Author Topic: WTF was with James in Pittsburgh?  (Read 4390 times)

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Offline zappafrank2112

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WTF was with James in Pittsburgh?
« on: November 09, 2017, 10:30:19 AM »
Was he drunk or sick or something?  He was acting really weird all night, and as much as I loved the show, I have to say he half-assed it about 75 to 80% of the night, trailing off his lines, not even trying to hit higher notes and instead inserting weird melodic substitutions.

He did hit most of the higher notes where it counted (like the "whoah-oh-oh" part in Learning to Live), but man, both my friend and I were really taken aback b/c the last few times we've seen them (Along for the Ride tour and The Astonishing), he was spot on all night.  Last night, though... man, he showed all the signs of the "guy who used to sing high but just can't do it anymore."  Which could be the case, but considering he was spot on just last year?  Makes no sense, unless it's all just the constant touring from the last few years just catching up with him.

That said, I still had an amazing time and James's off-performance didn't detract from the overall experience - I'm a DT lifer since Pull Me Under 1st debuted on Headbangers Ball, plus I finally got to see A Change of Seasons after 12 shows/17 years of actually seeing them live.  So it's definitely a show I'll look back on with fondness.

But man, I've never seen James so out of it before.

Offline Mladen

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Re: WTF was with James in Pittsburgh?
« Reply #1 on: November 09, 2017, 10:36:36 AM »
This tour marked the first time James drastically altered some vocal melodies in order to be able to perform the songs live. Many of the high notes were extremely difficult for him over the first few months of the tour. I think the problem with higher notes dates from last year's The Astonishing tour, though. You might have caught him on a night where he was on, but some of the vocal lines from the album were tough to perform in concert.

I for one appreciate the effort he took to adjust the melodies, since it does require a lot of work. And I think for many people it's more pleasant to hear changed version that were sang well than a singer struggling to nail some inhuman sections.

Offline zappafrank2112

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Re: WTF was with James in Pittsburgh?
« Reply #2 on: November 09, 2017, 10:45:14 AM »
I think it's more that what he put in place of the usual notes ended up sounding very shaky and uncertain, like he wasn't sure where he was going with things.  I totally get singers having to adapt to age (Rush being my favorite band, obvs I'm used to it, lol), but the combination of not getting the notes you're used to with a very "do I or don't I want to do it this way" approach (at least to me) really threw me for a loop.

Like I said, he brought it when he needed to in terms of a particular line making or breaking a song.  It all just stood in contrast to my experience over the last few tours that "whoa, James sounds better than ever!"

Offline El Barto

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Re: WTF was with James in Pittsburgh?
« Reply #3 on: November 09, 2017, 11:38:45 AM »
This tour marked the first time James drastically altered some vocal melodies in order to be able to perform the songs live. Many of the high notes were extremely difficult for him over the first few months of the tour. I think the problem with higher notes dates from last year's The Astonishing tour, though. You might have caught him on a night where he was on, but some of the vocal lines from the album were tough to perform in concert.

I for one appreciate the effort he took to adjust the melodies, since it does require a lot of work. And I think for many people it's more pleasant to hear changed version that were sang well than a singer struggling to nail some inhuman sections.
Man, that ain't no shit. Especially in his case. Though I'm not sure how it requires a lot of work. Given his background and familiarity with the material he could scat his way through it effortlessly if he wanted to. When Dio was having to alter his vocals he sang something different every night.
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Offline SeRoX

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Re: WTF was with James in Pittsburgh?
« Reply #4 on: November 09, 2017, 12:01:46 PM »
Well, title is completely misleading.

There is nothing wrong about him, not a drunk or sick. The problem is, even his age he is forced to perform 3hours in one day in a heavy tour program. Still giving his best, being positive to the fans. And yet this thread is what he gets.

I used "force", yeah the band themselves decided this, JLB know the diffuculites, but still..
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Offline El Barto

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Re: WTF was with James in Pittsburgh?
« Reply #5 on: November 09, 2017, 12:09:45 PM »
Well, title is completely misleading.

There is nothing wrong about him, not a drunk or sick. The problem is, even his age he is forced to perform 3hours in one day in a heavy tour program. Still giving his best, being positive to the fans. And yet this thread is what he gets.

I used "force", yeah the band themselves decided this, JLB know the diffuculites, but still..
And yet this thread is what he gets? What is he, Portnoy now? One person expresses disappointment, then 3 people address his concerns, and this is somehow wrong?
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Offline SeRoX

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Re: WTF was with James in Pittsburgh?
« Reply #6 on: November 09, 2017, 12:34:48 PM »
Yes, for me wrong.

