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Photo Credit Anna Nilsson

Guest writer Anna Nilsson originally posted her story here about the first of James Bay’s recent shows at the Hammersmith Apollo.

I just got home after the best shift at work. This is because we had the very first James Bay show of the four sold out shows he’s playing at the Hammersmith Apollo.

Honesty hour! Before I found out he was gonna play at work I had only heard two or three of his songs, but I did my homework and quite liked it.

After months of waiting the day was finally here, the first gig! I got to work hours before I was meant to be there and watched James do soundcheck and completely fell in love. Then my amazing bosses put me on one of the inside bars so I got to see the whole show!

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Photo Credit Anna Nilsson

Soundcheck felt like a little personal gig because I was pretty much the only one there for the few hours it lasted, sitting up in circle just admiring the hard work and passion this artist puts into his art. He was kind and funny to both musicians, backup singers and crew, but also a professional, and knew exactly how he wanted the night to sound. The vocals sounded like a little piece of heaven in that empty auditorium where you could literally hear a pin drop. You know the sound that they put in the movies when they see heaven? It sounded like that, just…Well heavenly! Also, fun fact: he was not wearing his legendary hat during soundcheck!

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Photo Credit doctorknox, on Instagram

The room started filling up as soon as the doors were open at 7pm. The support act was called Frances. She was a lovely girl that just sat there with her little keyboard and some amazingly kickass vocals and lyrics. Just my cup of tea, also, the perfect opening act for James Bay. She played for half an hour and then James was finally on!

Obviously, because I was working, I couldn’t just stand there and watch the whole show, I was serving alcoholic beverages to costumers but I still watched a fair bit of it!

James was received with a roaring scream from all the fans, both male and female. He played for about 90 minutes and the crowd, and myself, just wanted more! He has an amazing stage presence, he involves the crowd and just expels so much passion and enjoyment that it’s hard not to love him, his music and his gigs.

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Photo Credit Anna Nilsson

The highlights for myself were when he played, ‘If You Ever Want To Fall In Love’, ‘Let It Go’, ‘Best Fake Smile’, ‘Move Together’, and ‘Hold Back The River’. Obviously these are his most famous songs so a big percentage of why they were highlights is because the crowd was singing along. Which brings me to my absolute favourite moment of the whole night: ‘Scars’. I have no words to describe the feeling inside me when the whole crowd started singing along with James in perfect harmony, myself and my friend and colleague Cannelle had honest goosebumps and were on the verge of tearing up! I wish I could upload a video so you could all experience the amazingness that is a whole crowd singing along to a song they all love.

Mid concert he did something very unexpected, he just started playing the chords to Elvis Presley’s ‘Can’t Help Falling In Love’, and when the crowd caught up with it and started singing along, the smile on his face was amazing. He didn’t sing a single lyric, he just played and let the crowd do the singing.

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Photo Credit Anna Nilsson

He had an encore, of course, and did a few more songs, finishing up with a cover, and then ‘Hold Back The River’, leaving the crowd wanting more like a true professional.

All in all it was an amazing experience, even if I did have to work it! Myself and my colleagues were dancing and singing and having a blast, which the customers were also loving haha!

So yeah, this is a highly recommended show to go to! Even if it is sold out, some people can’t go and are selling their tickets online, look for some and don’t miss out on an epic night out!

All photo credits Anna Nilsson unless stated otherwise.

About the author

There’s a lot of music out there - good music. At Essentially Pop our remit is that we cover music that deserves to be heard, with a particular focus on independent artists. That doesn't mean we won't cover your old favourites - rather we hope to give you some new favourites as well.

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