CAJT-Collectif des Amis de James Taylor
CAJT-Collectif des Amis de James Taylor

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La tournée de JT dans le PACIFIQUE a démarré samedi 4 février au Vector Arena d'Auckland, en Nouvelle-Zélande. La tournée se poursuivra en Australie, à Singapour et à Hong Kong.

L'extraordinaire groupe de James est constitué de:

Kate Markowitz, Vocals
Arnold McCuller, Vocals
Andrea Zonn, Vocals/Fiddle
Jim Cox, Piano
Lou Marini, Horns
Walt Fowler, Keyboards/Horns
Michael Landau, Guitars
Jimmy Johnson, MD/Bass
Luis Conte, Percussion
Chad Wackerman, Drums
Steve Gadd, Drums (from Feb. 14)


February 4 2017 - Vector ArenaAuckland - New Zealand

February 5 2017 - Church Road Winery - Napier, New Zealand

Feb 08 2017 -  Rod Laver Arena -Melbourne, Australia

Feb 09 2017 - Botanic Park - Adelaide, Australia

Feb 11 2017 - Sirromet Winery - Mt. Cotton, Australia

Feb 12 2017 - Hope Estate - Hunter Valley, Australia

Feb 14 2017 - ICC Sydney Theatre - Sydney, Australia

Feb 15 2017 - Royal Theatre - Canberra, Australia

Feb 18 2017 - Leeuwin Estate Winery - Margaret River, Australia

Feb 21 2017 - Star Theatre - Singapore, Singapore

Feb 23 2017 - Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre - Hall 5BC (Expo Drive Entrance) - Hong Kong, Hong Kong

Dernière édition par Admin le Sam 11 Fév 2017, 12:18 pm, édité 1 fois

Some things never change and some things we don't ever want to change. Thankfully, James Taylor hasn't.
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James Taylor remains a musical marvel

Michael Burgess -  NZ Herald - Sunday Feb 5, 2017

           Taylor, who continues his New Zealand tour in Napier on Sunday night, wowed a capacity crowd at Vector Arena on Saturday.

Indeed, a shout from the audience summed it up best midway through his impressive show, which stretched for more than two hours.

"You've still got it James", yelled an excited fan from the back of the arena, as Taylor completed a beautiful version of Don't Let Me Be Lonely Tonight.

That's the point with Taylor. While some legendary musicians struggle to replicate their deeds of decades past, Taylor's famous voice remains as pure as ever.

Indeed, if you closed your eyes last night you could imagine you were back in 1968, when Taylor was first signed to Apple records, and sharing a studio with the likes of George Harrison and Paul McCartney.

A lot has happened since then - including countless hits and more than 100 million albums sold - but Taylor remains as versatile and talented as ever.

Saturday night was the first gig of his 2017 tour, and Taylor was in fine form.

Taylor enjoys telling stories about particular songs and demonstrated a keen sense of humour.

"We are going to play some new tunes," said Taylor. "Not that many and we'll get it over quick - but they sound just like the old ones."

The new songs - from 2015's Before This World - his first album of new material in 13 years, were well received, particularly an emotional rendition of You and I, to close the concert.

But it was the old classics that the crowd had come to see, and Taylor didn't disappoint. There was a rock twist added to Country Road, a high energy version of Mexico and the punters jumped to their feet for How Sweet it is.

Fire and Rain got one of the biggest ovations, while You've Got a Friend had everyone singing along.

Taylor seemed to be enjoying himself immensely. The 68-year-old appeared at the front of the stage during the intermission, taking photos and signing autographs for delighted fans.

He also had great rapport with his all-star band, more than happy to share the limelight with the large ensemble of talented musicians around him.

The current tour is Taylor's first appearance in New Zealand in seven years, but based on Saturday night, his next visit can't come soon enough

If you want to see James Taylor's next New Zealand show, he will be playing at Church Road Winery in Napier this evening.

Rachel Adkins, in-ear mixer.

