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

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JT & BONNIE RAITT ANNONCENT UNE TOURNÉE COMMUNE POUR L’ÉTÉ

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Que les fans de James Taylor se réjouissent - le singer-songwriter vient d' annoncer une nouvelle tournée d'été pour 2018.

Dans une suite de performances de cross-country de l' été, Taylor sera accompagné par une amie de longue date collègue Bonnie Raitt . Ce sera une continuation pour Raitt, qui a effectué plus de 75 concerts dans le monde entier tout au long de 2016, pour soutenir son excellent album Dig In Deep.

La tournée, qui semble se concentrer sur des dates sur la côte Est des États-Unis, débutera en Floride en mai et comprend deux dates consécutives à l'Hollywood Bowl de Los Angeles.

Pour voir Taylor et Raitt, consultez les dates ci-dessous. Les billets sont en vente à 19 Janvier à 10 heures , heure locale , sur le site officiel de Taylor www.jamestaylor.com

8 mai - Jacksonville, FL @ Veterans Memorial Arena
9 mai - Orlando, FL @ Amway Center
11 mai - Sunrise, FL @ BB & T Center
12 mai - Tampa, FL @ Amalie Arena
15 mai - North Charleston Coliseum
16 mai - Spectrum Center - Charlotte
18 mai - Greensboro Coliseum
19 mai - Bon Secours Wellness Arena - Greenville, SC
21 mai - St. Louis, MO @ Scottrade Center
22 mai - Kansas City, MO @ Sprint Center
24 mai - InTrust Bank Arena - Wichita, KS
25 mai - Chesapeake Energy Arena - Oklahoma City, OK
27 mai - Denver, CO @ Green Amphitheatre Fiddler
29 mai - Phoenix, AZ @ Arena Talking stick Resort
31 mai - Los Angeles, Californie @ Hollywood Bowl
1 Juin - Los Angeles, Californie @ Hollywood Bowl
3 Juin - Sacramento, CA @ Golden 1 Center
5 Juin - Portland, OR @ Moda Centre
6 juin - KeyArena - Seattle, WA
22 Juin - St. Paul, MN @ Xcel Energy Center
23 Juin  -Resch Center Green Bay, WI
25 Juin - Grand Rapids, MI @ Van Andel Arena
26 juin - Bankers Life Fieldhouse - Indianapolis, IN
28 Juin - Milwaukee, WI @ American Family Amphitheatre assurance
30 juin - Columbus, OH @ Schottenstein Center
1 Juillet - Buffalo, NY @ KeyBank Centre
3 juillet - Tanglewood Lenox, MA, United States
4 juillet - TanglewoodLenox, MA, United States
9 Juillet - Manchester Arena Manchester, United Kingdom Special Guest: Bonnie Raitt
10 Juillet - SSE Hydro Arena Glasgow, United Kingdom Special Guest: Bonnie Raitt
12 Juillet - First Direct Arena - Leeds, United Kingdom Special Guest: Bonnie Raitt
13 juillet - Paul SImon's "Homeward Bound: The Farewell Tour" -- RDS Arena With Paul Simon and Bonnie Raitt
15 juillet - Paul Simon’s “Homeward Bound: The Farewell Tour” -- Hyde Park London, United Kingdom With Paul Simon and Bonnie Raitt
17 juillet - Cardiff Motorpoint Arena Cardiff, Wales, United Kingdom Special Guest: Bonnie Raitt

20 juillet - Lucca Piazza Napoleone Lucca, Italy Special Guest: Bonnie Raitt
22 juillet - Anfiteatro Scavi - Pompei, Italy Special Guest: Bonnie Raitt
23 juillet - Roma Terme di Caracalla Roma, Italy Special Guest: Bonnie Raitt
26 juillet - Nationals Park Washington, DC, United States With Eagles
28 juillet -Citizens Bank Park Philadelphia, PA, United States With Eagles  




Dernière édition par Admin le Mer 11 Juil 2018, 12:06 pm, édité 2 fois


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Benvenuto in Italia! James is happy to announce three concerts in Italy this July with Bonnie Raitt. JamesTaylor.com will host an exclusive ticket presale beginning tomorrow, 2/8 at 10am CET. Click here for more info: http://bit.ly/2FSzXUH


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Concert du 8 Mai à Jacksonville





James Taylor – Musical Memories at Jax Arena


Will Henley May  


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

JIMMY JOHNSON – BASS

MICHAEL LANDAU – GUITAR

LOU MARINI – SAX, FLUTE, CLARINET

KATE MARKOWITZ – VOCALS

ARNOLD MCCULLER – VOCALS

ANDREA ZONN – VOCALS, VIOLIN

MICHITO SANCHEZ – PERCUSSION

KEVIN HAYS – KEYBOARDS




CAROLINA IN MY MIND



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FIRST NIGHT  - 8 MAI A JACKSONVILLE, VETERANS MEMORIAL ARENA

[b]



James on harmonica at soundcheck.
(Photo: Adam Madrid - PRI Productions) – à Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena.



Soundcheck can be a nailbiter!
(Photo: Adam Madrid - PRI Productions) – avec Andrea Zonn, Arnold McCuller et Kate Markowitz à Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena.



The very first performance of the 2018 US Tour!
(Photo: Adam Madrid - PRI Productions) – avec Dr. Steve Gadd à Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena.



One of James’s beloved Olson guitars.(Photo: Adam Madrid - PRI Productions)



Pianist Kevin Hays.
(Photo: Adam Madrid - PRI Productions) – avec Kevin Hays à Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena.



Bassist and band leader Jimmy Johnson.
(Photo: Adam Madrid - PRI Productions) – à Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena.



The inimitable Steve Gadd.
(Photo: Adam Madrid - PRI Productions) – avec Dr. Steve Gadd à Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena.



Michael Landau, loving his work.
(Photo: Adam Madrid - PRI Productions) – avec Michael Landau à Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena.


Two cool cats.
(Photo: Adam Madrid - PRI Productions) – avec Michael Landau à Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena.



Walt Fowler (horns & keyboards).
(Photo: Adam Madrid - PRI Productions) – avec Walt Fowler à Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena.




Picturing an amazing night!
(Photo: Adam Madrid - PRI Productions) – à Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena.



Lou Marini, AKA Blue Lou!
(Photo: Adam Madrid - PRI Productions) – avec Blue Lou Marini à Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena.



It takes 5 semis and 9 tour buses to get the show on the road...
(Photo: Adam Madrid - PRI Productions) – à Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena.



… but the result is worth it!
(Photo: Adam Madrid - PRI Productions) – à Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena.



Pretty little Olsons, all in a row.
(Photo: Adam Madrid - PRI Productions) – à Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena.



Percussionist Luis Conte.
(Photo: Adam Madrid - PRI Productions) – avec Luis Conte à Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena.


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9 MAI - AMWAY CENTER - ORLANDO (FLORIDA)

SWEET BABY JAMES



IN THE MIDNIGHT HOUR



FIRE AND RAIN





UPON THE ROOF



YOU'VE GOT A FRIEND





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JAMES TAYLOR INTERVIEW: going on tour with his old friend Paul Simon



Fifty years after he signed up with the Beatles, Taylor is returning to London. He’s not stopping yet

The Sunday Times UK, May 13 2018


James Taylor’s home is in the highlands of Massachusetts, two hours west of his Boston birthplace. As I speed there in the extreme chill of an April that thinks it’s January, a frosting of snow makes the Berkshires positively dreamlike. It’s a perfect setting for the man dubbed “Sweet Baby James” in a song some 48 years ago.

We talk in the barn studio where Taylor now makes all his recordings, next to the house he shares with his third wife, Kim, and their 17-year-old twins, Rufus and Henry. In this remote, beautiful estate, Taylor, newly 70, seems ever more the statesman of American song.

So how is he adapting to septuagenarian status? “It’s too early to tell,” he deadpans. “Of course, the main thing you learn when you get older is that you’re the same person you were when you were 18. When I was 18, I thought a 70-year-old person was a different creature completely, with whom I had nothing in common.”

Taylor’s most recent studio album, his 17th — the splendid Before This World, from 2015 — may prove to be his final set of new songs. In the studio, a prime spot has been given to a chair sent by Billboard in commemoration of his first No 1, complete with the chart marking that success. The staircases are lined with platinum discs: here a letter from Paul McCartney, there a picture of Taylor performing at Barack Obama’s second inauguration.

When he comes over in July for a short solo itinerary that includes guest spots on Paul Simon’s farewell tour in Dublin and Hyde Park, it will be 50 years since his momentous visit to London, during the period when he won the lottery and lost the plot.

His psychiatric and drug problems predated even his creative pre-eminence: Taylor had already spent time in a Massachusetts institution before a wildly inventive but disastrously heroin-fuelled year in New York. Then, in 1968 in London, he fulfilled every budding singer-songwriter’s dream when the Beatles signed him to Apple and released his debut album.

“As time goes on, I’m more and more grateful and tolerant of my parents,” he muses. “I could never allow my two twin boys, or Sally or Ben [his children from his marriage to Carly Simon], to go to New York City at the age of 18 and live on their own, or then, a year later, go to London with just a guitar and some traveller’s cheques. My parents didn’t know about drugs and rock’n’roll. They didn’t know how inevitable that was going to be, but they supported me.”

Apple didn’t survive, but somehow Taylor did, to his own amazement. His chemical dependencies continued well into his thirties, by which time he had created one of the definitive modern American songbooks — Caroline in My Mind, Fire and Rain, Something in the Way She Moves — at the cost of his marriage to Simon. He got sober in 1983, “amazed that there was life on the other side”, he says.

Since then, he has become an inspiration for peers and descendants. He has just collaborated on a track for the next album by Sheryl Crow, who is stepping in for the temporarily incapacitated Bonnie Raitt on Taylor’s North American shows, which precede his UK visit. He is also the éminence grise on Change, the recent single by current pop player Charlie Puth, a former student of his brother Livingston.

