LIVE REVIEW + PHOTOS: James Taylor @ Fenway Park 08.11.17
When you think of a singer-songwriter headlining a live concert, you may not think it would be a place as large as Fenway Park, however music legend James Taylor – in addition to his spectacular all star band – did just that and did it well. While it may have been quieter outside the park compared to other concerts Fenway Park has hosted, fans inside the park were all captivated by the presence on stage. Aside from the two side screens, the backdrop of the stage was one big giant screen, the show began with a video introducing Taylor and showed various pictures of him through the years. Soon after he came out to the stage to a roaring eager crowd. He opened the night with one of his most famous tunes “Carolina in my Mind.” He only played one song from his most recent release 2015’s Before This World, but appropriately enough it was “Angels of Fenway,” an ode to the 2004 World Series Champions.
After he played that song the next song, “Mexico” from 1975’s Gorilla was the first song to get the crowd on their feet. It had a colorful backdrop to serve as the visual stimulation for the track. That song went into “Steamroller Blues” for which Taylor laughed about that the song saying it took longer to play than it did to write. That was the standout rock out track of the night. Where after the song Taylor jokingly looked astonished and afraid of his guitar. Tossing it to the stage and then covered it up with a rag before stage hands took it away.
The whole set went by fairly quickly, other highlights included “Up on the Roof” originally written by Carole King, long time friend and collaborator of Taylor’s. During “Sweet Baby James” a song about his eldest brother’s son, the cowboy lullaby featured a pop up picture book as the background image. At one point during the show, a picture of him with his dog also displayed on the backdrop. One of the most endearing things about the set was how much the band was appreciated. Taylor took note to introduce each member and shake their hand and or give them a warm embrace, throughout the night while images of them would appear on the backdrop. He played every popular song imagined within a two hour timeframe. For an encore, he invited Bonnie Raitt on the stage to play “Johnny B. Goode” tribute to the late Chuck Berry. Raitt waved goodbye to everyone and the whole band took a bow. It was past 10pm but he gestured to the crowd one more and received thunderous applause, he then played another Carole King cover “You’ve Got a Friend,’ then invited Raitt up for one final tune of the night “You Can Close Your Eyes.” Ending what was a tremendous show at the historic ball park.
Photos: James Taylor at Fenway Park 8.11.17: