Bay kicked off his very first tour date right here in Philadelphia. Once you are inside the venue there are bars lining the walls and chandeliers that dangle over the stage. The main stage and standing area was bigger than I expected but soon packed as the clock inched closer to Bay taking the stage.
The Fillmore overall was a great place to hold a concert, the acoustics were amazing and the staff was extremely nice and helpful with everything. The lights finally dimmed down and a single spotlight was placed over the keyboard.
After a minute of everyone screaming, the opening act stepped on stage. When Frances, a fellow British singer-songwriter, first sat down she introduced herself and mentioned that this was her first time ever in the states. She gave off a kind of quirky vibe at first, but once she opened her mouth and started singing the whole crowd erupted in screams. Her sound is similar to that of a more hip Adele. Overall, she sounded amazing and really got the crowd ready for the main act, James Bay.
After a quick set transformation Bay took the stage with lights flashing everywhere and guitar riffs echoing through the venue. The crowd was ecstatic. With an instrumental introduction like that one the crowd knew that they were going to be witnessing an amazing show tonight. The band got the crowd ready for the transition by easing them into clapping with the beat as Bay played his way into the start of the song.
I found myself belting out the lyrics as well. It is hard not to sing along with him when his lyrics represent so many different people on so many different levels. Bay started out the song with just himself playing the electric guitar, but as the second verse came around the whole band kicked in.
The slick guitar riffs, upbeat tempo, and the catchy lyrics about staying true to who you are was an easy crowd-pleaser. The crowd was dancing and going wild until the very end of the set. Not even a full five minutes went by before Bay was returning to the stage for the encore.
Once again the crowd held their phone lights up as they swayed back and forth. As the song started, you could slowly hear everyone in the audience start to chime in with Bay.
Toward the end of this song, the bands vocal harmonies made an appearance and started to bring the song to a close. Bay stepped away from the microphone once again and told the crowd to sing the last verse, which they proceeded to belt out by singing every word with everything that they had.
Bay stepped back up to the microphone to finish the song and after he finished the stage went black. Bay had his own passionate guitar solo that really made the song his own. As the song came to an end, Bay and the band took a step away from their microphones while looking back at the crowd in awe. Bay put all he had into this last song and it really showed, he seemed to feed off of the energy that the crowd was giving him.
With that, he and his band took their final bow and exited the stage. The audience was still screaming as the lights came on and the stage crew started taking away the instruments. Sadly, every show has to come to its end, but this show exceeded every expectation that I had for Bay. His vocals were also more passionate with him playing his guitar, which he never once put down. His guitar playing skills reminded me of John Mayer and his stage presence and interacting with the audience brought the show to life.
If you have the chance to ever see Bay live I would highly recommend it.
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The opening chords seemed to captivate his audience and once Bay sang his raspy first line everyone in the packed-out room knew it was going to be a memorable gig.