Well last week I spent the week in D.C., but on Thursday July 31st I went to Jiffy Lube Live to see the wonderfully talented James Taylor and his “all star band”. This was my first time , as well as my family’s first time seeing him live, and I must say it was well worth it. We had eleventh row seats for the show and they were perfect. Taylor played two sets and each one was filled with hits. This first set had hits like “Carolina In My Mind”, and a new tune entitled “Today, Today, Today”. He even did a cover song in the first set, which was Buddy Holly’s “Everyday”. Well technically he did tow covers, the other of course being Carol King’s “You’ve Got A Friend”. He actually ended the first set with “You’ve Got A Friend”, but the song right before that was “Sweet Baby James”. He told the story about the song “Sweet Baby James”, which is that he wrote it about his first nephew James. This wasn’t the only story he told he told the story about the song “Something In The Way She Moves”, which is practically my favorite James Taylor song. It’s my favorite because of the lyrics and also because of the story that is behind the song. See “Something In The Way She Moves” is that Apple records were looking for people to sign with them and Taylor went to see if he could get signed. When he went he played McCartney and Harrison that song. Before I went to the show I said to both of my parents, “I sure hope he does that song that got him signed to Apple records”. Not only did he do the song, but it was the first song of the show. There was one other big story he told, which is all about the song “Millworker”. There was a musical on Broadway called “Working”(the title and musical are from a book with the same name). So Taylor was lucky enough to be one of the artists asked to write a song about a career and what that career would be like, so he chose to create a story about a man who worked in a mill and the struggles his wife has to deal with after the man dies. So there was stories galore told at the show, but there was also so much more, such as his band. The band that Taylor had was his “all star band” and wow these guys knew what they were doing. I mean when a band is this good you know that the musicians have played with Taylor for over twenty years and have ben in the business even longer. This band was absolutely huge, Taylor had eleven people in his band, four backup singers, two guys on keys, two guys on horns, a guy on percussion, another gentleman on drums, a guy on guitar, and a gentleman on bass. Now I know that this adds up to twelve, but one of the musicians that plays the keys is also on horns, but there is still eleven people in the band, I just counted somebody twice. The highlight players in this band is really everybody, but there were a few that stood out for me over the rest, like Steve Gadd on drums. You know I expected to see Russell Kunkel because he has played with Taylor so many times before, but Gadd absolutely did an amazing job. I think Gadd’s biggest highlight of the night was when Taylor performed “Country Road” and towards the end of the song Gadd just ripped into those drums. If it wasn’t Gadd’s biggest moment of the show, it was certainly one of the big ones for him and certainly the moment where I thought this guy is something else. That song really was the moment in the show where I knew I had to pay closer attention to Gadd. Plus I wasn’t the only one who enjoyed his solo on “Country Road”, because after the song was over the crowd went nuts. I mean so much so that James Taylor announced Gadd’s name one more time. When he did announce his name he sounded really proud that Gadd came on the road with him. I don’t blame Taylor for sounding proud, I’d sound proud if that guy were in a band that I had. Gadd was only one of the musicians that shined through others were, Andrea Zonn, who not only sang backup, but also played fiddle. She also has a new album out. Then there was Luis Conte who plays percussion. Conte’s shining moment of the show had to be when Taylor played “Mexico” in the second set. Then of course there is Lou Marini who played Saxophone, but also spent a few years in the “Saturday Night Live” band way back when. His shining moment was during the first encore, “How Sweet It Is”. Then of course there is the gentleman who is very respected for his work in the jazz world and this is none other than his piano player Mr. Larry Goldings. I got Goldings’s album and I can’t wait to listen to it. The album is entirely made up of covers by really famous musicians like Joni Mitchell. Not only was Taylor and his backup band outstanding, but he had some really cool projections on these screens that he brought. He must have had about seven screens, six little ones off to the sides and them one big one behind him and the band. I think my favorite projection that he put on the screens was when he was doing “Carolina In My Mind” and the screens showed a map of Carolina highlighting all of the towns and such as well. He had some really amusing images in the second set of the show of some kids later on in the show. When he did “Mexico” he had images of Mexico on the big screen, which I thought was really cool. I’ve mentioned most of the big hits that Taylor performed throughout the show, except for “Fire and Rain” and “Shower The People”. He did this one in the second set and you could hear a pin drop when he performed it. Of course the audience roared when he started playing the song, but once he began to sang it was dead silence. “Shower The People” was the second of his encores and once again his back up vocalist shined through. This time, however, there was a man by the name of David Lasley. This man really put a ton of emotion into his solo, which is something that this song requires because it is a song of peace. Although I’ve given it up to Taylor for writing great songs, as well as putting together such an amazing band, but there was one last thing that he did that I really found to be humble and kind and many big acts like him don’t do very much of . See during the set break that they had people went on up to the side of the stage and Taylor came out and signed things. I mena people didn’t bring their favorite album of his to get signed they just wanted their basic ticket signed. I know this wasn’t a part of the performance but I just found it to be the nicest and kindest thing because it shows that Taylor knows where his succsess comes from. Yes part of it comes from his great ability to write music, but the other, and maybe more important part, comes from his fans. Just the fact that he came out and signed stuff shows that he knows that his fans matter the most, when it comes to his success. So I would just like to say a personal thank you to him for that because that means something to me as a fan of his, but it means even more to me being an appreciator of music. This was an absolutely phenomenal night and I may have seen the best backup band I’ve ever seen in all of my time of going to shows.