An intimate show. An overwhelming burst of warmth.
As we responded to David Schmader's early-singles-or-nothing suggestion: instead of simplifying or normalizing over the years, Manchester's James, who began in the early '80s, expanded and experimented with each release until they became an unpredictable, complex, and beautiful force to wash over indefinably unique types of audiences around the world, drowning out fashions, the cool, and any such creationist cries of get-off-my-band's-lawn.
It all started with veteran fan-favorites like "Medieval" (1988) and, out of nowhere, "Play Dead" (1997).
Upstairs, during "Honest Joe" (1993), a man literally punched the ceiling.
Downstairs, during "Hello" (1999), a woman danced like a ballerina.
Others tried to out-obscure each other, with one person yelling for "Billy Shirts" (1986).
Throughout the two hours, James — jet-lagged, all smiles — gradually built the quiet and paranoia up to an extraordinary, blossoming climax that included a delicately escalating take on "Born Of Frustration", the most mad-house version of "Stutter" (1982) the band has ever done, and a glowing "Sometimes" (1993), which brought the building to tears.
Lead singer Tim Booth: 'I feel sorry for anyone who came to hear "Laid"'.
By any angle.
We're Going To Miss You
She's A Star
Born Of Frustration
Ring The Bells
Getting Away With It (All Messed Up)