For all his modesty, Taylor’s awareness of his legacy has prompted him to launch a series of guitar lessons online. “I became aware that people were teaching my songs as an introduction to guitar, or maybe intermediate-level guitar,” he says. “I thought it would be useful for me to do that myself, so that people weren’t guessing as to how I was doing it.”

He is sticking to his assertion that Before This World may be his last album of new songs, but he is working on a set of American standards, sparsely accompanied by the jazz guitarist John Pizzarelli. He can’t help inviting me to the console to hear remakes of Moon River and God Bless the Child.

His old friend Paul Simon has declared that July’s dates will be his last-ever UK shows. “You never know when you’re going to do your final tour,” Taylor says. “Paul is much better organised in that way. It seemed more likely in the 1970s that you would be seeing my final tour than it is now. It’s hard not to think that I’m approaching the end of it, but I think I’ll only know it in retrospect.”

I mention that Elton John is taking three years to leave the stage. “That’s right,” he replies with a smile. “In that sense, I’m entering my final two decades of work.”

We walk up to the house for lunch. Taylor asks eagerly for the latest on Brexit and describes Trump’s America with eloquent resignation. At the outset of his eighth decade, he knows his place in the order of popular culture. “I’m happy to live a life in music,” he says. “I think it’s relatively rare to have the same job for 50 years. It is amazing to have written this body of work and to have iterated myself at the age of 18, essentially, and to still be playing those same songs, and loving it.

“I picked up a lot of stuff from a lot of people and evolved it slowly, putting my own mark on it to a certain extent. Now I see it repeated in the popular culture. I see other people pick up on it, use it and carry it on.”

We joke that, one day, his unlikely evolution to revered survivor might be depicted on stage, just like the life of his friend and contemporary Carole King. “Sometimes people say, ‘Why don’t you try your hand at a musical?’ But I don’t want to take the songs that are already written and hang them on the ‘James Taylor Story’. I hope that’s not going to happen before I die.” Somebody else will do it, I tell him. “Yeah,” he concludes. “Just as long as I don’t have to see it.”

James Taylor’s UK tour begins on July 9. He supports Paul Simon in London (BST, Hyde Park, July 15)


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18 mai - Greensboro Coliseum



CAROLINA IN MY MIND



COUNTRY ROAD



FIRE AND RAIN



SHOWER THE PEOPLE



HANDY MAN



DON'T LET ME BE LONELY TONIGHT



SOMETHING IN THE WAY SHE MOVES


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James Taylor makes arena show feel like an intimate get-together


By Daniel Durchholz Special to the Post-Dispatch


“Thank you for letting us play in the Your Name Here Arena,” James Taylor joked near the end of his concert Monday night at Scottrade … er, Enterprise Center.

He may have been more on point with the comment than even he knew. The name change had been announced earlier in the day, and some of the arena’s signage as well as its website and social media accounts had already been switched over. But the deal with Enterprise doesn’t formally go into effect until July 1.

On Monday, what counted was what happened inside the building, and that’s where the veteran singer-songwriter — a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Songwriters Hall of Fame as well as a Kennedy Center honoree and recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom — performed a concert that was warm, deeply nostalgic and surprisingly intimate for an arena show.

Taylor brought the place down to size by employing a 10-piece band that included such notables as drummer Steve Gadd, saxophonist Lou Marini, and longtime backup vocalists Kate Markowitz and Arnold McCuller. His stage set, featuring movable, various-size video screens displaying lyrics, old photos and evocative scenes, helped, too.

And then there was the music itself, which most in attendance likely knew by heart.

It’s been 50 years since Taylor auditioned for Paul McCartney and George Harrison and released his debut album on the Beatles’ Apple Records. He began the show with a song from that record, “Carolina in My Mind.”

“Country Road” indicated early on that Taylor would be generous in sharing the spotlight with his musicians and effusive in his praise of them. The song’s opening showcased violinist Andrea Zonn, while a late drum break allowed Gadd to shine. The arrangements of subsequent songs gave the other musicians a chance to put their own stamp on the proceedings; Marini on the lovely, torchy “Don’t Let Me Be Lonely Tonight,” keyboardist Kevin Hays on “Jump Up Behind Me,” McCullers on “Shower the People” and so on.

Taylor’s wry sense of humor came to the fore time and again. When someone called out “I love you, James,” he cracked, “I love you, too. I can’t explain it, but there it is.” Before “First of May” he recited his father’s favorite risqué rhyme about that date. And during “Handy Man” the video screens showed clips of workmen falling off ladders and overturning tractors — not at all what the song is about, but funny nonetheless.

The show was allowed to sprawl and unspool at a leisurely pace because of its two-set format.Originally, Bonnie Raitt was scheduled to open but canceled due to a medical emergency. “The news is good,” Taylor reported. “Bonnie came through her procedure with flying colors.” He asked the audience to say “We love you Bonnie” in unison, recording it as a video message to send to Raitt.

With the extra time, Taylor was able to pull out some of his lesser-known tunes, like “Sunny Skies,” a ditty about his dog, and “Nothing Like a Hundred Miles,” a moody piece he said was a favorite of his because it had been covered by Ray Charles and B.B. King.

Of course, Taylor’s many hits were the main attraction, and he delivered them in bunches: “Something in the Way She Moves” (the song he sang for his Apple audition); “Walking Man”; “Sweet Baby James” (his lullaby-turned-pop-up book, which was flipped through on the video screen); and his covers of “Up on the Roof,” “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved by You)” and “You’ve Got a Friend.”

Raitt’s presence was missed. The original bill was a perfect match of simpatico artists and longtime friends. Yet it was a treat to get two full sets of Taylor, who clearly can still play an arena — regardless of its name — and make it feel like a back-porch get-together.



Set list

First set:

“Carolina in My Mind”

“Country Road”

“Jump Up Behind Me”

“Never Die Young”

“Don’t Let Me Be Lonely Tonight”

“(I’m a Road Runner)”

“Nothing Like a Hundred Miles”

“First of May”

“Copperline”

“Handy Man”

“Mexico”


Second set:

“Something in the Way She Moves”

“Sunny Skies”

“Walking Man”

“Up on the Roof”

“Steamroller”

“Sweet Baby James”

“Fire and Rain”

“Your Smiling Face”

“Shower the People”

“How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved by You)”

Encore:

“Shed a Little Light”

“In the Midnight Hour”

“You’ve Got a Friend”


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JAMES TAYLOR PROVES THERE'S STILL SOMETHING IN THE WAY HE MOVES, AND SINGS

James Taylor performed Tuesday, May 22, 2018 at the Sprint Center in Kansas City

By Bill Brownlee - Special to The Star



The first of many stage sets for James Taylor’s concert at the Sprint Center on Tuesday depicted a comfortable home in a wooded area. The revered singer-songwriter managed to make many of the 12,000 fans at the cavernous arena feel as if they were sitting in his living room.

Excellent sound, first-rate visuals and impeccable musicianship imparted an intimate ambience to Taylor’s show. The personal anecdotes he shared between the 24 selections further deepened Taylor’s bond with his admirers.

In his introduction to “Jump Up Behind Me,” Taylor reminisced that he was a troubled teen with a “drug habit” before his mellow folk-rock songs made him a star. Sensing that Taylor was in dire straits in New York City in 1967, his father “showed up in the family station wagon” after driving from the family home in North Carolina. Taylor added that “I think he probably saved my life.”

His fortunes soon changed. After playing “Something in the Way She Moves,” Taylor proudly recalled that “the Beatles had just started Apple Records and I was the first person to get signed.” The lovely ballad opened the second set, a sequence of songs that Taylor correctly insisted was “jam-packed with hit after hit.”

The popular selections included his version of “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You),” one of several genteel soul workouts by Taylor and his 10-piece band. A rendering of his undeniable masterstroke “Fire and Rain” featured spine-tingling accents from drummer Steve Gadd. Taylor described “Sweet Baby James” as a “go-to-sleep-you-little-buckaroo thing” that he wrote for his nephew.

Although Taylor’s music is deliberately wispy, only a reading of “Walking Man” dragged. Taylor’s lively demeanor and astonishingly virile voice staved off tedium.

While he perched on a stool for most of the 140 minutes he was on stage, Taylor joyfully pogoed during “Up On the Roof,” danced to a Brazilian interpretation of “First Day of May” and executed a modified Chuck Berry-style duck walk as his band jammed on “Steamroller Blues.”


Taylor’s age-defying voice was the night’s most pleasant surprise. During “Handy Man,” he gruffly growled like Barry White and crooned like Al Green. The three background singers clearly weren’t on hand to compensate for any vocal deficiency.

Taylor observed that the title of “Never Die Young” is “good advice” before joking that “it’s already too late for me.”

Maybe so, but Taylor, 70, has never sounded stronger.

Set list: Carolina in My Mind; Country Road; Jump Up Behind Me; Never Die Young; Don't Let Me Be Lonely Tonight; (I'm a) Road Runner; Nothing Like a Hundred Miles; First Day of May; Copperline; Handy Man; Mexico; Something in the Way She Moves; Sunny Skies; Walking Man; Up on the Roof; Steamroller Blues; Sweet Baby James; Fire and Rain; Your Smiling Face; Shower The People; How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved by You); Shed a Little Light; In the Midnight Hour; You've Got a Friend

CONCERT HIGHLIGHTS



Dernière édition par Admin le Sam 26 Mai 2018, 12:24 am, édité 1 fois


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JAMES TAYLOR WOWS CROWD



Story and photo by: Rosa Cavalcanti for Bocatribune

Skipping and hoping, with his earthy and crispy voice, James Taylor gracefully performed some of his new melodies and old favorites last Saturday, May 11 at BB&T Center in Sunrise, FL.

His signature silky voice was a display of storytelling delivering favorites such as; Country Road, Shower the People, Mexico, Copperline, Up on the Roof, Fire and Rain and many others.

