Concert Review: Carole King / James Taylor: Madison Square Garden - NY City

History: Carole King wrote her first hit song “Will You Still Love Tomorrow” at the age of 18 in 1960. She & her husband at the time, Gerry Goffin would go on to write over a dozen hit songs in the sixties for groups like the Shirelles (Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow), The Animals (Don’t Bring Me Down), Bobby Vee (Take Good Care of My Baby), The Drifters (Up on the Roof), The Cookies (Chains -also covered by the Beatles), Steve Lawrence (Go Away Little Girl), Aretha Franklin (Natural Woman), The Chiffons (One Fine Day), The Everly Brothers (Cryin’ In The Rain), Little Eva / Grand Funk Railroad (The Locomotion), Grand Funk Railroad / Gene Pitney (Some Kind of Wonderful) & Freddie Scott (Hey Girl).

After moving from Manhattan to West Orange New Jersey, they wrote the song “Pleasant Valley Sunday” which became a huge hit for the Monkees. They also penned the Monkees classic, "Porpoise Song". Countless artists have covered her songs, and she is credited with writing 118 songs, that have been on the Billboard Top 100.

In 1971, with the coaxing of friend James Taylor, she released her legendary solo album Tapestry which produced four number one singles, & remained number one on the album charts for 15 straight weeks. It’s the longest amount of time any female solo artist’s album remained at the top of the charts. The album stayed on the charts for six years & has now sold well over 25 million copies. King has won four Grammy awards & is a member of the songwriters section of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

James Taylor was born in Boston and moved to Greenwich Village in the sixties struggling & falling on hard times. He got a break when he moved to London after inheriting some money and his demo songs were given to Peter Asher. Asher’s sister Jane, was Paul McCartney’s girlfriend at the time, and Paul liked what he heard on Taylors demo. He became the first non British act signed to the Beatles Apple lable & his career took off from there.

Taylor has had ten top 10 albums, four top 10 hits, one number one song (You’ve Got a Friend), won six Grammy awards & is in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. In 1972 he married singer Carly Simon, they had two children & a huge hit together with the tune ‘Mocking Bird”. He has sung the National Anthem at the World Series in Boston, the NBA playoffs & at an NHL Game as well. He appeared on Saturday Night Live six times & multiple other TV shows. A bit of trivia; Paul McCartney & George Harrison both appear on his first hit "Carolina On My Mind".

In 1970 Taylor & King did a week of shows at the legendary Hollywood nightclub, the Troubadour. At the time they were both starting out on their solo musical careers. They returned the next year as co headliners, both with huge hits & success now under their belts. In 2007 they returned to the club to celebrate its 50th anniversary. This year they are touring together on the Troubadour Reunion Tour, which features three sold out nights at Madison Square Garden. Here’s a review of last nights show:
Madison Square Garden was filled with a seasoned crowd of veteran music lovers last night. This was a crowd who were totally into Carole King & James Taylor, singing along and on many occasions giving standing ovations. I myself was more of a casual fan at this one just, I just sat back & enjoyed a fantastic evening of good mellow music. I would say I am more of a Carole King fan than a James Taylor fan, the Tapestry album one of my all time favs . To me King singing “Will You Love Me Tomorrow” & “It’s Too Late” were alone, worth the price of admission.

This was a great show with a very intimate setting inside the large Madison Square Garden. The stage was set in a theater in the round, slowly revolving throughout the night. There were also close up intimate table seats, complete with candle light, set up around the stage to give it that Troubadour club feeling. Above the revolving stage was a video screen that completely circled around the set. It featured photos of the King, Taylor & their band when they were all younger; “back in 1901” as Taylor joked early in the evening. There were also nine HD video screens surrounding the stage, so everyone always got a good close up view. It was a very clever stage set up in my opinion, my seats down on the first level were fantastic. I don’t see how anyone had a bad view with this set up.

It seemed the two were having a great time, Carole King always smiling & full of energy. She gives off a warm friendly persona, and gives you the feeling that you wish she was your neighbor. She already seems like your friend with as does Taylor who is more laid back but he also has a good funny personality on the stage with his banter between songs. Both of them sing as if it were still 1970, their vocals still sound great. Taylor played a beautiful acoustic guitar through the night, strapping on the electric for his blues number.

King treated us to her wonderful piano playing, most of the night. She even strapped on the guitar for a song or two & stood up singing a few times as well. She received yet another standing ovation while on her feet belting out an excellent version of “I Feel the Earth Move under My Feet”. Backing them up was the original Troubadour band from 1970, a four piece set with three backing vocalist & fiddle player. It was quite a night for show number two in New York City.

Carole King / James Taylor Set List- 6/18/10 Madison Square Garden:
So Far Away
Honey Dont Leave L.A.
Carolina on My Mind
Way Over Yonder
Smack Water Jack
Country Road
Sweet Season
Long Ago & Far Away
Shower the People
(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman

Cryin' In the Rain
Where You Lead
Sweet Baby James
Will You Love Me Tomorrow
Steam Roller Blues
Too Late
Fire & Rain
I Feel the Earth Move Under My Feet
Youv'e Got A Friend
Up On The Roof
How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)


Unknown said…
Carole you did it again. A fantastic concert. James Taylor you were great. Together it was like slipping back in time. You both hav esuch beautifil voices and nothing has changed. I felt like it was 1972 again. Of course then I looked in the mirror. One word to discribe the concert is MAGICAL. Thankyou so much.

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