James at the Leeds Arena

Manchester music legends James rocks the house tonight at leeds arena with and unforgettable night full of classics along with adding loads of new tracks to the mix which has spiced the set list up from the usual due to having half the set list to have most of their new album “Yummy” which only  came out in april so it’s going to be a special one tonight!
Opening up for James is indie rockers Razorlight with a set list mixed of the classics from the band which will make any indie fan fill with joy, it’s like being at an indie music club night. Opening up in the morning along with adding other classics like golden touch, before I fall to pieces and ending the set with a slower iconic track “america with that signature slow guitar play.  What is a big treat for us is razorlight have a brand new single which isn’t out yet called “scared of nothing” which I can’t wait for this single to be out!
During the show lead singer Johnny Borrell talks about being real, no computers, no magical backing tracks, nothing magical ,it’s just five people making music, they make mistakes but are so thankful people came to watch them.
James a majestic band which is full of wonders and joy even in the more dire gritty mood but James put the magic in the music, each song is a work of art If you ignore the break the band had in the 00’s they’ve spanned for over  40 years with 18 albums that’s a pretty huge achievement and the band is still doing tours on arena levels which just shows how popular this band really is. 
Now tonight’s show won’t be the usual set list as this tour is mostly for the “Yummy” album but of course we were spoiled with some bangers along with hearing some songs for the first time too! Opening up with “Johnny Yen”  and then “waltzing along” and then “our world  which lead singer Tim mentions it’s about earth and how we’ve fucked the generations. 
Tim has also mentioned to the crowd to keep their phones away and to just enjoy the gig otherwise it might alter the setlist. “rouge” is next and Tim gets up and personal with the crowd too! More yummy tracks are up including “lifes a miracle” then then going to the magical ” feel like fred astaire”
It isn’t long until another classic gem is performed and it’s “ring the bells” which the crowd awakes from the yummy slumber! It’s like everyone is wacky waving inflatable tube men!
Jumping back to yummy which is a wonderful love song “better with you” Then ” Butterflies” with this being the first time the band has performed this and the backdrop is filled with digital butterflies. I haven’t mentioned this as it goes more bonkers but there’s a giant screen behind the band and it alters to each song. So each track will have it’s own video which is AI. It changes on some songs from peoples faces and figures into something else! I’ll dive more on this shortly but it’s a trip!
Back to another iconic gem “getting away with it, all messed up” which Tim jumps onto the barrier again and proceeds to flop like a fish on the crowd! Up next is “what I need” which tonight has broken out on it’s tour debut which to top it off was an immense cello solo by the talented Adrian Oxaal!
Earlier on Tim Booth mentioned to keep your phones away and to enjoy the show but this song is a one off. “mobile god” is another new song, Tim says if you are itching to get your phones out to film, this is the song for you! Now this was a trip as i’ve mentioned before with the screens doing live AI action this song it turns anyone into an alien/robot synth thing and it’s kinda terrifying if you have a fear for this as the camera turns to point on anyone even the crowd it morphs you into something truly out of this world! No wonder Tim said this is the song for it as the lyrics are kinda haunting too as it’s real.
For the choir Tim mentions he’s borrowed some people from the Manchester gospel choir and then mentions to the crowd how some of you haven’t done your homework or came prepared listened to Yummy, this might be due to the a lot of fans not going full 100% on the songs unlike the classic ones which of course the fans are eagerly waiting for the cream of the cream tonight!
Like a god James gives out the goods with “tomorrow” which the fans are going bananas for and the backdrop is like a classic oil painting which again is live so it pings on a fan or the band and it changes to something magical! “come home” another one which just makes you go bonkers as it’s just so happy and wholesome and then smashing out with “sometimes” which the band just watches and listens as the crowd just sings the chorus on repeat for a moment!
Tim talks about in his younger days he’ll appear randomly in different parts of the venue in the crowd or at the back of the venue , sing on top and just dangle about of something but his body is starting to feel it, getting on a bit and the shows been too good to fuck it up and something was to happen! Last up is “yummy”  and it’s a fan favourite “way over your head”
Of course this isn’t the end of the show as it’s encore time , opening up with ” beautiful beaches” Of course it won’t be a James show without “sit down”  and the irony is mid set there was an incident which some people had to sit down while a person in the crowd needed some medical attention which Tim said hopefully management will let us play over this but the person needed seeing to first and then jump back into where they left off. Ending the show with “laid” In a way with a James show makes you feel reborn! Once again tonight’s gig just shows us why James has been so successful and has maintained their unique stature in the music scene! If you haven’t seen these live, now is the best time too as it’s just one big happy family!
Words and Photos by Chris Ryan 

Philip Goddard

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