that getting away with all messed up vibe, that makes every James show unique, tonight is particularly special because it’s not as apparent as it usually is. Tim ends up dancing on Dave’s drum riser as the rest of the band take over.
Two seven minute songs to start the show is a brave move but Walk Like You has to be an early set calling card, the marker for La Petite Mort, with its bold, striving, euphoric declaration of “let’s inspire, let’s inflame, create art from our pain” distilling the very James ethic into song. Frozen Britain has been criminally underplayed on this tour, a playful teasing romp, an obvious single but also with enough in the song for them to play around with it, extending the outro.
Ring The Bells is classic Saturday night James fayre, one of their strongest big anthem songs and one that never feels old or jaded in the way some do occasionally need resting and revitalising (see last year’s resurrection of Waltzing Along). Larry’s guitar solo fills the rooms accompanied by blasts of Andy’s trumpet and thousands of arms are raised in exaltation as it reaches its devastating conclusion.
Immediately warming is the reception the opening bars of Curse Curse gets, it’s greeted like an old favourite rather than the typical reaction new album songs by most bands get at gigs like this. Tim makes his way down to the barrier, stands surveying the melee in front of him and belatedly drops forward onto a sea of raised arms, struggling to keep hold of his microphone as people move towards him. Ably assisted by Ron Yeadon’s backing vocals, Dave’s frenetic drums and Mark’s keyboard wizardry the song is made for arenas of this size. The fact it can stand toe-to-toe with Laid, which raises the heat and the joy in the room still further, is testament to the power of the record they’ve just released.
It feels like the crowd need a breather as it’s been full-on from the start and the gorgeous, drifting, dreamy All Good Boys is the perfect tonic, but incredibly, given it was a b-side cast away in the depths of the back catalogue and even some of the band had forgotten about it, it works perfectly. The lilting acoustic guitar of the opening, Saul’s vocals on the second verse, the multi-vocal chorus and ending to the song make it feel like an old friend and questions why it was ever treated so dismissively back at the turn of the century.
All I’m Saying has been stopped twice on this tour due to too much noise in the audience, but Birmingham perfectly respects Tim’s request for assistance with it by keeping quiet and as the song builds, it feels like the love and pain of the song is being expunged from Tim and dissipated amongst each and every one of us.
We then turn the clock back thirty years for a duo of Hymn From A Village and Stutter. The former feels nothing like its age, its buoyant, ferocious rhythm something that has lived in the bloodline and heritage of James’ songs throughout their career. Stutter is something truly extra-ordinary, it transcends being a mere song to be something absolutely unique and it’s accompanied by a light show that at one point even threatens to overshadow the wall of sound that’s coming from the stage. Tim describes it as losing control of your mouth, something that needs to become an art if you want to be a singer. The reason it’s never been released in studio form is probably because it’d be impossible to.
Out To Get You is another one of those songs that benefitted from a rest. It’s a crowd favourite despite it obviously not being a single as it’s a song that everyone can relate to, but its end section has been revitalised by it being taken out of the set and brought back in and revisited with fresh eyes and ears. They then realise they’ve maybe missed PS out of the set in their rush from Stutter to Out To Get You (although it’s not clear as this isn’t on the setlist Larry tweeted later). Tim jokes they couldn’t have played the wrong song because “it didn’t sound shit”.
A trio of singles from different eras of James bring the set to close to its conclusion. Getting Away With It (All Messed Up) is a calling card for probably the most difficult period of James’ career on many levels, but such a triumphant soaring engaging song that never got its proper recognition until they came back in 2007. Moving On is the bottling of modern-day James into one of those anthems that they’re best known for, reaching with out-stretched arms and creating one massive group hug for everyone in the arena, particularly when Tim talks about his Mum’s death as an “uplifting loss”. Come Home just gets more rampant, more jagged, more chaotic with age, growing old as disgracefully as many of their audience.
The main set closes with Gone Baby Gone. Tim invites people up on stage to dance and many more take it upon themselves to chance their arm at getting up. Only first played live a couple of weeks ago, it’s been the revelation of the tour, having gone from the band being worried about how to recreate it to being the show-stopping ending, Tim losing himself in ecstatic dancing surrounded by his dancing acolytes, Ron again providing backing vocals that play against Tim’s to great effect. It needs to be a single and stay in the set.
