Beth and I saw a James Taylor concert at Key Arena a few weeks ago. It was her first time seeing him; I believe it was my 18th. It had been a long time for me, though. My previous show was back on June 11th, 2008. That’s one week shy of a decade.
The truth is I don’t listen to James Taylor that much anymore. I purchased his most recent album, 2015’s Before This World, but it soon got filed away and I doubt I could name a song off it right now if you asked me. I guess my fandom has waned a bit. Still, it was lovely to see him live again after so much time. I take great comfort in knowing James Taylor is still out there doing his thing and that his voice sounds exactly the way it did when I first caught up with him in the summer of 1992 (at my third concert ever!). Three members of the current band–Jimmy Johnson, Kate Markowitz, and Arnold McCuller–were on stage at that concert 26 years ago. There was a setlist overlap of 17 songs between the two shows. Heck, some of JT’s stories and jokes from the Key Arena concert were the same ones he told back in 1992. I like that kind of consistency and reliability…although I must admit it might be time to update a couple of those jokes.
Here’s the setlist:
First set: Carolina in My Mind / (Andrea Zonn fiddle intro)–>Country Road / Jump Up Behind Me / Never Die Young / Don’t Let Me Be Lonely Tonight / (I’m a) Roadrunner (Jr. Walker & the All-Stars) / Nothing Like a Hundred Miles / First of May / Copperline / Handy Man (Jimmy Jones) / Mexico
Second set: Something in the Way She Moves / Sunny Skies / Walking Man / Up on the Roof (Goffin & King) / Steamroller / Sweet Baby James / Fire and Rain / Your Smiling Face / Shower the People / How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You) (Holland-Dozier-Holland)
Encore: Shed a Little Light / In the Midnight Hour (Wilson Pickett) / You’ve Got a Friend (Carole King)
As far as highlights go, I was happy to realize that the live version of “First of May” is a ba-ba song. I also really enjoyed “Jump Up Behind Me,” “Copperline” and “Sunny Skies.” Oh, and the hits. So many hits. It was such fun seeing James Taylor again that I’m even considering driving to Columbus in a couple days to see him for the 19th time. It probably won’t happen, though. Unlike James Taylor, my car isn’t very reliable.