Carole King's cozy living room

King was joined by her daughter Louise Goffin (on vocals and keys) and two middle-aged guys — songwriters as well — on guitars, bass and vocals. The mostly acoustic night was a comfortable stroll down nostalgia street, with King singing a slew of her hits.

At one point, she performed a medley alone at the piano that ran through a compendium of ’60s songs she wrote with Gerry Goffin for other artists: “Take Good Care of My Baby,” “It Might as Well Rain Until September,” “I’m Into Something Good,” “Go Away Little Girl,” “One Fine Day,” “Hey Girl” and a couple of others.

The rest of the night included several numbers from her smash 1971 album Tapestry. Two songs illustrated the inconsistency of her vocals. On “Way Over Yonder,” the first song after intermission, King sounded robust and soulful. A couple of tunes later, she struggled through “It’s Too Late” — although her performance reminded me of the exquisite simplicity of the chorus’s rhyme scheme:

And it's too late, baby, now it's too late

Though we really did try to make it

Something inside has died and I can't hide

And I just can't fake it

Matters got a little icky when King and company tried for the big, pre-encore finish that included a “rockin’” version of “Pleasant Valley Sunday.”

No one really wants to see Grandma doing rock star poses.

Last night a Ruth Eckerd Hall, sitting at her piano on a stage decked out to look like a living room, songwriting legend Carole King came across as a pretty hip, sweetheart of a grandma. She pronounced proudly that she’s 66 years old.

When King exhorted everyone to sing along to the chorus of “Natural Woman,” she raved to the audience, “You guys are great!”

No we weren’t. (Although I did feel liberated crooning, “You make me feel like a natural woman.”)

After awhile, I was half expecting Carole to break out the chicken soup.

About The Author

Eric Snider

Eric Snider is the dean of Bay area music critics. He started in the early 1980s as one of the founding members of Music magazine, a free bi-monthly. He was the pop music critic for the then-St. Petersburg Times from ‘87-’93. Snider was the music critic, arts editor and senior editor of Weekly Planet/Creative...
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