James Taylor delivers marathon of classics at Crypto.com Arena

James Taylor Crypto Arena AK mainbar

James Taylor played the Crypto.com Arena (we all know it as STAPLES Center) on Thursday night. When it comes to singer-songwriters, James Taylor has been one of the biggest over the last 50 years. Coming from an era with artists like The Eagles, Joni Mitchell, Warren Zevon, and Carole King, Taylor left a big impact on the singer-songwriter sound of the late 60s and early 70s. Taylor toured last year along with another singer-songwriter icon Jackson Browne. Earlier this year Taylor toured Europe and the U.K. 

His “All Star Band” really is an all star band with session greats Michael Landau (Guitar) Steve Gadd (Drums), Jimmy Johnson (Bass), Walt Fowler (Trumpet), ‘Blue’ Lou Marini (Sax), Larry Goldings (Keys), and Michito Sanchez (Percussion) There are also four backing vocalists including Taylor’s son Henry, Kate Markowitz, Andrew McCuller, Dorian Holley, and Andrea Zonn who doubled as the fiddle player and a back-up singer. The show opened with a video montage of different artists singing Taylor classics and a photo slideshow. There was a curtain over the middle of the stage with a projection on it before Taylor and the band came out. This led into the opening song “Everyday” (Buddy Holly) followed by a major hit “Country Road.” It was also a night of great storytelling behind the songs. 

Taylor played a total of 23 songs broken into two sets including many hits like “Copperline,” “Mexico,” and “Steamroller.” “Steamroller featured Landau on one unforgettable guitar solo and Goldings on an organ solo. The visuals were spectacular with the giant screen above the stage which changed each song and also a tree stage prop. 

During the encore, Taylor performed “Fire and Rain,” “How Sweet It Is,” and “You Can Close Your Eyes.” From Taylor’s self-titled debut in 1969 to his latest album American Standard released in 2020 all have made the charts with the highest being number one with 2015’s “Before This World.” Of all those albums 15 went between Gold and Platinum in the U.S.

Taylor has been nominated for 19 Grammys and won 6 on top of being a Kennedy Center honoree, Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient, MusiCares Honoree, an honorary doctorate from Berklee School of Music in his hometown of Boston, MA, and is even an Emmy winner. Taylor is also a member of both the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame and Songwriters Hall of Fame. 

Words and photos by Alex Kluft

Set 1:

  1. Everyday- Buddy Holly
  2. Copperline
  3. That’s Why I’m Here
  4. Mexico
  5. Walking Man
  6. You Make It Easy
  7. Easy as Rollin’ Off a Log- Johnnie ‘Scat’ Davis
  8. The Frozen Man
  9. Steamroller
  10. Sun on the Moon

Set 2:

  1. Caroline I See You
  2. Secret o’ Life
  3. Traffic Jam
  4. You’ve Got a Friend– Carole King
  5. Up on the Roof– Carole King
  6. Sweet Baby James
  7. Only One
  8. Carolina in My Mind
  9. Shed a Little Light
  10. Your Smiling Face


  1. Fire and Rain
  2. How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved by You)- Marvin Gaye
  3. You Can Close Your Eyes