WORDS LISA KAYE / IMAGES PAUL DIXON
‘You wont ever have to wear your best fake smile for James Bay and his “Leap” UK and European Tour’.
If you ever want to be in love, then this is a must for all James Bay fans.
The Album which was launched earlier this year features his hits “Give me the reason”, “One life” and “Endless Summer Nights”.
The sold-out venue doors opened and immediately began to fill with excited James Bay fans taking their position either on the ground floor next to the intimate stage or on the elevated balcony, which provided a spectacular view of the auditorium.
The atmosphere was electric, the crowd full of anticipation for James Bays imminent arrival onto the stage. Observing the crowd, it was evident that his music transcended all age groups creating a unique diverse audience.
The support act for the evening was Kevin Garrett, a Grammy award-nominated artist from Pittsburgh, USA. Kevin’s Soulful vocals and impressive instrumental talent connected with the audience instantly. His version of “I Pray you catch me” which he wrote for Beyonce’s Lemonade Album went down a storm with the crowd and as they cheered it was evident Kevin had set the tone for the evening and spoilt the audience with his effortless range of vocals. Certainly, an artist to keep your eyes on.
As the stage went dark, the screams from the audience signaled James Bays arrival. As the lights came on, the distinctive sound of the guitar strings played out the introduction to “Best fake smile”. James Bay appeared on stage wearing his iconic hat and casual blazer, guitar in his hand. The audience went wild, and James shouted “Nottingham, are you ready?”
He moved in true James Bay style, strutting across the stage, his energy was infectious as he opened the set, teasing the audience with riffs from the guitar and his effortless vocals.
James shouted that he was going to play some songs from his new Album “Leap” but also cover some well-known favorites so everyone could sing along.
The crowd cheered as he began to play “Endless Summer Nights”. The lights on stage changed to a cool blue and the beat kicked in. James engaged with all band members from the drummer to the bass player as he danced around the stage to the music. It was almost like the audience had been invited to watch a private studio session with him as he “Jammed” with his friends on stage.
After changing his guitar (Which he did before almost every song), “Give me the reason” had the audience all singing along and swaying to the music. There were times when James was completely lost in the lyrics of the song, his eyes closed as he gave the most raw, vulnerable, and honest performance. His vocals were effortless as he sang “If you ever”, “Wunderlust”, “Peer Pressure” and “Us”. It was impossible not to have goosebumps and be moved by emotion as he belted out these well-known James Bay classics.
James then took to a stool as he introduced his next song “One life”. He said this was a very special song to him. “I often write sad songs. But this is a happy song,” said James. “I often get asked what my favourite song is that I have written. I have never had a favourite, although this song that I wrote in 2019 for Lucy, is possibly becoming my firm favourite, because she is so incredibly special to me.”
The intimacy on stage and personable performance continued as James invited two other musicians to sit with him and sing “Silent Love”. The haunting version of this song with accompanying vocals, guitar, keyboard, and bass was mesmerising and transfixed the audience. It was a truly beautiful moment which showcased the musical talent within the band.
James then invited Kevin Garrett, his support, back on stage to sing with him. The crowd went crazy with the anticipation of them singing a duet. Their soulful collaboration of “Save your love” captivated the audience. James and Kevin’s voices effortlessly blended to create a different dimension to the song.
James Bay had taken the audience on a journey throughout the evening’s performance. He had begun the show by exciting and wowing the crowd with his new material from his album “Leap “. His more well-known tracks had then united the audience as we all sang along together, creating a happy, comfortable atmosphere. This then enabled James to be more vulnerable on stage. He was able to give a raw, stripped, and honest performance with his band and Kevin Garrett.
The evening began to crescendo, building towards the end of the show. The energy began to lift again within the auditorium as the tempo began to change. “Fire “was incredible as the stage lighting turned red, and James Bay gave an energised, passionate, and intoxicating performance, clearly having fun on stage with his guitar and his band.
Penultimate “Pink Lemonade” gave James the opportunity to get lost in his rifts as he “rocked out” with his guitar on stage. The audience witnessed pure musical talent as Bay played his guitar, lost in the music. He belted out lyrics, note perfect as the audience sat in the palm of his hand screaming in anticipation for his final track of the evening.
James Bay took us to his last track “Craving” and the audience were certainly craving for more as he left the stage. Screaming for an encore, the audience shouted for him to return.
And he did. And didn’t he just deliver again!
The audience were insane, shouting and screaming as Bay returned to the stage.
He changed his guitar (again) as the audience became quieter with intrepidation. He strummed the introduction as someone shouted “James, you sexy B*****D!!!”. He laughed out loud as he attempted to begin the song. The crowd loved him even more in that moment, cheering him on to sing.
The last song of the evening “Hold back the river”, was the perfect opportunity for the crowd to sing along to one of the Nations favourite James Bay songs. Phones lit up the auditorium as the audience held their arms in the air, embracing the last song of the evening. Bay looked content and happy as he finished the show, inviting his band to bow with him whilst the audience showed their appreciation for a truly magical evening with a truly gifted musician.
James Bay, you have a little bit of my heart.
1. Best Fake Smile
2. Endless Summer Nights
3. Give Me the Reason
4. If You Ever
6. Peer Pressure
8. Let It Go
9. One Life
10. Silent Love
11. Need the Sun
12. Save Your Love
14. Pink Lemonade
17. Hold Back the River
FOLLOW JAMES BAY
FOLLOW KEVIN GARRET