Live review: James Taylor and Carole King @ the Pepsi CenterBy John Moore | July 16th, 2010 | No Comments »
I felt the earth move under my feet Wednesday night at the Pepsi Center, and that was a 68-year-old woman sending the sky a tumbling down.
What more can you say about Carole King? There’s something in the way she moves, the way she sings, the way she writes.
Showing both the spring and stamina of Springsteen, the master songwriter joined up with her old pal James Taylor for a mega-reunion that was born at exactly the right time. It’s been 40 years since these seminal folkers first performed together in Los Angeles … and five years from now would be too late.
That only heightened what felt like an important, even necessary musical gathering from its euphoric start to its sentimental end – with King and Taylor left alone on the stage; him strumming the last licks to perhaps the least-known of the evening’s 28 songs, “You Can Close Your Eyes”; her resting her head gently on his shoulder as he sang the words, “You can stay as long as you like.”
But you can’t. Not really. After three hours, it was time for them to go. For the night … and maybe forever.
This “Troubadour” reunion concert, named for the club where these two first played together in 1970, was a classy affair, smartly and artfully executed. Pairing them has generated far more buzz than either of them possibly could have from touring separately.
Their song list was just right; the backing band (Taylor’s bandmates from 40 years ago) made for a sentimental touch; and the choral support was a perfect fit. (Taylor even joked that perhaps soulful backup singer Arnold McCuller was a bit too good while helping out on a rousing “Shower the People”).
The simple staging concept was nothing short of brilliant: Put the pair on a circular set in the middle of the massive arena – and have it rotate, ever so slowly, like an album on a turntable (or the circle of life), all night long. (Which brought new meaning to King’s classic lyric, “Doesn’t anybody stay in one place anymore?” Well, Carole … not tonight!)
That way, everyone gets an occasional close-up, and no one, anywhere, is looking at the dark side of the moon for too long. And for that, hang a 360-degree video screen above them, along with eight massive flat screens.
The layout miraculously turned an 18,000-seat arena into an intimate cabaret. I swear there were moments when it felt like Red Rocks – only indoors.