Dernière édition par Admin le Mar 07 Fév 2017, 10:59 am, édité 1 fois

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MEDLEY de 19 minutes






Dernière édition par Admin le Jeu 09 Fév 2017, 11:03 pm, édité 2 fois

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Endearing James Taylor a crowd pleaser

By Astrid Austin Monday Feb 6, 2017

POLISHED PERFORMER: James Taylor got up close personal with the crowd at Church Rd Winery on Sunday. Photo Warren Buckland

James Taylor
Church Road Winery, Taradale
Reviewed by Astrid Austin

The tip of a hat and a bow was all that was needed to begin a whirlwind 2-hours of music spanning close to 50 years.

Without one word spoken, James Taylor broke into a rendition of his 1975 classic, Wandering, amidst the large crowd at Church Road Winery.

Fans were treated to a selection of hits including Sweet Baby James, and Carol King's You've got a friend in me as well as few new ones.

Today, Today, Today and Montana, from 2015's Before This World were introduced almost apologetically, with the reassurance that they "sound just like the old ones" and that it was like "ripping off a band aid" - it just had to be done.

The crowd didn't mind, as it is his first album of new material in 13 years.

Having played at Vector Arena the night before, the blues and folk legend was in town as part of his 2017 tour, his first appearance in 7 years.

Taylor was accompanied by his 11-piece All Star Band, which he took time to introduce individually throughout the show, at times giving them a friendly hug.

His trio of backing singers were Andrea Zonn, Kate Markowitz and Arnold McCuller, while his horn section included the likes of saxophonist Lou Marini of Blues Brothers fame and trumpeter Walt Fowler.

Jim Cox (piano), Michael Landau (electric guitars), Chad Wackerman (drums), Jimmy Johnson (electric bass and band leader), Luis Conte (percussion) and Larry Goldings (keyboards) rounded out the line-up.

Carolina In My Mind, dates back to when he was first signed to Apple records and it was introduced with a recollection of finding himself in London, surrounded by a "heavenly host of his idols" Paul McCartney and George Harrison, and realising he was at a life-changing moment, but suffering from a desperate homesickness.

It was one of the poignant moments of the night - he openly noted that "it was like somebody had opened a door and the rest of my life was on the other side of it," to which the crowd erupted in applause.

And undoubtedly a lot has happened since - including countless hits and more than 100 million albums sold throughout his career - there is no question that Taylor is one of the greatest musicians of all time.​

As the night rolled on, he showed himself to be a rocker of sorts, jumping, grooving and even jamming his guitar with his fellow guitarists.

At 67, he showed that he still has got a lot left in him.

He paid homage to his home state of North Carolina with Down on Copper Line, which was a physical description of the landscape he grew up in.

(I've Got To) Stop Thinkin Bout That got everyone to their feet, with an understated funk to the soul/rock song.

Another crowd favourite was Shed A Little Light which displayed the power of his voice, opening in rich acappella harmony with the lines "Let us turn our thoughts today to Martin Luther King".

Watching him on stage, it felt like he was only performing to you and his endearing personality and humbleness drew you closer.

Opening act Tami Neilson was the right fit, bringing her soulful voice straight from the golden gates of country and rockabilly music. Her three-piece band comprising of Neil Watson on guitar, Wayne Bell on drums and Mike Hall on bass were reminiscent of Men in Black, with their black suits and sunnies - something she attributed to having two boys.

As the night came to a close, Taylor invited people close to the stage, to the dismay of the security.

With the final bow, a hand of a fan shot up with a copy of his 2002 October Road album. With the quiet words of "I'll be back", he disappeared - albeit momentarily before perching himself on the side of stage and immersing himself amongst his eager fans, signing memorabilia, taking selfies and engaging in a quick conversation.

It is exactly this that sets Taylor from other musicians, he does what he does not only for himself but for the enjoyment of the many who admire him.

- Hawkes Bay Today


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by Paul Cashmere for News on February 9, 2017

The keyword for a James Taylor concert is ‘perfection’. James Taylor’s albums are often music masterpieces but it is the live concert experience that makes the songs larger than life.

James Taylor has been doing what he does for a long time. His first album was released in 1968, not in the USA but in the UK. At his show Taylor told the story about how no-one in the American record industry wanted him so he packed up his bags and moved to London. There he met producer Peter Asher who set up an audition at Apple with Paul McCartney and George Harrison, the A&R scouts. Taylor auditioned for Apple before McCartney and Harrison and was given his first contract. That album gave the world ‘Carolina In My Mind’.

