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

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Kicking Up My Heels at Mardi Gras Endymion Style

Time to write about one of those once in a lifetime opportunities, at least for me – Mardi Gras Endymion Style! Now I’ve never really been much of a partier, but when Taylor Hicks burst on the scene, my Victorian ways just flew out the window. I can hold my diet coke with the best of them, especially if I limit myself to no more than two glasses! Helps cut down on the trips to the ladies’ room (so I don’t miss any fun)!

The Endymion Krewes know how to throw one heck of a party! It’s so big it takes two nights and the New Orleans’ Superdome! Where else could you gather 5,000 partiers for a casual Friday night fling and 14,000 revelers in formal attire on Saturday! The menu is quite simple with a cash bar and red beans and rice on Friday and setups and popcorn on Saturday. The formal gig is bring-your-own-food-and-booze! Image all the party goers in long gowns and tuxedos pulling ice chests and carts of food! Quite a sight, I must say! Guilty – I had my chest with bottled water and chips. Didn’t figure I’d eat much since I was there to see only one group of performers.

You guessed it! None other than American Idol champion, Taylor Hicks, backed by his former band mates, Little Memphis Blues Orchestra! Taylor was chosen, along with Journey, to be the Endymion parade grand marshals. I’d heard of Journey, Styx, and Al Green (who were there to perform), but couldn’t name any of their music. Taylor, on the other hand, I was quite familiar with. Absolutely love this guy, especially when LiMBO is there too!

If I had to compare the Friday night party to Saturday’s, it was a much more laid back event. And much less crowded. There were several local bands performing, and the only name I can remember was “Mixed Nuts”. They were quite good, as were the other bands that performed. Because there was less of a crowd, LiMBO mixed with the crowd, and I got to talk to each of the guys from time to time.

Taylor arrived standing up through the open roof of a limo tossing plastic cups into the crowd. No luck, I didn’t catch one. But that was fine. After being introduced on stage and doing a quick number with Journey, Taylor was squired around the perimeter of the VIP section to greet his adoring fans, one of which was yours truly. Got my picture taken with him. Shook his hand. Autographed my ticket which was hanging from a ribbon around my neck. Even exchanged a few words.

While I was waiting for Taylor, several of the Journey guys came over to where I was standing. I guess they thought because my hair’s white that I would know who they were and would want pictures. I had no clue who was who, and even had to ask what they had sung that I might be familiar with. Such a down cast look the one in front of me was giving! We were all waiting for the much younger gray-haired wonder! Sorry, Journey guys!

The Endymion Krewes had two functions on Saturday to attend. First, the parade, and then the ball. The floats were absolutely beautiful! I had watched an earlier parade as it passed by my hotel, but it didn’t hold a candle to Endymion. No way! The Endymion floats were bigger and more colorful! There were marching bands, ROTC squads, and floats, and a miniature truck (kid’s toy size!) that snaked through downtown New Orleans and then circled inside the Superdome. Taylor was throwing beads and cups this time. Again, no luck in catching anything!

After standing for several hours to watch the parade pass, it was time to go stand near the stage to watch Taylor and LiMBO perform. All the LiMBO guys were there, Jeff Lopez, sax & flute, Brian Lee, keyboard, Mitch Jones, bass, Sam Gunderson, guitar, and Zippy Dieterich, drums. And finally the moment I had waited for – Taylor Hicks took the stage!

Taylor put a lot of energy into his performance, singing and dancing, as only he does best! They sang their older version of “Gonna Move”, “Call Me the Breeze”, “Hell of a Day”, a medley of “Mardi Gras and When the Saints Go Marching In”, and a couple of others that escape me at the moment. Taylor sounded wonderful, and LiMBO was equally as wonderful.

It had been a fun-filled week-end, and I was facing driving and flying time the next day. Taylor and LiMBO had left the party, and so did I. By leaving early, it would be easier to get a ride back to the hotel. Walking to the Superdome for the events was enough for me – don’t know if it was eight or twelve blocks – but who really cares! And I had done it Friday night as well! My legs and feet were quite sore and tired, and ready to have my body put to bed!

Taylor’s performance only welted my need for more Taylor time. Thank goodness his tour starts tomorrow and I have tickets!

Be sure to read the various website threads that other Soul Patrollers have written. There were a number of interesting happenings, little of which should be printed in this blog! But I’ll give you a few hints: someone got their ball ticket signed by Taylor when her hubby met Taylor in the men’s room, another got a bruise on the head from a cup tossed by Taylor, someone else had drink poured on them, someone saw other guests “entertaining” the Krewes, and someone got sprinkled when the guy behind her tinkled! Go check it out – it will be well worth the time!

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