Livingston Taylor brings his musical stories to the Egyptian Theatre with Janis Ian
Janis Ian and Livingston Taylor
8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, Aug. 9 and 10, and 6 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 11
Egyptian Theatre, 328 Main St.
Friday tickets range from $49-$70. Saturday and Sunday tickets are $53-$75
Livingston Taylor is thrilled to be out on the road with fellow singer-songwriter Janis Ian.
“Janis is a wonderful musical force,” Taylor said. “She’s fantastic. She’s funny and she’s poignant. And I get to open the show.”
Taylor and Ian will perform Aug. 9 and 10, and 6 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 11 at the Egyptian Theatre, and the format will give audiences a good dose of each artist, Taylor said.
“Realistically, it will be me playing first and then Janis playing,” he said. “Then the two of us will play together.”
The shows will also include some moments in Taylor’s set that may take audiences by surprise, he said.
“One is I’m very tune oriented, you know, tuneful,” he said. “I’m also funnier than people expect me to be.”
Taylor, the brother of singer-songwriter James Taylor, is also a storyteller, and his stories will range from his family life and hobbies, which include refurbishing antique motorcycles, flying planes, and teaching at the Berklee College of Music.
“Motorcycles come from the fact that I can’t bear Boston traffic, and I like occasionally working on old machines,” he said. “Also, old motorcycles store more conveniently than old cars.”
Livingston bought his first airplane before he even learned to fly when he was 39.
“I thought it would be fun to explore the atmosphere, and I was right,” he said.
While the singer has busied himself with these different hobbies, he always returns to music, which he says is a “wonderful touchstone for any adventure.”
“When I see parents who don’t put up a fuss when their kids stop playing music and start playing soccer, I get upset,” Taylor said. “You see, soccer will run out when they are 30. Music will take them to 94 because you can make music for an entire life.”
Taylor said that doesn’t only mean making music professionally.
“It’s about making music with your friends and family, and that’s a stunning reality to live in,” he said. “I’m very glad I’ve been able to have something to do about it.”
Throughout his career, Taylor has shared the stage with such performers as Linda Ronstadt and Jimmy Buffet, and each of those artists have made Taylor push his playing up a few notches.
“Those people and then being able to tour with Janis, who is a powerful performer, has been a lot of fun,” he said. “It’s about the idea of bringing my own strengths and combining them with these people.”
When teaching at Berklee, Taylor likes to think he and his students are exploring music together.
“I don’t have that sense that I’m sharing my knowledge and wisdom with my students, because I have no wisdom,” he said. “All I have is curiosity, and we will look at why things are considered good and why other things are considered bad.”
Last month, Taylor released a fiveCD and DVD box set, “50 Years of Livingston Taylor Live.”
The set features a handful of never-before-released songs that Taylor had stored away.
“There are many songs I had forgotten I had written, and certainly forgot I performed and recorded,” he said. “There were some that I haven’t played in 40 years, and there are a couple that aren’t included in the box because they weren’t released for a good reason. All of them were surprisingly fun to find.”
Taylor is grateful he has the opportunity to add more time to his 50-year career.
“I’m delighted to have an audience with whom to share various adventures with, and I’m delighted when they want to come along,” he said. “I also understand if they don’t want to anymore, but as long as people want a seat on the bus, I’m so happy to keep driving.”
The singer still has a couple of new projects he wants to tackle.
“I want to do a symphony record,” Taylor said. “And there are a couple of specialty records I want to make, but it’s difficult to make records these days. You have to understand they won’t be financially viable.”
That’s why Taylor prefers playing live, and he can’t wait to get back to Utah.
“It’s a place I’ve visited many times before, and I’m very much looking forward to being there again,” he said.
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