but something happened to his voice recently and we don't know what it is.
It's called age and lots of touring. I don't think James is the problem, but rather the heavy touring cycle they have, they don't give his voice enough time to properly rest while on tour.
That, and the fact that most of the vocal melodies they wrote for him on The Astonishing are simply way too high for his current range. I think the bottom line is they simply didn't think it thru. I'm surprised JLB was even okay with it, unless he was being waaaay optimistic.
I don't think that's correct at all. He did an amazing job on the tour and I think part of that is exactly because the material does fit his range.
Wow, okay. If you truly believe this, I'm baffled as fuck. Look up any of the youtube videos from this tour. ANY of them. There aren't many to choose from, granted, but no matter - look up "The Gift of Music", for example. Doesn't even matter from which city. On ALL of them he struggles throughout. He is consistently flat, and straining to reach the notes to the point where you can't even understand the lyrics. If you think that sounds "amazing", then you're either if fanboy denial mode, or tone deaf. If he did indeed sound great at the show you attended, fine. But that doesn't mean he did "amazing" on this tour. The fact of the matter is that he did not. And I know for a fact I'm not the only person who thinks this.
I don't think that's really necessary. I guess all the others who have posted that he sounded great at their shows are tone deaf as well?
I suppose I should be more specific - I didn't see them in Europe or South America. I saw both US legs quite a few times, but I believe only after he'd had at least 3, maybe more, shows under his belt. (I've often heard that he seems to need a few to really start sounding good.) And I'll further clarify that by saying he did an amazing job (at not one but many shows) I don't mean to imply perfection. There were a couple things he usually struggled with, and certainly not everything was sung just like the record, but overall, for the course of the show, he sounded very good. No one turned to someone praising him after the show and said, "dude, you must be deaf, he sounded awful." The worst I heard was "he sounded good, but I don't like his voice that much" and that was a rare comment.
So I suppose neither of us has done a scientific study to determine how most attendees felt about his performance. But while you may know for a fact that others felt as you do, I know that many others don't. It's not a "fact" that he was bad the whole tour. I feel like the consensus at the shows I saw was very positive, and online as well - even the MP forum has lots of praise and they're not all JL's biggest fans.
Either way, I think it's a big stretch to say that it's a fact that "most" of the vocal melodies on the album are outside his range. There are a lot of melodies that aren't that high at all.
Side note - we're just talking here. I don't know you and am not trying to cause any offense, and apologize if I have. If we don't end up agreeing, so be it.
No worries, you didn't offend me. It wasn't my intention to offend you, either. I guess ultimately we both have very different standards/definitions of what doing an amazing job on tour means. From my perspective, it's easy for me to think he hasn't done well when he strained and struggled the whole way thru each show I attended, and when he struggles the same way on every single YouTube video I've watched. Simply because that's all I have to go on. There is no evidence, so to speak, to suggest the contrary. Like I said though, if he sounded fine at the shows you attended, that's great. I'd be curious, however, to watch a video from any of the shows you attended, and see if the singing is actually any better. If not, then our definitions of "good singing" are very different. Again, I'm not hating on JLB. He's one of my favorite vocalists, period. I just think moving forward, when the band is writing new material and coming up with melodies for him to sing, they may want to consider how feasible it'll be to accurately replicate live, night after night, especially at his age. Also, I respect your opinion. If you had a good time at the shows, that's all that really matters. I enjoyed the shows for the most part, but felt really bad for JLB.
It also sucked, because I had friends (and girlfriend) with me who were all brand new to DT, and, needless to say, they all walked out with the totally wrong impression of JLB. They all had the same complaints "off key, flat, straining, struggling, screeching, couldn't understand the lyrics, etc." So, it just sucked, because I essentially had to tell them "I promise, he's much better than that - he usually sounds amazing". All in all, it dragged the rest of the band down, and probably ruined my friends' appreciation of the album. I just feel that DT could easily avoid this kind of thing from happening with potential new fans in the future if they just made sure to write melodies that James can realistically sing at his age.
The same goes for altering original melodies from older material, in efforts to make it easier on his voice. As I've said before, I'd much rather hear older material with altered melodies that are at least in tune and sound great (great pronunciation, articulation, etc.) than hear him try to pull them off as they were originally written and recorded, and it end up being all out of tune and incoherent. There's no shame in altering the original melodies to better suit your current vocal range. People understand that with age, your vocal chords can't do what they once could. I think it's better to embrace your age, make the necessary changes and own it, than to try and deny the reality that you can't hit those notes anymore, and go for it anyway and fail miserably. In other words, if I went to a show, would I be more disappointed if the vocalist sounded awesome, even though he altered the melodies here and there - or would I be more disappointed if he tried to sing it as originally recorded, but sounded terrible throughout? That's all I'm getting at. Again, I guess we just have different perspectives on the matter, and that's okay.