Supported by the experienced and skilled musicians of his All-Star Band, which included percussion, horns, drums, bass, guitar, sax and clarinet, violin, keyboards and backing vocals, the sounds could easily be described as pure and in complete harmony.

His artistry and uplifting demeanor are evident. At times we could hear a pin drop in the arena, Taylor’s performance demands a silence that comes naturally to an audience that is familiar with his music.  Always a gentleman, yet Taylor is aware of his mastery and his material. He is charming and young spirited as ever.

Taylor’s clean stage design and video screens backdrops was a nice complement to his performance, including colorful display of scenic views, images of his hometown and childhood, close-ups of the musicians on stage and images of his cute puppy Ting, who he made sure to introduce to the audience.

Songs like “Shower The People” ignited the crowd to a sing-along as with many others, although it felt at times as if we were in a much smaller setting.

It is remarkable to see how he remains so easy going as we witness him seating at the corner stage during the 20-minute intermission and make himself accessible to the fans; taking selfies and giving autographs to whoever was lucky enough to get close. He also dedicated a song to the family of victims of the parkland school shooting and held a meet-and-greet with the families after the show.

Taylor has sold more than 100 million albums and has been awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2015. He has won 5 Grammy awards and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2000.

If you have the chance to attend his show, its one not to be missed.


YOU'VE GOT A FRIEND



Dernière édition par Admin le Mar 29 Mai 2018, 1:00 pm, édité 1 fois


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24 mai - InTrust Bank Arena - Wichita, KS


SWEET BABY JAMES



SOMETHING IN THE WAY SHE MOVES



WICHITA LINEMAN



COPPERLINE



HANDY MAN



SHOWER THE PEOPLE



FIRE AND RAIN



Dernière édition par Admin le Mar 29 Mai 2018, 2:15 pm, édité 1 fois


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27 mai 2018 - Denver, CO - Green Amphitheatre Fiddler

SOMETHING IN THE WAY SHE MOVES



YOUR SMILING FACE & SHOWER THE PEOPLE



SWEET BABY JAMES & FIRE AND RAIN



MEXICO



DON'T LET ME BE LONELY TONIGHT



HOW SWEET IT IS (TO BE LOVED BY YOU)



YOU'VE GOT A FRIEND


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JT with special Guest SHERYL CROW 29 mai - Phoenix, AZ - Arena Talking stick Resort


MOCKINGBIRD with Sheryl CROW


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Singer-songwriter James Taylor delivers a terrific night of classic tunes at the Hollywood Bowl



By Peter Larsen | plarsen@scng.com | Orange County Register
PUBLISHED: June 1, 2018 at 11:05 am | UPDATED: June 1, 2018 at 11:51 am

James Taylor performs on May 31, 2018, the first of two nights at the Hollywood Bowl.


At the end of the night, as James Taylor sang the final notes of his last song, Sheryl Crow, who’d opened the show and had come back out to sing harmony on “You Can Close Your Eyes,” wiped a tear or two from her eyes and gave a kind of bashful smile as Taylor hugged her and smiled at the audience that filled the Hollywood Bowl on Thursday.

It was a warm moment on a night filled with many, and perhaps a small acknowledgement by Taylor that he knew he’d done his job well if it moved Crow, a star in her right, and the crowd, some of whom were also mixing cheers with tears, to feel something real.

Taylor, at 70, remains one of the defining figures of the singer-songwriter era that emerged in the ’70s. And with a catalog of hits  and voice still strong and pure, he’s also one of the best still performing. (It’s been a good few weeks at the Bowl for this kind of music, with three nights from singer-songwriter Paul Simon just done as Taylor arrived for a pair of his own.)

“Carolina In My Mind” opened his two hours on stage, with Taylor sitting on a stool with an acoustic guitar and three backing vocalists providing gorgeous harmonies, and as the night unfolded that kind of lovely moment happened again and again.

The show at times felt like a family reunion of sorts, between Taylor and fans, who cheered early numbers such as “Country Road” and “Walking Man,” but also between him and the musicians he bills as His All-Star Band, each of whom got a separate introduction after a solo or featured spot in a song, with a photo or two of them as kids shown on the video screens like pages pulled from a family album.

And while his songs often have a wistful, yearning quality – a lot of these are love songs of different sorts –  Taylor also flashed his sense of humor at times, telling a ribald story about his dad by way of introducing the Brazilian-tinged “First Of May,” or introducing his 1977 hit “Handy Man” as “a lovely song about a male prostitute.”

After a relatively laid-back opening run of songs the energy on stage and in the crowd started to pick up around the time Taylor switched from acoustic to a Carolina blue electric guitar for a gritty run through “Steamroller Blues” that ended with lead guitarist Mike Landau’s rousing solo, and after a gentler take on the Carole King-Jerry Goffin classic “Up On The Roof,” a lively version of his own “Mexico” which got the crowd to its feet once more.

But the true highlight of the night came a few minutes later in the back-to-back pairing of “Sweet Baby James,” the title track of his breakthrough 1970 album, and “Fire And Rain,” its biggest single, and one of Taylor’s signature songs. These two songs as much as anything capture the essence of the singer-songwriter genre in the intimate, personal stories the lyrics tell, and the sensitive, emotional accompaniment of his guitar and the band. On the album they are standouts, and at the Hollywood Bowl played live they were that on Thursday as well.

“Fire and Rain” is beautiful but quite a serious song, inspired by the suicide of a childhood friend, his battle with addiction, and struggle with failure and fame, so he rightly shifted gears to wrap up the main set on a more uplifting note, running through his own songs “Your Smiling Face” and “Shower The People,” before closing with his cover of Marvin Gaye’s “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You),” all which had the audience on their feet to dance and sing along.

The encore offered more happiness for everyone including Sheryl Crow, who duetted on “Mockingbird,” left the stage for “You’ve Got a Friend,” the Carole King classic, and returned to close out the show with tears and hugs and warmth all around.


In her own hour-long opening set Crow, who replaced Bonnie Raitt on these dates after Raitt had to bow out for medical reasons, shared that the second-ever concert she attended on her own as a 15-year-old in Memphis was a James Taylor show and she was smitten from the first.

“He was wearing a white suit and I was so sure I was gonna marry him,” she said with a big grin. “I missed the boat but he’s still my favorite.”

She played a strong set of her own material, though traffic and long lines at the gates kept many from hearing “All I Wanna Do,” her breakout hit. She and her band were strong throughout, though, with highlights such as “If It Makes You Happy” and “Every Day is a Winding Road,” her closing number for which Taylor came out to play guitar and sing with her.

No tears, though. At least as far as we could see.

"EVERYDAY IS A WINDING ROAD"-Sheryl Crow & James Taylor





SUNNY SKIES



CAROLINA IN MY MIND



SOMETHING IN THE WY SHE MOVES



FIRST OF MAY



STEAMROLLER



SHOWER THE PEOPLE



UPON THE ROOF



SHED A LITTLE LIGHT



MOCKINGBIRD



YOU'VE GOT A FRIEND



YOU CAN CLOSE YOUR EYES




James Taylor and His All-Star Band
With: Sheryl Crow

When: Thursday, May 31

Where: Hollywood Bowl, Los Angeles

Next. Taylor and Crow perform again at 7:30 p.m., Friday, June 1; tickets, $40.50-$251


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Concert Review concert du 31 mai 2018

James Taylor Brings Heart and Soul to Hollywood Bowl
By Malina Saval for Variety June 1 2018



James Taylor is Martha’s Vineyard in the 1970s, campfire circles in the New England woods and sun-drenched barbecues in western Massachusetts. He’s Boston’s Fenway Park and preppy college frat parties in the 1980s and acoustic guitar by the Charles River on muggy summer nights. And today, Taylor, American folk-rock hero with over 100 million records sold worldwide and five Grammys to his name, remains, at age 70, one of the most impactful singer-songwriters in the American music canon, a wistful and winsome troubadour with sweeping cross-generational influence. Just ask any of the gangly tweens sitting cross-legged around a bonfire roasting marshmallows at sleepaway camp this summer while singing “You’ve Got a Friend,” the Carole King-penned classic included on “Tapestry” but made famous on Taylor’s 1971 album “Mud Slide Slim and the Blue Horizon.”

Taylor brought his All-Star Band and special guest Sheryl Crow to Thursday night’s Hollywood Bowl performance, the most recent stop on his summer world tour, which kicked off May 8 in Jacksonville, Fla. and runs through end of July. With a catalog of tunes teetering at the nostalgia-tinged intersection of mirth and melancholy (Taylor famously checked himself into McLean psychiatric hospital in Belmont, Mass. his senior year of high school), the nearly three-hour show was a night of familial warmth and blossoming camaraderie, from the musicians on stage to the fans in the seats, weepy and laughing and dancing at intervals as Taylor performed hits ranging from “Carolina In My Mind” to “You Can Close Your Eyes,” his closing encore number with Crow, stepping in for previously booked guest Bonnie Raitt, who will be rejoining Taylor’s tour following her recovery from an unspecified medical condition and surgery.


In the two hours that Taylor played following Crow’s opener, his All-Star band, a soulfully funky and finely-calibrated ensemble made up of such gifted musicians as Luis Conte (percussion), Walt Fowler (trumpet, keyboards), Andrea Zonn (vocals, violin), Steve Gadd (drums), Jimmy Johnson (bass) and Kate Markowitz (vocals) and Arnold McCuller (vocals), enhanced Taylor’s already salve-like rhythms.

A theatrical backdrop of falling leaves accompanied Taylor on “Walking Man,” evoking those crisp, autumn East Coast days for which the song, off Taylor’s 1974 album of the same name, seems always just right. During ”Steamroller Blues,” Taylor danced across the stage as the song crescendoed into its hardcore bluesy peak, his signature cabbie hat turned to the back. “That got a little out of control,” joked Taylor, flipping his hat back around. After “Don’t Let Me Be Lonely Tonight,” “Handy Man,” “Up on the Roof” (his rendition of the Gerry Goffin and King-penned song made famous by the Drifters) and “Mexico,” with backdrop visuals featuring a vibrant explosion of saturated splatter-painted pinks and blues and greens, Taylor segued into “Something in the Way She Moves,” the romantic ballad he auditioned with in 1968 for Paul McCartney and George Harrison, who would go on to sign Taylor to Apple Records, the first artist signed to the Beatles’ London-based label.

