TVD Live Shots:
James Taylor & His
All-Star Band with Bonnie Raitt at Dunkin’ Donuts Center, 3/2

PROVIDENCE, RI | The last date of their winter tour came to a close Saturday night for James Taylor and his All Star Band, along with very special guest Bonnie Raitt, not far from that well-known turnpike from Stockbridge to Boston—in Providence, Rhode Island.

James Taylor walked onto the stage, waving his skully cap to a full house of fans, to introduce his dear friend Bonnie Raitt. He expressed his joy and gratitude for time spent on such a special tour.

“Although this day was a possibility somewhere beyond the horizon, the fact that it has arrived and we are playing our last gig together has really made me verklempt,” he said.

Taylor told fans that he and Raitt both emerged from Boston around the same time in the early 1970s and had very similar, parallel paths throughout the music business and popular culture.

“To me Bonnie has always been the real thing,” he said. “I look to her as an inspiration—always. She’s my very favorite musician on the stage today, on this planet. She is as soulful as she is talented.”

Raitt’s set included many hits including, “Something to Talk About;” a funky INXS cover “Need You Tonight,” and a special delivery of “I Can’t Make You Love Me,” which made a 30 year-old song of heartbreak feel as compelling as ever.

Thanking fans, Raitt said that Taylor’s audience has always been so respectful and intimate. She wiped away tears after receiving a standing ovation.

Pat Johnson who was enjoying the show with her husband Dave and long-time friend Lisa, said that it was her first time seeing Raitt in concert and it only left her with one regret.

“My only regret was not seeing her years before,” said Pat. “She is still stunning at 70. They were both so gracious and you could tell they had the utmost respect for each other.”

Pat remembers the first time seeing James Taylor in the Providence Civic Center more than three decades ago. And she still has the ticket stub.

“James has always put in that awesome bluesy/folk show,” she said. “His voice has not changed since the first time I saw him in 1980. I think this was my fifth time seeing him. The only thing that changed for me was the loving moments he shared with his family over the years. It made it even more special.”

Dave, who for more than 20 years, has brought his own lead vocals and saxophone talents to the popular New England classic rock band “Not For Nuthin’” said that as a musician, the show was full of “pure talent.”

“My wife busts me because she is dancing and whooping and hollering and is showing her enjoyment, and as a musician and singer I do the exact opposite. I sit, watch and experience what I am seeing,” he said. “I could not stop watching either one of them because I saw pure talent. The way they took the crowd right onto that stage with them—it was perfection.”

All of Taylor’s songs brought back memories for Pat, but two stood out in her mind. “When my kids were small, Dave sang ‘Sweet Baby James’ as he rocked them both. Now that we have grandchildren he now sings it to them.”

The second was “You’ve Got a Friend.”

“Lisa Lachance has been my best friend since eighth grade and she attended the concert with us, so ‘You’ve Got a Friend’ really hit us both.”

During his set, Taylor sang a song written by his longtime friend and musical collaborator, Carole King, “Up on the Roof,” originally written for The Drifters.

Taylor worked in “Steamroller,” which he said usually takes longer to sing that it did to write. Taylor offered fans a little backstory for a songbook of tunes, including “Sweet Baby James” written for his nephew, as well as “Something in the Way She Moves” that he recalled performing privately for George Harrison and Paul McCartney.

The evening ended with “How Sweet it is,” but not before “Fire and Rain” which thousands sang from their seats. The song echoed in the large space, transcending ticket paying fans to arena staff working the show and singing along.

“The audience has never been better than they have been on this last leg,” said Taylor smiling.

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