Live Review: James Bay - The London Palladium, London 22/05/2019


The music industry moves at such a fast pace these days with it becoming easier and easier to release music. James Bay reminds us that this is okay, because he has our back, and after a legendary performance at London Palladium this week. We certainly have his! 

The venue tonight is something spectacular, from main doors to your seats, it is just simply beautiful. Not only that, but there is a lot of history within it’s walls, with so many great musicals and performances taking place there for decades. It seemed like a perfect setting for the first UK performance in 2019 for Mr James Bay. 

Despite being a fully seated performance, as soon as James Bay walked onto that stage, everyone was on their feet, and it remained this way right to the very end. Opening his set with ‘Pink Lemonade’, he quickly had the whole audience jiving and kicked started the first full singalong of the night. One of his best qualities, despite his music skills, is how warm James Bay is as a character. Between songs, he slips between telling the audience to sing their hearts off, and opening up about worrying about getting the lyrics wrong on new tracks. But it also shows you, that despite how big you can get as an artist, there is still that worry that your audience might not like it. And James talks about this when he plays the first song off his new EP ‘Oh My Messy Mind’ in his set list, which is a track he wrote with Julia Michaels - ‘Peer Pressure’. The EP itself is somewhat a bit more vulnerable that James’ usual style, and he kept it this way while on stage. With a simple guitar only set up - and despite the worry, he was greeted by a huge round of applause from the audience. 

‘Let It Go’, is a massive crowd favorite, so when he brings on special guest Lewis Capaldi, the room erupts, with phones hitting the sky with everyone trying to capture this unique moment. They share vocals on the song, and even slipping into a small acoustic version of Lewis Capaldi’s track ‘Someone You Loved’. 

I’m never a huge fan of encores, however those few minutes James Bay made everyone wait was something special. You could feel it in the room. So when he walked onto the stage to play ‘Bad’ alone with just his guitar. You could of easily heard a pin drop in that venue. Finishing his set with ‘Hold Back the River’, James Bay wasn't going home without a fight, uniting the room in a mass chorus singalong before even starting the track. With his set coming to an end, there was a sense of happiness in the room. He could easily of played somewhere massive like Roundhouse (again), but he chose to play London Palladium. And this is what sets James Bay aside from not being just a musician, but an artist. 

James Bay, we raise our glasses to you, that was something else. 

Words by Ant Adams

WTHB OnlineLive, James Bay