This last week my wife and I went to see James Taylor in concert, a show that was part of his “One Man Band” tour. The concert tickets were part of my birthday gift to her earlier this summer. It seemed that August 20th would never get here – but it did, I’m happy to say.
“One Man Band” is a bit of a misnomer, since James Taylor appears with keyboardist Larry Goldings, with the help of “Bigfoot” (link to YouTube video), and with his band and members of the Tanglewood Festival Chorus by pre-recorded video. Interweaving stories of his early career, family, and a few oblique references to his struggles with substance abuse along with photos and film clips, he was able to create a really informal, almost intimate feel. Granted, the Cumberland County Civic Center is not the largest of venues but, still, for a couple of hours it was just us and James Taylor and six thousand of our closest friends. Old favorites, some of his newer work, stories, photos, and all delivered with a low-key approachable style, signing autographs, shaking hands, and Taylor’s interacting with the audience all made for a memorable experience.
I wouldn’t consider myself a huge JT fan, but I can honestly say I have always enjoyed his music. He is also the only big-name entertainer I have seen perform in person more than once. Twenty-four years ago, as it turned out, my then-future wife (whom I had not met yet at the time) and I attended another James Taylor concert at the civic center, and probably even sat within a few rows of each other. What a coincidence.