James Taylor performs with his All Star Band in Melbourne at Rod Laver Arena on Wednesday 8 February 2017. Photo Ros OGorman

Every Taylor song is a story. 1991’s ‘Copperline’ is also about his home state of North Carolina.

Of course not every James Taylor song is his own. He paid tribute to his friend Carole King with two songs back to back (“well, every song is back to back, that’s the only way they can be played”, he joked). He recorded Carole’s 60s classic ‘Up On The Roof’ for his 1979 album ‘Flag’ and then played their all-time classic ‘You’ve Got A Friend’.

James said he first heard the song when he and Carole were playing some shows at LA’s The Troubadour in the early 70s. Carole had just written the song days earlier and played it for James who learnt it straight away so he could play it that night at the club. “At the time I didn’t realise that I would be playing it every night for the rest of my life,” he said.

Taylor sings about Australia in ‘Yellow and Rose”, a song he wrote in Sydney in the mid 90s. “Oh boy, Botany Bay, watching the water go by / Here’s your home so far away, here is a tear in your eye” and ‘Down under got the south side, this groovy crazy planet / Watching from the outside, its as smooth as a gravy sandwich”. The song opened up his second set but during interval he never left the stage, instead choosing to come to the front of the stage to talk with fans and sign autographs. “You’re a top bloke James,” a fan yelled from the audience.

James Taylor performs with his All Star Band in Melbourne at Rod Laver Arena on Wednesday 8 February 2017. photo Ros OGormanJames entertained the crowd, even with the new songs. “I know you didn’t come here to hear new music but they sound just like the old music,” he said. “I’ll get it over quick. Like ripping off a band-aid”. He then played ‘Today Today Today’, the lead song off his first album of original material in 13 years ‘Before This World’.

‘Before This World’ was a wonderful album full of songs that, like he says, “that sound just like the old music”. Unfortunately Taylor’s record label in Australia did a terrible job promoting the record, not even making media aware it existed. It was Taylor’s first number one record in America. It stiffed in Australia because no-one knew it was out. This tour may send fans out to discover it.

The new songs ‘Today Today Today’ and the beautiful ‘You And I Again’ slot in perfectly with the old songs and brought an up to date relevance to this legendary icon.

James Taylor performs with his All Star Band in Melbourne at Rod Laver Arena on Wednesday 8 February 2017. Ros OGorman

The performance is billed as James Taylor and his All-Star Band. Everybody in this band is somebody even if you don’t know their names. Michael Landau has played on albums by Michael Jackson, Joni Mitchell and Glenn Frey, backing singers Arnold McCuller and Kate Markowitz both have solo recording deals and then there is the amazing Lou Marini on sax, Blue Lou from the original Saturday Night Live band and The Blues Brothers.

James Taylor setlist 8 February, 2017, Melbourne

Wandering (from Gorilla, 1975)
Secret O’ Life (from JT, 1977)
Everyday (from That’s Why I’m Here, 1985)
Walking Man (from Walking Man, 1974)
Today Today Today (from Before This World, 2015)
Copperline (from New Moon Shine, 1991)
Carolina On My Mind (from James Taylor, 1968)
Country Road (from Sweet Baby James, 1970)
(I’ve Got To) Stop Thin’ Bout That (from New Moon Shine, 1991)
Shed A Little Light (from New Moon Shine, 1991)

Yellow and Rose (from Hourglass, 1997)
Up On The Roof (from Flag, 1979)
You’ve Got A Friend (from Mud Slim Slime and the Blue Horizon, 1971)
Don’t Let Me Be Lonely Tonight (from One Man Dog, 1972)
Sweet Baby James (from Sweet Baby James, 1970)
Streamroller (from Sweet Baby James, 1970)
Mexico (from Gorilla, 1975)
Fire and Rain (from Sweet Baby James, 1970)
Your Smiling Face (from JT, 1977)

Knock On Wood (Eddie Floyd cover)
How Sweet It Is (from Gorilla, 1975)
You And I Again (from Before This World, 2015)

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James Taylor review: Botanic Park, Adelaide
Bruce Mitchell, The Advertiser
February 10, 2017

ATTENDING a James Taylor concert is like having an old mate round for an evening, and he brings his guitar along, and he plays some of your favourite songs.

