in Music, Politics, Raleigh

James Taylor plays Raleigh’s Moore Square

Its strange to see a music star the magnitude of James Taylor play a corner of Moore Square. On the other hand, the unassuming Taylor seemed at home there. The stars align like this maybe once in a million years, so I wasn’t about to let this chance pass me up. My officemate and I played a bit of hookey to see the show.

After catching up on work emails this morning, I took a stroll down to Moore Square a little after 10 to see what was happening. To my surprise, roadies were setting up a modest stage while maybe a dozen fans waited around in the warm morning sun. Then my officemate then called and needed to be let back into the office. Only when I got there did I find out I missed Taylor’s soundcheck by minutes.

I took a few more calls in the office before returning to the square at 11:30. By now a sizable crowd had gathered. Obama volunteers toting clipboards were everywhere. I spotted Rep. Brad Miller waiting in the wings, and Raleigh Councilor Nancy McFarlane was there to catch some of the show before the 1 PM Council meeting. I settled in and waved to my Raleigh Neighborhood College classmate and neighbor Hugh Stoler, who stood six feet away.

The sun behind us began to cook people, many of whom were dressed more for winter as I was. I began to regret not returning for my shorts as I had considered after leaving the house this morning. Still, there was some shade available courtesy of the folks behind me.

At first my spot looked like a good place to see and photograph the show. Then a man in front of me stood up and I was left looking at his bald head for most of the show. Fortunately, the woman next to me kindly allowed me to take pictures from her spot and I found myself timing my shots for whenever Bald Guy swayed one way or another.

Taylor’s voice is as sweet as it ever was, and it easily stands on its own without need for backing vocals or a full band. His set was delightfully intimate. Being fifty feet in front of him would’ve cost in the triple-digits had this been Walnut Creek Amphitheatre. Taylor did joke about the “special effects” his show had: namely his wife, Kim, playing a CD of backing vocals for a few songs. Taylor jokingly compared it to Karaoke.

Taylor played You’ve Got A Friend and I smiled as I recalled my brothers playing that song at my wedding. Then I looked around and didn’t see my friend. My wife couldn’t make the show and my officemate was back behind me somewhere with his family. My cellphone rang minutes earlier with a call from my company’s headquarters and though there was no message I knew there was some sort of emergency afoot. I snapped a few more pictures of Taylor as well as former Governor Jim Hunt before wandering back to the office.

I grabbed a sandwich from the Morning Times and then checked into the office emergency. It had passed, so I went to the Board of Elections office and took advantage of Early Voting. I was already marking my ballot when a large crowd of voters descended on the polling place, most of them wearing the Obama stickers that were passed out to concertgoers. Got there just in time, it seems!

On the way back from voting I opted to swing by Moore Square. It was there that I saw Taylor walking up the sidewalk and got to shake his hand.

All in all, a pretty fun day at work. Look for pictures (lots!) later this evening.