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It's Only Rock'n Roll

A Night With Mick Taylor
Feb. 19, 2000
San Juan Capistrano Coach House

Review by Colin Russell

Saturday Feb 19 at the San Juan Capistrano Coach House in California, Mick Taylor showed all in attendance that not only did he use to play with the Stones, he is a master in his own write. Part of the problem with Mick's time with the Stones was that he received little or no credit for his work and wasn't allowed enough room to show a substantial amount of his talent. Further , there was his own health and peace of mind at stake. Many thought he was a fool to leave the Stones, but he knows it was not only a much needed change for survival purposes but it allowed him to show the world some of the bottled up talent that was somewhat dormant between 1969- 1975.

My friend and I arrived at 7pm to make sure our promised up front table was ready. I had even requested dinner reservations a month earlier (before they went on sale)to be assured the best seats. They told me to just bring my current ID and the reservation number " B-52 ". When I approached the will call window , they told me I had no tickets and I better check with the Manager on duty who promptly informed me that I had already picked up my tickets. I , of course, had not. The office computers had crashed and they had to call in their local computer "geek" to try to salvage the night. He finally found that I had two front seats and they produced a signature from a person named " John ". I mentioned to the woman in charge that it seemed to me that a few "comps" were in order. She agreed, and we were on our way to the best seats in the house. No waiting in line and a few comp drinks to boot. There were two opening bands did their 1/2 hour sets and the stage was set for the " Mick Taylor Band ".

Mick casually entered the stage to a rousing crowd, took a few chugs from a bottle of red wine ( I believe) and was intorduced. He broke ground from the opening chords of new song "Twisted Sister" with Vintage @69 Les Paul which was around his neck for nearly the entire night. The moment he took off on that first lead, time went back 25 years , he hadn't lost a note. The entire crowd was in awe, not knowing if they should just gawk at this marvel or begin applauding throughout the song. This elongated, elegant version of Twisted Sister stamped his new CD as a must for any Mick Taylor fan, as well as anyone who knew or heards the Blues. " Thank you very much, it's great to be back at the Coach House, were gonna do alot off the new CD tonight", he stated. "Secret Affair" was next in a bluesy cranked up version that was simply perfect. The band was right on from the opening note and would find Mick alternating from leads to slide and back again in just an amazing bit of mastery. This little bit of genious brought smiles to all the faces I could see around. The back up vocals were in perfect harmony. " These guys are here to play tonite, " I told my friend who came along for the night.

Long slinky blues lead opens up for " Late at Night". Mick says " allright, (and sings) Need your arms around me , need your loving everyday. It's late at night almost quarter to three, Lord have mercy upon me. Everybody needs somebody, I hope you'll come away with me.............While watching this man, I sat and wondered, "Does he ever make a mistake ? " During "Here comes the Rain ", I kept looking for his other guitar, as he sounded like he was playing two guitars at once. I remember Keith Richards once said that of Robert Johnson (pretty good company). Then I just thought back to some of his earlier stuff with the Stones when he would just run circles around the rest of the music with his never faltering, endless looping leads. ( Dead Flowers, Sway, Moonlite Mile to name a few). Just as I brought myself back to today and tonights show he rips into " You got to Move". The guy next to me immitating his every lick jus bellowed out, " Man can that cat play." The crowd was howling, screaming,singing so loud the song itself almost took a backseat to the enthusiasm of the crowd.

A standing ovation followed that appeared to even catch Mick off guard. Next up was "Guide" something of an instramental that gave the crowd a chance (and Mick) to catch their respective breaths, gather a drink or listen to a little solo from each of the other band members. My friend , Jesse, anxious for an autograph approached the stage only to be discouraged by the security on hand. When Jesse returned I took his picture to be signed with me up to the front row center seat that a friend had waiting for me. Next up was a brilliant version of "Got Blues in the Morning" showed some of his old roots mixing the old blues with his masterful filled in leads. There are few guitarist on God's green earth as talented as this one. He had blues on his mind, as he sang in this song.

Mick Taylor, truly still one of the greats. He said his thanks to the crowd and I approached him with the picture to be signed for my friend but, truthfully he kind of ignored me it seemed. However, they were back in a flash with an encore about a "Red House over Yonder" and then the climax of the evening with , "Can't you hear me Knocking".. This time as he was leaving stage , he looked at me and acknowledged that he would sign it for me and to meet him in about 20 minutes by the front entrance. I did. So, did many others. I was actually the third one in line but he singed my picture first. Twice actually. We chatted shortly about the 72/73 years (where I traveled extensively along side of the Stones) Somethings we wanted to remember, others best left unsaid. I thank him graciously , shook his million dollar hand and moved aside so others could meet him as well. Just before I left, I approached him again commenting on his flawless performance and said, "till the next time, we said goodbye."

Colin Russell

P.S. I work at the Satellite Race Facility in Del Mar California. The next day, a horse named "Hear U Knockin " ran and yes it won, paying $16.20 for ever $2 invested.

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