I was on the fence as to whether to write a review of the recent James Taylor/Carole King concert at the Hollywood Bowl because I thought a lot of my readers might just see them as old geezers. But in light of the current mass hysteria for Betty White, Taylor and King are mere pups.
To love the concert as much as I did considering the ordeal to get there, really says something about how special the evening was.
First off, they sang their hits. I’ve read some reviews that knocked them for not presenting new material and not exploring the current themes we boomers are facing. Who wants that? I spent an hour standing on the 405 Freeway so I could sit under the stars and hear tunes about ageism, downsizing, and caring for parents? No. I want to hear “the Loco-Motion” and “Mexico”.
Yes, the evening was steeped in nostalgia but so what? The music was great then and it’s great now. Name me one Kara DioCuardi song that has the depth and haunting melody of “It’s Too Late” or “Fire & Rain”… or even “the Loco-Motion”.
James Taylor has an absolutely amazing voice. At one time he must’ve swallowed a Stradivarius. He sings as well today as he did thirty years ago. And everything is effortless.
I’ve always loved Carole King. Her vocals weren’t as good but that’s okay because a) the songs themselves were so good, b) the nostalgia factor, and c) who are we kidding? She was never a great singer. Unfortunately, that becomes all the more apparent singing duets with James Taylor.
It was a long show – 2 1/2 hours – but could have been 2 hours longer. They each have such large catalogs. There were favorites that they didn’t get to but maybe they’ll come back next year and do “He Hit Me/It Felt Like a Kiss” (written by Carole King).
The band and singers behind them were, as you’d expect, top of the line. It’s always fun to see Leland Sklar. The way I view the passing of the years is by how much his beard grows from appearance to appearance.
And still an added plus – James Taylor’s wry sense of humor.
If they come through your town treat yourself. The music, the memories – it’s all there. In fact, the only thing missing was the giant cloud of marijuana. Maybe we are getting old.