James Bay – Concert Review

James Bay was in Charlotte Sunday night, September 25th, 2016.  Of course, my daughter and I had to go when we heard the concert announcement back in April.  When tickets went on sale, I got busy at work and completely forgot to go online and buy them. When I went on that night at home, it was SOLD OUT!!! Needless to say, my daughter was not very happy with me on that day.

I went back on to the ticket site and signed up for a text notification if any tickets become available.  May comes and goes with no luck.  June, pretty much the same thing until around the end of the month on June 29th.  We were on vacation in Myrtle Beach and sitting in a restaurant, so I can get some seafood, when a text message pops up on my phone.  I told my daughter that when we got back to the condo, we would order the tickets. Nope!! Wasn’t good enough.  She was not having that. I had to go on my phone right then and there, in the restaurant, and buy the tickets.  Which I did!  We now had 2 tickets to the show.


We fast forward now to the day of the concert.  The show is at the Fillmore in Charlotte, where if you read my Tori Kelly review, you know that it is a general admission, standing room only facility.  We arrived at 5:30 (show doesn’t let in until 7 and it stars at 8) to buy our fast passes so we can get in the line that is allowed in first.  We successfully did this and were one of the first set of people to be let in to the show.  As everyone ran to the front of the stage, we ran to the first set of risers right behind the sound boards for the perfect spot for the show.



Why is it the perfect spot?  You are up above everyone on the floor, front row of that section with no obstructions, you have a railing you can lean on and place your drinks and the sound is really great at that spot.  Plus, you are behind the sound boards, where the sound engineers have a nice little thing called the setlist of the songs to be performed for the show.  I of course leaned over and asked the guy if my daughter could have the setlist at the end of the show.  He graciously agreed and was true to his word.


Now, lets get to the review of the show.

The lights go down, the band walks out on the stage and the out strolls James Bay with his signature hat on and his beautiful Cherry Red, 1966 Epiphone Century guitar.  They open with a great song, “Collide”.  A great rock song and sounds even better live.  Nice opening song.

The crowd is going nuts and the band then goes into the next song, “Craving” which is the opening song on his album ‘Chaos and the Calm’.  His voice and the band both sound incredible.  He works that guitar and the crowd perfectly.  He is very comfortable up on that stage.

img_0955-1James switches to an acoustic guitar (Gibson SJ-200 Acoustic) for the next song, “When We Were on Fire”, but the song is not acoustic at all. The band plays full on and he plays along with the acoustic guitar.  He then moves on to his 3rd guitar of the night (Ephiphone EJ-200CD), another acoustic guitar.  This for one of my favorite songs of the night “If You Ever Want To Be In Love”.  Such a great tone to his voice.  He had the crowd singing the chorus so he could stand there and just soak it all in.  The audience was enjoying themselves immensely and were really loud.

They slow things down with the next batch of songs starting with “Need the Sun to Break”.  Oh yeah, he switched guitars again.  This one was back to the Cherry Red 1966 Epiphone Century.  The song, “Let It Go” was the song I had been waiting for.  This is the song that introduced me to his music and I haven’t been able to get enough since.  He did not disappoint with the live version.  It sounded as good as the album,

After “Let It Go”, James just stood there casually strumming his guitar to the tune of Elvis Presley’s “I Can’t Help Falling in Love”.  The crowd started singing and that was it. Very strange  moment, but nice at the same time.

The most impressive song of the night was “Scars”.  It started off with just him, his guitar and his voice.  He killed it on this song.  His vocals sounded the best of all the songs all night long.  I like it when the artist just stands there and sings. Towards the end of the song, the band kicked in and they rocked out the remainder of the song.  It was awesome.

img_4502They did one more slow song “Move Together” and for me,  I was less impressed with this version. My daughter loved it, so it was probably good.  Just didn’t work for me.  After the song, he said that they were done with the slow songs for the rest of the night.

He changed to his 4th guitar, a Gibson SG if I am not mistaken.  It looks like Angus’ guitar from AC/DC.  They kicked in with one of his more Pop songs, “Best Fake Smile”.  This song was more rock than pop for the show which was fine with me.  It was not a slow one for sure just like he promised.

For the next song, he switched out guitars yet again for guitar #5 (which I think was a Gibson ES 330 Vintage Burst) to play “Get Out While You Can”.  This song kicked it up even more.  It was very fast paced and had the crowd excited.  It turned out to be the final song of the main set which surprised me as were just under an hour at this point.

They came back out for the Encore and played 3 more songs, thank goodness.  They opened the Encore with “Incomplete” and of course, a new guitar – #6 (don’t have a good picture, but I think it was different Epiphone Century).  They did a great version of this, not as slow as the song on the album but kept the essence for sure.

“Proud Mary” was the next song (and guitar #7 – I think it was a different Gibson SG).  What I loved about this cover was the first half of the song was slower like Creedence Clearwater Revival and they ended the song in full on rock mode like Tina Turner.  It was a great tribute to both artist who have made this song their own.


For the final song, James went back to his 1966 Cherry Red Epiphone Century.  He started and finished with his favorite guitar.  They played “Hold Back the River” which was a nice choice after “Proud Mary” and singing “Rollin’, Rollin’, Rollin’ on the river”. It was also a great way to end the show with one of his best songs.

All in all, it was an exceptional show and I highly recommend you check this guy it.  He is immensely talented and has such a bright future ahead of him. I can’t wait to see what he brings next.  If I had a complaint, it would be that the concert was way too short at only an hour and 15 minutes.  It is his first album, so in the future, I hope he stretches out the show a little longer because he is so good, you just want more and more.

Set List:

  1. Collide
  2. Craving
  3. When We Were on Fire
  4. If You Ever Want To Be In Love
  5. Need the Sun to Break
  6. Let it Go
  7. I Can’t help Falling In Love
  8. Scars
  9. Move Together
  10. Best Fake Smile
  11. Get Out While You Can
  12. Incomplete (Encore)
  13. Proud Mary (Encore)
  14. Hold Back the River (Encore)

I did pick up a souvenir of my own. I had to get a concert shirt, so I picked the simple one of a drawing of James Bay playing the guitar.


NOTE: All pictures were taken by my daughter, with a few by me.  If you don’t like one, I took it. If you like them, then she probably took it. Also, I hope I got the guitars correct, I am sure I screwed up on some of them.


9 thoughts on “James Bay – Concert Review

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