“Pretty much the whole decade is missing,” said Taylor of that period, during which he infamously struggled with an addiction to heroin that nearly killed him, an addiction from which then-wife Carly Simon could not save him. It took, in fact, the fatal overdose of close friend John Belushi to help turn things around for Taylor, who writes about the experience in “That’s Why I’m Here,” off his 1985 studio album of the same name.

“I’m pretty sure I was nervous,” Taylor added of the audition. “I’ve also been told I had a good time.”

In the midst of a set that included “Sweet Baby James,” a “cowboy lullaby” Taylor wrote and recorded for his newborn nephew in 1969, and “Fire and Rain,” the teary 1970 song recounting a friend’s suicide and Taylor’s own experience with depression, failure and fame, a female fan in the crowd called out, “I love you, James Taylor!” In response, Taylor, ever so charming, quipped, “This is so sudden. I love you, too. I can’t explain it, but there it is.”

“Your Smiling Face” and “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved by You),” Taylor’s spin on Marvin Gaye’s 1964 hit single, brought the Bowl audience to its collective feet, while McCuller’s spirit-filled, gospel-inspired solo during “Shower the People” was a mesmerizing showstopper, complete with projected video clips of audience members dancing, singing and clapping.


Crow returned to the stage to pair with Taylor on the peppy, flirty “Mockingbird,” the Inez and Charlie Foxx tune Taylor and Simon re-recorded for Simon’s 1974 studio album “Hotcakes.” And, of course, Taylor made sure to sing “You’ve Got a Friend,” the feel-good anthem of togetherness and love of deacdes gone by, kept alive by those who sing “winter, spring, summer and fall” today.

James Taylor & His All-Star Band returns to the Hollywood Bowl Friday night with special guest Sheryl Crow.


Setlist


   Carolina in My Mind
   
   Country Road
 
   Sunny Skies
   
   Walking Man
   
   First of May

   Handy Man
 
   Steamroller
 
   Don't Let Me Be Lonely Tonight
 
   Up on the Roof
   
   Mexico
 
   Something in the Way She Moves
   
   Sweet Baby James
 
   Fire and Rain

   Shed a Little Light

   Your Smiling Face
 
   Shower the People
 
   How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved by You)

   Encore:

   Mockingbird (with Sheryl Crow)

   You've Got a Friend

   You Can Close Your Eyes (with Sheryl Crow)


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James Taylor & Sheryl Crow Take Over the Hollywood Bowl: Most Memorable Moments

6/1/2018 by Gail Mitchell for Billboard




It’s been said before: Don’t count out legendary acts when it comes to delivering fantastic shows. And it was proven again when James Taylor & His All-Star Band rocked a jam-packed Hollywood Bowl with special guest Sheryl Crow on Thursday night.

Here are five key takeaways:

Stepping in without missing a beat: That’s exactly what Sheryl Crow did while subbing for original special guest Bonnie Raitt, who had to bow out of the summer tour’s first leg owing to an unexpected medical situation. During Crow’s well-paced and energetic hour-long show, the nine-time Grammy winner gifted baby-boomer and younger fans with her classic hits. Among them: “All I Wanna Do,” “My Favorite Mistake,” “If It Makes You Happy,” “Strong Enough” and “Soak Up the Sun” (which she introduced as the “ultimate California song”). Particularly moving was her performance of “Redemption Day.” Backed by a six-member band, the guitar-slinging Crow traded verses with Johnny Cash -- via his recorded version of her song -- as video images of Cash, soldiers and air strikes flashed across a giant screen. “I thought I’d play this while democracy is being stretched to the nth degree,” Crow told the audience.

Perfect pair: Crow’s show finale gave the audience a sneak peek at what was to come as Taylor joined her onstage for a rousing rendition of “Everyday Is a Winding Road.” The two complemented each other perfectly between their life-honed vocals and wicked guitar playing. Crow prefaced their performance by sharing a memory about the second concert she’d ever attended as a 15-year-old without a chaperone: Taylor’s Gorilla tour in the mid-'70s. “He was wearing a white suit and I was so sure I was going to marry him,” recalled Crow. “He’s still my favorite songwriter and singer.” Crow rejoined Taylor during his show’s encore, dueting and two-stepping on “Mockingbird” and “Close Your Eyes” before walking off the stage together arm in arm.

Taylor’s still got it: Even before he sang one note, Taylor stepped onstage to a standing ovation -- one of several throughout the evening. He’s surely lost count of how many times he’s performed fan faves over the years such as “Fire & Rain,” “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You),” “Handyman,” “Sweet Baby James,” Don’t Let Me Be Lonely Tonight” and “You’ve Got a Friend.” But his performance of these and other songs comprising a nearly two-hour set sounded just as fresh and dynamic as when he first recorded the songs. Centering on well-known entries in his repertoire, Taylor took the audience all the way back to 1968 with “Something in the Way She Moves” -- the song he auditioned for Paul McCartney and George Harrison before he signed with Apple Records.

Amid frequent shout-outs of “we love you, James” from fervent female fans, Taylor’s journey down memory lane included “Carolina,” “Walking Man,” the bluesy “Steamroller,” “Mexico” and “Shower the People.” Video images accompanying the songs ranged from Taylor family and band member photos to a 1969 Sunset Boulevard billboard featuring Taylor at the beginning of his career. “Pretty much the rest of that decade is gone,” the self-deprecating artist noted of his memory to a laughing audience. At one point, cameras panned around the Bowl so the audience could see themselves dancing and cheering on the giant video screen. All told, Taylor demonstrated how he came to accomplish what he set out to do years ago as he noted early on in his show: “I just wanted to play music and travel.”

You’ve got friends: Tying everything together and upping the night’s fun quotient was Taylor’s ultra-tight all-star band. And no wonder, given a veteran lineup that includes drummer Steve Gadd, percussionist Luis Conte, saxophonist Lou Marini and keyboardist Kevin Hays. Violinist/backing vocalist Andrea Zonn also was a standout on the song “Country Road,” while Taylor’s longtime backing vocalist Arnold McCuller drew a standing ovation during his power-punching solo turn on “Shower the People.”

Admiration society: Watching fellow singer/songwriter and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Jackson Browne (“Running on Empty,” “Doctor My Eyes”) sing and bob along to the performances in the crowd was just as enjoyable as watching Crow and Taylor onstage.

Crow returns as Taylor’s special guest for his second Hollywood Bowl show on Friday night (June 1). Then Taylor and the band will head to Sacramento (Sunday), Portland, Oregon (Tuesday) and Seattle (Wednesday) before Raitt rejoins the tour for seven shows beginning in St. Paul, Minnesota (6/22).


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James Taylor Showers The People With Love At Hollywood Bowl Show

Steve Baltin , Contributor for Forbes


During the second of his two sold-out shows at the Hollywood Bowl singer/songwriter icon James Taylor did everything right to keep the collective eyes of the 17,500 adoring fans on the stage. He was backed by a superb band, one that he called “The finest group of musicians ever assembled”; he danced during multiple songs, with opener Sheryl Crow in “Mockingbird” and during a show-stopping “Mexico,” and he displayed home movies, like ones of his dog during “Sunny Skies,” prompting the self-effacing and very funny Taylor to call out the fact there was nothing they wouldn’t do to please an audience.

It was a brilliant show from a masterful performer. And yet many of the best parts of the two-hour performance were spent focused not on the stage, but on the audience. The people watching at a Taylor show is some of the most compelling part of the story, whether it was the guy a few seats away from me reverentially closing his eyes singing along to every song, wiping his eyes during “Sweet Baby James,” or the mother and daughter behind me, the mom crying during “Fire And Rain” and “You’ve Got A Friend,” the daughter smiling as she rubbed her mom’s back.

I remember years ago watching a Taylor concert on PBS and smiling as the camera panned over the audience, at least 50 percent, if not more, in tears as Taylor sang “Fire And Rain.” It’s understandable; the song still has that effect on me, as it did last night.

If forced to pick a favorite song ever, I’d go with “Fire And Rain,” and that’s been my answer for years, through countless life changes. And what’s remarkable is how the song stays relevant and meaningful through all of those changes, from first hearing it as a kid and thinking you’ll never see close friends and loved ones again as they move away or you drift apart to hearing it as an adult and thinking of friends who’ve passed away or mortality as you hear it and think of dying family members.

Watching the show last night, it was clear that as much as I might feel the song is the soundtrack to my life there are millions who feel the same about “Fire And Rain.” But for others it might be “Sweet Baby James,” “Carolina On My Mind” or “Shower The People.”

Though I’d argue Bruce Springsteen has the strongest bond of any artist with his fan base, you’d be hard pressed to find anyone whose audience feels a deeper connection with the songs than Taylor’s fans do. Once on the cover of Time magazine, in 1971, as the face of the singer/songwriter movement with a caption that read “The new rock: bittersweet and low,” Taylor has, at times, faced a backlash over the emotion in his music and maybe it is way too sentimental for fans who want to be cynically cool.

It is definitely uncool to share your feelings as Taylor advises to do in “Shower The People,” where he sings, “Just shower the people you love with love/Show them the way that you feel.” But that unbridled optimism and sentimentality have also created an almost 50-year career for Taylor, who has never gone out of style with his millions of fans or the artists who love him, like opener Crow.

Filling in stunningly for the injured Bonnie Raitt, Crow, who delivered her own string of hits like “Strong Enough” and “My Favorite Mistake” with a joyful and stellar precision, spoke numerous times about her love and admiration for Taylor, who she called one of her musical heroes.

