August 8, 2017 | « back

GUIDELIVE.COM — James Taylor, Bonnie Raitt deliver knockout punch at The Star in Frisco’s debut, despite a few venue hiccups

By Michael Granberry

FRISCO — Two of the more upstanding members of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame sauntered into this boomtown of a city Monday night to christen the Ford Center at The Star as a venue for concerts.

And what a perfect first choice James Taylor and Bonnie Raitt turned out to be.

Raitt, 67, opened the show and played for almost an hour on the practice field of the Dallas Cowboys, which serves as the centerpiece of a $1.5-billion, 91-acre complex.

Taylor, 69, played for almost two hours more, underscoring the perfect pairing by sharing the stage with Raitt for a handful of songs that made you wish they had teamed up far more often than they have.

And, of course, they weren’t the only ones putting on a show. The Ford Center survived its inaugural test as a concert venue by luring an adoring sold-out crowd of 17,104.

Let’s put it this way: If The Star’s debut as a rock venue were a football game, the Pros beat the Cons decisively.

It wasn’t a shutout — a few imperfections need to be worked out before Bob Seger appears at The Star on Oct. 21 — but it’s safe to call it a lopsided victory.

As for the Cons, well, a few folks complained about not being able to leave tickets at Will Call for late-arriving friends or family members. A few more grumbled about still being stuck in a long security line when Raitt crooned her opening notes. Others forgot to comply with the “no purses, no bags” rule and had to hoof it back to the car, then return to long lines.

But, hey, the parking was free, and the acoustics were surprisingly good for an indoor athletic arena, which was blessedly cool and comfortable on the final night of July when the temperature outside hovered near a muggy 90.

Joe Ward, 59, who owns an insurance agency in Arlington, where he also lives, gushed about Raitt’s blues-guitar riffs and gave Taylor full credit for having “brought the house down.”
He also marveled at the unexpected element that had everyone buzzing — a mesmerizing, ongoing video montage during Taylor’s set that offered big-screen, high-definition oomph to the 20 songs he sang.

“The graphics were unbelievable,” said Ward, who added: “But I wasn’t real happy when we walked in. Out there on that little turf football field where you enter, they had security guards and some guys dressed in green Army gear with assault rifles.”

He deemed that “a little bit over the top,” although the woman behind him argued that such a presence made her feel “more protected.”

Once the show began, the venue rose to the moment, as did the headliners. Raitt dazzled with her guitar work and her vocals, rising to full power on such memorable offerings as “Something to Talk About,” “Nick of Time” and John Prine’s knockout ballad, “Angel from Montgomery.”

As for Taylor, he really is the sonic equivalent of a wine that grows deeper and better with age, albeit one who’s months away from being a rock septuagenarian. He’s classy and elegant and as witty as ever.

He excelled on so many songs, such as “Carolina in My Mind,” “Country Road,” “Mexico,” “Don’t Let Me Be Lonely Tonight,” “Something in the Way She Moves” and “Sweet Baby James,” before drawing a prolonged standing-O for “Fire and Rain.”

He appeared unexpectedly moved, telling the crowd more than once, “I will not forget this.”

So, in appreciation, he and his killer band, with an assist from Raitt, indulged the Frisco faithful with a three-song encore of Chuck Berry’s “Johnny B. Goode,” Carole King’s “You’ve Got a Friend” and his own “You Can Close Your Eyes,” which he and Raitt offered as the sweetly sublime finale to a lovely three hours of no fumbles and no interceptions. Only touchdowns.