Last night I headed along with other picnic basket carrying fans and settled in on the grass in the glorious Napier sunshine for a stunning night at Church Road Winery. What a setting! You couldn’t ask for a much dreamier spot or day to hear the dulcet tones of this American music superstar.
I don’t say superstar lightly, he is one of the most humble and gracious performers I’ve ever witnessed, yet he still has this insane star quality. We were mesmerised by his passionate storytelling and loved the pride with which he introduced each band member and rattled off their talents (of which I can confirm they had many –what an outstanding array of artists!).
Songs took on new meaning as they were preceded with tales of encounters with the Beatles and song swapping sessions with Carole King. Taylor acknowledged that the first time he played You’ve Got a Friend he never imagined he’d end up playing it every day for the rest of his life – but he was quick to say that that was in no way a bad thing! Amen to that – what a magic song it is and he brought it to life wonderfully last night, the crowd sang every word with their arms wrapped tightly round their mates, it was a real highlight.
This was one of many songs we were treated to in this concert of hit, after hit, after hit. We got all the goodies as well as the odd new song thrown in and it flowed perfectly. New tracks like Today, Today, Today truly stood up against the rest and showed he’s still a current artist with plenty more to give. My favourites were Copperline, Shower the People, Sweet Baby James and Country Road, each was played and sung with stunning ability and made everyone sit up a listen.
This is one of those concerts you think back about the next day and realise you’re bloody lucky you’ve witnessed such a musical genius at work. James Taylor still has full control of his lullaby voice and picks those guitar strings with lightning speed. My only criticism was finishing on a song which wasn’t a singalong, it left me thinking ‘that can’t be it?’ I felt certain there was a little more left in the tank. Perhaps playing Something in the Way She Moves, would have been a better choice given it seemed to be the only song people were whispering afterwards that they were sad not to hear.
But when I think about it – maybe my one minor complaint is created only because I didn’t want what was an epic show to end.
A+ work from you James Taylor – what a night!