Monday, March 19, 2007
The Traveling Circus Remembers the Alamo
As our small tribe of circus clowns left Austin for San Antonio, we decided to stop in at New Braunfels Smokehouse. The Smokehouse is known for its jerky. We stopped there because we wanted to get gifts for Taylor Hicks and his bus mates. Several packs of different flavor jerky, some chili lime peanuts, mints, and sweets, we had our haul and were ready for lunch. I had the sampler, and if you ever get a chance to go there, I highly recommend it! The sampler and the Smokehouse!
After lunch we drove on to San Antonio and checked into our hotel. The Menger is an old hotel, directly across from the Alamo, and was established in 1859. So in essence, we walked the same paths as Davy Crockett! The hotel furnishings looked like they came from the late 1800s or they were very good reproductions. The hotel is beautiful, with a Spanish flair that meets the Old Wild West.
I was one of the fortunate ones to win a meet and greet. Good thing I took a copy of the email! There was a mix-up on my pass – it had my email but someone else’s information. After talking to every theater person and Taylor’s security and crew, it was finally straightened out. I was going to get to see Taylor again!
It’s a three block hike to the theatre’s back stage door. That was the entrance we were using. The buses were parked at the same entrance. When the large ‘garage’ door was open we could see the stage and watch the crew setting up. As Taylor might say, “That was cool!”
Just as I got to the door, Taylor was coming off the bus. It was only three steps, maybe, with his gait! I looked down through the crowd of feet to see that Taylor had one sneaker tied and the other untied! Please don’t trip over those shoe laces as you go down all those steps! People called out his name and Taylor responded with “Hi Guys!” And then he was inside.
I quickly moved to the back of the line. I should say the back of the line at the time I got in line! They let a few go in at a time. Soon it was my time to go down all the steps to where Taylor was set up. Let me tell you, he had on a fitted t-shirt, gray of course! And with that silver hair, he was gorgeous! OK, handsome, since he’s a young man!
Keep in mind I’ve met Taylor a number of times on this tour. (But who’s counting!). Remember I’m the one who tells everyone before their first time to meet Taylor that he will put you at ease, and to remember he’s just like any other man – he puts his pants on one leg at a time! Well, maybe he has to jump into those jeans sometimes. Well, I was shaking like a leaf on a tree in a hurricane! Moi! Shaking! I kid you not! I was so disorganized!
Bless his handlers hearts for trying to keep me calm! They kept saying take your time! I had a CD for a friend, our tickets, the Soul Patrol cookbook, and of course a copy of my blog. Plus the gifts and a copy of the blog for Taylor!
The first thing I did was hand Taylor two bags of treats and tell him they were carb-free. “Cool! Thanks!” and behind him they went. I fumbled with the CD next. I wanted to take the insert out so Taylor could sign the front cover and the CD. Even Taylor tried to help, but wound up only signing the CD itself. Next was my copy of the cookbook. Then the tickets (I had 3 for my tribe of fans).
Finally I was able to compose myself enough to thank Taylor for taking the time to do the interview for the blog. I introduced myself as RagsQueen/Mandy, a blogger for The Official Soul Patrol. I handed him his copy and he wanted to know if a copy of the interview was in the notebook. It was. He seemed genuinely happy to receive the notebook. (Gosh, I hope I only wrote things I won’t mind having him read!) Then he signed my copies of part 1 and part 2 of the blog interview. Taylor was very gracious through the whole thing.
I wasn’t trying to be a hog, but I was getting items signed for others as well as myself! OK, go ahead and say it - I was probably a hog! And I was still shaking the entire time! I realized when I got back to my friends that I had been waxing on my gum the entire time! Now I know why I don’t like to chew gum in public, but my mouth was so dry from all the walking!
After the meet & greet, we continued to wait by the buses. Taylor exited the stage door and quickly got back on the bus. This time both shoes were tied. Maybe he had just waked up or gotten dressed and wasn’t given enough time to tie both shoes. Who cared! It was cute to see!
We hiked back to the hotel to put up our souvenirs and grab a quick bite before the show. I realize three blocks isn’t a hike, but for me it was! We wanted to take a horse drawn carriage ride to the Majestic Theatre, but unfortunately the carriages don’t go that way. So we called for a cab.
The Majestic Theatre is absolutely beautiful! The scene around the stage reminds me of ancient Rome or Israel with the clay houses and open markets. The ceiling was painted blue with twinkling lights representing stars. Be sure to check out the picture link below to see the pictures I took. I’d seen similar interiors at other theatres I’d been to recently, but this one really caught my eye! The outside is not indicative of what the interior is like! So don’t be fooled if you ever get the chance to go there!
