Back in the early 90’s, i was a heartbroken, down trodden little gloomy monster in my early 20’s. I’ll spare you the details, as they’re not all that interesting anyway, but JAMES saved my life. Their songs of hope, love, sex, joy and the promise of tomorrow kept me afloat in the darkest of times. I was sleeping the days away and driving around the desert city at night with “Laid” blaring as loud as my cheap little car stereo would allow. It wasn’t done for show, but rather, because no one was around. I could sing/scream the lyrics right along with Tim Booth without bothering anyone with my drama and/or tunelessness…

Fast forward to October 2008. I am now a happily married man, with a beautiful wife who’s favorite band happens to be JAMES. As neither of us had ever had the luck of seeing the band live, when they announced that they would be playing The House Of Blues in Anaheim, on our 6th wedding anniversary no less, we scrambled to get ourselves down there for it! We succeeded, and it was one of the greatest shows either of us had ever seen! JAMES has only had 1 minor hit in the US, so the room was packed with “true” JAMES fans. People that knew all the lyrics for every song in the band’s 20+ year career. It was also a celebration, as the band had just reunited after an uncertain disbanding 6 years earlier…

So, when the band announced they would be playing Seattle earlier this year, i was reluctant. I had such a great memory and experience from 2008 that i was afraid to taint it, as so many other bands had done. However, my wife really wanted to go, so i said OK. Thankfully she was right! JAMES put on another remarkable, yet different, show. They came out, guns blazing with Tim and Larry deep in the crowd performing “Sit Down”, before waltzing up to the stage so the rest of JAMES could join in. The scene was set! The biggest concern i had was the Seattle crowd, which tends to be indifferent at the best of times and just downright obnoxious at the worst, but this crowd in particular was there to enjoy themselves and the band. Even the folks that were there for the opening snooze fest that was Ed Harcourt (like Billy Joel & Coldplay had a boring baby), had a great time.

The night was filled with emotion, as lead singer Tim Booth confided in the crowd and bared his soul of his sorrow. I will not exploit the reasons here, but it disintegrated the gap between audience and artist! Suddenly we were just a bunch of friends in a big room. My favorite moment came at the end of the classic track “Sometimes”, when the audience serenaded the band…

The set itself was different (thankfully) than the last time i’d seen them, ignoring much of the band’s catalogue between “Laid” and their new releases “The Night Before” & “The Morning After“, both of which were done a great justice live and given more perspective…

So a sincere thank you is in order for Tim, Larry, Jim, Saul, David, Mark & Andy (my wife’s favorite)!
If you don’t know JAMES, then what the hell are you waiting for? If you know JAMES but dislike them, well then why not fuck off?

Still, ToeZoo loves you anyway…

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