For the encore, Tim and Andy make their way out to the seated areas of the arena, Tim roaming around looking for connections amongst the sea of phones, ducking and diving past too keen admirers as the hall is filled by the sound of trumpets and guitars. Interrogation is as dark and fierce as it’s been on the tour so far showcasing a darker undercurrent to James’s sound not as evident in their more radio-friendly moments.
They close with Sometimes and the great thing about it on this tour is that whilst it is now the obvious set closer it’s ended up being different each and every night. Tonight, the band stop playing, Tim stops singing and it looks like they’re going to leave the stage until the crowd start it back up for a couple of minutes, then the band strike up something that sounds nothing like the song, a type of free-form improvisation and Tim goes back down into the crowd for a bit of crowd-surfing.
Tonight was one of those nights that James gave the crowd exactly what they wanted (well, maybe a few wanted the song that cannot be mentioned), but without playing it safe – tons of huge anthems, a large chunk of the new album but selected to match the mood and occasion, a nod to their very earliest days and a couple of songs that very few might know. The sound and the lighting were pretty much perfect too. What wasn’t there in the terms of the usual Jamesian chaos was more than made up for in power and purpose.
SetlistSound / Walk Like You / Just Like Fred Astaire / Curse Curse / Laid / All Good Boys / Johnny Yen / Hymn From a Village / What's the World / Jam J / Out to Get You / Vervaceous / Getting Away With It (All Messed Up) / Moving On / Come Home / Gone Baby Gone / Interrogation / Born of Frustration / Sometimes
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SetlistLose Control / Oh My Heart / Walk Like You / Seven / Curse Curse / Laid / Jam J / I Wanna Go Home / Out To Get You / Whats The World / Vervaceous / All Good Boys / All Im Saying / Getting Away With It (All Messed Up) / Moving On / Gone Baby Gone / Come Home / Born Of Frustration / Interrogation / Sometimes / Top Of The World
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The James La Petite Mort tour rolled into London last night with the first of two sold-out shows, the first at the Royal Albert Hall before a date at Brixton Academy on Friday.
As is tradition in the bigger venues, the set opens with a walk-through the crowd by Tim, Larry and Andy for Lose Control and tonight they’re joined by Jim as they enter the back of the stalls. Tim stops to dance with a man on the stairs, avoiding tripping as he did last time. They finish the song on stage and already the anticipation is at fever-pitch as they kick into Oh My Heart. In the soundcheck, Saul had said that compared to La Petite Mort, Hey Ma, from which this and later I Wanna Go Home come from, is the sound of the band finding their feet again. It’s no such thing – whilst the production makes La Petite Mort a more rounded album, those two songs tonight cement the feeling that they’re not just a more powerful live band than ever before, it also applies to their studio work too.
The cheers that greet the opening bars of Walk Like You set the precedent for the evening as well. Too often James London crowds appear to be there for the hits and the hits alone, but tonight, as an Australian gentlemen handed the mic later puts it, you’re not just watching James, you’re watching a choir. With the freedom to improvise in the later stages of the song, this one is different every night. The powerful beefed-up take on Seven is almost submerged by what goes on around it in the set tonight, but as Andy’s trumpet pierces the red-hot atmosphere of the hall and climbs the walls.
Curse Curse has the arena bouncing so hard you feel for the creaky floor as everyone hollers the chorus, a song that’s won the hearts of James fans with its tale of jealousy of what’s going on next door, that line “sounds from next door, someone’s getting laid” a nod to what comes next, its crazy twenty year old brother-in-arms which sees Tim invite dancers up on to the stage, breaking down whatever is left of the walls between band and audience. The crowd have sung the first verse and chorus at the band before Tim even breaks into song.
Tim commands “Let’s shake up the Albert Hall” as if that hasn’t already happened as the band kick into Jam J. Strobes kick in, spotlights fly around the hall, up the walls, through the boxes and it stutters and jerks to its rampant conclusion. Please release the other twenty-five jams now please.
The mood is taken down, without losing the crowd, with two slower songs. I Wanna Go Home and Out To Get You are no mid-set excuses to nip to the loo though. Both of them generate a mix of mouthing along to the words or standing in awe taking in what’s going on up on the stage. Both showcase Saul’s outstanding violin playing, the former the amazing strength of Tim’s voice to hold a note for longer than us mere mortals could imagine. Like the rest of us, Tim is slightly awe-struck by what’s going on around him, taking a seat on the drum riser to take in the improvised outro to Out To Get You.
