James – Live Review – Scarborough Open Air Theatre

James Scarborough OAT 2021

By Laura Seaton, September 2021

The 2021 gig season at Scarborough Open Air Theatre has certainly seen the positive return of live music. And boy, has it been good to be back! And it was the turn of the mighty James to wow us this time around – a band who have a reputation for being one of the best live acts around.

They’re a band that I’ll never tire of seeing. They always deliver a show you won’t forget, and you can never predict in which direction they will go. With their gargantuan back catalogue of hits, you’re guaranteed to be taken on one hell of a musical journey.

James Scarborough OAT 2021


The OAT was buzzing with lots of die-hard James fans sporting a myriad of old school t-shirts. The classic daisy was all over the place, as was the new All The Colours Of You design.

We got our wrist bands, got ourselves in, and hot-footed over to the standing area which was filling fast. And tonight we were treated to two brilliant support acts. First up were local Scarborough band The Feens who did a superb set. I love their music with its indie inspired sounds, and they’re certainly one to watch.

The second support act of the evening was The Ks. I was really looking forward to seeing them after catching a bit of their set at Hardwick Festival and getting hooked! The K’s are proud to be formed in Earlestown near Manchester and are also growing fast. They are natural on stage with boundless energy, and they belted out some of their hits including a fab rendition of ‘Sarajevo’. I especially loved it when Jamie was told to not “fu**ing swear” by his fellow band member and bass player Dexter.

James Scarborough OAT 2021

“Like a magician”

Tim Booth and the band came on-stage bang on time at 8:45 and jumped straight into their huge 16 song set with ‘All the Colours of You’. Tonight Tim was wearing a beanie hat and a very snuggly looking jacket. He also spoke for us all when he talked about what a weird time it’s been!

They went smoothly into ‘Isabella’ before whipping the crowd into a frenzy with the most perfect version of ‘Come Home’. By now, the rain decided to come down and out came the ponchos. This didn’t dampen the crowd though, it simply brought us together and somehow added to the atmosphere.

Tim Booth is seriously like a magician when he’s on stage. If it’s not his hypnotic and infectious dancing, it’s the profound messages and also the stories he tells. Between songs he entertains and tonight he didn’t disappoint. He may have lost his way a little at one point, but Saul stepped in to pull his leg a little and get him back on track. He simply blamed Yorkshire for doing strange things to him!

James Scarborough OAT 2021

“Always manage to do something different”

The songs kept coming. ‘Born of Frustration’ had made the setlist, followed by the one we all wanted to hear: ‘Sit Down’. An almighty party started in the crowd. It was truly magical, with everyone dancing and singing.

A beautiful treat was ‘She’s A Star’. Then ‘Beautiful Beaches’ created a moment for me the people I had been stood next to all evening. Everyone began hugging each other to that one – it really was beautiful to witness. Before we knew it, we were on the last song of the set which was ‘Getting Away With It (All Messed Up). The crowd joined in on this one, with Tim encouraging us all to sing it back to him. And with that, he thanked us and headed off the stage.

It was now when I got sad. I seriously thought this was it and that there was no encore. I’ve never got ‘Laid’ at a James gig, and my unlucky streak seemed like it was about to continue. But I did get the best encore ever, when they came back on. ‘Sometimes’, and ‘Tomorrow’ sounded superb. And then, finally, I DID get ‘Laid’! And at this closing point, the audience went bonkers.

Thank you, James. You always manage to do something different. You take us on a journey of emotions, and the James fans are genuinely some of the nicest people. The sort where you can share a bag of Haribo with a stranger, cry over a look on a frontman’s face, and dance like no ones watching.

images: Cuffe & Taylor


Leave a reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.