The Rage, Vancouver, Canada – 1st May 1997

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Setlist: Out To Get You, Born of Frustration, Sometimes, She’s A Star, Lost A Friend, Sit Down, PS, Five-O, Play Dead, Waltzing Along, Greenpeace, Say Something, Homeboy, Tomorrow, Sound, Come Home, Laid.

Review by Daniel Ewatcha, Drop D Magazine
Transparent marketing ploy or legitimate injury? That was indeed the question on everyone’s minds as lead singer Tim Booth appeared in a neck brace as he and the rest of the James gang took to the stage, ironically enough in support of their new album entitled Whiplash. “I have whiplash,” Booth stated, answering our silent inquiry, then added laughingly, “It’s not some cheap marketing tool.” Thankfully, rather than canceling this, their long-awaited return to Vancouver, James decided to go ahead, and performed about 90 minutes of material from their first to their most recent albums.

As they opened the show with “Out to Get You” off of their Laid album, a tranquil, yet hauntingly exciting choice, I knew the show was going to be a classic. The audience, myself included, proceeded to sing along with Booth every word of practically every song performed, much to the delight of the band (who helped by concentrating on the Laid and Whiplash CDs, the band’s more commercially successful products).

James do not simply put on a show — they put on an event, and the Rage was the place to be this Thursday. A James show is entertaining to the point of leaving the audience and the band on the same level (despite, this time, Booth having to sit down periodically, leaving the audience yearning for his trademark spastic dances). The band looked like they were having fun, as did the audience.

Their light show was nothing short of excellent and well worth noting, whether it was the beat-triggered strobe lights during “Sound” or the multi-coloured bombardment during “Sit Down,” (which was disappointingly lacking in pogoing by the audience). Considering the fact that this was the Rage, envisioning the stage performance James would put on in an arena or stadium gives me goose bumps. But for now, we’ll just have to settle for clubs. Either way, they’re entertaining to the extreme.

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