What’s The World gets its first airing of the tour, described by Tim as the first song they ever wrote together. Like Hymn From A Village, it still stands tall and proud today thirty years on, its spindly almost cack-handed energy distilled into something more powerful but not less impactful with the addition of the extra musicians and the wisdom of age.
Vervaceous is introduced as a song that hasn’t been played for a few years and which could be “incredibly beautiful or a big belly-flop”. Thankfully it’s the former, the Hall being perfect for its swoops, descents and crescendos and the reverb on Tim’s vocoder treated vocals accompanied by stunning mood lighting which accentuates the impact of the changes of pace. It segues seamlessly into All Good Boys. This resurrected gem is absolutely perfect for tonight, the ending matching the theatrical splendour of the room it’s being played in, the delightful contrast between Tim and Saul’s vocals.
The impact of All I’m Saying is similar, the crowd being respectful when Tim explains the song’s meaning and that he needs help (silence) to get through it. I’d harbour a bet that there’s no one in the room that isn’t thinking of someone elsewhere when Tim proclaims “All I’m saying I’m missing you” such is the impact of his lyrics and how his personal tragedies are being exorcised in this communion of music and words.
The crowd’s patience and attention is rewarded with a series of hits and future hits to end the main set. Tim comes out into the crowd at the start of Getting Away With It (All Messed Up) and surfs his way back to the mixing desk, his long skirt getting hitched up as he does to thankfully reveal a pair of white long pants to protect his modesty, all of this with the biggest grin on his face and again not losing a word as he does so.
Moving On has all the poignancy of All I’m Saying earlier in the set. The floor raises its arms in unison as they hit the chorus, testament to how well the La Petite Mort songs have been received and the audience they’ve reached even if the chart positions don’t necessarily reflect that.
Tim invites more dancers up on stage for Gone Baby Gone, which they’re trying to persuade Cooking Vinyl to release as the fourth single off the album (my call would be a four-track Record Store Day 12” single to showcase some of the seeds of the album sessions that we’ve not heard yet). Whatever, it’s playful loose-limbed structure is perfect single material and the dancing isn’t solely restricted to the stage as the arena bobs up and down and most of the stalls seats are now up.
Come Home closes the main set. In the absence of that song, it’s the most recognisible one to UK audiences and the response it gets is the most rapturous of the evening. There’s lots of twenty five years since Madchester style dancing going on around us and everyone matches Tim word for word as the lights once again emphasise the impact of what’s going on stage. It’s a powerful way to end the set and testament to the band’s policy of resting songs that this one has come back revitalized and as fresh as the day it was conceived.
For the encore Andy appears in the stalls stage right as his trumpet calling card signals Born Of Frustration as the opener to the encore. Tim can be heard but not seen at this point until a single white light points up to the third tier of the hall where he’s made his way up into the Gods. This showmanship and taking the show to those with such limited view is a sign of their will to ensure everyone in the place walks away feeling like they’ve been part of the show. The floor don’t know where to look, up at Tim, up and Andy or the ferocious noise on stage as Saul and Larry attack the guitar lines with such intensity.
Somehow Tim makes his way back down quickly as an extended intro to Interrogation kicks in. Thankfully we get the full unabridged version tonight as it gives them the chance to improvise again, the song having that potential the band have squeezed out of Sound to be extended and fly off at tangents and feed off the power in the room. Larry’s guitar solo again deserves particular mention even though it’s a different approach to it to the one he’s taken on other dates on the tour.
They close the first encore with Sometimes, their ultimate song of communion, a word that’s hard to avoid talking about this tour and five thousand voices join together adding even more lift to that given to it by the on-stage backing vocals.
They leave the stage, but no one is going anywhere at this point so they come back and perform Top Of The World. Tim tells us that no one knows what they’ll play next in their crew, sound and lighting set up. As first Jim’s rumbling bass then Saul’s piercing haunting violin ripples over our heads and up the sides of the hall, it’s testimony to James’ ability not just to deliver the adrenalin fuelled hits that they’re best known for, but also their mastery of lower volumes, highly affecting songs like this one. The crowd shut up and listen, frozen silent by the sheer majesty and emotion of it. It’s not your usual gig closer, but then this is no ordinary band of course.
