Gig review: James Bay at O2 Academy Leeds

James Bay at O2 Academy Leeds. Picture: Hannah Woollaston Photography
James Bay at O2 Academy Leeds. Picture: Hannah Woollaston Photography
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Through the support sets from Samm Henshaw and Elle King you can feel the anticipation in the crowd as James Bay’s stage is set for him. It’s around 9.15pm when he makes an appearance and the crowd go mad.

His humble manner shone through his stunning performance in Leeds, from his softly spoken introduction came a upbeat opening song, ‘Collide’ taken from his debut album Chaos And The Calm.

The opening chords seemed to captivate his audience and once Bay sang his raspy first line everyone in the packed-out room knew it was going to be a memorable gig.

In fact you could hear a pin drop between songs.

Continuing to thank the mesmerised crowd, Bay moves on to play one of his more well-known songs ‘Let It Go’ and it is definitely well received, they know every word and the stunned silence soon turns into them shouting the words right back at him, leaving Bay stood in awe of this Leeds crowd.

A quick slurp of water, then Bay starts the opening chords of ‘Best Fake Smile’. It’s something a bit different to his other songs and gets everyone clapping and dancing along.

After playing a few more songs off the album the set comes to an end, and he puts his guitar down and the band head off stage for an encore break. The crowd immediately starts clapping and cheering, eager for his return.

As Bay comes back onto the stage he plays ‘Incomplete’ and then announces he has a cover to play – it’s Alicia Key’s ‘If I Ain’t Got You’– a regular in his set now, that’s a beautiful, soulful take on an old classic.

As if the crowd hadn’t been treated enough this evening, as the lights dim down and the crowd become silent you can faintly hear the opening chords of the song that saw him rise to fame, its ‘Hold Back The River’ time and the crowd love every minute.

As the show ends, the stunned Leeds crowd are left wanting more, but they will just have to wait!

Gig date: October 13

Jade Helliwell.

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