First up are indie rock quartet ‘Port Isla’ from Norwich, after a short set from them, you can feel the anticipation in the crowd as James Bay’s stage is set for him. It’s around 9:00pm when he makes an appearance and the crowd go mad.
His humble manner shone through his stunning performance in Sheffield on Thursday night, from his softly spoken introduction came a beautiful opening song, “Collide” taken from his debut album ‘Chaos And The Calm’. The opening chords seemed to instantly captivate his audience and once James sang his raspy first line everyone in the packed out room knew it was going to be a memorable gig.
Through moments of stunned silence- you could hear a pin drop as he moved into his second song of the evening which was album-opener ‘Craving’. Continuing to thank the mesmerised crowd after each song 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 Sheffield crowd.
A quick slurp of water, then James 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 James comes back onto the stage he announces he has a cover to play and its Alicia Key’s ‘If I Ain’t Got You’- it’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. Promising that “This is only the beginning Sheffield and we’ll see you soon” the crowd are left wanting more, but they will just have to wait!