Christian Holub
January 16, 2015 AT 05:14 PM EST

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (and the rest of the Obama administration) have endured criticism for failing to attend a Paris anti-terrorist rally in the wake of the terrorist attacks on Charlie Hebdo magazine and a kosher supermarket that left 17 dead last week. So when Kerry arrived in France on Friday, he made a few symbolic gestures: He hugged President Francois Hollande, laid a wreath at the site of the kosher supermarket where four were killed by terrorists days after the initial Charlie Hebdo attack, and brought in James Taylor to sing a rendition of Carole King’s “You’ve Got a Friend.”

Yes, one of those things is not like the others. Taylor’s serenade is a little awkward to watch (see: Kerry’s self-conscious foot-tapping, U.S. Ambassador to France Jane Hartley being forced to hold an extra microphone to Taylor’s guitar). Nevertheless, the performance earned a robust round of applause from the audience.

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