No fuss, nothing clever; he knows his stuff and he knows how to deliver it.

That’s a James Taylor concert in a nutshell.

Gentle, unaffected, relaxed. He walked on stage at Botanic Park last night unannounced, quietly acknowledged the audience, then started playing and singing as the band members slowly joined him.

One minute he was on his own. Then he wasn’t.

He was in no hurry to rush through the concert, nor was there any desire to show off.

He started with Wandering, then a version of Buddy Holly’s Everyday which began almost with a jazz feeling then slid into a down-tempo rock and roll finish.

The audience didn’t want or need razzamatazz.

It was hot. Very hot, causing Taylor to be given a freshly-tuned guitar at the start of every song.

There was no histrionics, just a man nearing 70 in chinos, denim shirt and a cloth cap taking his fans through his largely well-known repertoire.

Taylor delivered the classics — Fire and Rain, Sweet Baby James, Country Road, Copperline and so on — and some new material which even he admitted sounded rather comfortingly like his old material.

“We’re gonna play some new songs, and get them out of the way fast,” he said. It would, he said, be a bit like ripping off a bandaid.

There was a little story telling; how he got his break with Apple Records in the 1960s which led into the playing of Carolina in My Mind, and his association with Carol King, of course, which led to You’ve Got A Friend and Up on the Roof.

While most songs started with just Taylor and guitar, it wasn’t long before the band kicked in and, at times, gave some of his otherwise gentle songs a slightly harder edge.

But while Taylor had an apparent laid-back approach to the concert, the band was a tight, slick outfit.

In particular, he highlighted the appearance of former Blues Brother “Blue” Lou Marini on sax, and showcased the voice of back-up singers Arnold McCuller and Andrea Zonn who also doubled on violin.

Oh, and Chad Wackerman on drums, a name he couldn’t stop chuckling about.

It wasn’t until near the end that he got his largely middle-aged audience up and dancing with Mexico, Knock on Wood (yes, the disco classic) and a reprise of How Sweet It Is To Be Loved by You.

Taylor is a story teller, but not one who wears his heart on his sleeve; he doesn’t use his concerts to push causes or campaign.

Nor is he political.

But his closing song was both poignant, and pointed.

No one in the audience missed the message in Shed A Little Light — his tribute to Martin Luther King.

And no one minded.

Well played, Mr Taylor. Well played.

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James Taylor proved he's still got plenty left in the tank

By Jim Kellar - Newcastle Herald 13 February 2017

Perhaps realising he had truly been blessed with a beautiful summer night free of rain, fires or the intense heat that hovered over the Hunter Valley all weekend, James Taylor stuck to playing his hits and barely provided a taste of his new material at Hope Estate on Sunday night.

Of course, the setlist hasn’t varied much on his current tour of Australia, with Today Today Today the only song offered from his 2015 album, Before This World.

No matter, an appreciative crowd loved every minute, from the opening notes of Wandering, to the closing hymn, Shed A Little Light.

Taylor’s voice is in spectacular form for a performer so far down the track (age 68), but he was certainly spoiled with three supporting vocalists and his highly-touted band of veteran musicians. The wall of sound washed through nearly every song, holding back when a softer mood was needed, as in Sweet Baby James, and then delivering big-time, as in Steamroller Blues.

Yet, I must say, there were times when I wish there was no band at all, just Taylor. His songs are simple, yet powerful, and I was yearning for some space to absorb them, enjoy them floating around my brain. But that wasn’t the case, as the wall of sound poured in frequently, with luscious tones and delicate breaks.

Taylor was extremely relaxed and talkative, almost like a daggy dad at times. But he seemed genuine. The crowd was the same: showing genuine admiration and affection for Taylor, like an old friend they grew up with, which of course, is exactly the case.

Unprompted, the audience chimed in on You’ve Got a Friend (written by Carole King) and Smiling Face like a chorus that was meant to be there.