After getting to the Majestic Theatre, we stopped by Taylor’s merchandise table to see what they had. There was a new black scarf and a 3-button set. I now possess both. We found our seats and watched The Greyhounds perform. The guitar player tried to be a stand-up comedian, but it wasn’t too well received. We were there to see Taylor anyway. But I have to admit, if you like funky jazz, this band is a good listen!
Taylor took the stage singing “Taking It to the Streets”. When he finished, he told the audience he had had the opportunity to walk down San Antonio’s Riverwalk, an old canal that had been redone with walks, shops, restaurants, bars, waterfalls and tour boats. He moved into the rest of his show, doing songs from his CDs, “Taylor Hicks” and “Under the Radar”.
The audience seemed more subdued here. But according to other concert goers, the theatre told them they had to remain in their seats and stay out of the aisles. A few did stand in their places and dance to the music. It was nice to sit and just enjoy the show, even if I did spend a lot of time behind the camera!
One of my favorites of the night was “Compared to What?” which Taylor said was a Supertramp cover. Taylor seems to delight in doing that song. No “Young Turks” or “Goodbye Stranger” tonight, two of my other favorites. Taylor had promised no two shows would be alike, and he had certainly kept that promise!
Taylor wasn’t doing all the moving about tonight that he usually does. I noticed he kept rubbing his neck after each song. I understand that he mentioned he had a stiff neck tonight, something he hadn’t had in a while. Too bad I didn’t offer to help massage the stiffness out! We did get some twirls during “The Runaround” and maybe one other song as well.
During “Gonna Move” I could just see the glee and joy in Taylor’s face. I tried very hard to capture the smiles during the song. He was just glowing with that song! “Gonna Move” is an old standard of his before American Idol as well as a cover song on his self-titled CD, “Taylor Hicks”. It seems to me to be much like the story of his life – moving about a lot, living with other people, becoming a man by taking charge of his life. Yes, I can see why that song means so much to Taylor. And he plays one mean guitar when he performs it!
When Taylor played “Take the Long Way Home”, I wondered how he would end it. After seeing him do this number in Birmingham, would he give San Antonio the same treat of leaving the stage with just the sound of his harp? No, that was reserved for his home town. Tonight, he just played it for the audience, announcing that he had added the song a few nights before.
The encore was a ‘get on your feet and dance’ “Going Mobile” a cover I hadn’t heard before but knew he did sometimes. The crowd loved it. I thought he was saying ‘going bovine’, like the cattle, until I ‘got the wax out of my ears’ and realized it was “Going Mobile”!
Since it was St. Patrick’s Day, someone threw Taylor a green sombrero. He put it on and danced a bit around the stage. He definitely was enjoying his gift! And he looked so cute! Hopefully some good pictures of that will surface on the net!
After the show we went back to where the buses were and waited to see if Taylor would come out. We didn’t wait in vain. Taylor looked like he’d had a quick shower before leaving the theatre because he had on the same t-shirt from the meet and greet and his hair looked towel-dried with spikes sticking up. I tried to get a picture, but being short in a sea of taller ladies didn’t prove successful. But let me tell you, he looked so cute! That gray hair looks silver, a beautiful glow of silver!
Taylor signed a few autographs and moved down sidewalk through the crowd. Not everyone got a reward, but all I wanted was to get a few pictures of the blue-eye soul man with those sexy brown eyes. I stood behind the crowd so that others could get closer to Taylor. I’d had my turn earlier in the afternoon. I didn’t want to be too greedy.
But I must confess, I really do love that silver-haired soul man! His performances are always perfection and energetic! And tonight was no different!
After Taylor got on the bus, my little group decided to try out luck on the Riverwalk. We tried Mad Dog, a hip bar for the under 30 set. It was too crowded so we left. At the Hyatt, we went to Jim Cullins Lounge to listen to a group of jazz players. Seven men playing bass, drums, guitar/banjo, trumpet, piano, clarinet and trombone, wearing suits with bow ties or neck ties. My friend and I tried to guess what their day jobs were because of their facial expression – few really smiled despite the pleasure they were probably having.
Let’s see – we decided one was a judge, a dentist, a lawyer, a gynecologist, a proctologist, a real estate agent/closing attorney, a high school student, and a professor. We weren’t even close although the band leader tried to tell us we were pretty dang close! They were all musicians, playing every night at this club!
Let me leave you knowing that this band in spite of their appearance, was really good, albeit, not the usual Taylor-type. I’d go listen to them again! It was a nice way to relax and wind down after Taylor. We closed the band down and left the lounge for the trek back to our hotel.
We said our good nights and closed our doors to get some sleep and dream about spending an evening with Taylor. I wasn’t quite ready for bed, so here I sit writing my blog. OK, I confess, I wrote half before sleep and finished it when I got up. I’m ready to go home to work a day or two, and then see Taylor again later in the week.
Tags: Taylor Hicks, American Idol, Birmingham, Alabama