>Carole King and James Taylor at the Air Canada Centre; Friday May 29, 2010

>The Air Canada Centre is a place to see sports events not live concerts. I watched ninety percent of the Carole King and James Taylor show on the big screen. Our tickets were in the 300 section, ten rows back. From where I could see, King and Taylor were half the size of my index finger. I will never, ever see a show at the ACC.

Large venue aside, I really enjoyed listening to these artists. Taylor and King had all the energy and sound that they had forty years ago. Their set was planned like a stage show, they had cued images that reflected their prepared speeches throughout the performance. James Taylor was the talker and Carole King said her thank yous only.

Taylor and King entered the revolving stage, which was located in the centre of the skating rink. King had her Yamaha grand piano set up, while taylor had an acoustic guitar. They played two slower songs to start of the show. I’m less familiar with Taylor’s music so my knowledge will be very limited. The second of the two stripped down songs they started off with was “So Far Away.” Her voice was ridiculously scratchy and she had a difficult time making many of the notes. I was really wry whether as to if King could make the high notes in the rest of her tunes. We realised nearing the end that this was simply her warm up. She modestly said that her voice was not in top condition today. King really struggled with the slower songs, rather than her more upbeat tunes.

Her voice was absolutely stunning. She had a raspy sound to it that showed wear. I really liked her drive and energy that was very distinct. King is a performer, she’s comfortable keeping her dialogue to a minimum, but she dance and frolicked around like she was twenty again.

It seemed like this concert series was based on a show they played at the Troubadour in the seventies. Before seeing the show I stumbled upon this video of King’s tune titled “So Far Away” and I realised that these two people had serious chemistry in the past. It was also evident from their live show that they still have chemistry today.

Here are a few tunes that I really love, both old and new:

“You’ve Got a Friend” (1971)
“You’ve Got a Friend” (2010)

“So Far Away” (1971)
“So Far Away” (2010)

“I Feel the Earth Move” and “(You Make Me Feel) Like a Natural Woman” (1971)
“I Feel the Earth Move” (2010)
“(You Make Me Feel) Like a Natural Woman” (2010)

**you can notice in her 2010 version of “(You Make Me Feel) Like a Natural Woman” she was really pushing to get the chorus out. It’s really amazing to see just how effortless her 1971 performance was. She really pushed audience participation at her Air Canada Centre show – she only sang one of the chorus’ and it was at the very end.

I would love to see both artists again, but I think it would have been a truly remarkable show if it was at a smaller venue like Massey Hall (four night stand perhaps?). I’m really looking forward to seeing Levon Helm at Massey Hall in a month or so. This is a brilliant video from the Last Waltz – Levon’s singing and play the drums.

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