The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

July 23, 2012

Mike Pound: James Taylor fans seem to be aging rapidly

It took me a few minutes Saturday evening after we took our seats at the James Taylor concert at the Starlight Theatre in Kansas City to notice something odd.

“Hey,” I said to my wife. “What are all the old people doing here?”

“I don’t know,” my wife said. “Maybe it’s some sort of senior citizen outing.”

Our 14-year-old daughter, Emma, seated next to my wife, rolled her eyes.

“They’re all your age,” she said, and then she went back to scrolling through Facebook on her cellphone.

That’s when it dawned on me: James Taylor fans have gotten old.

“Good thing that’s not me,” I said to myself while looking at a couple who were slowly walking by. The man was fumbling for his reading glasses so he could figure out where their seats were located. Finally he gave up and asked one of the ushers.

That’s a sure sign you’re getting old, when you have to ask an usher for help at a concert. When I was much younger and went to concerts, I never would ask an usher for help. I was part of the young, wild generation. We didn’t believe in asking for concert help. Instead, we relied on our innate sense of concert seating abilities.

Now I start asking for help finding my concert seats when I pull into the parking lot. On Saturday, when we arrived at the Starlight, I asked an usher at the top of the seating area for help. He told us where our seats were and pointed them out to us. We walked down to the area, and I stopped and showed our tickets to another usher who showed us seats. I walked a bit farther and showed our tickets to another usher who led us to our seats.

“That was easy,” I said to my wife.

Emma rolled her eyes again.

About 20 minutes later, James Taylor walked on stage. I notice that more and more musicians of my youth don’t use opening acts anymore. I think that’s because they know that their audiences can’t stay up much past 10 p.m. and by eliminating the opening act the musicians of my youth get us all home so we can get to sleep.

I like James Taylor. Always have.

Until Saturday night my wife and I had never seen James Taylor in concert so it was neat to sit there while he sang ”Carolina on My Mind” and think, “Wow! It’s actually him singing. This is so cool.”

I don’t get that way at many concerts but if you have ever been to a James Taylor concert you understand what I mean.

It’s neat, is what it was.

Well, part of the evening was neat. The only part that wasn’t neat was when a couple sitting behind us decided that his music was interfering with their conversation so they felt they had to speak loudly while he played.

At one point James explained why he wrote the song, “Sweet Baby James” and then began singing the song. Here’s what we heard:

“And rock-a-bye sweet baby James ... AND THEN SHE SAID, ‘WELL, I CAN’T BELIEVE THAT.’ AND I SAID ...”

My wife got so mad she turned around and shushed the couple. That’s another sure sign you’re getting older, by the way, when you shush someone at a concert.

But other than the loud talkers we had a great time. My wife and I got to hear James Taylor play for more than two hours and Emma got to catch up with her Facebook friends.

The best part is we were in bed by 11 p.m.

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