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Manchester Arena

32 years since I first heard James, and I can't believe in all this time this is my first time seeing them live. Coming from Manchester, Madchester was very much part of my life, from wearing baggy jeans and a Sit Down long sleeved t-shirt whilst mooching around the streets of town, to purchasing Charlatans, Happy Monday, Stone Roses, Inspiral Carpets, James albums, and many more. Like many I became a fan of James when they delivered Come Home, and Sit Down, followed by the release of their excellent Gold Mother album. I still remember the independent music shop in Eccles where I purchased Gold Mother, and a couple of years later Seven.

I've seen a lot of live music, and not always does a band live up ones expectation, so I waited with some anticipation as James took the stage as I didn't want to be disappointed. I certainly wasn't. James from the very outset sounded as fresh as the first time I heard them, immediately filling me with a nostalgia, wishing I still owned that Sit Down t-shirt. Not that James are a band situated in the past, as they kicked off with their opening track Zero, from the brilliant 2021 All The Colours of You album. James have constantly evolved through the years, delivering 16 studio albums between 1986 - 2021, with Tim Booth authentic beautiful vocals sounding just as good live as on any album. It's not difficult to see why James have kept a loyal fan base, whilst earning a consistent stream of new followers with each album, tour, or festival.

James had the crowd engaged and ready to party along with them from the outset. After Zero, Tim Booth quipped after are you here to die with us, to which the audience responded with cheers, as the band fired up Isabella. From songs to have everyone dancing to singing-a-longs they delivered track after track, an absolute must see live band, and certainly one I will be trying to catch again soon. What makes James stand out to other bands, is they way they share the stage, giving each member of the band their time to stand out alone, showcasing their expertise whilst delivering classic James songs. They have a consistent energy from start to finish. It's hard to believe Tim Booth is 61 as he bounds across the stage with more energy than most 20 year olds.

It was a concert of highlight after highlights, with Bez joining in for come home, sending taking the Manchester audience to the next level, to Tim delivering a heart felt rendition of Sit Down after telling emotionally telling the audience his story of his father in law within his last minutes of his life asking Tim to sing it for him. The Manchester crowd sang it out, a joint unison carrying the new emotion as to how Tim sees the song, all with him, as seventeen thousand backing singers.

This wasn't a gig which the band were willing to finish, the love and vibe brought by a home gig, took them to another level and with the party in full swing we went into extra time which the band taking a hit of twenty five thousand pounds by going over curfew so we could all party along to one more song with James ending on Sometimes

Shots from Leeds and Manchester

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