[MUSIC/FOLK ~ GBR]
The Garage International @ Adelaide Town Hall, Tue 12 Feb.
It’s James Taylor’s birthday, so it seems appropriate to head down to The Garage International at Adelaide Town Hall to see Dan Clews perform The James Taylor Story. Being a singer songwriter himself, Clews is able to present a very sincere and reverent performance, and is particularly convincing as James Taylor in songs like Long Ago And Far Away, Sweet Baby James, Fire And Rain, Carolina, and You’ve Got A Friend.
Not just a parade of greatest hits, the show is not afraid to delve into some lesser known songs, such as JT’s first ever song Roll River Roll, never actually recorded by him, and his first recording with Danny Kortchmar as The Flying Machine, Night Owl, which was decidedly not a hit. A highlight of the evening is a beautiful duet with Phoebe Katis (Carole King in The Carole King Story) on Close Your Eyes.
The songs are sometimes accompanied by video footage and photos of scenes from JT’s early life, and between songs Clews provides anecdotes to describe JT’s rise to fame. He does not gloss over the failures, depression and drug addiction years, but there are also some wonderful stories about the support he received from producer Peter Asher, having George Harrison and Paul McCartney singing backing vocals on the first recording of Carolina, and the amazing happenstance of Joni Mitchell, Carole King and James Taylor all simultaneously recording masterpieces in the same studio. Introducing Something In The Way She Moves, he related how George Harrison had acknowledged this as his inspiration for Something.
In the short time available Clews limits himself to the early stages of JT’s career, with only Copperline representing later work. Doing justice to the whole story would require a greater time allocation.
Part of James Taylor’s story apparently is the way he has influenced so many other singer songwriters, and this thin premise is sufficient excuse for Dan to include one of his own songs, Alpha Crusis, from an about-to-be-released CD which happens to be available at the door.
There are no candles or even recognition of the date, but I think JT would have been thrilled to hear the lovely audience singalong of Shower The People that closes the show.
The James Taylor Story continues at The Garage International @ Adelaide Town Hall from 8pm until Sat 16 Mar.
Book at FringeTIX on 1300 621 255 or adelaidefringe.com.au. Click HERE to purchase your tickets.