The excitement for the show was contagious while I waited for doors to open for the James Bay show at the Fonda Theatre in Los Angeles. The crowd was on the younger side and kids discussing High School graduation and future endeavors surrounded me; the air felt light and carefree. One of the fans in front of me confessed that this was her first official concert and suddenly I was jealous. I had a feeling that it was going to be a great concert and I completely envied that this would be her introduction to live shows.
As soon as Bay stepped out on stage, the energy in the venue was at an all time high. He jumped right into “Collide” and kept the tempo up for the first half of the show. “Collide” was the perfect song to open with, being that it brings the energy up and has people singing and dancing along. He had a seamless transition into “Craving”; this song has a strong guitar presence, which definitely made me take notice. Now it’s always been undeniably clear that James Bay has a beautiful voice but during “Craving” is where I began to notice his truly remarkable guitar skills.
The musical journey slowly descended to more of a mid-tempo ride with “When We Were on Fire” and by the time he got to “Need The Sun To Break” the eager crowd was ready to slow it down. The band took a short break and Bay moved to an acoustic set for “Running”, and his mega-hits, “Let It Go” and “Move Together”. This is where Bay’s voice truly shined; with only the guitar accompanying him, his voice echoed throughout the venue and it was enough to bring chills down your spine.
It’s easy to see that “Scars” is one of Bay’s more personal songs, the amount of passion he puts into every word is gut wrenching and completely takes your breath away. He moved the set along by bringing the energy back up with “Best Fake Smile” and finished his set with “Get Out While You Can”. The show was simple and straightforward yet at the same time energetic and impactful. Bay kept the talking and story telling to a minimum, moving the show along with smooth transitions.
His encore began with a breath-taking rendition of Alicia Keys’ “If I Ain’t Got You”. A rendition that included a five minute blues-inspired guitar solo and keyboard solo. Again, I must say Bay’s guitar skills are completely underrated. The encore continued with “Incomplete” and the show came to a bittersweet end with “Hold Back The River”.
The night was truly a success and James Bay proved why there is so much buzz surrounding his inevitable mainstream success. It’s truly refreshing when you go to a concert and you see the musicians on stage having as much fun as the fans watching the show. From listening to his album, I knew that James Bay was talented, watching him live only deepened by appreciation for him. Believe me when I say James Bay is an artist you must see if he comes to a venue near you.
Music set list: “Collide”, “Craving”, “When We Were On Fire”, “If You Ever Want To Be In Love”, “Need The Sun To Break”. “Running”, “Let It Go”, “Move Together”, “Scars”, “Best Fake Smile”, “Get Out While You Can”, “If I Ain’t Got You”, “Incomplete”, “Hold Back The River”.