Arriving with little fuss after that technical delay, the Manchester men swiftly found their feet and friends with rousing anthem Sometimes.
The catalogue classic was the first of a handful of James gems to justify their overdue return to the UAE, with the often uplifting Fred Astaire landing between doses of lesser known recent additions.
That included a touching and surprisingly positive song inspired by the “beautiful death” of the singer’s mother, and another tune about dumping someone via text or social media.
Elsewhere in the set, Booth – with his beard and hairless pate these days resembling Breaking Bad’s Walter White rather than a one-time smart indie kid – found plenty to flail around to in his inimitable dance style.
The irresistible Come Home and Laid were served as revivers in a set littered with newbies such as Attention and really livened up when Booth sang the whole of indie club staple Sit Down in the audience.
Like James, the latter arrived with substantial musical manpower, on stage immediately delivering a full sound to a sizeable arena.
Chirpy Steve Lukather’s warm vocals and exact guitar playing confirmed a solid fan presence in a generous opening night crowd.
A lot rockier than their ever-present radio hits Rosanna and Africa, the sometimes over-looked early hit Hold The Line was arguably a highlight, given a meaty edge by Lukather’s playing and big stage depth by a male and female backing singer.
So there was much appreciation for the likes of I’ll Be Over You played with slick, crowd-pleasing aplomb before the inevitable closer and encore Africa.
So, that was day one…
Although a whole wave of newer names have arrived since then, Gray has amassed a formidable back catalogue and millions of sales and fans with the singles Sail Away, Back In The World, Beautiful Agony, My Oh My and more. Mutineers is his 10th and most recent album.
Friday closes the 2016 festival with 17-strong percussion outfit La Bomba De Tiempo opening in lively fashion ahead of returning guitar icon Santana.
A stop on his Luminosity World Tour, Carlos Santana's 2014 UAE visit was a sell-out, so expect a busy night.
FOR more on the acts, the timings and ticket prices and availability, visit www.dubaijazzfest.com