James Orchestral Tour at the Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool 7th May 2023






Liverpool is our destination tonight on the day the Eurovision song contest begins (and grinds this city to a halt). This must be the busiest city in the North West right now! But we’re not here for any of that, although the mayhem it’s caused can’t be avoided. In my opinion our event tonight is far superior! It’s a special one for us for sure – tonight we see the glorious James, not only that but this extra special tour sees the band perform with a full orchestra and choir and the venue just couldn’t be more perfect for this – the Philharmonic Hall. Built for acoustic perfection, it’s yet another amazing venue this City of Sound boasts. It’s my first time at the Philharmonic, and my first time seeing James. I can’t express how much I’m looking forward to this incredible gig! The Philharmonic Hall is a stunning building of the art deco period; its facade is impressive but upon entering I immediately fall for its splendour and charm. The staff are beyond helpful and very welcoming. Huge reception areas show off its modernist grandeur, but the performance hall, although huge in size, actually doesn’t have vast seating, and it does feel intimate – perfect!


Tim Booth – lead vocal

Jim Glennie – bass

Adrian Oxaal – lead guitar

David Baynton-Power – drums

Saul Davies – rhythm guitar

Andy Diagram – trumpet

Mark Hunter – keys/percussion/programming

Chloe Alper – vocal

Deborah Knox – drums

For tonight’s event we don’t have a warm up or support; our event sees James play 2 full sets with a short interval between. This orchestral tour is in celebration of the 40th anniversary of James and will feature huge hits such as ‘Tomorrow’, ‘Laid’, ‘Born of frustration’ and of course the James anthem of sorts. ‘Sit down’. As our choir, orchestra and band take to the stage and begin tuning up and taking their places a ripple of excited applause fills our venue. You can feel the anticipation in the air, it’s like a bottle of combustible, ready to explode.

Without further ado it’s straight into our first song. As you d expect, it’s a completely different arrangement, feel and pace. Quite simply, it’s breathtaking – hairs on the back of the neck stand on end. The audience are completely enthralled – you could hear a pin drop during quieter moments as we hang onto every word sung and every sound produced. So much atmosphere is created: multi dimensional, layered, building and gathering momentum as more instruments join in, it’s intense; it’s eerie at times, uplifting at others, but completely all encompassing. The versions of well known classic songs put a new slant, feel and perspective on them, and new songs are introduced to us. Each one I think is the best so far, only to think the same about the next one. These already powerful, deep and often thought provoking songs seem that much more intense and meaningful, very emotive and quite transcendental , even more so with the iconic figure of Tim Booth performing before us in wide pants and faux fur jacket, like a musical Shaman, twirling and dancing, arms circling, in that trance like way that he’s made famous.



The tidal waves of this musical tsunami submerge us, and it feels incredible – no rescue needed here, we’re happy to submit to the soulful waters of this engulfing sound. Honestly I can hand on heart say that I’ve never experienced anything like this. It’s mesmeric, spellbinding; it feels almost like some spiritual or religious experience – biblical in fact! Completely uplifting, completely inspiring and totally joyous, but emotional, and beautiful at the same time.

Tim as a front man of course is amazing, such positivity radiates from him, he’s fascinating to watch, dancing wildly and frantically then slowly and expressively, but it’s his voice that is the real spell that enchants us: clear, full ,far reaching and loud. It’s instantly recognisable and perfectly conveys every type of emotion: expressive, low then high and a joy to listen to. Slower paced songs are soft and gentle, performed with true feeling, whilst faster paced songs have vigour, are rousing, loud and soaring and send the heart pounding. Often the crowd are up on their feet, dancing along with Tim, clapping and chanting back the songs. It’s a wonderful experience and I feel privileged to be part of this, the collective energy has been very special.

One epic show, a packed set list full of extended songs. It’s honestly felt like some sort of musical healing therapy. I leave tonight feeling as light as air, like I’m floating and brimming with happiness. I’ve been moved by the music – a poignant, touching and spiritual happening for me tonight. I’m completely in awe of this wonderful, orchestral, mesmerising choir and legendary band. Thank you all.

Set 1:

1. Dream Thrum

2. Alaskan Pipeline

3. Dust Motes

4. The Shining

5. Space

6. Seven

7. We’re Going to Miss You

8. Hello

9. Ten Below

10. Say Something

11. Getting Away with it (All Messed up)



Set 2:

12. Magic Bus

13. Love Makes a Fool

14. Tomorrow

15. Beautiful Beaches

16. Moving On

17. The Lake

18. Laid

19. Medieval

20. Hymn from a Village

21. Someone’s Got it in for me

22. Sometime (Lester Piggottt)

23. Nothing but Love


24. Sit Down

25. All the Colours of You

26. Many Faces

27. Born of Frustration