It’s nearly thirty years since James played the Royal Albert Hall supporting The Smiths and it took them twenty-five to get back there in 2010. They were back the following year with the Orchestra Of The Swan, but tonight is the night they really conquer it, making those huge walls of boxes feel as intimate as the tiniest venue in the world. Despite leaving out crowd-pleasers such as Sit Down, Ring The Bells, Sound, Tomorrow, How Was It For You?, Just Like Fred Astaire and Say Something, they still cram twelve singles into tonight’s set, whilst investigating most periods of those intervening thirty years.
All I'm Saying, a 2014 Single by James.
All I’m Saying is the fourth single to be released from James’ La Petite Mort album. T
All I’m Saying
All I’m Saying is the fourth single to be released from James’ La Petite Mort album. This accompnaying video was designed, directed and animated by Peter Vacz. It was produced by Sam Hope.
|Release Name:||All I'm Saying|
|Release Date:||17th November 2014|
- All I’m Saying :2014
SetlistWalk Like You / Say Something / Frozen Britain / Seven / Curse Curse / Laid / PS / All Good Boys / All Im Saying / Greenpeace / Hymn From A Village / Born Of Frustration / Getting Away With It (All Messed Up) / Tomorrow / Come Home / Gone Baby Gone / Out To Get You / Moving On / Sometimes
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After the arenas of the weekend, James crammed a couple of thousand Geordies into the Newcastle Academy for a long sold-out show and pulled off their best gig of the tour so far.
Walk Like You is the ideal opener for this tour, even ignoring its position at the start of La Petite Mort, because it puts down a marker for what’s to come. It makes a statement that the show is going to be about the new record, but how accessible and powerful that record is live. Like Bubbles off Hey Ma, it shows so many sides of James all wrapped up in one song. It ends in a fury of improvisation, different every night and tonight Andy and Saul take control with trumpet and violin. The roar at the end sets the scene for the evening.
Say Something is an inspired choice early on in the set, it works so much better at the start than it does towards the end where it can feel like an obvious choice. From front to back of the rammed Academy floor arms are raised aloft, singing in union as Tim perches perilously on the barrier.
Frozen Britain makes a welcome appearance in the set. The first released calling card for La Petite Mort, it’s fun and playful on the record, but live, with a looser arrangement and an extended outro, it’s a massive-hit-in-another-time romp. Newcastle loves it and you think the punchline “La petite mort pour toujours” is a statement of the longevity of this record. The response is no less powerful than Seven which follows it, testament to the fact that this record has made a serious connection with the wider fan base in a way they haven’t for a long time.
Curse Curse rams this point home. Again tied together with Laid, the comparison is inevitable and it’s a favourable one. The joyous abandon, mischievous wink and slightly out of character “pour me more tequila” matching that of “you’re driving me crazy when are you coming home” and the breakneck speed of the song make them feel like twins. You can feel the energy transferring from crowd to band and back to the crowd. Laid sees Larry going walkabout around the stage, Tim continually prowling around all evening looking for connections, interesting bits of improvisation to hook on to. Newcastle belts everything out at full volume and you suspect that there might be a few Geordies with sore throats and no voice this morning.
They then move seamlessly into the beautiful mournful spiteful PS and the crowd shut up and get it as the room is bathed in bright red light as the song moves to its conclusion with Larry’s signature slide guitar and a jaw-dropping violin solo from Saul to which you could hear a pin drop in the crowd. Similarly All Good Boys gets the respect it deserves as well. Having resurrected it on this tour you have to wonder how the hell some of the songs on Millionaires (and Ultra) got the nod over this. Saul’s verse vocals work perfectly in contrast to Tim’s in the context of the song and the end section where five voices come together feels like a genuine epiphany. They joke about it being a b-side and what constitutes a b-side, Saul commenting that it’s something you throw away.
There’s a bit more discussion when Tim suggests doing Interrogation instead of All I’m Saying which is on the setlist, but is quickly reminded by Saul and Larry that it’s the new single. You suspect Tim’s worried about the audience being quiet such is the response they’ve generated tonight, but if that’s the case then there was no need for concern as his request for silence whilst he sings is met with just that. Still an odd choice for a single, it’s a beautiful eulogy to a lost friend wrapped up in one of those classic James songs that start quiet and build into something more expansive.
Greenpeace is more suited to this size of venue than the arenas of the weekend as the light show fills the hall completely. It’s marred by Tim’s second microphone not working properly for parts of the song – it’s not the first time it’s happened on the tour and needs to be sorted out if it’s going to stay in the set, particularly when Stutter gets left out in its place.