The two-hour show was simple – no big screen video monitors, no fireworks. But for music fans, there was plenty of James Taylor.

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Lucy Cormack for the Sydney Morning Herald

James Taylor International Convention Centre, February 2


Is there a greater gentleman than James Taylor? If you find him, let me know – but I won't hold my breath.

With hat in hand, and a bow so low his brow almost kissed the stage floor, the 68-year-old troubadour oozed warmth as he greeted a packed International Convention Centre on Tuesday.

Promising mostly the old stuff and just a little of the new (which he swore would "sound like the old stuff anyway"), the veteran performer delivered the best of his ballads, bookmarked by the storytelling and wit for which he is so loved.

It's hard to say what showed off his goodwill most: was it his promise to get through the songs from his new album Before This World "nice and quick" to make way for the favourites? Or his determination that he couldn't take credit for his own songs. "I don't write them, I'm just the first person to hear them."

Then again, perhaps it was the 20-minute interval that he spent on his knees at the front of the stage signing autographs and posing for selfies.

Opening with a mellow Secret O' Life, it was clear Taylor was ready to settle into a laid-back but intimate performance.

His signature earthy voice soared across old favourites such as Fire and Rain, Country Road and Shower the People, supported by the skilled musicianship of his All-Star (10-man) Band, replete with brass, bass, percussion and backing vocals.

Impressive solos from the band were best heard in the blues parody Steamroller, which showcased everything from the sounds of former Blues Brother "Blue" Lou Marini on saxophone, to the lightning fingers of Michael Landau on guitar.

But while the band could dish out the sparks and sound, they also knew when to back off, a fitting transition for the Carole King favourite You've Got a Friend.

When he first heard King play the song about 40 years ago, Taylor said he loved it instantly, but he had no idea he would be singing it "every performance, forever".

Looking around at this moment, it was no doubt a poignant one for Taylor's 7000 adoring fans, who had either loved the song in their youth, or perhaps (like me) had cherished it as a tyke among the family records.


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James Taylor Feb 15 Royal Theatre Canberra

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James Taylor - Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne, Wednesday February 8 Live Review

Authored 15 Feb by Mark Molone fot MIXDOWN MAG

When I told friends in the weeks before the gig I was going to see J.T., I was met with eager excitement from people that I hadn’t expected to be fans. After some back and forth conversation it became evident to them that the J.T. I spoke of was not the one they admired for bringing sexy back, but rather the one I have admired since I was young for creating effortlessly enjoyable music for people of all ages.

Taylor is a man that is incredibly difficult to fault. At the ripe old age of 68, he is still able to captivate and incorporate an entire stadium crowd throughout a 3-hour set. From the moment he walked on stage, the crowd was transfixed, he oozed charm and a boyish wit that had the entire stadium in fits of laughter during the performance.

He played with an all-star band comprising of a multitude of established musicians, all successful in their own right. However the real star of the show was Mr Taylor himself, as an unadulterated virtuoso of the guitar and with a voice that hasn’t aged since the 60s, Taylor unquestionably stacks up as one of the most preserved talents amongst all his contemporaries.

Taylor was quick to assure the crowd that he would not be drowning them in his new material. Instead he opted to go heavy on the classics that brought him into the stardom he has attained over his half century long career. Taylor belted out an epic rendition of ‘Country Road’ early in the performance, which received the first of many, many standing ovations throughout the night.

The way the songs were structured for a live audience was obviously something that has been crafted over the decades, and there were several examples of this throughout the night. The musical crescendo in songs like ‘Up On The Roof’, ‘Shower The People’ and ‘Copperline’ gave the audience ample time to soak in Taylor’s brilliance before being able to turn their attention to the very talented ‘All-Stars’ that formed his band.

His appreciation for all aspects of the performance was undoubtedly genuine and displayed time and time again as the show went on. This was made blaringly obvious during the 25 minute interval. While most patrons were rushing to join titanic bathroom lines or bar crowds, Taylor was graciously sitting on the edge of the stage, greeting the die-hard fans who had formed a cluster at his feet. I couldn’t resist. I got out of my seat and made my way down to the stage to become another sardine in the ocean of overwhelming emotion.

