Friday, Aug. 20, 2004 | 8:44 a.m.
Carole King can't bring her massive fanbase to her living room to hear her sing. So this year King is bringing her living room to them.
For her first tour in a decade, the 62-year-old singer-songwriter has opted for a comfortable stage set, featuring a coffee table, a floor lamp and a couch.
As King explained in a brief telephone interview from an Idaho Falls, Idaho, hotel room, the concept for the "Living Room Tour" was born during a series of low-key performances in support of presidential candidate John Kerry.
"Earlier this year when I was campaigning, I enjoyed the intimacy and the connection of playing in that simple format, and people seemed to enjoy it," King said. "So I wanted to see if I could bring it to a bigger venue. And it's working."
On Saturday night, King brings her living room to the 4,000-seat Colosseum at Caesars Palace for the final stop on her 19-show tour. Doors open at 6:30 for the 8 p.m. concert.
King said she is looking forward to seeing how her stripped-back set plays in the House That Celine Built.
"I actually saw Celine's show and I'm really thrilled to be playing there. It's such a beautiful stage," she said.
"We played (Connecticut's) Mohegan Sun (Arena), which is 7,000 people, and I asked folks if they felt it was working. They were overwhelmingly encouraging."
Accompanied by guitarist/musical director Rudy Guess and vocalist/ songwriter Gary Burr, King will perform songs from throughout her storied catalog, including numbers from much-adored 1971 album, "Tapestry."
"Tapestry," which has sold more than 10 million copies in the United States and more than 25 million worldwide, is one of just 100 recordings in the Library of Congress' National Recording Registry. The disc's familiar tracks include "It's Too Late," "So Far Away," "You've Got a Friend" and "I Feel the Earth Move."
"To see the love that people have for 'Tapestry' still after all these years, and how they've passed it on to younger generations, is very powerful," King said.
Along with her music, King will likely present some thoughts about the importance of November's presidential election. She insists she won't be partisan onstage, however.
"I speak about the election, but I speak in general terms," King said. "I do not use the stage to advocate for my candidate."
King said that she respects voters who make informed decisions, regardless of their choices.
"I speak about the importance of voting," she said. "And I speak about the importance of not letting oneself be manipulated by attack ads, but rather doing the homework, really looking at the candidates' plans and what they're actually going to do and what they have done, not what they say they've done.
"If they really research it, I trust them to make the right decision for them, and I respect them for making it."
Offstage, King is unbridled in her enthusiasm for Kerry. Between tour stops, she fills her itinerary with speaking engagements, drawing out potential voters with her celebrity and her message.
"I would not presume to take anything for granted, but I am very optimistic about (Kerry's chances)," she said. "The buzz for change in this country is telling me that John Kerry is doing well."
King is also passionate about environmental protection, and offers nightly support for the Northern Rockies Ecosystem Act, a bill working its way through the House of Representatives.
The vocalist praised local Rep. Shelley Berkley for co-sponsoring the legislation.
"Shelley is a co-sponsor," King said. "She understands about protecting the wilderness, protecting the economy by saving Nevada taxpayers money by not paying for roads into wilderness and also protecting water. (If the bill passes) high mountain regions can hold the water longer, so that when it's needed later in the season it's available."
Despite her strong political views, King stopped short of supporting Linda Ronstadt's recent endorsement of filmmaker Michael Moore during a performance at the Aladdin's Theater for the Performing Arts.
"I really can't speak to that because I wasn't there," King said.
"But I will say that I am a firm believer in freedom of speech. My personal choice is to keep the stage for entertainment and campaigning off the stage, but that's my personal choice. It's not because anyone told me to do it that way."