23 March, 2016

[GIG REVIEW] James Bay @ Zenith, Munich, 16 March 2016

James Bay's concert on March 16th was a mixture of powerful tones, happiness and emotional lows – with the crowd not being able to hold back “the river” any longer and letting tears stream down their faces.

The first insight in the vigour of this evening was given by supporting artist RM. Her strong voice and self-written songs impressed the crowd and warmed up the atmosphere song by song. Her cover of the Weeknds 'I can't feel my face' and her last title 'Money', which she wrote on tour, got the crowd dancing. Finally she went off stage leaving an applauding and screaming crowd behind.

Photo by "svenii_bxll" on IG

“Chaos and the Calm” is not only the name of James Bay's album: it's the perfectly played out motto of this tour and also represented in his setlist. The contrast between fast and powerful songs and slow and sentimental tunes was there right from the beginning and lasted right until the end. At first glance the varying content of James' songs is also contradictory – but it's completely harmonious in the context of the total of his work. The topic of the song 'Craving' (indifference, loneliness and missing love in the society) covered the total opposite of the spirit inside the venue, but had the crowd partying to the sound of the fast and fresh song from the first note onwards. James Bay's warm and catchy voice flooded us with emotionality and feelings, so that we left all our problems to the breeze and opened our hearts for the journey James wanted to take us on. 'Scars' – a fan-favourite – was performed using only vocals and a guitar and proved the authenticity and talent James Bay has. We weren't surprised to see members of the audience crying for joy. And the mood didn't change for the next song, with James Bay asking the crowd to hug the person next to each other and sway with this person while he was singing 'Move Together'. His message of the necessity of love, individuality and realness is omnipresent, and especially prominent in one of his last songs 'Incomplete': the attractiveness of not being perfect, but human, loved, faulty and still satisfied. You have to be real is the message of this song. And James Bay is real. He has this naturalness, authenticity  and realness as he proved at the concert in Munich. He managed to catch the public with the first note and not only entertained them, but made them feel the deeper message of his songs. He sent the audience on a journey to find their own peace of mind and overcome inner conflicts – and it worked. We were on fire.

Chapeau, Mr. Bay.

Review by Svenja Boll