After watching fans pour their hearts out for 15 minutes to a man that has been such a significant impact on their lives, it was finally my turn. I called his name and he gazed over to me, with my hand outstretched I told him, ‘you have and always will be my ultimate hero. I love you,’ to which he smiled warmly, before turning our formal handshake upwards into a modern day palm-clench.

Taylor’s electric guitar made its only appearance for a commanding performance of ‘Steamroller’, as did a very heavy southern-drawl on his vocals, stuttering and scatting his way through the verses to the rousing applause of the audience.

Another thing to love about this man is his reluctance to play into any sort of clichéd live performance moments without acknowledging the crowd’s awareness. Just before the second encore commenced he quipped ‘I hope that looked spontaneous’ in regards to the band’s obvious intention to return to the stage.

Even though it was always going to happen, there was still a nervous minute long wait before the band took their places once more to deliver an inspiringly beautiful version of ‘You’ve Got A Friend’, which stood out as a hair-raising clincher in a fantastic arrangement of songs.

Taylor provided three hours of classic songs blended with new gems, giving the entire audience a means of escape and enjoyment. He performed with a style and humility that leaves me hoping it won’t be another seven years before he returns.

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James Taylor - Leeuwin Estate, Margaret River - 18 février 2017

Review: ROSS McRAE

4.5 stars

James Taylor unassumingly walked on to the picturesque Leeuwin Estate stage solo, took off his familiar cap and waved to the unsuspecting audience.

“Thanks for bringing us back here to this wonderful place,” he reflected on his second time playing Leeuwin; his first in 2003.

The 68-year-old folk, rock and pop singer-songwriter, 68, then led the crowd through a 21/4-hour masterclass spanning much of the cream of his back catalogue.

“It’s all about the band. It’s the first time I’ve been able to bring the full ensemble Down Under,” he said after belting through a cover of Buddy Holly’s Everyday, a hit for Taylor in 1985.

It wasn’t all about the classics, with Taylor scattering a couple of tracks from his long-overdue 16th album, 2015’s Before This World.

“I know what you are thinking; we didn’t come here to listen to some goddamn new music ... The new songs sound like the old songs so it’ll be real painless,” Taylor joked. And he was right as he went into Today Today Today that was just as timeless as anything else he had written in the 1960s or 70s.

Not only in fine voice, Taylor is a consummate storyteller which drew the audience in and created a deeper connection to the songs.

No matter how many times he might have told the stories, he made it seem like the first time, such as talking about his breakthrough smash, Carolina in My Mind, which celebrates its 50th birthday next year, where he spoke about getting signed by the Beatles’ Apple Records and recording it in London where they were making The White Album.

Taylor has a wry sense of humour, which came through most prominently when introducing Country Road from his seminal 1970 album Sweet Baby James.

   “A totally unforgettable night, we will never forget you, you are the best.”
   James Taylor

“(It’s about) a theme I keep coming back to, a hippie anthem, nature as church, a spiritual connection to the planet through nature, hippie bulls..., can’t get enough of that country hippie thing.” While he didn’t want to talk politics — “It’s humiliating. I hope your government is good, we broke ours” — he ended the first act with Shed a Little Light, his gospel-esque tribute to Martin Luther King Jr.

After a 20-minute intermission, Taylor returned and paid homage to one of his good friends and often collaborator Carole King, in what was the double-header highlight of the evening with Up on the Roof and You’ve Got a Friend.

“As soon as I heard it I ran to get my guitar as I had to try to it, not realising I would be playing it for every gig of my life, no exception,” he said of being there the first night King ever performed You’ve Got a Friend live at the Troubadour in Los Angeles.

After some classic renditions of Shower the People and Fire and Rain, Mexico got the party going with punters from the general admission running to the front of the stage, with even the corporates in black-tie rushing to join the throng worshipping at Taylor’s stage.

Energy levels stayed high for the finale, a surprisingly upbeat cover of Knock on Wood and, of course, his beloved 1975 version of Marvin Gaye’s How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved by You) before finishing with an impromptu encore, thanks to the desperate pleas of the crowd.

