James Bay at the Forum
It takes very little effort for James Bay to inflame the sold-out arena of the Forum: the clapping and the cheering of the concertgoers rises loudly at almost every nod from the artist. In return, he gives 200% on-stage, with no skimping on notes or energy, and it’s a heartwarming joy to witness.
With his third album coming out in July, the songwriter has recently released a new single in anticipation. Give Me the Reason is a powerful hymn, performed here with the same red-lit sun in the background as in its promotional artwork. As the arena joins in the chorus with rapture, it’s clear the wait for the summer is already charged.
If You Ever is one of those hits that receives a warm welcome with barely the first hint of its opening notes. With that high register held with lightness and sinuosity, the song is characterised by tingling acoustic chords from the second guitar, almost recalling a ukulele. At the end, Bay gleefully announces, “We have done it, we turned it into a Friday night!”, having earlier set a goal to turn this Wednesday evening gig into a pre-weekend concert. The atmosphere is indeed vibrant.
Another great moment of the night is Us – poetic, melodic but still rhythmic enough to keep the feet stomping and listeners standing or on the edge of their seats: it’s an irresistible beat. There is a curated alternation between these classics and new entries in Bay’s repertoire, like One Life, introduced in a personal moment as the singer shares an anecdote about his baby and partner, becoming particularly animated in a euphoric hopping across the stage.
We Were on Fire is undoubtedly the high point of the gig. Returning to a rockier vein, starting with a heavier intro, the piece naturally flows into an elongated finale with an electrifying guitar solo – a fantastic gift that only a live performance can offer.
The encore couldn’t have been received with any more uproar, both from the stalls and the balcony, as James Bay and his band clamorously conclude with Hold Back the River. It’s an exciting goodbye hug, and not too long until next time.
Photos: Virginie Viche
For further information and future events visit James Bay’s website here.
Watch the video for the single Give Me the Reason here: