Sharing thoughts about Taylor Hicks and concert travels and other musical musings!

Saturday, February 24, 2007

The Traveling Circus Looks for Coral in Coral Springs

Coral Springs Center for the Performing Arts – Coral Springs, FL

The drive from Tampa to Coral Springs was both beautiful and interesting. Crossing the Tampa Bay was truly an experience for the senses. The water was a beautiful blue-green. To cross the water required going over a very tall and long bridge that had spans reminding me of a sailboat’s sails. Too bad I was driving or I would have taken pictures!

Winning a meet & greet pass to meet Taylor before the show required that I be at the Coral Springs Center for the Performing Arts by 4:30 to pick up the special laminate. I got there with about 20 minutes to spare! And I had been “booking it” down I-75 to get there by then! Thank goodness the highway patrol wasn’t looking!

Several Soul Patrol members, Cydter, TayMate, Shelia and AyleeDiane, put together a great party before the concert. It was a nice way to celebrate coming together in our support of Taylor. Attendees were busy meeting and talking to each other, eating, and taking pictures. It was another opportunity to meet old friends and make new ones. We put together a scrapbook with a page from each person that chose to do one. I brought pictures from previous encounters with Taylor and wrote a personal message in the empty spaces. A number of the party goers won meet & greet passes – a special keepsake laminate similar to a hotel “key”.

Soon it was time to go to the courtyard to go to the meet and greet. Taylor was sitting at a table near the back fence. We lined up and made our way to him. He signed pictures, CDs, or whatever we had. A special presentation was given to Taylor during that time – a picture of 2 rescued eagles, WHOOO and Whomp. Taylor seemed genuinely touched by the gesture! This time, yours truly was there, and got to talk to Taylor for a couple of seconds, even getting a laugh from him! I had a carnation in hand, and as I gave it to him commented that ‘his allergies would be good for the carnation!” and then restated it correctly! Something about that man just leaves me tongue-tied!

After the meet and greet we returned to the party for more merriment. We took pictures as a group and then small group shots with friends. Door prizes (poster decorations) were given as well as the table decorations. The ladies went all out to make sure we had a great time! I won a table decoration that had a miniature bottle of Taylor’s favorite beverage, Crown Royal in the blue bag, buttons, DVDs of Taylor’s American Idol days and other items!

Finally it was time to go inside the theatre. Coral Springs is very modern, a stage with curtains and seats on elevated stair-step landings. There was plenty of leg room, but not a lot of extra shoulder room! It didn’t really matter, because I sat on the edge of my seat for the entire show with Taylor!

The Greyhounds, a 3-piece jazz band from Austin, TX, opened the show. The music was pretty much the same as the previous two nights. Typical jazz – only a couple of words repeated over and over! Literally! “Yeah, yeah, yeah….” “Dollar bill, dollar bill, dollar bill…..”

After the stage change, the lights went down and Taylor’s band took their places. With a musical intro, Taylor peeks out from behind the curtain on the left side of the stage and then darts back behind. He does it again! The crowd is wild! The third time’s the charm and Taylor takes the stage! No introduction because none is needed! He opens with “Heart and Soul” which sets the tempo for the show. He will give his performance and us his entire heart and soul!

For a man ‘under the weather’, I don’t know what they are giving him, but I want some of it! Taylor was pure Taylor, singing and dancing, dancing and singing, spotlighting the musicians, singing and dancing. That man has the energy of the Energizer Bunny. No wait, I believe he could out energize that silly rabbit. He just keeps on and on and on!

Taylor moved on through the show with “Heaven Knows”, “The Maze”, “Wherever I Lay My Hat” and “Night Time”, “Hell of a Day” tagged with “Tupelo Honey”, “Hold on to Your Love” tagged with “Night Life”, “Just to Fell That Way”, “Gonna Move”, “The Deal”, Rod Stewart’s cover “Young Turks”, “The Right Place”, and ends the set with “The Runaround”. It was incredible! Just how does his show get better each night! Don’t know if it’s the theatre and lighting that enhances the experience or Taylor is back to being 100% himself! Doesn’t matter! The show was wonderful! Great! Terrific! Heart-stopping! You get the idea! Yeah, I’m one of those middle-aged crazy fans!

A few things happened during the show that was awesome! First, Taylor told how he came to have The Greyhounds open for him. He had heard them in Austin, TX, and asked if they would like to open for him. They were kind of like “duh, who are you, man”. When Taylor took off his cap, they recognized him and were like “sure, yeah!” And here they are!

Second, Taylor talked about not getting used to mike stands and how on American Idol he missed the mike stand on national TV! Seems all the guys from Birmingham tend to have that happen! He told how when he kicked the mike stand during the dress rehearsal that it went into the stands and ‘nearly killed a lady’! I hope she wears that scar as a badge of honor! Taylor said he was singing and telling himself to just be sure to kick the stand over and then he missed it!

Third, a woman on the front row placed a bouquet of roses on the stage. Taylor walked over to take them and leaned down and allowed her to his him on the cheek! Now why didn’t I think of that! Probably because I was on the third row! The crowd loved it!

When his set was over, Taylor left the stage followed by the band. The stage stays darkened. The crowd is screaming for more Taylor! The band returns. Taylor runs across the stage and back! He does “Soul Thing” and “Badge”, not something I was familiar with.

During the encore a handful of ladies’ undies, bras and thongs, were thrown on the left side of the stage. Taylor walked over to look and gave a silly expression. And kept on singing! I guess that might have been a first for him! No, he did not pick them up!

And then he was gone. The house lights came up and it was officially over. Another great night! Another practically full house! Another group of very happy people! And I was satisfied for the evening.

A few of us hung around to see what was going on. I’ve started collecting drum sticks so I was able to one the drummer had used. Has the splinter to show it was officially used! Got to see the ladies’ undies that hit the stage during the encore. Nice mix! Little of everything! One of the roadies wanted to know if I was the guilty party but I had to confess they weren’t my size!

There was an after show meet & greet for a few lucky VIPs. Must have been something the theatre did because I hadn’t seen this happen the last two nights. My little group stood around to see if we could get in or least get some autographs for those who hadn’t had the pleasure previously. No luck!

As usual, I got lost trying to find my hotel. That was ok, because I got to play bullfighter with the road crew bus! It became a stand off…..the dodge caravan bullfighter verses the blue bus bull! The bus yielded and made its turn and parked and I could then move on to the check in! As I checked into the hotel, I commented about their important guests for the night. 'Some group of musicians' was all the desk clerks (both males) would tell me. I told them who the musicians were, and the desk clerks without cracking smiles said they didn’t know who Taylor was! It figures! They were typical guys! But once I explained that Taylor was the gray-haired American Idol winner, that seemed to trigger some memory. Still not smiles! I just went to my room to upload pictures & write my recap!

The adventure continues……….


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