March 6, 2006
Ruth Eckerd Hall - Clearwater, FL
Source: SP-CMC > MD-MT770 > Philips CDR785 > EAC > WAV > mkwACT > SHN
Taper: Tom Potter (slick willie)

Excellent sound...
Artwork included

Larry Goldings on keyboards

Disc 1:
Set One:
01. Something In The Way She Moves
02. Never Die Young
03. Frozen Man
04. Slap Leather
05. Country Road
06. Mean Old Man
07. My Traveling Star
08. You've Got A Friend
09. Steamroller Blues

Disc 2:
Set Two:
01. Secret O' Life
02. Intro to Line 'Em Up
03. Line 'Em Up
04. Valentine's Day
05. Chili Dog
06. Shower The People
07. Sweet Baby James
08. Carolina In My Mind
09. Fire & Rain
10. The Nearness Of You
11. You Can Close Your Eyes

From Tampa Bay Online (tbo.com)
By CURTIS ROSS cross@tampatrib.com

Published: Mar 7, 2006

CLEARWATER - James Taylor's summer tours consistently prove he can fill arenas. It has always been a bit disconcerting, though, to listen to such intimate music in hockey rinks.

That's why Monday's performance at Ruth Eckerd Hall, to a sold-out crowd of 2,181, was such a treat. Accompanied only by keyboardist Larry Goldings, Taylor performed his songs in their near-purest form in an acoustically sublime setting.

It also let Taylor set a relaxed pace for the evening, telling anecdotes that sometimes were pointed, sometimes poignant and occasionally surreal. With his shuffling delivery, he's a gifted raconteur who reflects the storytelling traditions of both his New England and North Carolina homes.

Taylor made liberal use of a laptop-controlled slide show to illustrate his songs, explaining the influences behind many of them. "Line 'Em Up," for example, was accompanied by shots of President Nixon leaving office and a mass marriage conducted by the Rev. Sun Myung Moon.

Taylor juxtaposed early and new material, the familiar and the less so. He opened with "Something in the Way" from his eponymous 1968 debut album, followed with the title track of 1988's "Never Die Young"; later, 1970's "Country Road" was followed by a pair of tunes from 2002's "October Road."

The set illustrated Taylor's progression as a writer. "Country Road" is quintessential '70s acoustic rock, and "Mean Old Man," from "October Road," has the jazzy chord progression and melodic sophistication of a pop standard.

Taylor's warmth and humor tied the evening together. His stories betrayed a keen and slightly loopy wit. Considering the host of navel-gazing singer-songwriters who followed in his wake, Taylor seems to have shed any tendency toward self-importance. He plays a mean guitar, too.