Hymn From A Village is a blast from the past. It betrays its age, having matured like a fine wine, beefed itself up and expanded its girth in the thirty years since its conception. In the VIP soundcheck, a gentleman enquired as to whether James had considered going back and re-recording songs from their past with the current line-up and revisiting them. Hymn would be a prime candidate for that treatment.
And then there’s Born Of Frustration. Tim gets to the barrier, looks down at the crowd, has a think to himself and then projects himself forward onto a sea of arms. Rather than grab at him, they lift him and carry him back to the mixing desk, perform a turn manoeuvre on him and send him back on his way down the other side of the crowd, all without him missing a note, them dropping their pints and, unlike Glasgow, copping a feel and performing a colonoscopy.
The James anthem to their own ability to rescue victory from the jaws of defeat and disaster, Getting Away With It (All Messed Up) descends into on-stage chaos at the start and the crowd simply take over and sing the first verse and chorus much to the amazement of the band. They kick back in, but Tim’s pretty much drowned out by singing all the way through.
Tomorrow and Come Home turn things up another notch, there’s few people now not dancing, not singing along to every single word. These are songs that mean the world to people in these parts, as every bit important as that song that is not being played on this tour. The stunning light show simply adds to the impact as both songs career to their peaks.
They finish the main set with Gone Baby Gone. Tim invites some dancers on to stage and it’s thrilling to witness how a song that they had concerns about playing live has suddenly turned into an unexpected show-stopper and one that they’re happy to end the set with ahead of rather more obvious choices. The rigid structure of the recorded version has its chains cast aside and there’s space to improvise, for Andy to throw trumpet shapes across it wherever he pleases, Larry to add jagged guitar and for Jim’s threatening menacing bass to dictate the pace. Newcastle agrees with me wholeheartedly.
In a setlist full of right moves and perfect choices for the day, venue and crowd, Out To Get You opens up the encore and the sight and sound of grown men singing “what I need is you” arms outstretched to the stage en masse is something truly special and testament to the power and devotion that James can still generate. Larry’s guitar solo, followed by Saul’s violin solo, are so so beautiful, it’s impossible that they don’t melt your heart.
Moving On has spoken to so many people this year, its theme something that everyone can relate to, James fan or not, and like everything before it, it’d be impossible for someone who’s never heard James before to stand in this room and identify the new songs, such is the reaction they generate tonight. There’s people with their arms round each other singing every word like some sort of exorcism of the demons of loss – and it’s all wrapped up in probably their most radio-friendly song since the reunion.
Sometimes finishes off the set, mainly because you can’t really follow it tonight, and again it goes off in a different direction once you get past the middle eight. The crowd stop singing, the place becomes a cacophony of cheering and Tim simply tells the crowd that the band want to hear their version and steps back with the touchpaper firmly lit. 2,000 Geordies make as much noise as 8,000 Scousers and Glaswegians made at the weekend. The band come back in, improvising their way to a conclusion that’s different every night. They really should try to put something else at the end of the set, but have reached the same conclusion as the rest of us which is how could you create something this raw and powerful with any other song. James’ epitaph will be “sometimes when I look in your eyes, I swear I can see your soul” because that’s exactly what you get when you look James in the eye.
This was the best gig of the tour so far, the crowd the wildest when James played the hits, the most respectful of the quiet songs and of Tim when he went out into the crowd and they got the new songs and treated them like old favourites. Tim said they were the loudest on the last tour and they probably repeated the trick this time round.
All I’m Saying was the fourth release from the successful La Petite Mort album. The single also included the first B-side in a long time.
All I’m Saying / Let Us Die
|Release Name:||All I'm Saying|
|Release Date:||17th November 2014|
|Catalogue:||BMG – 0711297605341, Cooking Vinyl – 0711297605341, BMG – FRYCD653P, Cooking VInyl – FRYCD653P|
|Related Release(s):||La Petite Mort (Album)|
From the James website:
Delighted to confirm release of our third single from La Petite Mort – All I’m Saying – will be out on 17th November, accompanied by….drum roll please….a good old fashioned b-side!
We weren’t able to secure a vinyl release this time, but you’ll be able to buy a digital bundle that includes the cheerily named Let Us Die from the La Petite Mort sessions. A B-side is a pretty major development and we know you lot will be as excited about it as we are.
We also have an incredibly cool video coming your way, so stay tuned.
In the meantime, feel free to let your favourite radio stations know how much you’d love to hear the track!