“…hopefulness and lifting up and then deep, deep grief and then lifting up… because that seems to be the human experience right now, doesn’t it?” Tim Booth of James, part of their co-headlining tour across North America with The Psychedelic Furs this summer, with one of their last stops in Reno at the Grand Theatre at Grand Sierra Resort & Casino. When the band first came out on the stage, he commented that they had just changed up their set list in reaction to the news coming out of Texas. Both bands put on stellar shows and each seemed to have their own respective hardcore fans as the audiences seemed to change up in-between sets. I really enjoyed seeing James for the first time and The Psychedelic Furs play at one of my favorite venues with a massive stage and stellar lighting.
Who: The Psychedelic Furs
Venue: Grand Theatre at Grand Sierra Resort & Casino
Where: Reno, Nevada
Promoter: Grand Theatre at Grand Sierra Resort & Casino
When: August 3, 2019
Seating: (photo pass)
The Grand Theatre at the Grand Sierra Resort and Casino in Reno remains one of my very favorite venues, and increasingly they have brought out more and more quality shows since their renovation back in 2015.
The concert venue is built around a one acre large stage (one of the largest in the world) that from 1978 to 1987 was host to MGM’s “Hello Hollywood Hello”. This was actually the first time I had a glimpse of what it looks like “behind the curtain”, with an airplane literally behind the main stage area.
The venue also has some of the best concert lighting and sound around. I’ve never been disappointed in either, and lights and sound was excellent for this concert.
As with my past experiences, the staff at Grand Sierra Resort impress. I attend a lot of concerts, and the staff at the GSR are consistently very friendly and professional. I give the venue my highest recommendations!
This was actually the most crowded I’ve ever experienced at the venue, as the parking lots were full all around… it took me an extra 30 minutes to find somewhere to park and then had a long walk to the venue – I barely made it in and got to the pit just as James was coming out onto the stage to play. I guess it is an extremely popular Summer destination!
- Jim Glennie (bass guitar, backing vocals)
- Tim Booth (lead vocals)
- Adrian Oxaal (lead guitar, cello)
- David Baynton-Power (drums)
- Saul Davies (rhythm guitar, acoustic guitar, violin, percussion, backing vocals)
- Mark Hunter (keyboards, piano)
- Andy Diagram (trumpet, percussion, backing vocals)
James have a very long history, going all the way back to Factory Records circa 1982. I didn’t know this until I looked into seeing them for this show, but the band’s name comes from the bass player, Jim (“James”) Glennie. A Manchester band, they didn’t hit it big worldwide until the 90s, as musical tastes came around to their prescient style of music.
They’ve released 15 studio albums and sold over 20 million worldwide, in spite of some breaks over the years.
Vocalist Tim Booth has had a very interesting career in and out of the band, with solo musical work as well as a career in dancing and acting (playing Victor Zsasz in Batman Begins). His dancing was on display during this concert and he also enjoyed connecting with the audience (literally) throughout their set, and even went up into the seated area to perform for a bit.
My first impression of the band was that they are a “real” band with tremendous musicianship. When you see a line-up of guitars on a rack, and members playing different instruments throughout, you know this is a group that is serious about musicianship and are truly ones to see live, as they were very much in their element on stage.
This tour is the first for James in North America singe 2012, and the audience seemed to be made up of many hard core fans who absolutely turned out for them.
The band released a new album, Living in Extraordinary Times, last year.
- Many Faces
- What’s It All About
- Walk Like You
- Waltzing Along
- Broken by the Hurt
- Johnny Yen
- Nothing but Love
- Sometimes (Lester Piggott)
- Getting Away With It (All Messed Up)
- Say Something
Below are some photos of James performing on stage (scroll downward and photos will begin to appear – click any image to open a virtual lightroom with higher resolution versions of each photo):
The Psychedelic Furs
- Richard Butler (vocals)
- Tim Butler (bass)
- Richard Good (guitar)
- Mars Williams (saxophone)
- Amanda Kramer (keyboards)
- Paul Garisto (drums)
The Psychedelic Furs are a principal band in the post-punk New Wave movement that was born out of the UK in the late 70s and early 80s.
Formed in the British punk scene in 1977, the band, founded by brothers Richard Butler on lead vocals and Tim Butler on bass, went through a series of band names (RKO, Radio, The Europeans) before committing to the Psychedelic Furs.
The first (eponymous) album was produced by the legendary Steve Lillywhite (who worked with U2, The Rolling Stones, Morrissey, Sioxusie and the Banshees, Talking Heads, Peter Gabriel, and more) and released in 1980. The first song of theirs I remember hearing was “Love My Way”, which came off of their 1982 album, Forever Now.
Their biggest moment in the U.S. came from a re-recorded version of “Pretty in Pink”, which was featured in the John Hughes film starring Molly Ringwold. The song has, over the decades, really come to represent much about the 80s… the New Wave/post punk movement, it’s captured a bit of the vibe and atmosphere which was unique at that time, college radio, John Hughes’ teen-centric films reflecting those times, and more.
The band did part ways in the early 90s, and Richard and Tim formed their own Love Spit Love. The band came back together again in 2000 and have toured on and off ever since.
I’ve seen the band perform a few times in the last ten years, in support of the Yazoo (Yaz) on their “Reconnected” tour, which I managed to catch in Orange County in 2008. And then in 2012 on the same bill as The Go-Go’s at Mountain Winery in Saratoga. I saw them more recently at Veteran’s Memorial Auditorium in Grass Valley.
The band are definitely at their best as headliners (or in the case, co-headliners) as it gives them more time to really set the mood with their very singular sound and style. There is definitely no one else quite like The Furs, from Richard Butler’s unique vocals to that post punk style bass and the periodic sax infusion from Mars Williams, their music is distinctly their own.
One of the things that really set them apart from most of their peers and the trends in the 80s was their somber kind of protesting and critical perspective of the world around them, from politics to the interpersonal. They did not seem to ever be in the mood to celebrate or dive into joy, but those feelings and viewpoint is what cemented their relationship with their dedicated fans.
If you’ve been to many 80s band live shows, this is even more apparent how much their music is built on bass, drums, and vocals, with heavy sax on some songs. The driving force of music in the 80s was New Wave’s emphasis on synthesizer and guitar; The Furs also have keyboards and guitar but they are at the forefront of only certain songs. The Furs embrace a darker view of the world.
They put on a brilliant show Saturday night, and for me it was awesome to see them perform on one of my favorite stages, bathed in beautiful lighting and with excellent sound.
- Love My Way
- Mr. Jones
- The Ghost in You
- Sister Europe
- So Run Down
- Into You Like a Train
- The Boy That Invented Rock & Roll
- Pretty in Pink
- President Gas
- Sleep Comes Down
- Heartbreak Beat
Below are some photos of The Psychedelic Furs performing on stage (scroll downward and photos will begin to appear – click any image to open a virtual lightroom with higher resolution versions of each photo):