Everyone knows, this tour and original tones of I&W is beyond James' limit. He can't sing those song like before, he can't hit properly high notes because of many reasons. I mean, not just kind of threads. This kind of "disappointments" are worded by people just like that if James is sick or drunk or even trolling the shows under the youtube vidoes. 

James has his own fails, off nights due to his personal problems. Not hitting all those Another Day notes is not his personal problem. In DT section, there is a thread about Mike Mangini called being soulless and people are sick of hearing it. This is just same for me. Sorry if I seem sensetive about it (I'm not, I'm just sick of hearing that).
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Offline mikeyd23

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Re: WTF was with James in Pittsburgh?
« Reply #7 on: November 09, 2017, 12:49:14 PM »
I was at the show, James was fine.  :lol

Offline Mladen

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Re: WTF was with James in Pittsburgh?
« Reply #8 on: November 09, 2017, 12:50:35 PM »
Don't get me wrong, I'm a huge JLB fan and would still enjoy his performance if I attended a show nowadays (I haven't seen them live in two years, though), but like all fans, I still analyse and pay attention to the individual performances. We're allowed to respectfully share our thoughts.

Having said that, James wasn't drunk.  :lol

Offline El Barto

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Re: WTF was with James in Pittsburgh?
« Reply #9 on: November 09, 2017, 01:09:00 PM »
I'm gonna go with hopped up on goofballs.

In any case, the OP said that he understood the issues with JLB singing like it was 1992 again. He thought he half-assed it, and that's something I've seen from better folk than him. Dude might have just had an off night. Mabye his wife beat him up before the show. Maybe the OP was just wrong. Who knows? Dude's entitled to express his opinion and ask for thoughts, though, without it being criticized as an undo attack on St. Labrie.
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Offline zappafrank2112

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Re: WTF was with James in Pittsburgh?
« Reply #10 on: November 09, 2017, 01:11:17 PM »
For people who were there, if your experience and observations differ from mine, that's totally cool - you at least are in a position to comment since you were there,.

For the people taking issue with my thread: unless you were at the show, don't comment on what you didn't experience.

And if you cared to read my responses, I explained that all of this was in relation to what I've experienced over the last few years, where James was spot on, and my experience this time was SUCH a stark contrast that it really perplexed me.  And his between stage banter to my ears was rambling and not entirely controlled at times (if that makes sense), which altogether led me to ask "WTF was up with James?!"

And not all of us read this board on a regular basis, so sorry if you're "sick of hearing about it."  I had an experience that perplexed me, I wanted to get others' opinions on whether they also had similar observations.  If you don't want to discuss it, feel free to jump to the next thread.

Offline mikeyd23

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Re: WTF was with James in Pittsburgh?
« Reply #11 on: November 09, 2017, 01:11:39 PM »
I'm gonna go with hopped up on goofballs.

In any case, the OP said that he understood the issues with JLB singing like it was 1992 again. He thought he half-assed it, and that's something I've seen from better folk than him. Dude might have just had an off night. Mabye his beat him up before the show. Maybe the OP was just wrong. Who knows? Dude's entitled to express his opinion and ask for thoughts, though, without it being criticized as an undo attack on St. Labrie.

No question, everyone's entitled to their own opinions, but having been there last night I can tell you my opinion was that there was nothing wrong with James and he did fine.

I've seen him sing better and I've seen him sing worse. Last night, considering the difficulty of the set (probably the toughest I've seen him sing) he was good.

Offline zappafrank2112

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Re: WTF was with James in Pittsburgh?
« Reply #12 on: November 09, 2017, 01:11:50 PM »
I'm gonna go with hopped up on goofballs.

In any case, the OP said that he understood the issues with JLB singing like it was 1992 again. He thought he half-assed it, and that's something I've seen from better folk than him. Dude might have just had an off night. Mabye his beat him up before the show. Maybe the OP was just wrong. Who knows? Dude's entitled to express his opinion and ask for thoughts, though, without it being criticized as an undo attack on St. Labrie.


Thank you!

Offline zappafrank2112

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Re: WTF was with James in Pittsburgh?
« Reply #13 on: November 09, 2017, 01:12:57 PM »
And yet this thread is what he gets? What is he, Portnoy now? One person expresses disappointment, then 3 people address his concerns, and this is somehow wrong?


