Last weekend, the Boston Symphony Orchestra‘s summer season out in the Berkshires kicked off with John Williams conducting the BSO and performances from James Taylor (aka the region’s musical homecoming king).
I had never made the jaunt to Tanglewood before and didn’t know what to expect, other than that the surroundings would be breathtaking and that there would probably be bugs. (Thanks, nature!). Catching James Taylor in concert is one of those things that everyone should try to do at least once, sure. But to see him at Tanglewood, in his hometown and at one of his favorite venues? And to watch him share the stage with John Williams, one of the Pops most beloved conductors (and a name synonymous with “badass movie soundtrack”) and the man sort of responsible for Taylor falling head over heels for his wife? That’s rad. (To clarify, Taylor met Kim Smedvig while he was also guesting with the Pops with John Williams back in 1995.) Take all of this into account–along with the packed venue and a lawn full of people looking forward to hearing the theme from Jaws and “Going To Carolina”–and you’ve got a memorable evening ahead of you.
Biggest disappointment of the evening? The BSO didn’t play the Jurassic Park theme and I cried a little bit on the inside (if only because J. Pat started playing this in the office the second I confirmed my seats for Friday), though they did deliver on the movie score front with the theme from the Superman flicks. Otherwise, the BSO and James Taylor billing lived up to the hype, with James hitting every single note as clearly and carefully as he did long before “Sweet Baby James” reached cult lullaby status. I resisted the urge to call my mom during “You’ve Got A Friend” (she’s a massive JT fan) and “awwwww“-ed with everyone else when Taylor and Williams broke out a couple of Broadway covers, including “Neverland” from Peter Pan (of the Mary Martin variety, not Disney) and The King and I‘s “Getting to Know You.” Secretly, I’d hoped that he’d play “How Sweet It Is,” though I’m sure the duet isn’t a regular facet of his repertoire for obvious reasons. I missed Taylor’s collaboration with Vince Gill and Amy Grant the following evenings, but watching him get all giddy over playing guitar in the presence of John Williams was absolutely worth a trip out to the Berkshires.
On that note — Williams is returning to Tanglewood on 8.20.11, where he’ll conduct the BSO for Film Night, which basically means that all the soundtracks you’ve grown up knowing will be performed in front of you and led by the man who made them happen. We’re going. You bring the popcorn.
Many thanks to Hilary Scott and the BSO for sharing the photo love with us! Hilary’s photos below: