“For the next couple of hours we are trapped in a room together – so I suggest you enjoy it,” announced James front man Tim Booth – and the NIA audience ensured they did.
Ever the showman, Booth began the concert on a quiet note when he appeared in the middle of the crowd, disguising his hairless head under a huge floppy hat.
Slowly and accompanied only by guitar and a few burly bouncers, he then made his way through the audience singing the anthemic Lose Control until he reached the stage.
Then it was straight into an evening swopping back and forth between established hits such as Waltzing Along, Ring the Bells and Born of Frustration but also adding in new material.
In fact, one song was so new Tim announced it as a ‘work in progress’ and then sang from a sheet of paper.
All the old favourites were in there – Sit Down, Out To Get You, Tomorrow, Getting Away With It – many given epic versions complete with screaming trumpets, crashing drums and flashing lights.
Not to say that all fans were happy.
And a clearly nettled Booth was unimpressed when someone from the crowd shouted for a ‘good song’.
Justifying 20 years of James’ music and the band’s efforts on the night, he then suggested the disgruntled listener head for the exit.
There was a surprise appearance when Birmingham band The Twang’s Phil Etheridge joined James for a rendition of Say Something.
And the evening was not short on audience participation when the encore saw the crowd wrestle the chorus of Sometimes from the band and then a small group were invited onto the stage to party alongside Booth for a lively Laid.
They may have taken a short break to split up but this concert showed James more together than ever, offering a two- hour set full of energy and enthusiasm.