It’s a hometown tradition: James Taylor and his All-Star Band at Tanglewood to celebrate Independence Day with two evening shows on July 3 and 4.
Tickets for this summer’s 8 p.m. performances by Taylor go on sale to the public at 10 a.m. this Wednesday, Feb. 1. Tickets are priced from $32 on the lawn to $150 for prime Shed seats, available at tanglewood.org or at 888-266-1200.
The July 4 concert will be followed by a fireworks display over Stockbridge Bowl in celebration of the Independence Day holiday. Proceeds from that concert will be donated by Kim and James Taylor to support Tanglewood.
It’s the first time since Taylor’s 2019 July 4th holiday doubleheader that a fully stocked ticket arsenal, up to 36,000 seats, will be available for this summer’s twin bill.
Taylor performed two concerts last July 3 and 4 at Tanglewood, but the Independence Day show was sold out well in advance because of fans holding tickets for his 2020 and 2021 dates that were postponed because of the pandemic.
Last summer, 32,351 concertgoers attended his Tanglewood shows. Five of the season’s top 10 performances at the Boston Symphony’s summer home ranked by ticket sales were by popular artists, including Taylor, Van Morrison, Bonnie Raitt and Brandi Carlile.The full Tanglewood season, including the Popular Artists series, is expected to be announced on Feb. 1.
In an interview with The Eagle at his Lenox-area residence and recording studio last summer, Taylor explained why Tanglewood is his home base and most-favored concert venue.
“When you have a lot of history with a place, an experience with the audience that goes back so many years, you definitely have the sense that the audience gets you, it’s a trusted connection,” he said. “Also in the Berkshires, where we live, we have a sense of the people who live here and those attracted to come here in the summertime, I feel as though they know me and I know them. Some of that is a burden, but most of it just feels like being home.”
James Taylor returns to Tanglewood on July 3 and 4 after a two-year hiatus. He sits down with The Eagle ahead of his weekend of concerts to talk about the pandemic, if he still gets nervous on stage and why he loves playing at Tanglewood.
Asked why it would be a burden, Taylor explained that “there are things about it that are daunting, you’re going to run into dozens of people from the audience for another year before you get a chance to redeem yourself! You also want to offer them something fresh.”
He added that “at Tanglewood, I want to play more extraordinary stuff, more deep tracks, deeper in the catalog, more new stuff and I get the sense that the audience is ready for that because we’ve got such a history. At the same time, people also want to hear “Stockbridge to Boston” [from “Sweet Baby James”] so it’s always a balancing act but particularly at Tanglewood, you wonder whether they’ve heard this too many times.”
Surprisingly, Taylor, 74, also revealed that he still suffers from preconcert anxiety.
“You have to trick yourself into feeling casual about it,” he said. “You want to be as prepared as possible, but also as free as possible. So, you sort of play tricks on yourself to take the weight off. I feel most comfortable if I don’t amp up that performance anxiety any more than necessary.”