James Taylor is a great performer pretty much wherever you see him, but something special happens when he plays outdoors.
Maybe it’s because his warm voice seems so natural. Or because his storytelling often makes even the largest amphitheater feel like a campfire sing-along.
In any case, with Taylor, 66, on the road this summer, including a show Tuesday in the First Niagara Center, here’s a handy guide of things to watch for during his show:
The new stuff: Taylor has spent the past two years or so focusing on a new album, and he’s trying out two songs on this tour. He has been describing “Today, Today, Today” as “a new tune, though it sounds like the old ones.” The ballad “You and I” is a bit more ambitious.
The stories: Taylor has been telling the story of how “Something in the Way She Moves” was born and how he auditioned for the Beatles with it to land his deal with their Apple Records. The Wichita Eagle quoted him explaining the song as not his first song, but “it’s the earliest song I’m willing to do in public.”
The intermission: On several stops on the current tour, Taylor has been mingling with the crowd during the 20-minute break between sets and signing autographs. By the way, there’s no opening act, so plan to be on time.