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Herriman Journal

Taylor brings personal touch to UFCU Amphitheatre show

Jun 02, 2024 09:19AM ● By Tom Haraldsen
If you’ve ever wondered how it would feel to have a singing superstar put on a concert
that felt like it was “just for you,” those of us seeing James Taylor and his All Star Band at the
Utah First Credit Union Amphitheatre Friday can tell you–it felt warm and entertaining.

Taylor returned to the West Valley stage with a show divided into two sets–one for deep
listening and the other for his greatest hits. Throughout the 21-song performance, he engaged
with the 20,000-plus audience, telling tales about his career, origins for some of his songs and
even cracking self-deprecating jokes about his age (he’s now 76).

This show had no front acts and didn’t need any. Once his 2:20 concert began with a
video montage of clips showing Taylor’s 50-plus year career and his various looks–from long
hair to now–he had the crowd in his back pocket. He invited us to follow along, and that we did.

He opened with “Something in the Way She Moves” and followed with a cover of the
Buddy Holly hit “Every Day.” The audience joined in singing “Never Die Young” and “October
Road,” and Taylor skillfully and sincerely introduced each member of his band.

Those members included Salt Lake City native Walter Fowler on the trumpet, and
Taylor’s 22-year-old son Henry with vocals. His amazing bandmates were Kate Markowitz,
Dorian Holley, Andrea Zorn, Jimmy Johnson, Steve Gadd, Dean Parks and Kevin Hays, all
putting on a Master Class of music and vocals.

Before he ended his first set “Where we’re going to take a break, just walk over there and
stand off stage and wait for 20 minutes, and then come back” he quipped, Taylor added
favorites “Country Road,” “Sweet Baby James” and “Don’t Let Me Be Lonely Tonight.”

The second set was themed as Greatest Hits, opening with “Carolina in My Mind” and
then a segue into “Mexico.” He fired the audience up with a powerful rendition of “Steamroller,”
then followed with one of his first hits, “Fire and Rain.” Taylor then paid homage to one of his
best friends, singer/songwriter Carole King, first with a cover of her song “Up On The Roof” that
she originally wrote for The Drifters, and then the ever popular “You’ve Got a Friend,” which
Taylor said King had written in one night while they were getting ready to perform at the famed
Troubadour Club in West Hollywood. He had a story about that song, along with most of the
others he performed.

The set ended with “Shower the People” and “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved by You).” A
three-song encore following a well-deserved standing ovation included “Shed a Little Light,”
“Your Smiling Face” and an acapella version of “That Lonesome Road,” with all band members
standing arm in arm on the stage.

From the beginning, Taylor was personable, highly complimentary of the state and
venue, and engaging. He signed numerous shirts, hats and programs before the second act
began, kneeling over the lip of the stage to greet audience members. He seemed to be having a
great time with “some old, longtime friends.” Coupled with great lighting and technical theatrics,
as is usual for performances at the Amphitheatre, James Taylor delivered memories for all of us
to enjoy for years to come.
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