Well, it's been a few days since I last posted, mainly due to me being far away from anywhere since the last post. I guess having done 3 James concerts of varying descriptions in 3 days (2 on 1 day) my head has been flying in way out places not wanting to come home.
It has landed back home, and full of a cold, but hey what's a little cold after those 3 days? Let's start with the fact that a lot of the fans who post on the James fan site that I have linked to this site (If I have it, which I'm sure I do, but if not it soon will be) organised a meet up prior to the first show last Saturday. I was a little apprehensive at first, mainly due to my lack of self belief in myself and my incredible shyness. However after watching United beat Everton last Saturday morning, I walked to the pub and met up with many a James fan, to whom I'd conversed via the great wide internet, but never met in person. Once that initial fear had been beaten and my guard let down, I really enjoyed the day and the gig at the MEN arena was excellent, more a hits show than some of the previous gigs on this tour, but it was such a well placed set that it went down as one of THE gigs I'd been too.
However, more was to follow!! On Monday morning I got up really early, well not as early as some, but hey that's there fault in a way. Went into Manchester and queued up for a wristband for a small gig at the HMV store. Once I got that, it was a breakfast with some of the people I'd met on the Saturday. We chatted away, before I headed home. Once home I got my things sorted out and had a rest till the afternoon, when I'd be watching the 2 concerts in one day. My legs were quite sore from Saturday nights gig, too much dancing and blisters on my heels were causing me havoc, but that was a minor insignificance really. The HMV show was down on the lower level of the store in a small, but purpose built area for very intimate shows. Around 200 people max were there for a 6 song show, which made it that bit special. After the show the band signed things for near enough everyone. Once I'd got my CD (for me) and DVD (for Lisa) signed, I headed out and across town for another gig at the Academy.
Again it was good to be able to be with everyone whom we'd met on Saturday and some new faces, who were all as friendly as those I'd met previously. It's here I want to point out the dedication of James fans. I was aware that at the start of this tour, people from Dubai, Mexico and Portugal had all attended the Dublin gig, and that there had been people coming over from California for the show. However, I didn't expect to find myself queuing for the wristbands for HMV and standing behind at the gig someone from Alaska. Thanks to one of the many James fans we all met last weekend they got into the Academy gig, which was something completely different to that on the Saturday at the arena. This was the place that the band met, near enough 25 years ago. So it was really a home coming as such and also a time to reflect on the history of the band. As this reunion tour has gathered pace, it's become obvious that the group that toured under the banner of James towards the end of the 90's and very early 00's wasn't at all happy and only did so due to contractual basis.
This tour has seen the band all smiles, and wanting to be the band they were prior to all the disharmony. The return of the main guitarist has signaled a complete change in atmosphere and the group seems as strong as they have ever been, with new songs and old infused into the shows. On Monday night however we got a retrospective gig with few hits, but old live classics that have stood the test of time. It was a beautiful gig, the sheer beauty of it is hard to describe. OK, so some of the people at the gig were winners from the local radio station and thought it was going to be a repeat of Saturday's hit laden gig, but the band made it clear that it wasn't very early on. This was a difficult set for those who only know the hits, but for those who have followed the band through thick, thin, rain and sunshine it was bliss. By the time the gig had finished I was drained and yet full of energy, sad but ecstatic. I can only hope that the Alaskan couple enjoyed it as much as everyone else. I have heard that they looked exhausted after the show, which we all were, but I'm sure it was an incredible experience for them.
Anyway, now it' nearly a week since the first gig and I'm now finding my feet back in the real world. I did do those gigs, I did meet lots of people, I did meet people from around the world and I did meet the band. To make things even better I was already happy going into the weekend, this though made the weekend all the better and no matter how badly things have gone this week, I don't give a jot, I'm happy.......... Yes, folks things have been sent to try me, things have been sent to knock me right back down to normality and whilst they have brought my feet to the ground, that's it, they haven't made me sad or depressed. I just have to cast my mind back a hundred hours or so and I'm back with smiles on my face and near to tears at the power of the music.
Thank you James, thank you everyone from One of the Three, and a thank you to those who haven't been around, but have given me strength over the past few months. I think we all know who that person is.......