Jim James spent the better part of the first few songs of his sold-out show on May 3 at the Orange Peel sliding and twirling around the stage. Mimicking the cover art for Regions Of Light And Sound Of God, he was backlit by thin strips of LED lighting that made you feel like you were in a vortex.
For the first half of the show James played tracks from his debut solo album, straight through, in order. The crowd was swooning as James got warm. There was an energy in the room that he wanted to take advantage of, often reaching out to touch fingertips with those in the front row.
Everything was album perfect, until about midway through All Is Forgiven. At this point there was a electronic, almost dubstep, interlude that caught everyone’s attention. Every so often James would slink to the back corner of the stage, with his back to the audience, as though he was readying for something. There were times when he would jump back to the front of the stage sporting a sax. Somehow James manages to make the sax rock-n-roll worthy, as he dances all around the stage while playing.
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Throughout the night James mixed his signature high- pitched screams and yells with low-end chants and grunts. There was no doubt that his vocal range was on full display on this solo tour, and he didn’t disappoint.
There was a short break after the final track from Regions Of LIght And Sound Of God. The lights stayed down as the audience anxiously awaited his return. After a few minutes, James returned to the stage by himself with an acoustic guitar. The next two songs would come from the My Morning Jacket catalog. Poignant, acoustic versions of “Wonderful” and “Bermuda Highway” segued beautifully into tracks from the Monsters Of Folk self-titled album.
James acknowledged the audience, noting how nice it was to be in Asheville feeling the cool mountain breeze. This was a nice intro to “The Right Place,” as he sang “I think I got the right feeling / I think I’m in the right place” to the pleasure to everyone in the room. The closing song would be “Changing World,” a song from the album New Multitudes, a collection of unpublished Woody Guthrie lyrics.
State Of The Art (A.E.I.O.U.)
Know Til Now
A New Life
Of The Mother Again
All Is Forgiven
God’s Love to Deliver
Dear God (Sincerely M.O.F.)
His Master’s Voice
The Right Place
Losin Yo Head