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

Sunday, February 25, 2007

The Traveling Circus Goes to Mardi Gras

Universal Studio Amusement Park – Orlando, FL

I chose to leisurely drive to Orlando. (Actually I wanted to be on line to get tickets for the Seattle concert) I wasn’t planning to go through the Universal Studio Park so there was no need to be in a hurry to get there early. My bad! Big mistake! Since I got checked in around 5:00 pm, there wasn’t a lot of time to freshen up before heading to catch the shuttle. It was around 7:30 when my group (total of 6 fans who’d already met up with each other at earlier shows) arrived at the stage – standing room only!

What has 2500 heads, 5000 legs and 400 wheels and wears lots of beads? The concert watchers at Mardi Gras with Taylor Hicks! Of course, that’s my guesstimate, anyway. Any benches available were taken quite early and used for standing during the concert. And standing on a sidewalk or concrete pad for several hours is not my idea of a picnic, even for Taylor! Sorry man!

I spent the first part of the concert holding up the ladies’ room wall and the last half having a trash can to lean upon. Thank goodness for jumbotron, or I wouldn’t have been able to see a thing! That should have been fine – just to listen to Taylor – but man, I just gotta see him dance and spin! And maybe a little skin and white waistband! We got flashed a couple of times but nothing to prove it to you! No pictures for posterity!

Taylor was in rare form. There was a cool breeze for the audience, but the lights must have been quite hot, because the front of Taylor’s shirt and the back of his jacket was quite wet! That shiny gray jacket and solid gray shirt – what a combination on Taylor! And his New Balance sneakers and trademark jeans!

Taylor didn’t comment a lot, but he did acknowledge Brian Less’ 45th birthday. Poor Brian! To be 29 but accused of being so much older! After the show, I saw Brian with another group of Soul Patrollers, so I stopped to wish him a happy birthday. I got the gift instead – a great big bear hug! Sorry Staci….I know he’s yours!

In spite of the discomfort of standing, the concert lasted a short 90 minutes! Brian announced Taylor and “Taking It to the Streets” lead off his performance. Taylor moved into “Heaven Knows”, “The Maze”, and “Dream Myself Awake”. With a guitar hung on his frame, Taylor sang an original tune, “Hold On to Your Love”. That was followed by “Can’t Trust Your Neighbor” and another original with Taylor playing guitar, “Hell of a Day”

“Just to Feel That Way” followed. Taylor played guitar for “Heart and Soul”. The guitar was removed and “Wherever I Lay My Hat” began and was followed by “Young Turks”. Taylor finished the set with “The Right Place” and “The Runaround”. It was hard to really see, and sometimes even the jumbotron wasn’t clear. I couldn’t tell if the band left the stage or not. But Taylor came back to perform “Badge” for the encore!

The crowd was a mixed group of all ages, young and old. Everyone seemed to be enjoying Taylor’s performance. I know I was! Tonight was all Taylor. No opening act, just pure Taylor! I don’t know how they do it, but it seems that the show improved each night. Maybe it’s because Taylor is feeling better health-wise. Or because he’s becoming more comfortable on the stage. Who really cares as long as Taylor is doing what he enjoys most – performing live, on stage!

Before the show started, I noticed a woman standing under a bright light near the stage. I wish I could have watched her more – she was signing the words to Taylor’s songs! I’m not sure how one would interpret Taylor! But she was tying really hard!
We walked back to the entrance and took an independent van ride back to the hotel. I tried to upload my very dark and bad pictures. I woke up with my head on the keyboard so I decided to wait until I got home to write my recap and just crawled in bed.
I’m normally a light sleeper so if I did actually receive a wake-up call, I didn’t hear it! I quickly showered, dressed and packed so I could drive to Jacksonville to catch my plane home. I needed the drive to clear my head. I think I must have cried the first hour of the drive! I was elated and exhilarated from meeting so many Taylor fans and having a great week-end in Florida.

If someone had told me I’d be driving around the state of Florida in a rental by myself, I would have said that’s crazy. No way! Not in this lifetime! But here I was – I had gone from Jacksonville to Tampa to Coral Springs to Orlando and now back to Jacksonville. It had been one heck of a journey. I want more, and I can’t wait for next week-end when I’m off to Myrtle Beach and Knoxville. For now, I need a couple of days of rest and work (got to pay VISA!). The Traveling Circus will be back on the road next week-end! Catch you on the flip-side!

Pictures (use your imagination!)

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