After two years of “Fire and Rain”, it was finally time for James Taylor and his All Star Band to “Shed a Little Light” on East Coast crowds. The 2022 tour stopped in St. John’s on Thursday, Halifax on Sunday, wrapping up in Moncton Monday night.
ACR was in attendance at the near-capacity Halifax show on Sunday night, also featuring legendary singer-songwriter Jackson Browne as direct support.
Beginning promptly at 7:30pm, Browne hit the stage with his classic hit “Somebody’s Baby”, elevating the crowd from their seats. For many, the show was their first live concert since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Throughout the 75 minute set, Browne went through stories of history on the road, as well as sang about the state of our world in the present day with “The Dreamer” and “Until Justice is Real”, from his latest record “Downhill From Everywhere”, with the title track also performed.
Many artists save the hits for the very end of their set, with the crowd singing every word before the group exits the stage. Hit performances went up a notch as headliner James Taylor took the stage early to sing and play on hits “The Pretender” and “Running on Empty”, a favour Browne would return at the end of the night.
Following a short intermission, James Taylor took the stage at approximately 9:05pm, welcoming the “Haligonians” to the show to loud applause. Through his 17 song set, Taylor and his “All Star Band” sounded crystal clear as they went through hits “Mexico”, “Fire and Rain”, “Sweet Baby James”.
The set also featured covers of Carole King’s “Up on the Roof” and JT concert staple “You’ve Got a Friend”.
Speaking of covers, or “songwriters versions” (if you call them that), the stage sharing continued into the encore as Jackson Browne graced the stage once again for an “All Star” rendition of “Take it Easy” (most famously recorded by Eagles and co-written by Browne and the late Glenn Frey for the band’s self titled debut album), seeing the Halifax crowd sing loudly one last time (who doesn’t know the words?!).
Perhaps the most amazing memory of the event was the very crisp sound, which couldn’t have been complete without the expertise of Taylor‘s sound engineer David Morgan. (Taylor even thanked Morgan following a crowd member joking that Taylor wasn’t singing loud enough.) While this may have been a quieter show compared to the average Scotiabank Centre concert, the detail you could hear in the audio made you feel like the experience was taking place around an open bonfire and not a huge arena. A personal and unforgettable experience was felt.
The James Taylor concerts on the East Coast are just one of many shows coming to the region this year, bringing live audiences to arenas, theatres and fields once again, and there will be plenty more where that came from!