FOR a band who skirted the edges of Madchester and Britpop and plunged headlong into widespread international success – and some of the ills which go with it – James present an arena show which blends a weird mix of nostalgia and immediacy, of crowd-pleasing and playing to the fans who have been with them for years and still remain true.
James/Echo And The Bunnymen
“We’re going to do one of the first songs we ever wrote together, if I can remember the f***ing words,” joked shaven-headed, goatee-wearing singer Tim Booth before a rendition of the little-known Why So Close.
“This is for everyone who came to see us at the Barrowlands in the 1980s.” The rousing effect of that last statement was blunted somewhat by the last three words, as most of the crowd realised their tour of duty didn’t stretch that far back and they didn’t recognise the opening bars of the song.
It was an odd show in that respect, one which embraced the arena setting with a young choir appearing onstage (most notably during We’re Going to Miss You), but which wasn’t afraid to linger over new material and obscure older tracks both good (Five-O) and deserving of their lowly place in the James canon (Medieval).
Where their plentiful hits emerged, though, they were comfortably at home in this setting, including indie throwbacks Sit Down and Come Home, the anthemic She’s a Star and Sometimes, and the eternally affecting and unpretentious Born of Frustration. Wrapped up in a package bill with support act Echo and the Bunnymen, it wasn’t a show which would have inspired unsatisfied complaints by the end.