August 11, 2014 | « back

USATODAY.COM – James Taylor to perform on Cunard’s Queen Mary 2

By Corinne Canning

Sweet Baby James fans heading to Europe this August on the Queen Mary 2 are in for a treat: Performances by five-time Grammy Award-winner James Taylor.

The 66-year-old musician and his band will play two concerts on the famed Cunard ship during the eight-day transatlantic voyage from New York to Southampton, England departing on Aug. 27. He’ll be using the sailing as a warm-up to his European tour, which begins in the UK on Sept. 5. It’ll also be a bit of a break for him and his family, who will be along for the ride.

“It’s a fascinating way to vacation,” Taylor tells USA TODAY of such transatlantic crossings, which he has done before. “There’s something romantic about departing on a boat and seeing the water, and actually experiencing every nautical mile (of a trip to Europe). It sort of makes a connection back to another time and place.”

Taylor first got hooked on transatlantic sailings back in 2009 when he first tried using the Queen Mary 2 instead of an airplane to reach Europe for a European tour. He had decided to make the change after a container holding the band’s equipment got held up, forcing them to reschedule the opening concert of their European Tour. Waylaid equipment isn’t a problem on the Queen Mary 2, which has plenty of storage space.

Onboard the Queen Mary 2, Taylor will be singing in the ship’s 1,150-person Royal Court Theatre, and passengers will be invited to participate in a live Q&A interview.

“If it’s anything like the last time, there will be a lot of our audience aboard, which is great,” Taylor says. “Everything seems extraordinary [onboard the ship]. You’re basically with your audience the entire time you’re at sea, and I like that. I like our audience, and there’s something very contained about it all. It’s a distinct world unto itself. The theater feels very intimate, and last time we had great energy. Everyone had a sense of how singular it was to be on a boat, headed back to the old country.”

Taylor’s also looking forward to interacting with Cunard’s crew. “One of the things that was interesting to me was that a large percentage of Cunard’s crew last time were from the Philippines. It also just so happened that, without my really knowing it, turns out that my music has a big audience in the Philippines, because it’s an English speaking country and it’s very lyric-driven music. Last time we were able to do a special reception for the crew, and I met most of them, anyone who was interested anyways. That was a surprise and a delight. I’m hoping that a lot of the same crew will be aboard this time.”

Taylor adds that he can see why people are so crazy about cruising. “It’s really catching on, this cruising thing. There’s something for everyone… The band and my family and the kids are pretty excited about this [cruise on the Queen Mary 2] coming up.”