- JAMES TAYLOR w/ JACKSON BROWNE
- December 5, 2021
- T-mobile Center – Kansas City, Missouri
James Taylor and Jackson Browne have been major parts of the soundtrack of my life. I played Taylor’s “JT” album repeatedly in my youth and, after saying “I do” to each other my wife Juanita and I walked back up the aisle while my best friend Matt played Taylor’s “How Sweet It Is (To be Loved by You).”
As for Mr. Browne, I’m dating myself here by saying that “Running on Empty” was the first album I owned on cassette, vinyl, 8-track and compact disc. In that order. And yes, I had an 8-track player in my sweet 1969 GTO. You know you love something when you make sure you have it with you ALWAYS. When I play along with the Facebook post that asks, “If you were going to be stranded on a desert island, what 10 albums would you take with you?” “Running on Empty” is always near the top of the list.
Loving these two amazing artist’s music as much as I do, I was overjoyed when I heard they were coming to Kansas City in one amazing show. And amazing it was.
Mr. Browne took the stage first, opening with his hit “Somebody’s Baby,” which was featured in the film “Fast Times at Ridgemont High.” He was in great voice and his band was tight.
For the remainder of his set he mixed in some popular classic songs (“Late for the Sky,” “Doctor My Eyes”) with a selection of songs from his new album – which I heartedly recommend – “Downhill From Everywhere.” During one song from the album, “The Dreamer,” he was joined on stage by singers Tiffanie Cross and Alethea Mills. Together the trio had the crowd in the palms of their hands with their harmonies. Taylor surprised the audience by coming on stage on joining Browne in a fine rendition of “The Pretender” and the set ended with a lively singalong to “Running on Empty.”
The second half of the show began with a short video highlighting the music of James Taylor. He took the stage to a loud round of applause and he and his band kicked off the set with a country-tinged medley of “Fiddle and Drum/Country Road.”
Like Browne, the set was a well divided combination of newer material and classic songs. As he notes in “That’s Why I’m Here” – one of my favorite JT tunes, sadly inspired in part by the tragic death of John Belushi (a neighbor of Taylor’s on Martha’s Vineyard), people “Pay good money to hear Fire and Rain again and again and again.” Before the break Taylor and his band did a rousing “How Sweet It Is” causing my wife and I – and a lot of others – to slow-dance in the aisles.
When everyone returned to the stage, Jackson Brown came with them and the two combined for a mellow version of “Take it Easy,” a song Browne co-wrote with Glenn Frey and was a hit – gulp – nearly 50 years ago for the Eagles.
As the show concluded, Taylor led the audience in a moving rendition of “You’ve Got a Friend,” which inspired the crowd to hold their lit cellphones high above their heads (where have you gone, Bic disposable lighter?).
To sum it all up, it was a great night of great music – one I highly recommend you take in when they come to your town.
Somebody’s Baby, Barricades of Heaven, Long Way Around, Fountain, Downhill from Everywhere, TheDreamer (with Tiffanie Cross and Alethea Mills), Until Justice is Real, Doctor My Eyes, Late for the Sky, The Pretender (with James Taylor), Running on Empty.
Fiddle and Drum/Country Road, Copperline, That’s Why I’m Here, Mexico, You Make it Easy, Line ‘em Up, Steamroller, Rolling Off, Sweet Baby James, Fire and Rain, Carolina, Shower the People, How Sweet it Is (To Be Loved by You), Shed a Little Light, Take it Easy (with Jackson Browne), You’ve Got a Friend, Close Your Eyes