The adoring throng last night related completely. Taylor is a hero to them, as obvious from the countless shouts of “I love you” and more from the crowd, including one guy who asked, “When do you go back to heaven?” But more than a hero, he is a friend, someone who makes his audience feel like he has been with them throughout their journey. Whether it’s an author, a filmmaker, actor, painter or musician, creating that kind of connection with any fan, let alone millions of them, is the mark of a great artist.


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Live Review: James Taylor at Moda Center, Tues June 5

by Jenni Moore • Jun 6, 2018





Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve been a James Taylor fan by default. Growing up, I remember my mom playing Taylor’s extremely gentle folk, blues, and classic rock around the house and, though my music tastes have always differed from my hers, Taylor’s songs were nearly impossible to take issue with. It wasn’t until I hit adulthood that I realized I was seeking out Taylor’s music on my own—I’d play that damn Sweet Baby James album whenever I needed to hear something mellow and nostalgic and not at all jarring. Still, I never predicted I would be attending one Taylor’s shows, let alone reviewing it. Hell, for most of my adult life I wasn’t even aware he was still touring! So when I learned he and his All Star Band were coming to town, I took the opportunity so I could see what Old Man Taylor had to offer—and so I could bring my mom.

Turns out, pretty much everyone’s mom and dad wanted to see James Taylor’s extra-long live set. The gracious singer complimented our city and thanked the Portland crowd for coming: “It’s never the same without you,” he joked. The Moda Center wasn’t quite sold out, but it may as well have been. And it quickly became clear I was one of the youngest people in the building last night. As my mom and I paid for our drinks, we heard Taylor take the stage and kick the show off with “Carolina in My Mind,” one of my favorites. At 70 years old, Taylor’s voice still sounds the same. Taylor played the song—and most of the others on his setlist—in an extra slow tempo, so we were able to find our seats and plop down in the middle of the opening song. He followed it up with his ever-popular "Country Road." In a matter of minutes, I observed that the Moda Center crowd was one of the tamest I’d ever been a part of, but at least in this case, a chill audience was expected and warranted.

For the majority of the show, everyone sat quietly in their seats, only rising when Taylor played more upbeat songs like “Mexico” and “Roadrunner.” Taylor played a great first and second set, but there were a couple moments when his “cowboy lullabies” (like “Sweet Baby James”) almost put me into a literal slumber. Other times the classic, slow-crawling songs allowed my mind to wander; I started thinking about all kinds of things that I never seem to have time to consider: the past, the future, the present, conspiracy theories, ideas for podcasts. So, basically the same stuff I do at home when I listen to James Taylor’s music.

There were still a few rabble-rousers in attendance, though; quite a few times, someone in the distance would yell “WOO!” Or “WE LOVE YOU JT!” As someone who’s a diehard fan of a younger, more problematic artist of the same initials, I was amused by the realization that I was seeing the original JT. “Feel free at any point to let that ‘woo’ loose,” Taylor encouraged, making the massive arena feel like an intimate experience.

When Taylor begins his cover of Marvin Gaye’s “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)” near the end of the first set, everyone stands… but it’s still the stiffest crowd I’ve ever seen. Even when Luis Conte starts slapping the drums. Luckily, I was quickly cheered up by the sight of white people getting so excited about the next song (“Ah, now THIS is music”) that they start unknowingly clapping offbeat.


Taylor was keen on introducing and profusely praising each member of his “All-Star Band,” as he should—the musicians backing him were truly fantastic. I particularly liked fiddler Andrea Zonn, as well as the excellent back-up singer Arnold McCuller (whose solos I’d like to have heard more of); soulful sax from “Blue Lou” Marini, who’s noted for being a member of the Blues Brothers and the Saturday Night Live house band in the ’70s and ’80s; and Luis Conte and Steve Gadd on percussion.


Taylor played acoustic and electric guitar in his signature style, also picking up the harmonica and singing like the seasoned pro he is. Near the beginning of his set, my mom commented how much he seemed to be enjoying himself up on that stage. “A very joyful singer,” she correctly asserted. After a near-unintelligible rendition of Taylor’s ultra-bluesy song “Steamroller,” (my mom’s favorite), and his smash hit "Fire and Rain" (my favorite), I became convinced that James Taylor wrote all these songs with the premonition that he’d perform them even better one day as an adorable old man. Thanks for the hits, JT!


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James Taylor & His All Star Band at KeyArena in Seattle on June 6, 2018

NOTHING LIKE A HUNDRED MILES



JUMP UP BEHIND ME



STEAMROLLER BLUES



YOU'VE GOT A FRIEND



IN THE MIDNIGHT HOUR


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James Taylor and Bonnie Raitt deliver playful, electric show at the 'X'  - 22 June 2018



REVIEW: Following her surgery, they have an emotional show at the X.



By Jon Bream Star Tribune

This rarely happens at a big-time arena concert: The headliner comes out at the beginning and introduces the equally famous opening act.

James Taylor made an exception on Friday at Xcel Energy Center, taking the stage to welcome “my dear friend, my idol” Bonnie Raitt, who certainly needs no introduction.

However, Raitt missed the opening leg of her spring/summer tour with Taylor due to emergency surgery. Friday marked her first night on the road.

Raitt, 68, has had major emotional nights onstage in the Twin Cities, where she recorded her 1971 debut album and her brother, sound engineer Steve, lived for more than three decades. There was the night at the Minnesota State Fair a day after Raitt’s pal Stevie Ray Vaughan, the guitar hero, died in a helicopter crash in 1990. There was the night at the fair a few months after Steve Raitt had died of cancer in 2009.

On Friday, Raitt had a different kind of emotion — joy. And gratitude. Both were expressed in conversation and in song. In fact, her too-short hourlong set was quintessential Raitt — acoustic blues, hot slide guitar, funk, R&B, a political piece, pop, rock, ballads and impassioned vocals in all styles. And some preaching politics to the choir of 13,000 fans.

Dedicated to women around the world, the slow and twangy/bluesy “Angel from Montgomery” has never sounded more penetrating. And a solo acoustic version of the Skip James’ blues chestnut “Devil Got My Woman” illustrated that whatever was ailing the Rock Hall of Famer, her voice and guitar skills are as potent as ever.


Raitt was able to cross pollinate with Taylor’s musicians, notably with Arnold McCuller, upping the sexiness of “Nick of Time.” And Taylor himself strapped on an electric guitar for “Thing Called Love,” during which the usually laid-back quintessential 1970s acoustic singer-songwriter suddenly transformed into a shoulder-shaking, knees quaking and head bobbing rock ’n’ roller.



That helped infuse Taylor’s mood for his own 110-minute set. He has never been funnier in concert in the Twin Cities. In fact, who knew he was funny? Playful with a gleam in his eye, he told self-deprecating stories, setting up songs, several of which were complemented with old photos and videos.

For instance, during “Handy Man,” there were videos of him repairing a fence and other workmen falling off ladders and experiencing unintended pratfalls. During “Sunny Skies,” Taylor’s dog pranced across the video screens.

“We’ll stoop to anything,” he proclaimed with a wink in his voice. “Pictures of the dog.”

And the 70-year-old Rock Hall of Famer hammed it up on “Steamroller Blues,” by mock duckwalking, extracting feedback from his amplifier and jumping (not a big one) to end it.

If the humor made this Taylor concert memorable, the music didn’t take a back seat. Backed by his immaculately sounding band, he sang with deep felt conviction, whether it was the folk-rock of “Country Road” or the soul of “How Sweet It Is.”

And, of course, Taylor gave the fans something to talk about by bringing Raitt out for a rip-roaring encore of Chuck Berry’s “Johnny B. Goode” and then a gorgeously tender sit-down duet of Taylor’s “Close Your Eyes,” accompanied only by Taylor’s acoustic guitar.


As he played the outro on his guitar, she put her hand on his knee. He smiled at her as he gracefully plucked away on the final notes. Then he kissed her.

An unforgettable ending to an unforgettable evening.


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A gentle James Taylor and fiery Bonnie Raitt show no signs of retirement at the X



By Ross Raihala | Pioneer Press
June 22, 2018


The hottest trend for Rock and Roll Hall of Famers — Elton John, Ozzy Osbourne and Lynyrd Skynyrd among them — is to retire. In fact, Paul Simon just played what he said was his final Twin Cities show two weeks ago at St. Paul’s Xcel Energy Center.

Friday night on that same stage, Bonnie Raitt and James Taylor bucked the trend with performances that suggest neither is ready to give up the game quite yet.


It was a particularly triumphant night for Raitt, 68, who was forced to sit out the tour’s first leg after learning she needed surgery for an undisclosed ailment. St. Paul was her first night back on the road and it was clear she was thrilled. At one point, she gushed about “the outpouring of love I got during my recovery” and later toasted the crowd of about 13,000 with “Here’s to all our health.”

Cover versions turned out to be the highlight of her casual, yet stirring, set. Early on, she paid tribute to the late Michael Hutchence with her take on INXS’ “Need You Tonight.” Later, she took a fiery, and surprisingly funky, sprint through the Talking Heads’ “Burning Down the House.”


But Raitt really sparkled when she took the stage alone for a hushed version of Skip James’ “Devil Got My Woman.” (Throughout the evening, irritating audience members took advantage of the many quiet moments to shout “I love you Bonnie!” or “I love you James!” and both artists made the mistake of responding, which only encouraged other clods in the crowd to follow suit.)

A slowed-down “Have a Heart” had the fans swooning as did “Nick of Time.” For that one, she invited her keyboard player Ivan Neville (nephew to the Neville Brothers and solo artist in his own right) up front for a stunning duet.

Taylor, 70, opened his set with a brief video history followed by “Carolina in My Mind” and a set that included pretty much all of his 1976 “Greatest Hits,” a staple in the vinyl collections of boomers around the world. He took breaks between songs to tell the stories behind his work and to casually introduce band members, including bass player Jimmy Johnson, a Minneapolis native from “an amazing musical family.”