And it wasn't even total disappointment, either (and TBH, I'm not sure disappointment even is the right word... really just more of an observation... it's not like I walked away feeling let down), as I tried to make clear!  But people only see what they want, I guess.

Offline zappafrank2112

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Re: WTF was with James in Pittsburgh?
« Reply #14 on: November 09, 2017, 01:15:45 PM »
better folk than him


Uhhh... what?  Me or James?  Zuh?

Offline mikeyd23

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Re: WTF was with James in Pittsburgh?
« Reply #15 on: November 09, 2017, 01:16:37 PM »
And his between stage banter to my ears was rambling and not entirely controlled at times (if that makes sense), which altogether led me to ask "WTF was up with James?!"

I get differing opinions on his singing performance, but this part makes me pause. James has literally done awkward, rambling stage banter since he's been in the band, that's part of his personality. Still trying to figure out why it made you react that way. Every DT show I've seen has had at least one or two awkward James speaking moments, it's definitely not his strength (and he has admitted that).

Offline zappafrank2112

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Re: WTF was with James in Pittsburgh?
« Reply #16 on: November 09, 2017, 01:18:45 PM »
I get differing opinions on his singing performance, but this part makes me pause. James has literally done awkward, rambling stage banter since he's been in the band, that's part of his personality. Still trying to figure out why it made you react that way. Every DT show I've seen has had at least one or two awkward James speaking moments, it's definitely not his strength (and he has admitted that).

I dunno, but for some reason I just really noticed it more this time. Your guess is as good as mine as to why.

Offline El Barto

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Re: WTF was with James in Pittsburgh?
« Reply #17 on: November 09, 2017, 01:23:50 PM »
And his between stage banter to my ears was rambling and not entirely controlled at times (if that makes sense), which altogether led me to ask "WTF was up with James?!"

I get differing opinions on his singing performance, but this part makes me pause. James has literally done awkward, rambling stage banter since he's been in the band, that's part of his personality. Still trying to figure out why it made you react that way. Every DT show I've seen has had at least one or two awkward James speaking moments, it's definitely not his strength (and he has admitted that).
I've honestly never noticed it before. I've heard him do weird shit before. The heroin inspired Caught in a New Milleneum certainly comes to mind. His banter has always seemed alright. Although, his banter down here seems to be little more than "thank you Grand Prairie, good night."  :lol
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Offline SeRoX

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Re: WTF was with James in Pittsburgh?
« Reply #18 on: November 09, 2017, 01:34:27 PM »
Don't get me wrong, I'm a huge JLB fan and would still enjoy his performance if I attended a show nowadays (I haven't seen them live in two years, though), but like all fans, I still analyse and pay attention to the individual performances. We're allowed to respectfully share our thoughts.

Having said that, James wasn't drunk.  :lol

Well, that's the point. The way we put our expriences makes all the dfiference.

But... This is what I worried before the I&W tour began. Even though this is an anniversary tour, I think the band decided to do that tour due to financial reasons and regain the fans after TA's mixed (and mostly unappreciated) feedbacks. Whatever the reasons they are, this tour is heavy burden for James. The band and James surely know this risks. I see him doing fine, doing really bad, doing absolutely fantastic on that tour (by only watching youtube). Having said that, yeah he is not drunk.  :lol
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Offline zappafrank2112

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Re: WTF was with James in Pittsburgh?
« Reply #19 on: November 09, 2017, 01:51:00 PM »
The heroin inspired Caught in a New Milleneum certainly comes to mind.

 ???

Offline mikeyd23

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Re: WTF was with James in Pittsburgh?
« Reply #20 on: November 09, 2017, 01:52:22 PM »
I've honestly never noticed it before. I've heard him do weird shit before. The heroin inspired Caught in a New Milleneum certainly comes to mind. His banter has always seemed alright. Although, his banter down here seems to be little more than "thank you Grand Prairie, good night."  :lol

Eye of the beholder, right? I generally agree that his banter usually seems alright but everyone's opinion of that will be different. My larger point was that last night he had the opportunity as a part of the show to speak a little more than he usually does, so his sometimes awkward banter was a little more out there than usual, but still in line with James' personality.

Offline Podaar

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Re: WTF was with James in Pittsburgh?
« Reply #21 on: November 09, 2017, 02:20:36 PM »
The heroin inspired Caught in a New Milleneum certainly comes to mind.

 ???

 :lol

Oh, look, another person who doesn't get EB's sense of humor.

