Wednesday, July 20, 2011

James Taylor LIVE in Piazza San Marco


(Venice, Italy) James Taylor played last night, July 19, 2011, in Piazza San Marco, in the middle of a raging storm. I thought the show would be cancelled, but I could feel the energy off in the distance as I worked inside the Querini Stampalia. I wasn't going to go, but then I thought, James Taylor is ten minutes away, and if he is playing in a storm, you can at least walk over there and see how he's doing.

I arrived just in time to catch the encore. Despite the rain, he was surrounded by adoring fans who seemed oblivious to the storm. He sang, "Sweet Baby James," and his voice sounded pure and clean, just as it had when I had seen him at his free concert at Sheep Meadow in Central Park back in July 1979, thirty-two years ago.

I found that photo on the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation website, and I think it is misidentified. On the site, it describes the photo:


"Then-Congressman Ed Koch mingles with audience members at a 1977 James Taylor performance in Sheep Meadow, Central Park. Koch became Mayor of New York City in 1978."


Well, the concert was most definitely in 1979, not 1977. Back in 1979, Ed Koch was the Mayor of New York City, not a congressman, and you could run into him everywhere. He was very cool, and went to everything -- you could bump into him at Ray's Pizza down in the Village and eat a slice with the mayor. I remember that Mayor Koch was at the James Taylor concert to save Sheep Meadow because I was there along with 249,999 other people -- in fact, that could even be me in the big-striped short-sleeve shirt, looking on, far in the background, because I remember him being very close by. Mayor Koch would come and talk to everyone and find out what was going on with the people he was governing


Last night, in Piazza San Marco, James Taylor's energy overcame the storm. The man is sixty-three years old, has been to hell and back again, many times, and still sings like an angel. The crowd demanded another encore -- demanded "Mexico" in fact -- and James Taylor obliged. It always amazes me how Italian fans know all the words to the songs of American artists.





Photo at PartyEarth
James Taylor was grateful that his die-hard fans had stayed through the storm. He said that they had transformed the concert from something that looked like it would be a disaster. He said, "That's why I love you." His fans most definitely loved him, too, with a passion. He sang yet another encore, a lullaby, to tuck everyone into bed. He sang, "You Can Close Your Eyes," and then the crowd walked home through the rain.


Ciao from Venice,
Cat
Venetian Cat - The Venice Blog


Well the sun is surely sinking down
But the moon is slowly rising
So this old world must still be spinning around
And I still love you

So close your eyes
You can close your eyes
It's all right
I don't know no love songs
And I can't sing the blues anymore
But I can sing this song
And you can sing this song when I'm gone

It won't be long before it's another day
We're gonna have a good time
No one's gonna take that time away
You can stay as long as you like

So close your eyes
You can close your eyes
It's all right
I don't know no love songs
And I can't sing the blues anymore
But I can sing this song
And you can sing this song when I'm gone

12 comments:

  1. James Taylor played last night, July 19, 2011, in Piazza San Marco, in the middle of a raging storm. I thought the show would be cancelled, but I could feel the energy off in the distance as I worked inside the Querini Stampalia. I wasn't going to go, but then I thought, James Taylor is ten minutes away, and if he is playing in a storm, you can at least walk over there and see how he's doing.

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  2. having just literally landed off the plane on my return from Venice I have to say that I also was there when the storm hit that same night and I am surprised it was not cancelled, spending roughly about three months a year in the city I have seen many a rainy day and night and the streets on the city always stay constantly flowing but on that night I have never known a place to clear so quickly we had family visiting who were amazed and asked 'but where did they all go and so quickly' Who knew the hardcore had stuck it out in the piazza, us we headed to the first available bar until it subsided or maybe it didn't maybe the venetian vino just dulled the dampness

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  3. You should have come to Piazza San Marco, Shylock! That's where everybody went!

