James Bay brought the Chaos and the Calm Tour to Radio City Music Hall in NYC last night (Sept. 30), and his show can be summed up in one simple phrase (you all may think I’m a bit weird for this, but here goes): a bubble of music and happiness.
JOSEPH, his opening act, were fantastic at prepping us for James, reminding us that performers don’t need a bevy of lights and craziness in order to entertain and connect with the crowd at the same time.
The trio of sisters (Allison, Meegan, and Natalie Closner) brought a set of reverberating harmonies that left me in awe, to be honest. I’m impressed with their laid-back, folksy sound, and definitely adding their album, I’m Alone No You’re Not, to my must-listen list.
As soon as James made his appearance, the crowd went insane, and not in the “Oh dear God, I’m going to lose an eardrum way,” but in the “I cannot WAIT to witness this man’s talent and share it with a room of strangers for the next 90 minutes” way.
And that’s exactly what happened.
He played my two favorites from Chaos and the Calm back to back, which nearly ended me right then and there, but I for damn sure would’ve died happily. “When We Were On Fire” and “If You Ever Want To Be In Love” are phenomenal on the album, but live? Other-worldly.
His visuals during the entire show were simple — colored lights and some graphics projected behind him. I appreciated that, because I wasn’t blinded or distracted by anything shiny. Instead, I focused on him and the vocals, which he unleashed with no restraint throughout — and it was BEAUTIFUL.
I gained a new appreciation and love for “Need the Sun to Break,” which somehow came alive that night. He added an element of magic to it that I cannot even describe, especially vocally. The creative direction for this was soft butter-yellow lighting, and I think that image of him standing amidst the lights as he belts out that song will stay with me for a long time.
James’ vocals were definitely a highlight during the show. Obviously, having listened to the album a ton, I know the man can sing. But there were moments when the crowd sang along a little quieter, the instruments faded just a little, and his voice echoed through Radio City Music Hall and we had no choice but to let everything go and just…be.
Conclusion? Buy a ticket for the Chaos and the Calm Tour immediately. There are only five dates left, but it isn’t too late!