Offline Podaar

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Re: WTF was with James in Pittsburgh?
« Reply #22 on: November 09, 2017, 02:23:55 PM »
I've honestly never noticed it before. I've heard him do weird shit before. The heroin inspired Caught in a New Milleneum certainly comes to mind. His banter has always seemed alright. Although, his banter down here seems to be little more than "thank you Grand Prairie, good night."  :lol

Eye of the beholder, right? I generally agree that his banter usually seems alright but everyone's opinion of that will be different. My larger point was that last night he had the opportunity as a part of the show to speak a little more than he usually does, so his sometimes awkward banter was a little more out there than usual, but still in line with James' personality.

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Offline mikeyd23

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Re: WTF was with James in Pittsburgh?
« Reply #23 on: November 09, 2017, 02:27:56 PM »
"How the hell do you dance to The Mirror?!"

 :lol

Offline El Barto

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Re: WTF was with James in Pittsburgh?
« Reply #24 on: November 09, 2017, 03:30:49 PM »
The heroin inspired Caught in a New Milleneum certainly comes to mind.

 ???

 :lol

Oh, look, another person who doesn't get EB's sense of humor.
It wasn't a CiaNM that I was thinking of, but just CiaW from the Birch Hill bootleg. Dude sounded like Kurt Cobain on a particularly bad night.
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Offline RaiseTheKnife

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Re: WTF was with James in Pittsburgh?
« Reply #25 on: November 09, 2017, 08:54:54 PM »
In Los Angeles, James announced that they've been on the road nonstop for two years and things could get a little silly at any point in the night. 

I'm sure whatever happened at the Pittsburgh show was a sign of pure exhaustion.

Offline zappafrank2112

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Re: WTF was with James in Pittsburgh?
« Reply #26 on: November 09, 2017, 09:10:07 PM »
In Los Angeles, James announced that they've been on the road nonstop for two years and things could get a little silly at any point in the night. 

I'm sure whatever happened at the Pittsburgh show was a sign of pure exhaustion.

Well, I'm sure others will dispute whether anything "happened," per se, lol.  And I didn't mean to imply an isolated incident, just his demeanor the whole night.

But yeah, as I've mentioned elsewhere, I do recognize the marathon touring they've been doing

Offline Adami

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Re: WTF was with James in Pittsburgh?
« Reply #27 on: November 09, 2017, 09:37:55 PM »
I feel like maybe they should be a bit wiser in how they tour. Seems like at least 2 members of the band aren't too happy about it.
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Offline zappafrank2112

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Re: WTF was with James in Pittsburgh?
« Reply #28 on: November 09, 2017, 09:49:24 PM »
I feel like maybe they should be a bit wiser in how they tour. Seems like at least 2 members of the band aren't too happy about it.

If I had to guess, I'm thinking that the back to back runs for The Astonishing and I&W25 is more a function of wanting to commemorate the latter, which just happens to have fallen right after an album touring cycle. Looking at the itinerary, TA was Feb '16 through Dec '16, and then right in Jan of this year, they picked up for I&W25 which is still going.

Under normal circumstances, I imagine they don't do a straight 2 years of touring.

ETA: Well, it does look like there were stretches of time off both years, in late summer for 2 to 3 months depending, plus a few weeks together here and there.  But still, it's been a marathon all things considered, driven probably by the I&W anniversary.

Offline erwinrafael

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Re: WTF was with James in Pittsburgh?
« Reply #29 on: November 09, 2017, 11:36:22 PM »
Don't get me wrong, I'm a huge JLB fan and would still enjoy his performance if I attended a show nowadays (I haven't seen them live in two years, though), but like all fans, I still analyse and pay attention to the individual performances. We're allowed to respectfully share our thoughts.

Having said that, James wasn't drunk.  :lol

Well, that's the point. The way we put our expriences makes all the dfiference.

But... This is what I worried before the I&W tour began. Even though this is an anniversary tour, I think the band decided to do that tour due to financial reasons and regain the fans after TA's mixed (and mostly unappreciated) feedbacks. Whatever the reasons they are, this tour is heavy burden for James. The band and James surely know this risks. I see him doing fine, doing really bad, doing absolutely fantastic on that tour (by only watching youtube). Having said that, yeah he is not drunk.  :lol

Bosk has said many times that the IAW&B tour is not really about rebounding from the underappreciated TA album and tour. My own reading is that they probably know that this is the last time they could give tribute to the album, given their age. They won't play this set again.

Offline zappafrank2112

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Re: WTF was with James in Pittsburgh?
« Reply #30 on: November 10, 2017, 01:04:44 AM »
My own reading is that they probably know that this is the last time they could give tribute to the album, given their age.

