Notes From: James Taylor at the Hollywood Bowl

In 1985, James Taylor released an album called "That's Why I'm Here." It's full of good songs and the title song is one of the best.

James recalls that the song was inspired by the death of his friend John Belushi, a well known actor who died of a drug overdose. In fact, JT credits this death as the reason he cleaned up his own life from drugs.

On a lighter note though, the third verse is quite uplifting and positive:

Fortune and fame's such a curious game. Perfect strangers can call you by name.
Pay good money to hear fire and rain again and again and again.

Again and again and again you say?

For my 23rd concert with James Taylor, I was happy to see him in the famed Hollywood Bowl. This was opening night for his 2024 tour and he was in top form.

It was the same jokes and the same tunes. Just the way I like it.

As per usual, before playing the final song of the first set, he picks up the set list and says, "This says we need to play one more song and then we'll take a little break. We'll go stand behind that curtain right there and look at our watch just waiting for the time to run out then we'll come back out and sing a few more songs for you."

When he puts on the electric guitar, you know Steamroller Blues is coming next. At 76 years old, he still let's things going a little loose during that song.

In that same third verse, he continues about the fans who attend his shows for years:

Some are like summer coming back every year,
got your baby, got your blanket, got your bucket of beer.
I break into a grin from ear to ear and suddenly it's perfectly clear.
That's why I'm here.

Well, I didn't have the blanket or the bucket, but I did have a baby with me.

Will is also a JT superfan and it was really nice to sit with him and take in the music. (Side note: Will has his own blog where he listed his top ten James Taylor songs if you're interested.)

As usual, James Taylor played "You Can Close Your Eyes" as the final song of the encore. It's my favorite song from him. (Fun fact: James Taylor concerts are the only concerts at which I stay until the end.)

For a little twist, JT brought up his own son to play and sing that last song with him.

One heck of a night for fathers and sons.

His 2024 tour is just beginning. Hopefully you'll get a chance to see him if he comes near you.

Tell him hi for me.

Notes From” is a series where I share observations from recent adventures. You can read more of these in the “Notes From” category.