February 21, 2017 | « back

STUFF.CO.NZ — James Taylor and his all star band kick off Pacific tour in Auckland

By Catrin Owen

REVIEW: Auckland’s Vector Arena was packed out tonight to listen to the gentle, sweet-voiced and magical James Taylor.

With a tip of his hat, he took the the stage with encouraging shouts from the audience and his all star band soon followed.

The award-winning singer-songwriter did not disappoint, and again wowed a packed house, with his effortless performance.

Taylor kicked off the gig, sitting on a stool singing Wandering, before thanking the audience.

“What a delight it is to be back in Auckland, thanks for bringing us back,” he said.

Taylor was last in New Zealand in 2010 where he played alongside Carole King at Vector Arena.

He has returned to kick off his tour of the Pacific Rim with his all-star band including Louis Marini, the American saxophonist and original member of the Blues Brothers Band.

Taylor was quick to apologise about the new American president, receiving a few chuckles from the audience.

“Sorry about the president, folks. Just have to hope for the best, but it hasn’t been working too well,” he said.

Taylor looked as he always does, blazer, blue shirt, capped and at ease on the stage.

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He took the audience to exactly where he was when he wrote each of his songs like Montana, Country Road and Copperline.

He told the crowd his rendition of Carolina In my Mind was written while he was recording in London, homesick despite being surrounded by music royalty.

Taylor played the “original, unlistenable” version of the song to Paul McCartney and George Harrison of the Beatles who were in the same studio recording The White Album at the time.

Before a brief intermission, Taylor had the crowd on their feet, swaying and singing along to Shed A Little Light.

Despite the intermission, he took time to take photos with fans and chat before returning to the stage with a new song about Botany Bay in Australia.

The crowd were mesmerised by his ease and Taylor managed to get the audience up on their feet with old favourites such as You’ve Got a Friend, Fire and Rain and Steamroller.

Taylor took time to introduce each of his seven piece “all star” band and three backing vocalists who each had a part to play throughout the show.

It all ended with the crowd all up on their feet singing along to Your Smiling Face before an encore of songs Knock on Wood, How Sweet it is and You and I again.

Taylor may be 68, but he still has that twinkle in his eye, boogies on down with his band and looks like he’s having one heck of a time on stage.