Their age?!

 :laugh: :laugh: :laugh: :laugh: :laugh:

Jordan being older than the others and the effects of aging on James' voice aside, they're no older than 54!

Offline erwinrafael

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Re: WTF was with James in Pittsburgh?
« Reply #31 on: November 10, 2017, 01:13:17 AM »
The next I&W milestone would be the 30th anniv. Do you think they could still play the whole album again five years down the line given the effect of aging on James' voice?

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Offline Mladen

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Re: WTF was with James in Pittsburgh?
« Reply #32 on: November 10, 2017, 01:13:51 AM »
I feel like maybe they should be a bit wiser in how they tour. Seems like at least 2 members of the band aren't too happy about it.
They won't be touring the entire next year, so I think that solves that problem.

Offline Ultimetalhead

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Re: WTF was with James in Pittsburgh?
« Reply #33 on: November 10, 2017, 06:46:06 AM »
I was at the Detroit show last night. Logged in specifically for this.

James was weird last night and not very strong, vocally speaking. He said right away that he was "feeling pretty wacky tonight, so you guys are in for a treat." To be fair, the banter was decently funny, but it seemed like people were saying about the Pittsburgh show, that he was just tailing off lines and not doing much of the high stuff. Granted, when he went for the high notes, they usually came out flat, forcing him to do his crazy wide vibrato thing.

Now, to make this perfectly clear. I'm not hating on James at all for not being as good a singer as he was 25 years ago. The food poisoning accident was horrible and sad, we all know that. And it seems like he was doing miraculously better recently. All 3 times I saw them on the Dramatic Turn tour, he was spot on the whole time. I know the I&W&B tour setlist is incredibly taxing, and you can't expect to hold it up for a year. As far as the tailing off phrases thing, maybe he's just bored. I know lots of us never get tired of hearing those songs, but I bet it gets really obnoxious when you have to play them every night for months at a time and it's a struggle to hit a lot of the notes on top of that.

That said, the instrumental portion of the show was still phenomenal. Mangini seems like he's gelling a lot more with the rest of the guys, doing little improvs here and there. And it still stuns me that all four guys can get through all the unison runs in Metropolis. And obviously seeing ACOS live was a huge cross off my bucket list, so that's nice too. I'd be lying if I said that James' performance didn't take away some of the magic though. I know it's not his fault, but it's still a bummer.
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Offline mikeyd23

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Re: WTF was with James in Pittsburgh?
« Reply #34 on: November 10, 2017, 06:52:52 AM »
I feel like maybe they should be a bit wiser in how they tour. Seems like at least 2 members of the band aren't too happy about it.
They won't be touring the entire next year, so I think that solves that problem.

Exactly. And once again, I'm not trying to dismiss anything thing zappafrank is saying, but I've seen DT 9 times (I think) and (IMO) there was nothing that happened a couple nights ago that was terribly out of character for any of the guys. I'd prefer not to see rumors started based on a guy thinking James was acting weird, but that's just me.

I was at the Detroit show last night. Logged in specifically for this.

James was weird last night and not very strong, vocally speaking. He said right away that he was "feeling pretty wacky tonight, so you guys are in for a treat." To be fair, the banter was decently funny, but it seemed like people were saying about the Pittsburgh show, that he was just tailing off lines and not doing much of the high stuff. Granted, when he went for the high notes, they usually came out flat, forcing him to do his crazy wide vibrato thing.

Now, to make this perfectly clear. I'm not hating on James at all for not being as good a singer as he was 25 years ago. The food poisoning accident was horrible and sad, we all know that. And it seems like he was doing miraculously better recently. All 3 times I saw them on the Dramatic Turn tour, he was spot on the whole time. I know the I&W&B tour setlist is incredibly taxing, and you can't expect to hold it up for a year. As far as the tailing off phrases thing, maybe he's just bored. I know lots of us never get tired of hearing those songs, but I bet it gets really obnoxious when you have to play them every night for months at a time and it's a struggle to hit a lot of the notes on top of that.

Maybe I'm way off base because now multiple people are saying it, he certainly struggled vocally at times but I expected him to based on the difficulty of the set. But, to me, James has always been a little goofy and weird on stage, there are tons of examples I could site, but it certainly increased a bit once MP left and James seemed to feel more comfortable talking in specific spots. A lot of that went away for TA because of the production of the show but it's always been there from where I've sat.

I dunno maybe I'm wrong and James is a terrible drunk now.