James Taylor at Bethel Woods
July 20, 2014
When we went to see James Taylor at Bethel Woods, I checked the website to make sure cameras were allowed. They were but only "small point and shoots" and any camera with detachable lens is not allowed. So Vi brought her Nikon P90 and I my Canon S95.

I started shooting with the S95 on "Auto". The shots came too washed out. You can't make out James Taylor's face at all because it was over-exposed. The stage lighting wreaks havoc on the camera's metering system I suspect so it can't do a proper reading on the man you actually want to shoot, namely, James Taylor.

So I played around with my camera's controls using the "Manual" setting. The shots here are ISO 80, 100, or 125 (to keep "noise" [those cyan and magenta specks you'd see in an image if you blow it up] down to a minimum at the expense of possible camera-shake with my unsteady hands). The brighter ones were at ISO 200. I set the f-stop at the widest possible on my camea at f/2.5. Some were f/4.0 just to see how much I can get away with without camera shake.

But the most important thing -- you can really forget about all that ISO and f-stop above -- is to set the camera's speed at 1/60 minimum. I think it is the slowest speed humans can shoot without camera shake being evident. Sometimes, however, (when I'm feeling brave) I'd dial it down to 1/50, 1/30, and even 1/25 so I can let more light into the camera and thus create brighter images.

Also, I always take 3 or more pictures every time I take a shot. Many end up blurred or JT's face might not be the "look" I want. So essentially it's a "numbers" game -- don't hesitate to take dozens or a hundred or more images so you can guarantee yourself a handful of good ones.

Anyway, I didn't mean to lecture y'all with camera techniques -- I just thought I'd throw that out in case you'd want to take pictures at a concert. Sadly, I think you would need a point-and-shoot with a "Manual" setting -- most don't have it. But, happily, most that do have it are not that much more expensive if at all.

About midway through the concert, the man seated beside Vi pulled out his DSLR with a moderately big zoom, probably a 200mm. Somehow, he was able to sneak it past security.

I'm not jealous, though. The way he used it he did so sparingly as if afraid that security might catch him. So he only managed to take a few shots while I, Vi, and the rest of the crowd were snapping happily away with our point-and-shoots all through the night.

So these are photos taken with my Canon S95. I have also uploaded Vi's photos taken with her Nikon P90. You can see them here:


The concert, BTW, was great. I wish the night went on forever. But I guess like all good things, it, too, must come to an end.

Click on a picture to enlarge.
On our way to the auditorium...
...we arrived an hour early.
James Taylor.
James Taylor with members of the All Star Band.
A solo number.
His song, “Millworker”, had always intrigued me because, delivered in a first person narrative, James Taylor sings in the third line, “and I his only daughter.” So you know he's telling someone else's story -- but whose I didn't know. It turned out to be a song he wrote for a play that didn't become successful.

The song -- about wasting one's life away in a meaningless job in order to feed the self and others -- parallels a message in another one of his songs, “That's Why I'm Here”. In it he sings, “working's no crime, just don't let them take and waste your time.” So besides his call-and-I'll-come-running and ready-to-lend-a-truck-to-a-friend and other epithets, James Taylor is also telling us to stand-and-fight.

This photo by Vi P. Carpio.
Warming up to the crowd.
I'll just let you browse. You can probably see James accustomed to the crowd and getting more and more absorbed and engaged as the night wore on.
The song,
Nearing finale, James motioned for the crowd to come closer. So we left our seats and moved to the foot at the stage.
Show's over. Or is it? The band begins packing up while James walks around to each band member as if asking to do one more round of songs.
Final farewell...
...as it's really over.
Final bow.
Lee Briones:
I love James Taylor! Would love to hear him sing live -- an imprint forever

Virgelio Carpio:
Hi, Lee. 

I think we all know that all concerts end in an encore. It has to happen. It all comes down I guess on how the artist will handle it in a unique way that will make it appear spontaneous and spur-of-the-moment.

When James waved goodbye and he and the band members walked offstage, the audience stayed put and continued clapping. After a few minutes James and the band simply walked back onstage and played more songs.

After that, James and the band made their formal bow and the stage lights came on. In one of my photos, you can see some band members starting to pack while James walked to each one making hand signals and gesturing as if begging to stay a bit longer to grant the audienceís wish.

So we had two encores.

Iím sure the whole thing was rehearsed. After all, they just came from another tour location the night before and dozens more before that, and each, Iím sure, ended in an encore. It was, as with all concerts and not just Jamesí, to say the least, um, a farce. 

But with James it all seemed genuine. In his song, “Thatís Why Iím Here”, he wonders aloud about this “fortune and fame” being “such a curious game...perfect strangers call you by nameÖ(they) pay good money to hear fire and rain again and again and again.” Then in the same stanza he seems to come to an epiphany: “I break into a grin from ear to ear and suddenly it's perfectly clear -- That's why I'm here.” Be the game as it may his encores nevertheless represented his true desire to please the audience and make everyone happy.

When I bought our tickets months ago, I was only thinking I should. I thought no more of it than, say, buying tickets for a theme park. But when the concert came and it was over and the days pass -- and James becomes more and more a distant memory -- oddly he seems to come closer and closer to this poor fanís heart. Those were my thoughts, too, Lee Ė “an imprint forever”.
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