Towards the end of last year I discovered a musician through a YouTube video and instantly loved his music. After downloading the few songs of his that were on iTunes and listening to them constantly, it wasn’t long until I started hearing him being played on the radio and watched as the rest of the world began to know the name James Bay.
Unfortunately when his UK tour dates went on sale I was too slow to book to see him here, and after scrolling through and seeing where else he was playing I contemplated either seeing him at a festival, paying £200 to see him supporting Taylor Swift in an arena, or travelling to another country to see him perform his own show. The latter option was the one I liked the sound of the most, but was I really going to go abroad to see one artist? The resounding answer to that was 100% yes!
My next thought was whether I’d go alone or see if I had a friend who was crazy enough to want to come with me. Instantly I thought of my friend Becca as I knew she really liked James’ music too, so I text her something along the lines of “Hey Becca, I have a really mental idea, would you like to hear it?” and a few texts later she said she was totally up for it, and within 24 hours we had our gig tickets, travel and accommodation booked to go to Paris to see James in concert. Crazy!!!
So on the 17th of June we made our way to Paris very early in the morning to have as much time in the city as we possibly could. After a day packed full of sightseeing we ended our day at Le Trabendo in Parc de la Villette to finally see the concert!
Supporting James was Samm Henshaw, an incredibly talented singer/songwriter hailing from London. I absolutely loved his music and am really glad to have discovered him through this concert. The smooth jazzy vibes were adored by the audience and I have to say he’s one of the most well-received support acts I’ve seen in any concert!
Soon after Sam’s act James Bay finally burst onto the stage, kicking of his set with Collide and it’s safe to say everybody went a little bit crazy! Before the concert I realised I hadn’t listened to how James sounded live (apart from Scars on the album) and sometimes artists can sound totally different in concert – thankfully James sounded even more incredible than he does on his album.
The setlist featured most of Chaos And The Calm and it was a JOY to hear it all live, I’ve had this album on repeat in my car and at home pretty much most of the time since it came out in March. It’s my #1 go-to album, and I don’t think there’s a song on there that I don’t enjoy? Safe to say, I sang my heart out throughout the entire concert, had a cry at a few points (*cough* Incomplete, Need The Sun To Break, Move Together *cough*), laughed and danced like a crazy person (Best Fake Smile, the perfect angry song) and just had an absolute blast.
I’d really like to see James performing in the UK as I feel like he’d be a bit more talkative, there wasn’t a huge amount of interaction between the crowd and him because of the potential language barrier – however if he isn’t generally a very chatty person in is concerts that’s absolutely fine too because his music is more than enough, and I would’ve happily just had the songs ha!
My favourite parts of the concert were Let It Go and Hold Back The River because at points all you could hear were the whole audience singing along and it was just one of those moments you know you’re going to remember being apart of, the special moments!
James performed one song not of his own in the set, this was part of the encore and he covered If I Ain’t Got You by Alicia Keys. As I’ve mentioned I hadn’t listened to his live performances at all before the concert, however I had heard him cover some songs in Radio 1’s Live Lounge but to hear him cover something live and to have a bit more time to play with it was something else! The song is usually around three and a half minutes; James made it into an almost seven minute version, and it was beautiful.
After the concert we were lucky enough to briefly meet James by waiting very patiently outside the venue, and though we couldn’t get individual photos we managed to get into a lovely group photo that James later posted on his Twitter!
This show was 100% worth the crazy trip to Paris, and it’s one of the best gigs I’ve been to in my life so far. I doubt I’ll be able to see any of James’ shows again this year so I’m crossing my fingers for more opportunities to see him in years to come, and I so look forward to seeing just how big he’ll get with his insane talent!
All photos of the concert are my own, if you’d like to use them please credit them back to this post :)