    I remember back on July 28, 1973, one day after I turned 18-years-old and was finally free AND COULD DO WHATEVER I WANTED, I went to the Summer Jam at Watkins Glen where there was a REALLY raging thunderstorm. Back then, we all just got wet:)

    Here is what Wikipedia says:

    "Many historians claimed that the Watkins Glen event was the largest gathering of people in the history of the United States. In essence, that meant that on July 28, one out of every 350 people living in America at the time was listening to the sounds of rock at the New York state racetrack. Considering that most of those who attended the event hailed from the Northeast, and that the average age of those present was approximately seventeen to twenty-four, close to one out of every three young people from Boston to New York was at the festival."

    We drove from NJ; we must have left very early in the morning or the night before because I remember when the sun came up they started playing Magical Mystery Tour over the monolithic speakers. The guy who drove sneaked his parent's station wagon. We had to park something like 17 miles away and hitch. I remember a guy in a Porsche who lived there at Watkins Glen (who do you think it was?:) picked the three of us up, squished us into the car and dropped us off at the gate. I think we even had tickets, which were useless because the fence was already down. It was a very peaceful concert, and we were basically unregulated, so it proves that 600,000 young people can behave themselves perfectly well if you leave them alone and just let them listen to some music. I don't know how the hell we found the car, but we did. THOSE WERE THE DAYS, MY FRIEND.

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  4. I was at that concert!!! James let us all come up to the stage and go crazy in the rain. It was pouring but nobody cared, we were all just a little dissapointed that they cut it short. I flew all the way from the states to see it and I talked to others who had come from all over Europe. There was no way the rain was going to discourage us from enjoying the concert :) Standing right below the stage there was so much energy. James seemed to stray from his regular song set to play Rainy Day Man which everyone really appreciated. And everyones faces beemed as he performed Shower the People!!! I have been to quite a few James Taylor concerts and I have never been to one that had so much energy.. I just wish it could have lasted a little longer...

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  5. Yes, Piper, as you say, the energy was definitely special that night. And the energy was GENUINE. It's not easy to transform a rainstorm into a great concert, but James and his fans were sunshine in the rain. The energy was that of a rainbow, a pot of gold at the end. When he said, "That's why I love you," he spoke from his heart.

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  6. Your post really touched my heart. I used to think James Taylor was America's poet laureate. Now I believe he is the World's. Wish I could have been there, but in reading your description, I was transported and moved.
    Ciao Italia.

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  7. We too have just returned from the wonderful James Taylor concert in Venice. We could not believe that in our 4 day trip it only rained during the concert. It started about half an hour before James came on stage and just got worse and worse. The rest of our trip was hot and dry. How sad that the storm came right thru the whole concert. But, everyone had a ball and James and his band were excellent. Hope to see him again some day soon, in the sunshine!! We travelled from the UK just for his performance.

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  8. I have a video clip from the concert if you'd like me to put it up on your site? A whole track,in the rain, of course :o)

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  9. Yes my husband and I were in venice for 3 days and we d bought tickets for the concert in the square. Like everyone else we were enthralled by his pure voice, the band and the energy despite the rainstorm.. It made us laugh when he said `I knew I should have gone to church!`and loads of references to the rain and how he appreciated that we stayed and made the concert a great event.

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  10. My husband and I also travelled from the UK to see the concert, and despite the rainstorm, we were enthralled by JT`s still pure voice,the band and the energy. We laughed when he said `I knew I should have gone to Church!` and numerous other references to the rain and how glad we had all stayed around and made the concert a great event when it could have gone horribly wrong. We will definitely go to his next concert, wherever and whenever that may be!

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  11. Di, for some reason I never saw your second comment until today. If you want to send me the clip, you can send it to venetiancat@gmail.com.

    Thanks!

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  12. I didn’t get into James taylor until the past couple years, but he really is one of the great lyricists ever. Not to mention how different his style of guitar playing is. I got to see and MEET him earlier this year, it was awesome. Great post keep up the hard work. Check these out IStillGotMyGuitar.

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