Sunday, June 10, 2018

Hangin' with JT....

Things get a little confusing when you are seated in the FIRST row at the North Charleston Coliseum for a James Taylor concert.

Yep, about 8 seats to the right of center.

The good news is the microphone is not right in front of his face as it is when you're seated in the center, quite a few rows back.

The bad news is Bonnie Raitt had to cancel her appearance with James due to a medical condition.

He announced at the start of the show that her surgery was successful, she's doing fine and will join the tour very shortly.

The confusing part is you are too close to appreciate all the images changing behind James and his band.

Country roads, mountains, forests, etc. move around, drift across the projected sky, and slowly fade from one scene to another.

Even the Jumbotrons are at odd angles so you can't see what the rest of the audience is being shown.

I'm such a complainer! Sheesh.

Had a young excited couple sitting next to me who said it was their first time seeing Taylor in concert.

She too was using her phone cam and I complimented her on her composition.

I added that we had seen him here in 2014 and in Columbia in 2011.

Just as she asked me if he ever gets up off the stool and moves around, he jumped up and did just that!

He was moving toward our side of the stage.

She was laughing and tried to swing her phone camera to keep his image.

Then, he turned and went back to the stool and sat down again.

I said "well, it's a live concert. We just need to enjoy the show." 

She didn't ask me any more questions about what he might do next.

I concentrated on his interaction with band members, most of whom I remembered from when I had seen him previously.

Without Bonnie Raitt to share the stage, I guessed he would do a shorter show.

Well, he actually ran a bit longer than we expected so I'm glad I had not mentioned that to the young couple.

It had been announced there would be a short intermission so it was fun when the crowd started suggesting songs he should play next.

James had a ready answer,

"We are going to take a break pretty soon and I hear you calling out your favorites."

"Here's the list of what we are going to play in the second half."

"Take a look and see if the ones you want are listed. I'm really looking forward to the next half.

"It has a lot of my favorites too and I'm glad we all are going to hear them."

He played one more of his hits and announced the break and said be sure to come back in about 20 minutes.

As the band left the stage, the young couple got up to go check the merchandising table for t-shirts and CDs.

At about the same time, James walked over to our side, sat down in front of me on the front edge of the stage.

He started signing his name to anything presented to him.

I saw tickets to his show being signed and handed back.
Others had come prepared and had copies of vinyl albums to be autographed.

It was a calm but excited crowd that filled the space all around me, holding out items and taking selfies with their cellphones.

He was relaxed and good-natured, keeping track of who presented what and handing it back in their direction.

My plans to slip out for another beer were stymied as the crowd grew, blocking any easy exit.

Well, what the heck.

 I handed my phone cam to somebody and asked them to take a shot of me. And they framed it pretty good.

I have found my arms are too short to do a good selfie so this was fine.

I even fished my ticket from my shirt pocket and he signed it.

I tucked it back in my pocket so I could show the usher I belonged here in the front row when the show resumed and the crowd had dispersed.

Glancing at it, I saw the "James" was readable but the "Taylor" was more of a scrawl.

I knew what it said and when and where it had happened.

In past concerts, I have been handed a guitar pick from Buddy Guy, one from c.d.lang and another from the late B.B. King so I appreciate when performer rapport happened.

Oh, the young couple came back for the second part of the show. They didn't ask so I didn't mention the signings they had missed.

Nor the brief conversation I had had with James Taylor.

I  said, "we enjoyed your show in Columbia with your son Ben." He said thanks and added he was going to play there again later this year.

As you probably know the big hits come toward the end of the show and really flourish during the encore.

The young couple ducked past us before the encore and mumbled something about "beating the crowd."

Rookies.

(Click on the photos and the links for more details.)

Enjoyed the concert but regretted NOT bringing my small camera along.

The phone cam has its place with really nice HDR results but a real zoom lens was sorely missed.

*Uh, this is posting number 999.





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