James Taylor – Madison Square Garden, NY, NY

I met Tommy when I was a cook at Kentucky Fried Chicken in Kissimmee FL back in ’88. We discovered he had a bit in common as we took our dinner break and started befriending each other.  Soon we were hanging out after work, having a few beers and partying with chicks.

At the end of the year of ’89 I moved to Fort Lauderdale so that I could start classes at The Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale that began January 2, 1990.  I didnt have a car at the time so my girlfriend had given me a ride and after she dropped me off, she began dating her ex as soon as she returned to Kissimmee.  After I had found out she was back with her ex, I had reached out to Tommy, just to touch base and see how he was doing.  He had said that he was off the upcoming weekend and asked if I wouldnt mind hanging out.

We sat in my dorm room, knocking back a few beers fit for a King.  I had the radio on when James Taylor came on the radio.  Tommy then told me that his dad was a friend of James and that he had actually helped write Fire & Rain with him while they were in the trenches of Viet Nam!  I always thought that it was great story and from then on, it has reminded me of our friendship.  I havent seen Tommy since that weekend!

20 years later or so, I had the pleasure of meeting Michael Landau.  He and Robben Ford had a band, Renegade Creation who were playing at the Bears Den at the Seneca Niagara Casino.  As the Entertainment Manager, I approached their tour manager and asked if it would be ok to snap a few pics of the show.  After the show, I approached Michael and asked if he wanted to check out a few pics and he gave me his email address.  A few days later he told me he wanted to use one of the pics for an upcoming solo album.  Of course I said “yes”!

I didnt know it at the time, but Michael was James Taylor’s lead guitarist and that he would soon be back in Buffalo in a few weeks.  He offered a couple tickets in addition to backstage passes.  Although Michael didnt make an appearance, I did get to finally meet Mr Taylor.  Of course I couldnt resist not asking him about Tommy’s father and him writing one of his biggest hits.  With a sly grin he told me, “well, first of all, Ive never been in Viet Nam.  Im afraid either your friend was ill-informed or he enjoyed telling stories”.  His response didnt phase me in the least, after all those years there was certain doubt, but it was good to finally get the answer.

Michael and I have stayed in contact and email well wishes now and again.  He reached out the last time he was in town with James and offered a couple tickets and backstage passes.  Although it was a nice visit with Michael and his wife, backstage of the Madison Square Garden, we had to leave before James decided to make an appearance.  He asked if I had my camera but unfortunately all I had was my point and shoot therefore didnt get “album cover” worthy pics!  Here is a small gallery from that show.

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