Early-pandemic, James Bay was putting the finishing touches on his third studio album. However, like many releases planned pre-COVID, the debut was put on pause. Amidst the situational frustration, James found opportunity and subsequently spent two and half years reworking his album, swapping out his “sad songs” for “anthems of hope.”
When the revised album dropped in August 2022, James hit the road for his long awaited Leap tour with a great album and newly discovered determination. That determination was needed on his way to his Boston tour stop when his bus broke down. The unexpected situation called on him to revise his plan, hitchhike with his opener Katelyn Tarver, and take the Boston stage solo.
With nothing but an acoustic guitar and a mic, James performed songs across his discography ranging from “Let It Go” to “Give Me A Reason.” The simplicity and raw nature of the performance gave new meaning and transparency to his heartfelt and confessional lyrics. The absence of competing sounds provided inviting pauses for the audience’s harmonizing voices to join in.
James’ unique set was equal in performance and connection. He took every opportunity throughout the night to engage with fans. He reacted to audience commentary, shared anecdotes and sentiments like “I feel lucky because I have someone not something,” when referring to his family, and even exuberantly celebrated a mid-performance proposal.
“I need you to know that I will keep coming back as long as you’ll have me,” he told the crowd before exiting the stage.
Despite and perhaps because of the chaos of the morning, James delivered a performance that gave fans a front and center performance to his artistry and showcased his ability to organically engage with the audience.