After “Something in the Way She Moves,” he revealed it was one of the numbers he played for Paul McCartney and George Harrison during his successful audition with Apple Records at the beginning of his career. (He didn’t mention, however, that Harrison lifted the song title for the opening line of “Something.”)

With a demeanor ever bit as mild as his many, many ballads, Taylor also cracked a few of the tamest dad — granddad? — jokes imaginable, including one with the F-word that was so gentle one could (almost) hear it told during a Presbyterian church service.

Taylor’s finest moments happened in songs like “Walking Man” and “Handy Man” that showcased some gorgeous harmonizing with his backup singers. For his encore, Raitt joined him for, of all things, a cover of Chuck Berry’s “Johnny B. Goode.” (I would have preferred another INXS or Talking Heads tune, but that’s just me.) Taylor then played “You’ve Got a Friend” and invited Raitt back to help him sing the b-side, “You Can Close Your Eyes,” which they delivered as a sort of lullaby to close out the evening.


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James Taylor, Bonnie Raitt deliver a night of cherished songs, friendship at Resch

Kendra Meinert Green Bay Press-Gazette - Jun 24, 2018


James Taylor and His All-Star Band perform Saturday at the Resch Center - Jim Matthews

ASHWAUBENON - James Taylor held out on “You’ve Got a Friend” until the encore of his concert with Bonnie Raitt, but it played like the night’s theme song before he ever started.

Songs so warm and lovingly worn they felt like an evening spent with old friends. Two old friends so appreciative to be back on the road together the heartfelt embraces were at times as life-affirming as the music. The music such a touchstone for a generation of old friends and lovers, you could almost see the affection wash over the audience like some glorious wave sent from 1975.

How sweet it was Saturday night at the Resch Center, where a sold-out crowd of about 8,000 basked in the happiness that comes with having Taylor turn the pages on one of music's most beloved songbooks.

From the collective feel-good celebrations of “Shower the People” and “Your Smiling Face” to the slip-your-arm-around-your-spouse-and-give-them-a-peck-on-the-cheek moments of “Don’t Let Me Be Lonely Tonight” and “Up on the Roof,” it was nearly two hours of blissful reminiscing from the iconic singer-songwriter.

It was this summer’s version of last summer’s Billy Joel concert at Lambeau Field: nostalgic escapism of the highest order by one of the greats, the ultimate baby boomer Saturday night out, an electrifying stage production worthy of the grandest concert venues — give or take about 35,000 people. The original JT (pre-Justin Timberlake) might not have the same multi-generational appeal of Joel, but his show felt just as big and just as special.

Raitt was billed as a special guest, but it was more like a double bill both in stature and fan love. It was only her second night on the tour after having to miss the first leg for undisclosed medical reasons.

Raitt, 68, and Taylor, 70, have been friends since she was 20 years old, she told the crowd. He broke with concert tradition to come out onstage to introduce her and send her off on her hour-long set with a hug. The crowd responded with a standing ovation.

Raitt dedicated “Rainy Day Man,” one of his songs she cut when she was 24, to Taylor for his support during “recent tough times.”

She was in fine form, effortlessly moving between genres — from roots to blues to funk — grooving from behind the keyboards on “Nick of Time.”

“This feels pretty good up here, just like a little club in Ann Arbor,” she said after “Have a Heart.”

She dedicated her stirring rendition of the John Prine gem “Angel from Montgomery” to her mother’s generation, which didn't have all the choices women do now. It earned her a lengthy standing ovation and left her visibly moved.

Then she and her four-piece band laid into the Talking Heads cover “Burning Down the House.”

Taylor joined her for a free-wheeling joy ride on “Thing Called Love” to close her set. She would return at the end of his for the Chuck Berry classic “Johnny B. Goode” and “You Can Close Your Eyes.” If one of them was more grateful or delighted than the other to be there onstage, it was impossible to tell which.

During a collage of photos, videos and interview clips that spanned the half-century of a remarkable career to open his show, Taylor says, “I don’t present a character. I don’t present a version of myself. I present myself.”

That approach defined his concert, as he introduced nearly every song with a story, accompanied it with personal photos or slipped in an endearingly corny joke (and two f-bombs in explaining how one of his dad’s sayings inspired “First of May”).

He opened with “Carolina in My Mind” off his 1968 self-titled debut. The stage cleverly transformed to look like his childhood home in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, which was sold in 2016.


Luis Conte plays percussion during the sold-out James Taylor concert at the Resch Center - Jim Matthews

The staging was spectacular, with a huge video wall backdrop and five smaller panels of assorted shapes that moved in front of it for a multidimensional effect. It was stunning and sophisticated — the stuff stadium shows are made of. (It’s going to look fabulous at the 23,000-seat American Family Insurance Amphitheater in Milwaukee for a Summerfest stop on Thursday.) It quickly put to rest any worries that Taylor sitting on a stool strumming a guitar would somehow be a sleepy affair.

No chance of it, not with his 10-member All-Star Band. They turned blues parody “Steamroller Blues” into a lethal jam, including a mean trumpet solo from Walt Fowler, and unleashed an arena dance party with “Mexico.” Flanked by backing vocalists Arnold McCuller (a standout all night with both Raitt and Taylor), Kate Marcowitz and Andrea Zonn across the front of the stage, “Shed a Little Light” swelled to show-stopping Broadway number proportions.

From the joyful “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)” to the poignant “Fire and Rain,” it was a night where the comfort of music won out over the weight of the world. A throwback to simpler times and a respite from the tough ones.  An evening among good friends — onstage and off.

The setlist:

“Carolina in My Mind”

“Country Road”

“Sunny Skies”

“Walking Man”

“First of May”

“Handy Man”

“Steamroller Blues”

“Don’t Let Me Be Lonely Tonight”

“Up on the Roof”

“Mexico”

“Something in the Way She Moves”

“Sweet Baby James”

“Fire and Rain”

“Shed a Little Light”

“Your Smiling Face”

“Shower the People”

“How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)”


Encore


“Johnny B. Goode” (with Bonnie Raitt)

“You’ve Got a Friend”

“You Can Close Your Eyes” (with Bonnie Raitt)


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How sweet it was: James Taylor and Bonnie Raitt charm crowd at the Big Gig

By Lori Fredrich

It's not often you experience a show put on by two musical veterans whose combined experience comprises nearly a century. But last night's American Family Amphitheater show featuring James Taylor and special guest Bonnie Raitt offered exactly that.

Raitt was less an opening act than Taylor's partner in crime; they were friends delighted to be on the road together, and together their performances rang far more true as a double billing.

The show began with an appearance from Taylor, who took the stage and addressed the crowd with a humble introduction: "It's my great honor and pleasure to introduce to you the woman, who in my opinion epitomizes the musical art of our generation...my dear, beloved friend, Miss Bonnie Raitt."

Taylor slid into the background as Raitt took her place on the glowing purple-lit stage showcasing the backdrop of a vibrant sunset, she remarked: "We've never played this big giant, but we're gonna fill it up..."

And fill it up she did.

Raitt, who missed the opening leg of her tour with Taylor due to emergency surgery, was in prime form, effortlessly moving between genres -- from acoustic blues, funk, R&B, pop -- with deft guitar and impassioned vocals.

In fact, her too-short hour-long set was quintessential Raitt, complete with Delta-style bottleneck work, political commentary and a bit of roadhouse rumble.

Raitt has always been a gifted interpreter, magically taking ownership of songs she may not have written but may as well have. And her show at the Amp aptly demonstrated her talent.

Over the course of the next hour, Raitt showcased her prowess on electric guitar with a rollicking, music festival appropriate version of the Fabulous Thunderbirds cover, "I Believe I'm in Love" and poured an impressive bit of heart into an acoustic soulful version of "Devil Got My Woman," a song written by Delta blues singer and songwriter Skip James. She also grooved from behind a keyboard to "Nick of Time," a song she performed with Arnold McCuller, a James Taylor All-Star Band member and solo artist who has appeared on numerous Raitt albums.

Meanwhile, her trademark slide provided the connective tissue for an ultra-sexy, amped up version of "Need You Tonight," a song that went beyond simple nostalgia and became something worthy of homage to the late Michael Hutchence.

Her commentary was brief, but ranged from political to personal.
Before drifting into the uncannily appropriate "Everybody's Crying Mercy" by jazz artist Mose Allison, the vocally political singer took a brief jab at President Donald Trump, having noted the sluggishness of traffic caused by his Milwaukee visit, "I wonder how much that cost? I guess we'll find out..." she noted.

Throughout her 10-song set, she clearly exhibited her 11-time Grammy-winning worthiness while graciously offering nods to numerous Milwaukee musicians, including friend and artist Paul Cebar, who'd featured her as a guest on his WMSE-FM show.

Although the audience took a while to warm up, Raitt got them going with crowd-pleasers like "Something to Talk About," her raspy vocals purring the lyrics as the crowd sang along. Meanwhile, she dedicated a beautiful rendition of John Prine's "Angel From Montgomery" to women around the world, including those "separated from their children," evoking a standing ovation from a formerly seated crowd.

After a fiery jaunt through the Talking Heads' "Burning Down the House" which brought the crowd to its feet, Raitt wrapped up her set, welcoming Taylor back to the stage.

The two friends took up their guitars and played "A Thing Called Love." And while their voices didn't blend perfectly, the admiration and affection between them was palpable. And it reverberated into the audience, the majority of which remained standing, bobbing and tapping their feet in participatory bliss.

Taylor performed his show with an exceedingly talented group of musicians, including percussionist Steve Gadd and "Blues Brothers" sax player Lou Marini. A moving performance of "Country Road" featured a stirring fiddle solo from Andrea Zonn. And Cuban percussionist Luis Conte added international flair with Latin-inspired grooves on both "First of May" and "Mexico."

The evening was doppled with "Grandpa" jokes, brief zingers delivered in Taylor's classically awkward-yet-endearing style. There were also self-deprecating stories, told playfully, often as keen set-ups for songs.

During "Sunny Skies" the audience was treated to funny little home videos of Taylor's dog, of which he remarked: "There's nothing we will not stoop to in meeting all of your entertainment needs."

