May 28, 2010 | « back

THE WINDSOR STAR – How sweet it was to hear friends

By Ted Shaw

Theirs is a musical union built on the bedrock of song, and it’s as solid today as it was 40 years ago.

Carole King and James Taylor brought their Troubadour Reunion Tour to the Palace of Auburn Hills on Thursday, shrinking the massive arena to the size of a folk club. They led about 16,000 fans in a lusty, hootenanny-like singalong.

Performing in the round on a large rotating stage, the two sang many of the hits they are famous for, dating back to the late-1960s.

Fifty- and 60-somethings packed the place. Their children and even grandchildren were there, too, and they knew most of the words of the nearly 30 songs in the 150-minute show.

Taylor, 62, and King, 68, have been performing together since the late-1960s. This tour was named after a 50th anniversary show they performed at the Los Angeles folk club, The Troubadour, in 2007.

But their relationship with the club goes back further to November 1970.

The tour is more than just a chance to sing the songs of a generation; it’s a reunion of musical friends, as well. Backing up the stars are old mates Danny Kortchmar (“Kootch”) on guitar, Russ Kunkel on drums and Lee Sklar on bass.

Joining them were longtime Taylor associate, vocalist Arnold McCuller, keyboard player Robbie Kondor, Kate Markowitz on vocals, and Andrea Zahn on fiddles and vocals.

Opening with Taylor’s Blossom, from his Sweet Baby James album of 1970, the concert was divided into a pair of sets that featured about 25 songs, a 20-minute intermission and a lengthy encore.

Highlights included King’s (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman, Smackwater Jack, Sweet Seasons, and Jazzman. Taylor’s contributions included Shower The People, Sweet Baby James, and Fire & Rain.

A duet of King’s Cryin’ In The Rain, written for the Everly Brothers, was a sensation. But the clear favourite and shining moment was the second set climax, You’ve Got a Friend.

The encore featured a couple of covers associated with Taylor’s career — Up On The Roof and How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You).

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