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

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

The Traveling Circus Rocks in Little Rock

Living in the city where an annual blues fest is held would be an ideal stop for Taylor Hicks. But alas, the closest Taylor has come to my home town is Little Rock, AR, home of former President Clinton. Now Taylor has meet President George Bush, but I recall reading that he thought Bill Clinton was a great president during his tenure. I won’t debate politics here tonight!

Without going into irrelevant details, I had an afternoon appointment with my favorite attorney. Because of the nature of our meeting, we had to drive to Little Rock, her daughter in tow (more like sitting in the back seat!). We spent the two hour or so drive discussing the facts of the case and how we should proceed. All that throwing ideas around and listening to the hum of the tires on the road made me quite sleepy so I took a short nap. The nap was a good thing because I would need to be awake and alert on the drive back.

My attorney, bless her heart, understands what traveling with a child and older person can be like. After all, she had just recently traveled for several days with her daughter and her mom. So letting me nap on her nickel was quite refreshing.

On the corner by the building where our meeting was to take place was a large pool and fountain. Behind the fountain was a small circular drive that we turned into to ask for directions. Our appointment was for 4:30 pm and it was just a little after 4:00. We had to present our motion before the judge and jury at that time and certainly didn’t want to be late.

We were told to pull into an open spot while the guard went to check out where we needed to be. We handed him a copy of our pleading just in case he needed it. He quickly returned, told us where to park, and the information we needed to make our case.

As we pulled out of the space, we took one last glance at two beautiful buses parked by the rear entrance of the building. One was blue and the other was maroon. The side car was out on the maroon bus. Wonder who was in those buses, we mused!

We made a quick turn out of the driveway and headed for our parking destination. Now I’m not used to changing clothes in an SUV, much less publicly. But since I was still in my prison garb, I wanted to change into something more fitting for our meeting. I pulled my arms out of my shirt, slipped on the one I wanted to wear, put my arms in the sleeves, and the pulled the old shirt out of the neck of the new one. Now I would fit in with the crowd.

As we exited our vehicle, we made note of where we were parked just in case we lost our motion and had to make a quick retreat. Nothing like running from the law with your lawyer in tow!
We made our way to court and had to wait for our passes to meet the judge. Only the attorney needed a pass – I was out of jail because of good behavior. I had to be a model citizen tonight. I patiently waited for my attorney and her daughter to visit the judge so he could sign my release papers. And I think maybe she might have needed to have some other documents signed as well. Signatures were obtained and the meeting was over.

I was now free for dinner! The dessert was good and so was the salad, otherwise bread and water would have sufficed. The judge was eating chicken noodle soup in his chambers while we ate. I’m sure his dinner was better than ours.

OK, now to get down to really serious business. We made our way to our seats to wait. Wait for what you ask! Well, the Robinson Theatre was our courtroom, the band was the jury and Taylor Hicks was the judge! We had tickets for the show! And you thought I was embroiled up to my neck in legal troubles! Tsk! Tsk!

Michael Warren was the opening act. His band featured him on guitar and vocals and his partner on two long bongos. What a duo! The music was very good! Michael gave a short intro to each song so he did a lot of chatting with the audience. Now there were a lot of empty seats in the front during his performance and I was beginning to worry a bit. I wanted to see a full house tonight!

By the time the set was changed and the starting montage played, I saw very few empty seats. Whee! Or, Whoo! Now the audience wasn’t the most energetic I’d seen, but after all we were in court! Most people sat and while I sat most of the evening, I was dancing on the end of my seat!

From where I was sitting, front row facing the right side of the stage, I could see Taylor in the shadows doing some stretching exercises! I had no idea this man did that before walking out to entertain us! I should have known – Taylor says his performance has a lot of cardio workout included! Bless his heart, I mean strong heart!

As he took the stage I noticed Taylor had a cowlick! A cute silver cowlick in the back of his head! I took a lot of pictures trying to capture that out-of-place spring of hair! Taylor looked wonderful, and his voice was as whiskey tenor as I’d ever heard it! What a performance he was giving!

From the opening number, “Gonna Move” to “The Runaround” rounding out Taylor’s main set, I could see him smile and glow with joy! Taylor was doing what he loves doing most – performing before a live audience! He was feeling right at home on the stage. Occasionally he would ham or play to someone taking pictures. I even captured a picture where Taylor looks like he’s looking right into my camera!

After singing the first couple of songs, Taylor walked to the edge of the stage and in Indian warrior fashion, stooped down and put his hand over his eyes as he looked out to see the audience. He did this several time, and the audience went wild! Screams, shrieks, and lots of whoo’s could be heard.

New tonight, at least for me, was a Sheryl Crow cover, “Run Baby Run”. That was a great song. I just hope Taylor doesn’t take the words to heart and start running! It was nice to hear Rod Stewart’s “Young Turks” again. That’s one of my favorite songs from the tour. Another song that replays a haunting sound in my head is “Take the Long Way Home”. The harmonica is such a good instrument to play! It’s as if you hear the train leaving the station. It’s really incredible. As I type, the song plays over and over in my mind.

Taylor was much more talkative to the audience. He frequently introduced a song before he sang it. A little discussion about how he got his first harp at a flea market and did he really want to learn to play a flea market harp! During the encore he had his ear plugs out and let us know he could finally hear us! More screams, shrieks and whoo’s.

The finale was the Doobie Brothers’, “Long Train Running”. There was lots of tagging to extend his time on stage. Everyone was on fire, from Loren to Brian to Al to Josh to Brian to Felix to Melanie! This was definitely a “don’t miss” show!

It was over all too soon and the theatre cleared out. Still on our high from the show, we decided to scope out the buses. Taylor had already been out, signed a few autographs and was back on the bus. We hung around talking to the band and each other. I got pictures with several members, and spent time discussing the show with them. Even asked Al if he’d ever been called Gumby because of his moves. He laughed and said he hadn’t! He just feels the music and moves.

I must confess, and I did to Al and Melanie, that a Taylor Hicks show is much like a three ring circus. Which ring will I watch! Between Al’s gyrations and Melanie’s backup and playing and then Taylor’s antics and dancing, it’s hard to keep one’s focus on just one person! I sometimes forget I’m there to see Taylor and watch the others! What a show they all put on! Talk about the cohesiveness and magic of the personalities in the group!

The buses were loaded. Dinner was being brought in (several boxes of cereal and milk jugs). The trucks were loaded. The engines were revved up. We made our way to our car and pulled out of the parking garage. We made one last pass by the buses but they were gone. They were on their way to the next stop. We were on our way home.

Next stop for Taylor is outside St. Louis. Next stop for me is Sioux City. Catch you then!


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