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

Friday, April 13, 2007

The Traveling Circus Goes Round at North Fork Theatre

The trip to Westbury was definitely much like being in a traveling circus! Try putting two women in a car, head them south, one is definitely directionally challenged and the other is potentially directionally challenged! Yep, that was the way the trip was going to be. We managed to find I-95. Ok, my traveling companion knew her way there. But as we passed around New York City, all bets were off, and we would have to figure out how to get to Westbury.

Never mind that I had printed out Yahoo maps before I ever left home. They’re like MasterCard, you never leave home without it! I missed an exit that was more like a Y in the road. Went down a couple of exits, turned around, only to find out I was on the right road! Two wrongs sometimes really do make a right!

As we neared Westbury, we found ourselves taking exits and circling the towns. We’d take a right that should have been a left, a left that should have been a right. Forget going north or south. Heaven forbid I try to compute east or west! I’d wind up in Alaska if I wasn’t careful!

We started calling everyone we could think of. My daughter wasn’t home so she was of no help. Now get this. I’m on the phone with a friend in Memphis who is checking out the online maps and to try to figure out where we were and how to get to where we needed to go! After a bit of searching and more mindless driving and turning, we made it to Westbury. At least the signs outside the cemetery said we were in Westbury! It was one of those places everyone is dying to get into! (OK, bad joke, I know!)

We made a couple of stops and then we to the theatre. The North Fork Theatre is a very contemporary building with a huge parking area. It seems that the earlier you arrived, the further away you had to park! We were directed to our parking space, parked the car and locked it, and took off for the front door of the theatre.

Once inside we could see the various vending areas. A bar, a hot dog stand, counters for selling tour merchandise and a car dealership display. The facilities were quite nice. And there were plenty of stalls in the ladies’ rooms; yes, they had two ladies’ rooms! That’s something rare in theatre land.

Again, Toby Lightman was opening for Taylor Hicks. There were flat screens outside in the lobby, and I watched most of her performance there. After the driving adventure earlier in the afternoon, I needed to just stand around and chill out. Finally the intermission came, one last trip before the show, and I was ready to sit down.

I found my seat. Fourth row behind the sax and keyboard. Great seat. Nice view around the keyboards and through the microphone stands. This was going to be interesting! The stage is round and can rotate if the artist wants it to. However, the seats behind the stage weren’t being sold and the stage was not going to revolve. So you can imagine what my view for the night was going to be! Check out my pictures linked below to find out!

As Taylor came out on stage, he was waving his arms in the air to get the audience to do the “wave”. People were either too excited to see Taylor or didn’t understand the signal because very few were doing the “wave”. But the audience was certainly cheering Taylor on. After the opening walk, Taylor quickly moved into singing “Gonna Move” from his “Taylor Hicks” CD. This was also an old cover song Taylor was used to doing during his pre-Idol days. We were about to be moved!

Taylor performed other songs from his debut album. “Give Me Tonight”, “The Deal”, “The Right Place” and “Dream Myself Awake”. Now North Fork Theatre apparently has a ‘no standing up’ policy because most people were sitting. That was fine with me because I could see and sit! Trying to take pictures from the side of the stage was not easy because Taylor was facing the front of the stage most of the time. He did come toward the sides from time to time, but his show is not designed for this type of stage. That’s not his fault. The theatre opened up additional seats to sell more tickets on the fringes of the stage.

Taylor moved into some covers, “Rockin’ Pneumonia and the Boogie Woogie Flu” and “Compared to What”. There were lots of tagging other songs within these. It’s like a mini concert within a concert! Taylor was finding his groove and feeling the music, and the energy from him was energizing the crowd. After the show at the Foxwoods the night before, I was glad to see an audience that was into Taylor.

The audience was much more mixed tonight. There were lots of men and quite a few children. Everyone was seeming to enjoy the music, whether they stood, danced or just sat. From my vantage point, I could see the sparkling eyes of enjoyment. I may have been sitting, but my heart was certainly dancing with the music!

A few more songs, and then a couple of songs from Taylor Hicks’ independent CD, “Under the Radar”. “Somehow” and “Hell of a Day” are terrific songs that Taylor wrote and recorded before he decided to audition for American Idol. These are beautiful ballads, and perfect for Taylor’s voice. The ability to write a beautiful song is just another of Taylor’s musical talents.

As I’ve said, I was sitting to the side, really more to the back. I was soon about to learn a show secret! Now I’ve watched Felix the drummer do his thing at every show. He’s quite a drummer. I knew there was another person who helped him when he needed to swap out snares or sticks. I was about to find out just what else this guy did! Pretty soon it was time to do the funky “The Runaround”.

Now I love the drum introduction in “The Runaround”. I was always astonished at how Felix could make the drums sound like a marching band. What I discovered was that there are two drummers drumming to get that sound! I was awe struck just watching! Both drummers were in perfect unison! No misses of a beat! I completely forgot that Taylor was on stage because I was so mesmerized by the drummers! What a show!

As the song ended, Taylor waved to the crowd, bowed to the band and left the stage. The band followed. The house lights stayed dark. The crowd was cheering for an encore. The stage guy came out and set up the microphone and stool.

Taylor came out with his guitar in hand and sat down on the stool. No other band members joined him. We were about to be given a real treat – acoustical Taylor. Taylor plucked a few bars and then sang “Long Distant Love”. This was a song you had to hear to believe. The audience was silent. More like speechless! The song was beautiful! When he finished, Taylor waved, left the stage and the show was over.

I went back to the merchandise table to check on the Proud of Our Troops CD drive. The collection box was a success! Quite a few CDs were donated. Thank you to all who made a donation! I walked around to the buses to see if Taylor had been out. He had already been out and signed autographs and gone back inside the venue. Finally he came out with his toboggan and got on the bus without the crowd realizing it. Security asked us to move because the buses were ready to leave. With that, we found our car – all alone in the vast parking lot – and left.

Now if our adventure of getting to Westbury was exciting, our drive home was even more so! I was able to get out of Westbury without getting too lost, but getting back on the highway was something else. I wound up going in a circle before I realized I needed to take a different exit. We found the exit and were on our way. At least until we hit New York City! Again a wrong exit and I was driving around the Bronx and the outskirts of Manhattan. We made our way back to La Guardia airport and tried it again.

We started out from the airport, only to get lost again. Back to the airport we went. This time we decided to stop and ask a cab driver how to get to I-95. Turn right at the stop sign, go left, etc. Never mind. Would he lead us to the interstate and for how much? After paying what he asked, which was very reasonable, he led us to through the toll booth and pointed us on our way. Thank you sir for helping us! We were now headed back home.

Again we got lost. But that was fine, because we needed to get gas. Sticker shock for me – almost $3 a gallon. We filled up, got more directions and took off. We finally got on the right interstate and were off. No more wrong turns. We made it home safely. Another fun night with friends and Taylor!

The next collection box for the Proud of Our Troops CD drive will be at The Beacon in New York City. Please buy an extra CD and donate it to show your support for the troops. The CDs can be purchased right there at the merchandise table. Your support of this worthwhile group is greatly appreciated.

Westbury Pictures

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1 comment:

Easter said...

Interesting to know.

Some of My Favorite Pictures