There’s a scene in the film adaptation of Jesus Christ Superstar where our eponymous hero offers himself to the crowd. They pull him to shreds. 

At the first homecoming gig at Manchester Arena, this pretty much happened to Tim Booth. He bore scratches on his neck and back thanks to a drunken crowd’s desire to touch a Messiah. The following night, Booth asked the gathering sound to respect a 50-year-old whiplashed body and it only took him until the third song in the set to venture back into the pit. He escaped unscathed. As I crouched, snapping away, his sleeve brushed past me. But it was just a piece of cloth.

Northern Soul‘s Head Photographer Chris Payne shares images of James at Manchester Arena.

By Chris Payne