There was also amusing profanity. Before performing the danceable, salsa-flecked version of "First of May," he told the tale of a little ditty his father was known to recite without fail every May Day: "Hooray, hooray, the first of May. Outdoor f*cking starts today." But somehow, when James Taylor drops the "F-bomb" it has a way of coming off vaguely sweet, even church-worthy.

"Handy Man," a song I knew throughout my childhood only as the "Comma" song, was performed against a backdrop of comic videos depicting handymen of all stripes —some exhibiting the ubiquitous plumber butt, others operating tractors or heavy equipment — experiencing any number of amusingly unfortunate accidents.

There were also more personal selections. Take "Something in the Way She Moves," a song he performed for the audition which earned him an inaugural contract with The Beatles' Apple Records. Taylor relayed the story of the audition, which rendered him "clinically" nervous. He also threw a slight barb at George Harrison.

"Paul like the song enough to sign me to his record label," he remarked. "And George liked the song so much he went home and wrote it himself," he noted with a chuckle, a reference to Harrison's blatant use of the song for the 1969 Beatles hit "Something."

Despite two hours of largely impressive performances, the show wasn't without awkward moments. Take for instance, Taylor's performance of "Steamroller," during which the 70-year-old Rock Hall of Famer hammed it up, strutting across the stage with his screaming electric guitar, sometimes upstaging talented guitarist Michael Landau. It was almost a relief when the song quieted and Taylor moved deftly into the ballad, "Lonely Tonight."

But those moments were largely overshadowed by beautiful musical interludes and impressive harmonies. Taylor's voice -- miraculously unscathed by time and excess -- easily danced through the 20-song set without a hitch. And his delivery of moving lyrics, relayed without frill or pretense, gave credence to his reputation as the harbinger of the singer-songwriter era.

The personal nature of his work was evidenced in tunes like the "cowboy lullaby" written for his older brother's newborn son, "Sweet Baby James." During his performance, a video pop-up book featuring the lyrics scrolled across the screen, creating a mood that linked the audience to the song in a palpable way.

Between songs, he'd pause to offer generous -- and well-deserved -- accolades to a member of the band or to marvel at the moon rising over Lake Michigan. And one couldn't help but realize how much this artist — a man whose complex journey was marked with both challenges and successes — is truly present, living life in each moment.

And even as he sang "Fire and Rain" for what was likely the 35 millionth time, there was the same clarity, the same emotion in his voice that there's always been. And the lyrics —- written at least 48 years ago -- rang as true as ever.

To my surprise, I also found myself beaming during "Smiling Face." It's a cheerful song, for sure. But it was the way the video cameras panned the audience, capturing the delighted looks, smiles and moments of surprise as audience members realized that their swaying, singing countenances were being displayed on the big screen.

These moments held reminders that Taylor's songs, his art, are intimately bound to both the everyday moments and emotions we all experience. It's what makes his music so relatable. So infinitely singable. So real for so many.

The encore included a rousing rendition of Chuck Barry's "Johnny B. Goode" during which a hyped up Taylor performed once again with Raitt, who added raspy vocals and spirited guitar licks. That was followed by the infinitely singable "You've Got A Friend," and "You Can Close Your Eyes," a duet that seemed to highlight the love shared by Raitt and Taylor while offering a soulful and heartfelt farewell to the audience.

It was a fitting close to a concert that reminded everyone that -- in an age when music tends toward the homogenized and impersonal -- there's still an awful lot of heart and soul in the world.


In Festival Guide
James Taylor's Summerfest performance was a keen reminder that there's still soul in pop music. (PHOTO: Ty Helbach)
How sweet it was: James Taylor and Bonnie Raitt charm crowd at the Big Gig

By Lori Fredrich RSS Feed Twitter Feed Senior Writer Photography: Ty HelbachE-mail author | Author bio More articles by Lori Fredrich
Published June 29, 2018 at 3:14 a.m.
Tweet

It's not often you experience a show put on by two musical veterans whose combined experience comprises nearly a century. But last night's American Family Amphitheater show featuring James Taylor and special guest Bonnie Raitt offered exactly that.

Raitt was less an opening act than Taylor's partner in crime; they were friends delighted to be on the road together, and together their performances rang far more true as a double billing.

The show began with an appearance from Taylor, who took the stage and addressed the crowd with a humble introduction: "It's my great honor and pleasure to introduce to you the woman, who in my opinion epitomizes the musical art of our generation...my dear, beloved friend, Miss Bonnie Raitt."

Taylor slid into the background as Raitt took her place on the glowing purple-lit stage showcasing the backdrop of a vibrant sunset, she remarked: "We've never played this big giant, but we're gonna fill it up..."

And fill it up she did.

Raitt, who missed the opening leg of her tour with Taylor due to emergency surgery, was in prime form, effortlessly moving between genres -- from acoustic blues, funk, R&B, pop -- with deft guitar and impassioned vocals.

In fact, her too-short hour-long set was quintessential Raitt, complete with Delta-style bottleneck work, political commentary and a bit of roadhouse rumble.

Raitt has always been a gifted interpreter, magically taking ownership of songs she may not have written but may as well have. And her show at the Amp aptly demonstrated her talent.

Over the course of the next hour, Raitt showcased her prowess on electric guitar with a rollicking, music festival appropriate version of the Fabulous Thunderbirds cover, "I Believe I'm in Love" and poured an impressive bit of heart into an acoustic soulful version of "Devil Got My Woman," a song written by Delta blues singer and songwriter Skip James. She also grooved from behind a keyboard to "Nick of Time," a song she performed with Arnold McCuller, a James Taylor All-Star Band member and solo artist who has appeared on numerous Raitt albums.

Meanwhile, her trademark slide provided the connective tissue for an ultra-sexy, amped up version of "Need You Tonight," a song that went beyond simple nostalgia and became something worthy of homage to the late Michael Hutchence.

Her commentary was brief, but ranged from political to personal.
Before drifting into the uncannily appropriate "Everybody's Crying Mercy" by jazz artist Mose Allison, the vocally political singer took a brief jab at President Donald Trump, having noted the sluggishness of traffic caused by his Milwaukee visit, "I wonder how much that cost? I guess we'll find out..." she noted.

Throughout her 10-song set, she clearly exhibited her 11-time Grammy-winning worthiness while graciously offering nods to numerous Milwaukee musicians, including friend and artist Paul Cebar, who'd featured her as a guest on his WMSE-FM show.

Although the audience took a while to warm up, Raitt got them going with crowd-pleasers like "Something to Talk About," her raspy vocals purring the lyrics as the crowd sang along. Meanwhile, she dedicated a beautiful rendition of John Prine's "Angel From Montgomery" to women around the world, including those "separated from their children," evoking a standing ovation from a formerly seated crowd.

After a fiery jaunt through the Talking Heads' "Burning Down the House" which brought the crowd to its feet, Raitt wrapped up her set, welcoming Taylor back to the stage.

The two friends took up their guitars and played "A Thing Called Love." And while their voices didn't blend perfectly, the admiration and affection between them was palpable. And it reverberated into the audience, the majority of which remained standing, bobbing and tapping their feet in participatory bliss.

Taylor performed his show with an exceedingly talented group of musicians, including percussionist Steve Gadd and "Blues Brothers" sax player Lou Marini. A moving performance of "Country Road" featured a stirring fiddle solo from Andrea Zonn. And Cuban percussionist Luis Conte added international flair with Latin-inspired grooves on both "First of May" and "Mexico."

The evening was doppled with "Grandpa" jokes, brief zingers delivered in Taylor's classically awkward-yet-endearing style. There were also self-deprecating stories, told playfully, often as keen set-ups for songs.

During "Sunny Skies" the audience was treated to funny little home videos of Taylor's dog, of which he remarked: "There's nothing we will not stoop to in meeting all of your entertainment needs."

There was also amusing profanity. Before performing the danceable, salsa-flecked version of "First of May," he told the tale of a little ditty his father was known to recite without fail every May Day: "Hooray, hooray, the first of May. Outdoor f*cking starts today." But somehow, when James Taylor drops the "F-bomb" it has a way of coming off vaguely sweet, even church-worthy.

"Handy Man," a song I knew throughout my childhood only as the "Comma" song, was performed against a backdrop of comic videos depicting handymen of all stripes —some exhibiting the ubiquitous plumber butt, others operating tractors or heavy equipment — experiencing any number of amusingly unfortunate accidents.

There were also more personal selections. Take "Something in the Way She Moves," a song he performed for the audition which earned him an inaugural contract with The Beatles' Apple Records. Taylor relayed the story of the audition, which rendered him "clinically" nervous. He also threw a slight barb at George Harrison.

"Paul like the song enough to sign me to his record label," he remarked. "And George liked the song so much he went home and wrote it himself," he noted with a chuckle, a reference to Harrison's blatant use of the song for the 1969 Beatles hit "Something."

Despite two hours of largely impressive performances, the show wasn't without awkward moments. Take for instance, Taylor's performance of "Steamroller," during which the 70-year-old Rock Hall of Famer hammed it up, strutting across the stage with his screaming electric guitar, sometimes upstaging talented guitarist Michael Landau. It was almost a relief when the song quieted and Taylor moved deftly into the ballad, "Lonely Tonight."

But those moments were largely overshadowed by beautiful musical interludes and impressive harmonies. Taylor's voice -- miraculously unscathed by time and excess -- easily danced through the 20-song set without a hitch. And his delivery of moving lyrics, relayed without frill or pretense, gave credence to his reputation as the harbinger of the singer-songwriter era.

The personal nature of his work was evidenced in tunes like the "cowboy lullaby" written for his older brother's newborn son, "Sweet Baby James." During his performance, a video pop-up book featuring the lyrics scrolled across the screen, creating a mood that linked the audience to the song in a palpable way.

