THE bonus at Hull Bonus Arena was that James were supporting themselves in an acoustic opening set.

The Bonus Arena, by the way, is not to be confused with the Hull Ice Arena, where the likes of Oasis and Robbie Williams have played. No, the Bonus Arena is the new concert hall, briefly named plain Hull Venue until a sponsor was signed up, and so now Hull has two Hull Arenas.

Well, it was a night for doubles, what with James playing twice, starting “low key and informal before a full on bells and whistles electric set,” as bassist Jim Glennie put it beforehand.

This was the closing night of the Living In Extraordinary Times tour, hot on the heels of their December shows with The Charlatans that blazed a glorious trail at Leeds First Direct Arena.

Moving gingerly as he recuperates from a broken toe that left him sitting in a chair intermittently through Friday’s show, frontman Tim Booth asked for quiet to appreciate “a different kind of magic”. It was, alas, a forlorn wish, but Coming Home, the apt Sit Down and Just Like Fred Astaire all basked in their more delicate attire.

Post-interval, only Ring The Bells was a palpable chart hit among the first 10 numbers, Booth feeling the need to point out “it is called the Living In Extraordinary Times tour”. True, but that meant living through too many ordinary tunes for some on a raucous Hull Friday.

Suddenly there was a hit of a different kind, forcing the band to abandon Picture Of This Place as “horrible violence”, in the words of trumpeter Andy Diagram, broke out.

Once quelled, Booth went crowd surfing in the beautiful valedictory Moving On; Diagram found his way to the balcony for his customary trumpet solo in Sound, and the night ended with a singalong Many Faces, a song calling for unity that resonated all the more after the drunken scrap.

Charles Hutchinson