James Bay – State Theater – Minneapolis MN – March 20th 2019

After postponing his fall North America Electric Light tour last year, British pop-rocker James Bay proved to be worth waiting for Wednesday night (3/20) at the State Theatre in Minneapolis. Sticking to his consistent nightly set-list, Pink Lemonade was a strong opening track that coaxed the main floor crowd out of their seats, which is exactly how they stayed for the entire show. Bay generated even more energy onCraving with its eager chorus that provided fans the first taste of his soaring vocal, which sounded very fresh even being halfway through the scheduled dates on this outing.

Dressed mostly in black plus a brown corduroy jacket, a splash of color was introduced to his look by a seemingly unlimited selection of guitars that he changed out after pretty much every song. I was impressed to discover they are not just for show as Bay is a very capable player and even handles most of the solo parts. He makes tasteful choices to provide just the right amount of splash without overplaying the mood of a tune. Also, his tone was exceptional, blending nicely on verses and then jumping out in the mix at just the right times for a very satisfying result.

Both Wild Love and Fade Out were smoldering, fueled by Bay’s ability to move in and out of his falsetto to full voice with ease and consistency. The already engaged crowd really perked up during Let It Go, one ofBay’s best known hits. Their backing vocal contribution filled the room making this one a clear stand out. Bay expressed being so glad we could get together in 2019 and the reason behind shifting his tour dates was to take some time for himself and work on new material. He began his 3 song encore with a fresh new tune called Bad, played a cover of Come Together (The Beatles) and closed with Hold Back the River.

 Set List

Pink Lemonade
Just for Tonight
If You Ever Want to Be in Love
Wild Love
Peer Pressure
Fade Out
Let It Go
When We Were on Fire
Move Together
Get Out While You Can
Best Fake Smile

Come Together (The Beatles cover)
Hold Back the River

Review and photos by Patrick Dunn