Thousands of fans packed the beautiful grounds of the Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC) in Saratoga Springs on a spectacular August evening to listen to the familiar and steady voices of James Taylor and Jackson Browne.
Jackson Browne got the evening started, singing a mix of his classic songs. If you closed your eyes during the performance, you’d be hard-pressed to know that it was not the Jackson of one of his early albums. Fans enthusiastically greeted each song, many singing along with the familiar lyrics. The audience erupted in cheers when Jackson brought out James Taylor to accompany him on a few songs. He mentioned that knowing this tour was on the horizon made the last year and a half more bearable. Both performers mentioned how much fun they’ve been having on this tour, so much so that they have added 18 new dates.
After a short break, James Taylor‘s set began with images and videos playing on a gigantic fretboard above the stage. Pictures of James throughout his career, fans at different James Taylor shows, and videos of fans playing some of James’ songs warmed up the enthusiastic crowd. As the darkened stage lit up, James emerged in his trademark cap and jacket and performed songs from his massive songbook.
The crowd didn’t hesitate to call out requests, and James interacted with the crowd to set up his next selection. “It’s funny you should mention North Carolina,” before segueing into “Copperline,” a song about the area he grew up in. As a James, I was happy to hear “Sweet Baby James” make the setlist. The songs served as a lullaby of sorts to me and transported me back to my youth. Jackson Browne joined Taylor for an encore of “Take it Easy,” and James ended the night with “You Can Close Your Eyes,” a duet with his son Henry
The tour continues in the northeast with one more show in New York at the Northwell Health at Jones Beach Theater, and two shows in New Jersey before heading south and west in the fall.
James Taylor Setlist: Country Road, Never Die Young, Copperline, That’s Why I’m Here, Mexico, You Make It Easy, Line ‘Em Up, Steamroller Blues, Easy as Rollin’ Off a Log (Johnnie ‘Scat’ Davis cover), Sweet Baby James, Fire and Rain, Carolina in My Mind, Shower the People, How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)
Encore: Shed a Little Light, Take It Easy (with Jackson Browne), You’ve Got a Friend, You Can Close Your Eyes (with Henry Taylor)