When James Taylor stepped on to the stage at Jacksonville’s Veterans Memorial Arena he lifted his cap to the audience admitting his follically challenged hairline, pulled up a stool and readied for an evening filled with familiar tunes that made the grey-hairs wax nostalgic. Oh, to be back in 1974 again.
JT opened with his audition song for Apple Records, Something In The Way She Moves followed by a full band (10 piece) rendition of Country Road. Throughout the two set concert Taylor took the crowd on a musical road trip through Sunny Skies, Up On The Roof, to Mexico and home to Carolina On My Mind.
The melodic voice talents have never faded for James Taylor. He sounds the same as he did years ago and this guitar playing prowess is only overshadowed by his illusionist songwriting.
Taylor quipped “I never heard other people covering my songs. I wonder why? Probably because nobody can do them any better”.
The packed Arena audience certainly got what they came for. Handyman, Sweet Baby James, a kick-ass electric guitar version of Steamroller Blues and Shower The People that brought the crowd to their feet singing along and clapping in time.
Much to the disappointment of many, Bonnie Raitt, who was originally scheduled on the playbill, had to cancel due to illness but James and the entire audience sent Bonnie a FaceTime video get-well message live from the venue.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the video boards. A gigantic center screen flashed back grounds and still photos – James’ pet bulldog pix were a big hit. Two side stage monitors captured the musicians performing. The visual presentation was fantastic, mixing vintage newsreel footage along with early session photos of James…back when.
James Taylor’s All Star Band includes:
LUIS CONTE – PERCUSSION
WALT FOWLER – TRUMPET, FLUGELHORN, KEYBOARDS
STEVE GADD – DRUMS