James Taylor and His Band of Legends at the Bell Centre, Montreal

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7. Jul. 2008, 20:28

James Taylor and His Band of Legends

James Taylor's last visit to Montreal was in 1997, and it was with a friendly "Hi, how've you been? It's been too long." that he addressed the 8600 in the audience at the Bell Centre.

Taylor seems to enjoy playing in Montreal, if only as it gives him the opportunity to bring out his French. Mixing his banter with English and French, translating the title of Why Baby Why as "Pourquoi bébé pourquoi", translating some jokes and teasing the audience in French, he won over his audience quickly.

The concert was part of his summer tour to support his up-coming covers album, apparently to be called Once Again called Covers. It was the first in a series of concerts in a cross-Canada tour, and was officially part of the Montreal International Jazz Festival.

Taylor was surrounded by his "Band of Legends", eleven singers and musicians in all, some of whom have accompanied him for years.

As befits the theme of the upcoming album, Taylor played a number of cover versions of some of his favourite songs. Some were of recent vintage; others were covers that Taylor has played for years and that have provided him with some of his biggest hits. The songs ran the gamut from doo-wop and Motown to classic country and western and modern country with detours via Broadway.

The evening ended on a special Montreal moment, as Taylor performed an extra encore: a version of Montreal native Leonard Cohen's Suzanne. Although Taylor has often apparently played this song for himself, this was its first public performance.

Set list (as I recall it):

- It's Growing (cover, originally performed by The Temptations)
- Get A Job (cover, originally performed by The Silhouettes)
- Country Road
- Whiskey Before Breakfast (instrumental, traditional)
- (I've Got To) Stop Thinkin' 'Bout That
- Wichita Lineman (cover, originally performed by Glen Campbell)
- Why Baby Why (cover, originally performed by George Jones)
- Oh, What a Beautiful Morning (from Oklahoma)
- Everyday (cover, originally performed by Buddy Holly)
- You've Got a Friend (cover, originally performed by Carole King)
- Mexico
- Shed A Little Light

Intermission

- Handy Man (cover, originally performed by Sam Cooke)
- Only One
- Fire and Rain
- (I'm A) Road Runner (cover, originally performed by Junior Walker)
- Sweet Baby James
- Some Days You Gotta Dance (cover, originally performed by Dixie Chicks)
- Steamroller
- Carolina In My Mind
- Your Smiling Face
- Shower the People

Encores

- In The Midnight Hour (cover, originally performed by Wilson Pickett)
- Knock On Wood (cover, originally performed by Eddie Floyd)
- How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved by You) (cover, originally performed by Marvin Gaye)
- Suzanne (cover, originally performed by Leonard Cohen)

The Band of Legends:

- Luis Conte
- Walt Fowler
- Steve Gadd
- Larry Goldings
- Jimmy Johnson
- Michael Landau
- David Lasley
- Lou Marini
- Kate Markowitz
- Arnold McCuller
- James Taylor
- Andrea Zonn

Updated: September 30, 2008

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