We went to see James Taylor last night at the Orpheum Theater in San Francisco. Taylor's tour this time is small - it's called One Man Band, but it's slightly larger - he's got a pianist accompanying him for much of the show. And, for a couple of songs, he's got a "drum machine", but it's not what you think. A totally Rube Goldberg-style contraption about the size of a Volkswagen bug, it's got a motor and what looks like a giant cylinder from a music box that operates, through levers and mechanical arms, a real drum kit.
And JT is a Mac guy - he's got a macbook pro that he runs what looks like an iMovied file on with pictures, short movies, etc. that accompany the songs of the show. The pictures and short movies illustrate the inspiration for certain songs and/or provide accompanyment for others. Very neat - all in all it looks like he's traveling light for this tour. Since he doesn't currently have a record contract (per article in last Sunday's SF Chron), which is kind of stupid on some record company's part, I imagine touring light makes for a bigger net.
Taylor's a really really good fingerpicking style guitar player & it was interesting to see him up close. He played most of the songs you'd expect & not really anything I hadn't expected. All in all, for someone who grew up in the late 60s and early 70s, an enjoyable show. Taylor's clearing enjoying his maturity. The first time I saw him live must have been in the early 1970s, maybe 1971 or 1972 in Seattle, just around the time of Fire & Rain. He was sort of the Tortured Young Man at the time & he's definitely more optimistic in his outlook on life these days.