Between songs, he'd pause to offer generous -- and well-deserved -- accolades to a member of the band or to marvel at the moon rising over Lake Michigan. And one couldn't help but realize how much this artist — a man whose complex journey was marked with both challenges and successes — is truly present, living life in each moment.

And even as he sang "Fire and Rain" for what was likely the 35 millionth time, there was the same clarity, the same emotion in his voice that there's always been. And the lyrics —- written at least 48 years ago -- rang as true as ever.

To my surprise, I also found myself beaming during "Smiling Face." It's a cheerful song, for sure. But it was the way the video cameras panned the audience, capturing the delighted looks, smiles and moments of surprise as audience members realized that their swaying, singing countenances were being displayed on the big screen.

These moments held reminders that Taylor's songs, his art, are intimately bound to both the everyday moments and emotions we all experience. It's what makes his music so relatable. So infinitely singable. So real for so many.

The encore included a rousing rendition of Chuck Barry's "Johnny B. Goode" during which a hyped up Taylor performed once again with Raitt, who added raspy vocals and spirited guitar licks. That was followed by the infinitely singable "You've Got A Friend," and "You Can Close Your Eyes," a duet that seemed to highlight the love shared by Raitt and Taylor while offering a soulful and heartfelt farewell to the audience.

It was a fitting close to a concert that reminded everyone that -- in an age when music tends toward the homogenized and impersonal -- there's still an awful lot of heart and soul in the world.


SETLISTS:

BONNIE RAITT

"Unintended Consequence of Love"
"Need You Tonight" (INXS cover)
"Everybody's Crying Mercy" (Mose Allison cover)
"I Believe I'm in Love" (Fabulous Thunderbirds cover)
"Devil Got My Woman" (Skip James cover)
"Have a Heart"
"Something to Talk About"
"Nick of Time"
"Angel From Montgomery" (John Prine cover)
"Burning Down the House" (Talking Heads cover)
"Thing Called Love" with James Taylor

JAMES TAYLOR

"Carolina On My Mind"
"Country Road"
"Sunny Skies"
"Walking Man"
"First of May"
"Handy Man" (Jimmy Jones cover)
"Steamroller"
"Don't Let Me Be Lonely Tonight"
"Up on the Roof" (Carole King cover)
"Mexico"
"Something in the Way She Moves"
"Sweet Baby James"
"Fire and Rain"
"Shed a Little Light"
"Your Smiling Face"
"Shower the People"
"How Sweet It Is" (To Be Loved by You) (Marvin Gaye cover)

Encore:
"Johnny B. Goode" with Bonnie Raitt (Chuck Berry cover)
"You've Got a Friend" (Carole King cover)
"You Can Close Your Eyes" with Bonnie Raitt


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How sweet it was seeing James Taylor and Bonnie Raitt together at Summerfest
Piet Levy Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - Jun 29, 2018



Controversy is the last word you'd ever associate with James Taylor, but the celebrated singer-songwriter took a very small amount of heat four years back when he was caught on camera comparing the fans at his last Milwaukee show to wood at an Illinois gig.

He apologized. But honestly, he was right. And honestly, Taylor was very wooden himself that night.

That certainly wasn't the case during his two-hour Summerfest show Thursday at the American Family Insurance Amphitheater. From the beautifully rendered video backdrop — often reflecting a cinematic scrapbook — to spectacular and engaged renditions of his gems, this show was vastly superior in every way.

One reason Taylor may have had a bit of pep in his step: his opener and practically lifelong friend Bonnie Raitt, whom Taylor introduced himself Thursday, calling her "as generous and gracious a soul that walks this earth." And she came as close to living up to those words as any person could performing on stage for an hour.

This was one of the first shows Raitt has performed since an undisclosed medical issue forced her to cancel the first leg of Taylor's tour. When she said she felt grateful she could still perform, it clearly wasn't a line. Neither was her praise for friend and Milwaukee music veteran Paul Cebar, who welcomed Raitt as his guest on his WMSE-FM (91.7) show. In addition to Cebar, Raitt praised the talent of several Milwaukee musicians, quite high praise from an 11-time Grammy winner.



Bonnie Raitt opens for James Taylor at the American Family Insurance Amphitheater June 28.
Rick Wood, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Across 10 songs, she showed she was worth every accolade and then some, including a smoking blues-rock rendition of Talking Heads' "Burning Down the House" (with Ivan Neville's keys throwing a bit of gas on the flames).

And she dedicated a sparsely gorgeous cover of John Prine's "Angel From Montgomery" to women suffering around the world, including those "separated from their children right now," an apparent reference to the immigration crisis.  

And before she wrapped up, she slapped on some lipstick as Taylor returned to the stage to jam along to John Hiatt's "Thing Called Love," the friends huddling together, electric guitars in hand.

Raitt returned the favor during Taylor's encore, sitting by his side for an intimate rendition of "You Can Close Your Eyes" and paying tribute to Chuck Berry with her own sweet and spicy guitar riffs to "Johnny B. Goode."

Taylor was accompanied by 10 other excellent musicians who brought the best out of his material. Andrea Zonn's dusty fiddle solo set the tone for "Country Road" before Steve Gadd's thunderous drums took the tune off-roading. Cuban percussionist Luis Conte quickened the show's pulse with some Latin jazz-infused takes on "First of May" and "Mexico." Lou Marini, best known from "The Blues Brothers," supplied sweet sax notes for "Don't Let Me Be Lonely Tonight" and Arnold McCuller's soulful falsetto brought a gentle glow to "Shower the People."

They all seemed to really fire up Taylor, who offered jumps and Chuck Berry-style stage struts, even an excitable "woo," in addition to his more mellow moments. He rightly lavished the band with praise early in the night — before turning over his acoustic guitar to reveal a note that read "Help Me" in big letters.

It was one of several funny, and some not-so-funny, bits. Taylor actually dropped an F-bomb talking about the crude joke his dad used to make that partially inspired "May." "Handy Man" was accompanied by footage of construction mishaps akin to an "America's Funniest Home Videos" montage. And "Steamroller" — which featured great moments from guitarist Michael Landau, pianist Kevin Hays and trumpet player Walt Fowler — was nearly ruined by Taylor's cringe-inducing, bluesman-style vamping. It was like something you'd see Michael Scott do on "The Office."

But Taylor was sincere, and engaged, when he needed to be, particularly during a loving cover of Carole King's "You've Got a Friend." As he sang, he even ad-libbed a few things to say about his Milwaukee fans: "Everyone here at Summerfest is the best."

Well, thank you, James. You're pretty great yourself.

JAMES TAYLOR'S SET LIST

1. "Carolina In My Mind"
2. "Country Road"
3. "Sunny Skies"
4. "Walking Man"
5. "First of May"
6. "Handy Man"
7. "Steamroller"
8. "Don't Let Me Be Lonely Tonight"
9. "Up on the Roof"
10. "Mexico"
11. "Something in the Way She Moves"
12. "Sweet Baby James"
13. "Fire and Rain"
14. "Shed a Little Light"
15. "Your Smiling Face"
16. "Shower the People"
17. "How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)"
Encore
18. "Johnny B. Goode" (with Bonnie Raitt)
19. "You've Got a Friend"
20. "You Can Close Your Eyes" (with Bonnie Raitt)

THING CALLED LOVE



CAROLINA IN MY MIND



SWEET BABY JAMES





FIRE AND RAIN





YOU'VE GOT A FRIEND




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James Taylor's soothing simplicity satisfies at KeyBank Center
By Ben Siegel - July 2, 2018



Like a scoop of ice cream on an oppressive summer night, James Taylor is a magical salve. He always makes our lives seem a little easier, a little calmer, a little simpler.

That’s just what Taylor and his All-Star Band served Sunday night at KeyBank Center, with the help from longtime pal, blues goddess Bonnie Raitt.

Her generous set was studded with a blend of entry points, from radio-friendly anthems “Something To Talk About” and “Thing Called Love,” to delicious covers of Skip James’s “Devil Got My Woman” and the Talking Heads’ “Burning Down the House.” Her full band -- and an surprise early appearance by Taylor -- reinforced all that we love about Raitt. Her knowing restraint on a drippy blues riff, her political activism and folk-era organizing, her kind, gracious tenor with an adoring audience.

She is a class act -- and having just returned to this tour after time off for health complications, looking in tip-top shape.

The vibe in the room, at near capacity, was both relaxed and recharged. This was a fantastic first course.


Taylor and his crew transitioned into a two-hour set with the quiet “Carolina In My Mind,” a trailways number perfectly blended by Taylor’s folk and country leanings. The stage bloomed with its warm glow, illustrated on floating screens by images of postcards, sunrises and quiet roads. A calm dip in a warm bath.


It may be easy to cast Taylor off as a softie. He’s a little dorky, a little idealistic, a little dad-jokey. Just picture him as a young troubadour, with that innocent puppy-dog face and those long locks. He’s aged with the best of them, and so has his music.

Old friends like “Fire and Rain,” “Your Smiling Face,” “Shower the People,” a number of Carole King covers, to name a few, showed up with a glimmer of nostalgia, wearing their wrinkles with pride.

Some songs came with stories. “Sweet Baby James” was made sweeter knowing it was written as a gift, a cowboy lullaby, to his nephew bearing his name.

“Something In the Way She Moves” was auditioned for The Beatles’ Apple Records in London, promptly earning him his debut album deal. And the empowering lyrics in “Shed a Little Light,” a lesser known but fantastic gospel meditation, highlighted his folk bloodline, urging us to heed Dr. Martin Luther King’s words of brotherhood and sisterhood, of commonality in times of divisiveness.

These were the calming licks that we all wanted, and that Raitt and Taylor delivered so masterfully. They have a great musical partnership here, one that’s toured before, and can be found buried in session credits.

This was truly a “friends” kind of show, between bandmates and backup singers trading spots in each other’s set, to step-in appearances on each other’s songs -- including a rousing joint encore paying tribute to the late Chuck Berry -- this felt natural and real and peaceful. A concert meets a bonfire meets a prayer service. That feels nice.


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