Opening for Colin James for the cross-Canada tour was Canadian born, New Zealand resident, Tami Neilson. Bringing her chart-topping brand of honky-tonk, this powerhouse vocalist was supported by her brother Jay Neilson (aka Johnny Confidence) on guitar and Joe McCallum on drums. Not unfamiliar with the Canadian touring trials and tributes, both her and Jay were part of their family’s band, “The Neilson Family Band”, who in 1996 had a single ‘Windows to the Past’ reach the Top 20 of the RPM Country Tracks chart. Now a solo artist, Tami has managed to blend her soulfulness vocals with that classic Country sound of which makes her shine. Seeing the trio perform is truly a wonderful experience. There is no huge stage show, no big lights, just clean, perfectly executed arrangements of songs.
After a short intermission, the main act made their way to the stage. Colin James was born in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada and after relocating to Vancouver in 1984 he got his big break touring with Stevie Ray Vaughan around the US in 1985. After that tour and with the encouragement from SRV, he formed his own band and released a 2 song EP recorded and the legendary Little Mountain Sound with producer Bob Rock. In 1988 he released “Colin James” which included hits like, ‘Voodoo Thing’, ‘Five Long Years’ and ‘Why’d You Lie’. Moving through his career, Colin James has made his mark on the music scene performing Blues Rock, Rock/Pop, the Big Band sounds, all the way to just a slide guitar and vocals.
Watching him perform at the beautiful Orpheum Theatre, which is the home of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, was perfect. James flowed through a variety of songs from his back catalogue and the latest effort, “Blue Highways”, his 18th album. Some of the tunes that struck a chord with the audience was the ever-popular cover of Van Morrison’s, ‘Into the Mystic’, which Colin James does an excellent job of singing on. Another was the Don Nix song, ‘Going Down’, made popular by the likes of Freddy King, Jeff Beck, JJ Cale, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Joe Bonamassa, to name a few. Colin James doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon and continues to work hard bringing the blues to the masses each and every show!