Wednesday, May 26, 2010

How Sweet It Is

Today's regularly scheduled Recipe Box Wednesday has been canceled so I can bring you the latest from the St. Paul Music scene:  (and a shoutout to James and Carole for getting it right last night, realizing they were in St. Paul, and not Minneapolis, as is so often heard at the X.)

Post-concert syndrome. PCS?  I am sure someone  has labeled  it. My head is a little stuffy, my hands are sore from clapping, my back is reminded of arena seating.

And songs are drifting through my head.  As I vainly tried to fall asleep after arriving home around midnight, they took turns.  First James, then Carole.  This morning I woke up to "So Far Away".  Then I read the reviews of the concert  - Pioneer Press:

Star Tribune:
 and other songs started racing through.

It was magical.  Beautiful.  Powerful.  Here's the set list, indulge in a little nostalgia yourself: 

Set 1 Blossom/ So Far Away/ Machine Gun Kelly/ Carolina/ Way Over Yonder/ Smackwater Jack/ Country Road/ Sweet Seasons/ Mexico/ Sing a Song of Long Ago segued into Far Away/ Beautiful/ Shower the People/ Natural Woman

Set 2 Where You Lead/ Crying in the Rain/ Your Smiling Face/ Sweet Baby James/ Jazzman/ Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow/ Steamroller/ It’s Too Late/ Fire and Rain/ I Feel the Earth Move/ You’ve Got a Friend ENCORE Up on the Roof/ How Sweet It Is ENCORE Close Your Eyes
Yes, the crowd was mostly 'baby boomers'. I had to double check, and I am on the end of the spectrum, as the US Census Bureau has defined it as those born between 1946-1964.  But my date, and good friend who brought me to the concert, wasn't born until 1970.  And I am thinking she loved it just as much as every baby boomer there.

You don't have to be part of any specific generation to appreciate the volume of songs penned by Carole King, or beautifully sung by James Taylor.  They have aged incredibly, and throughout the evening they would show pictures of what they looked like, back in 1970 and 1971, when they performed together at the Troubadour.   Carole's voice is unbelievably strong, and James continues to amaze with his vocals, and adorable banter.  But mostly, it's the music.  The words mixed with just the right elements to evoke heartache, joy, hopefullness.  I alternated between goosebumps, and smiling ear to ear, and wiping tears from my eyes.
They had the original members of the band, from forty years ago.  I can't imagine the reminiscing that happens at the end of a concert, when they rest their tired feet, with a twinkle in their eye full of memories. 

The set-up was unlike any concert I have been to - a round stage in the middle of the arena that slowly rotated throughout the evening, and small tables and chairs set up around it for those lucky few who paid dearly for special seats.  And being the giving performers that they are, most of that ticket money was going to charity.  It was created to feel like an intimate setting, surround by 18,000 adoring fans.  Giant screens gave those of us in steerage seats wonderful views, and the rotating screen above the stage was where they showed us images of Carole and James and the band in their younger days.
Each time the first notes of a new song started, you could almost hear a collective sigh from the crowd.  They could  have literally played for hours, considering the volume of songs they both have in their pockets.  We gleefully showed our appreciation, and they responded with not one but two encores.  I have never seen so many smiling, satisfied faces leaving an event.  Or so many hip gray haircuts and cute (but clearly uncomfortable) shoes (some of those folks were moving pretty slowly at the end of the night.....)

Thanks to my dear friend for a very memorable birthday gift.


  1. omg - you are a lucky duck. What fun!!! I think I would've cried of joy through the whole concert.

  2. Hey Friend....
    My sweet husband and I were also at the X for this amazing show!! I laughed, smiled, swayed in my seat and cried during the times my heart was touched!! (What??? Tears?? From my eyes???) Wish I could have seen you!!! Think of you OFTEN!!!! Love to you and your boys!!!!

  3. Oh, you're so lucky! I love their songs! So glad you got to go.


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