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

Friday, February 23, 2007

The Traveling Circus of Fans Go to Tampa

The Tampa Theatre – Tampa, FL

The caravan (Dodge, that is) left Jacksonville bound for Tampa. I expected to make the approximate 200 mile drive alone but instead took along two passengers for the ride. And what a ride! We thought we made a wrong turn and had to turn around, only to discover we had been driving the right way the first time. I joke that I can get lost in the bathroom, so this was no surprise to me! We laughed and talked the entire ride, exchanging our favorite Taylor stories!

Once in Tampa, we found the hotel with the help of the hotel operator. She stayed on the phone with us until we turned into the parking lot. If you ever need a place to stay in downtown Tampa, the Howard Johnson Plaza Hotel (formerly Ashley Plaza Hotel) is the place to stay. After the show they helped guide me back after circling downtown for 30 minutes or so!

Dinner was at the Columbia Restaurant in Ybor City. Interesting area. It was a historic district that had its roots in the South American tobacco and cigar trade. The restaurant was very Spanish in design and décor. The food was interesting and tasty. But enough about that.

Parking in the area of the Tampa Theatre was almost non-existent. After circling the block twice, I found a meter spot and parked. I couldn’t seem to find the hotel after dinner, so street parking for the show was the only sensible option.

The Tampa Theatre was brightly and proudly displaying Taylor’s name on its marques. Check my Photobucket account for pictures. The inside of the theatre looked like an Italian city with tall buildings and statues. Because of the lighting, it was impossible to take a picture for posterity. But it really was beautiful!

The Greyhounds opened again tonight. Their material sounded pretty much the same as last night, and by the time I see them next week-end, I’ll probably know the words to their songs! Taylor had mentioned that when he was in Austin he had heard them in a bar, and asked them if they’d like to open for him. The rest is history. The Greyhounds will open for much of the Southern leg of the tour.

Now mind you, for me, any time is Taylor time. The stage was reset for Taylor and his band came out. After a bit of musical intro, Brian Less announced Taylor! “Gonna Move” was the opening number. For a man a bit under the weather, Taylor sure was moving! Taylor had a cup of hot tea that he periodically sipped, mentioning that he had been ‘under the weather’. He also promised that no matter how bad he felt, he’d always perform for us, and always give it his best. That we could always count on! What a trouper! Cheersing Taylor! Have another cup of hot tea!

Tonight’s performance was more from Taylor’s first major CD, self-titled “Taylor Hicks”. “Heaven Knows”, “The Maze”, “Wherever I Lay My Hat”, “Dream Myself Awake”, “Just to Feel That Way”, and the “Right Place” were included in tonight’s performance.

Before launching into “Just to Feel That Way”, Taylor told about the song almost not making the album, and that the song had ‘grown on him’. He said that Clive Davis told him he needed to record the song but Taylor didn’t think it was him, but Mr. Davis said yes it was. In the end Mr. Davis won and Taylor recorded the song. And now it’s his first major single from the album! The audience laughed at Taylor’s story about how the song came to be. He swore it was a true story and not a bunch of bull!

Several times Taylor tagged a couple of songs together. “Hell of a Day” with “Tupelo Honey” and “Wherever I Lay My Hat” with “Night Shift”. Taylor said he liked to tag songs together, something he couldn’t do on American Idol! That got the audience responding with laughter and applause!

“Hold on to Your Love” and “Heart and Soul”, original music by Taylor were included. “Can’t Trust Your Neighbor” plus “Young Turks”, a Rod Stewart cover, filled out the Tampa show. For his final number, Taylor did another signature song, “The Runaround”, written by Loren Gold, the keyboard and music director for the show. Taylor threw in is twirling, bouncing, and corkscrew moves in true Taylor style. The crowd loved it! I was singing to it!

Taylor thanked the audience, and left the stage. The musicians began to breakdown the instruments. The audience was screaming: “ Taylor!” “Taylor!” Clapping and chanting at the same time. Jacksonville spoiled us – we knew an encore was coming! And come it did! Taylor made a comment about sweating and the “suits in LA” and proceeded to take off his jacket! About 15 minutes worth of covers and tagging, and the songs escape me! I was busy trying to watch and photograph this wild young man! (The encore, per GrayCharles, was “Soul Thing” with “Night Life”, “Taking in to the Streets” and “Harlem/Cold Baloney”)

Another incredible night in another beautiful old theatre! Taylor has kept his promises again! What a night!

Pictures can be found here:

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