Just one day before kicking off his North American headlining tour, James Bay visited the iHeart Theater in Burbank, California Friday (Mar. 23) to give his biggest fans an intimate album preview.
The set list combined his old favorites and new songs, including some unreleased tracks from his upcoming sophomore record, Electric Light.
After the opening performance of “If You Ever Want To Be In Love,” Bay was joined onstage by 104.3 MyFM’s on air talent Valentine to answer some fan questions on Twitter. When asked about his new album, he mentioned that the “cosmic electric sounds” of the record was an experiment in which he “smashed together” the acoustic elements of 2015’s Chaos and The Calm, with synthesizers and programed drums. “I was into it,” he said.
Further, he discussed the natural fear of releasing music for the first time in three years with a different sound and ditching his iconic long locks and fedora: “If there wasn’t any fear this wouldn’t matter to me. I just knew I didn’t want to do the same thing.”
“People enjoy evolving,” he continued.
— 1043 MYfm (@1043MYfm) March 24, 2018
Bay played nine more songs, including his two recent singles “Wild Love” and “Pink Lemonade”—which he coyly noted the upcoming music video “almost” takes place in outer space, as implied through a preview he posted showing the singer in an astronaut costume.
One particular stand out of the night was when Bay performed an unreleased ballad, featuring just him and the keyboardist. The rest of the band joined the two backup singers for a circle of harmonizing vocals. “Slide,” a heartbreaking melody about losing the love of your life to another man, gave light to some raw emotion in Bay, who took a step back from the microphone after the song was over with his eyes closed and hand over his heart. The moment was representative of the crooner, whose music is known for dissecting every aspect of human relationships, even the stuff that’s hard to talk about.
See the full set list below. Electric Light is available May 18.
If You Ever Want to be in Love
When We Were On Fire
Just For Tonight
Best Fake Smile
Let It Go
Hold Back The River