“A totally unforgettable night, we will never forget you, you are the best,” Taylor said sincerely before ending on a “new love song” You and I Again from Before This World.


Set 1:


(Buddy Holly cover)

Walking Man

Today Today Today

Country Road

Don't Let Me Be Lonely Tonight


Carolina in My Mind

(I've Got to) Stop Thinkin' 'bout That

Sweet Baby James

Shed a Little Light

Set 2:

Yellow and Rose

Up on the Roof
(Carole King cover)

You've Got a Friend
(Carole King cover)

Shower the People

Fire and Rain



Your Smiling Face


Knock on Wood
(Eddie Floyd cover)

How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved by You)
(Marvin Gaye cover)

You and I Again

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JT & Band Live in Singapore Feb 21 2017 - Star Theatre




Dernière édition par Admin le Ven 24 Fév 2017, 4:50 pm, édité 1 fois

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James Taylor and Arnold McCuller... finishing up the HK show in fine form (photo Dustin Han)

Review: James Taylor brings the magic on Hong Kong performance with all-star band

This concert came at the end of a regional tour which seemed to have taken its toll on Taylor’s wistful baritone, but he delighted a crowd of aficionados who had come to hear his beloved back catalogue

Robin Lynam - Friday, 24 February, 2017

Introducing one of only two songs he chose to perform from his latest album, Before This World, James Taylor mock apologised, saying they would be over quickly and “sound the same as the old ones anyway”.

There was some truth in that, but in a good way. In the first place, none of Taylor’s songs ramble on much, which is why he was able to pack almost all of his most popular original compositions and cover tunes into two well-paced sets at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre on Thursday night
In the second, he found a signature style based on his attractively wistful baritone and intricately finger-picked acoustic guitar playing as long ago 1970’s Sweet Baby James.

He has stuck with that, but over time has developed more sophisticated arrangements for the old tunes, involving a large band, which, in another wry stage announcement, he said was the real point of the show.

The band does, indeed, have an extraordinarily high level of musical firepower for essentially simple albeit well crafted songs.

He announced several members, without hyperbole, as “musical legends”, among them drummer Steve Gadd, Latin percussionist Luis Conte and saxophonist Lou Marini. Bassist Jimmy Johnson, electric guitarist Michael Landau, trumpet player Walt Fowler and keyboardist Jim Cox are all elite American session players.

Almost everything could have been played almost as well by musicians less than half as good, but Taylor likes to tour with old friends, and the happy rapport within the band, as well as the technique and talent to spare, meant that every performance sparkled. Nobody gave the impression of having to work that hard, but at the same time nobody was coasting.

This was the last night of a Pacific rim tour taking in New Zealand, Australia and Singapore, and it had taken its toll on Taylor’s voice, although this was generally only apparent in the quieter passages, and not until towards the end of the first set.

Helping to carry the load during the many songs requiring four-part harmony were backing vocalists Arnold McCuller, Kate Markowitz and Andrea Zonn, with Zonn also contributing some deft fiddle parts.

He could have made more of a point of playing songs from Before This World, which is his first number one album on the Billboard 200, but acknowledged that everybody was there to hear the old stuff.

You’ve Got A Friend – written by Carole King but belonging now just as much to Taylor – and his own Fire and Rain are familiar even to those who know none of his other music, but this was a crowd of aficionados and everything was cheered.

Particularly fine performances were delivered of Today Today Today and Montana – the two new tunes – and Copperline from 1991’s New Moon Shine alongside the greatest hits.

Mexico, with a new mariachi brass arrangement and a percussion solo for Conte, had the crowd on their feet, and they stayed there until Taylor sent them home with his well loved lullaby Close Your Eyes.

It was a good night, and the band seemed to enjoy it as much as the audience.

James Taylor & His All-Star Band in Concert, Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre. Reviewed: February 23





Some things never change and some things we don't ever want to change. Thankfully, James Taylor hasn't.
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That’s all, folks!
(Photo: Aloysius Lim)

Some things never change and some things we don't ever want to change. Thankfully, James Taylor hasn't.
Voir le profil de l'utilisateur

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