@anybody.listening: Don't get me wrong, of course (I think) we all appreciate and respect his commitment and skill. But, I sometimes find comments like yours (and others in this thread) a bit bewildering because they seem to venture into "participation medal" territory, where commitment is enough. DT isn't some loud punk band where the sound doesn't matter. So, I kinda feel sorry for the Oslo guys for getting that sort of performance. Again, there's nothing James can do about catching a cold; but the expectations are just also really high on a singer in DT.
Rumbo -- please, my screen name is clunky. Brian or AL is fine.
Your comment about being "participation medal" territory is a fair point to a degree. But at least from my personal standpoint (ask bosk, Scotty, anyone who has followed my posts over the years), I'm as critical of musicians as they come. But there's a huge difference between what James is doing, and what perhaps some other singers do. Some in a similar genre go out there and croak through a set, not giving a rat's ass what they sound like. JLB takes care of himself, takes care of his voice, and at the end of the day, he's spotty live. He knows it, we all know it. So why...pile on a 50-something year old guy singing one of the most difficult records to sing in the genre, that he recorded 30 years ago?
I don't know JLB, never met him before. But I guarantee you he, more than anyone, is his biggest critic. I'm all for fans like us wanting our favorite bands to play (and sing) well. We pay a lot of money to see bands and buy stuff. There's a high expectation. JLB more than anyone knows that, and he has, arguably, one of the most difficult jobs in the world performing what he performs.
I'm not in favor of participation medals, like you were saying. But I also like to be a realist -- he's not just showing up and cashing the check. He's busting his ass. And I think, given how easy the rest of DT makes it LOOK, people forget just how difficult to sing this record, sing most of DT's 90s material -- is.
Take a guy like Nathan James of TSO and Inglorious. The guy is other-worldly. A pure tenor, sounds amazing. His band opened for the Winery Dogs in the UK. Nathan would likely, night after night, find I&W a huge workout, and probably struggle here and there on some things. Nathan is 28, roughly the same age as JLB was when he recorded I&W. He's one of a handful of guys that can probably pull it off, and it still wouldn't be perfect. And for my money, Nathan James is the best singer out there right now. Dude can sing anything.
The point is, I think people instinctively know the difficulty level of what JLB is doing, but sometimes look past it, given the ease the rest of the band make the musical part of I&W look. (points to the whole virtuoso comment being an Achilles heel.) James is 53, and is working his ass off. Critiquing is important. But I'd just encourage people to remember just HOW DIFFICULT I&W is to sing, and then realize that James recorded that in his prime, and it is 25 years (and a lifetime of singing) later. It's incredibly hard. Unlike the rest of the band, who play mechanical instruments, James' is what it is.
And I realize everyone knows this -- not meaning at all to be condescending. Just pretty supportive of James in this regard. And people will tell you from the past, I've always been a big critic of James' singing overall.