I loved music from the time I was small.
My dad controlled the radio, so we mostly listened to country western, as it was called in 1950s Ohio. I didn’t like the twang and nasal voices, but something about the words called to me.
They sang about heart break, loneliness and loss, things I knew about even back then.
Sometime when I was in high school I saved enough money to buy a small radio. It picked up very few stations, but because it was mine, I chose what to listen to. I fell in love with rock and roll.
The stories were happier, the music bouncy and joyous, It made me feel good inside, even on my most miserable days.
Joining choir was not a possibility as my goal was college, and every class had to lead to getting accepted. Choir was not the elective to make that happen. Plus I’d been told by my brother and father, repeatedly, that I couldn’t sing.
My college, USC, frequently hosted musicians. I couldn’t afford to go, plus I had no one who’d go with me. The walk across campus late at night wasn’t safe due to the neighborhood.
When James Taylor was coming, I decided to buy two tickets, then try to find someone to buy the extra, so as to accompany me. I asked a couple of girls I knew, sort of, but they refused. There was a boy who shared a few classes with me, and since he’d been polite, I asked him.
He thought it was a date, so he was happy to go, for free!
James Taylor put on an excellent show. He was charismatic, comfortable, welcoming. He sang his repertoire of released songs, and a few more.
At times he encouraged the audience to sing along.
I had a marvelous time. My “date”, not so much as he didn’t like James Taylor. He only accepted because I had paid for the tickets.
That one concert deeply influenced my love of stage. While it took years before I was able to go see more of my favorite groups, I have loved every concert I’ve seen.
There’s something magical in the air as the crowd waits for the show to begin. It’s amplified when the performer takes the stage. The energy level builds, the audience sways to the beat, and when it ends, there’s a massive letting go.
I am so glad that I saw James Taylor, even though it was with someone I barely knew. It showed me a world that I never imagined, allowed me to fall in love with it, and still love it today.