In my mind I saw James Taylor in concert

Ok, I didn’t get to see the whole show, but I did sneak into sound check (please don’t tell my boss) and got to see James on stage for the big show, catching a few songs between the drink rush.  It was the sight of women of my age (don't ask) on their feet, arms overhead, dancing to the beat that exemplified the demographic.  These were women who had a mix tape that had The Best of James Taylor on one side and Jimmy Buffet: Songs You Know by Heart on the other. They pledged Kappa Delta and were thrown into the Dean Dome at midnight while Gone to Carolina blasted overhead.

I always feel like these legends that have been around so long must get bored singing the same songs over and over night after night.  I’m happy to report that James approaches his concerts with the same joy and passion that he always has.  The thing I love about his shows is yeah, the music is good, but he always adds a surprise, a twist or something new.  The stage was framed with long fringed columns that changed color with the mood of the songs.  The guitar player kicked ass. The rear projection morphed from close-up of James and the band to Mexican mosaics (Ohhh, Mexico…I’ve never really been but I’d sure like to go) to childlike drawings for You’ve got a Friend (You just call out my name…) and images of moonlight over the water for Gone to Carolina (see above) that could have been taken from the porch of my family’s cottage at Wrightsville Beach.

The show is sprinkled with his dry, somewhat sarcastic wit.  He is the kind of person you feel you would be great friends with if you were properly introduced.  As far as my fear of his boredom goes, James has this story:  He was working in Los Angeles at a club called The Troubadour.  It was a funky place, as in don’t-touch-anything funky.  He was working with his friend, Carole King, who wrote a song. No one could have told him then that he would be singing that song every night for the rest of his life.  But it could be worse.  It could have been about kangaroos.

BTW—I broke the sales record on my beverage station.  Thank you, Clearwater!  Goodnight!

The first time I saw James Taylor in concert was in college.  It was the early ’90s, and I was on a date.  This was a very big-deal date because there was dinner before and the concert so I think my suitor had very high hopes about how the evening would end. James (yeah, I’m calling him James) played in a 1500-seat concert hall near Chapel Hill, NC (In my mind I’ve gone to Carolina...), which is just about the best geographic location to see him play. The second time I saw James in concert was at Tanglewood, an outdoor venue in the Berkshires.  I was doing summer stock in Stockbridge (..and so was the turnpike from Stockbridge to Boston…) and the interns all blew a paycheck on a lawn ticket and a bottle of cheap wine.  The photos from that night show a group of unwashed, unattractive, drunk 20-somethings.  We were so far back that I cannot be sure that James actually played that night.

My most recent viewing of James was not under what I would consider the ideal circumstances.  If one is an employee of Ruth Eckerd Hall (as this particular one is) then it is understood that the staff ticket policy is somewhat strict.  I didn’t even attempt to get staff tickets when James was added to the schedule.  Then, out of the blue, a loophole appeared!  I could watch part of the show if I would be willing to man a satellite soda and water station in the west lobby.  Hmmm…would I get tips?  Maybe? I’m in!  Everyone who passed though the west lobby and gave me that pitying look as I hawked water and sodas, don’t you worry about Susan, my vantage point was better than yours.

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