|The one, the only James Taylor!|
Here's the story...
Eric and have always been big James Taylor fans. On the rare occasion he'd make it to Nashville or near Knoxville, we were never able to go. We were thrilled when it was announced in February that he'd be playing Knoxville in May. The tickets were expensive, but we thought it could be a Valentine's Day/early anniversary gift rolled into one since our anniversary is May 15.
We started the evening with a delicious dinner at Nama Sushi in downtown Knoxville. We had the JG roll and crunchy shrimp roll, along with miso soup and the house salad. For dessert we had truffles with kiwi/strawberry compote and raspberry sauce and topped off our meal with beer (for Eric) and Riesling (for me).
We got to our seats right as the show started because James Taylor actually took the stage when the ticket said he would -- 8 p.m. sharp with no opening act. I appreciated the fact that latecomers were not allowed to take their seats until between songs.
During the intermission, we went to the lobby, looked at the tour shirts and headed back to our seats. All of a sudden Eric noticed that James (yes, we're on a first-name basis now) was sitting at the front of the stage signing autographs! We rushed to the front, but got cut off because he needed to start the show again. We were at least excited to be able to see him up close even though we thought we'd missed our chance at getting an autograph.
After the show, we left in awe after several goosebump moments during his set because he was SO great! I noticed the buses were parked next to the side entrance to the auditorium so I told Eric that we should hang out for a few minutes to maybe catch another glimpse of him.
A few others had the same idea and before we knew it, there was a small crowd waiting to see if James would come over. Well...he did! The guards had put blockades around the bus entrance, but James came right up to where we were standing. Some people got a little pushy trying to get to the front, but his bodyguard kept saying, "Be patient and he'll get to you." This was definitely a good sign, so Eric and I got our ticket stubs and the set list the sound tech gave to us and waited for our turn to say hi to James.
I talked to him first and told him that the show was our first James Taylor concert. He said, "Oh, really?" and then proceeded to sign my ticket. We touched arms :) I then asked if he'd take a picture with me which he did. Then, Eric got his chance to talk to him and get the set list signed while I snapped a photo of the two of them.
James Taylor was so gracious, patient and reciprocated every kind word said and told everyone in the crowd, "Thanks for coming." What a refreshing and wonderful experience to meet someone who's been in the business so long, yet takes the time to be grateful to those who so dearly love and appreciate his music.
It's was an experience we'll never forget. Now we just need to figure out where to frame our pictures and signed memorbilia!
My favorite songs from the eventing were "Something in the Way" and "Copperline" although we both had chills during much of the performance. His tone was impeccable and his voice sounded as if he's not aged at all. He introduced many of the songs and told a little background on them. His 11-piece band was phenomenal, including the four back-up singers. He sax player, Blue Lou, was a founding member of the Saturday Night Live Band and the original Blues Brothers! Very cool. James Taylor is definitely a national treasure!