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

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

The Traveling Circus Travels to Denver

Call me crazy, but I felt the need to go to Denver. Never been there before. Made all the arrangements in just a couple of hours Monday morning. So I flew in on Saturday so I would be able to get a good night’s rest. I was meeting two people the next day to go to the show.

The flight to Denver, including the plane change in Minneapolis, went smoothly. Each leg of the flight was on time. Actually, I think we may have arrived a little early in Denver.

I’ve learned that using SuperShuttle is the best way to go from airport to hotel in a lot of the larger cities. Denver was one of those times. The drive to downtown Denver was peaceful. The high mountains, the Rockies, were in the background. I could see snow still on the sides of some of the ridges. I kept watching the mountains as we drove along.

I could see the downtown skyline with the mountains behind. The majesty of the mountains made the skyline look small and out of place. I wasn’t able to get pictures because of the distance. There appeared to be a haze in front of the mountains. But I could see the ridges well enough to enjoy them. Enjoy them I did!

Early bedtime was not going to happen. I was up late checking email, the Taylor boards, and the news. I did get to sleep in, and even managed a nap! OK, I know, I needed that. After all, I have to get up quite early Monday, like 2:00 AM to get dressed and check out of the hotel. SuperShuttle was to pick me up at 3:00 AM and my flight out of Denver was scheduled to leave at 5:30 AM! Straight to work when I get off the plane and find my car! Yes, I needed that nap!

You see, Denver was never on my list of Taylor Hicks concerts to see. While I was showering last Monday, it came to me that I had to go to Denver. I needed to be there with some special friends.

We met in the hotel lobby. They had a meet and greet so we had to get to the theatre early. With passes in hand, we walked through the lobby and out the back door to the parking lot behind the building. Taylor sat at a table near another set of open doors. As we waited in line, my friends got their items ready to be signed. I wasn’t getting anything signed – I was there solely to take pictures. And pictures I got! Sorry, but for privacy reasons, they won’t be posted.

After the M&G, we walked down to Maggiano’s, an Italian eatery. We found the table with other Soul Patrollers and sat down. However, we decided to leave and go somewhere else because it was so warm in the restaurant. The Hard Rock CafĂ© was around the corner and within spitting distance of the Paramount Theatre. We told the hostess we were in a hurry. They must have given us the fastest server this side of the Rockies, because we were in and out in under an hour! Bless her!

The doors opened at 7:00. After we finished eating we went back to the car to leave left-over dinner and cameras. The theatre has a very strict ‘no camera’ policy so we weren’t going to be able to take any pictures during the show. Drats! Curses! Foiled again! And Taylor had some great facial expressions that I wasn’t going to be able to capture. C’est la vie, as they say in France. C’est la vie! (That’s life, if you don’t recognize the expression!)

A local band was supposed to be the opening act, but for whatever reason, didn’t show up. Too bad. Maybe the van broke down on the way to Denver. On the other hand, it meant Taylor was taking the stage at 8:30 instead of his usual 9:00.

We made stops at the merchandise table. I already have one of everything, so I decided to make a pre-show pit stop! Oh the joys of getting older. Can’t drink the liquor! Can’t hold the tea! I did, however, stop by to get a signed copy of “In Your Time” for a fan from The Official Soul Patrol fan site.

We had seats for the front row! Front row! I had planned to take pictures of my guest enjoying the show, and we needed to be able to sit together. The box office had arranged to let us sit in the front row handicapped seats, which were great. But alas! No cameras were allowed.

I was disappointed that once inside, cameras started to appear and pictures were being taken. One lady wore a media pass but appeared to be using her personal camera. I would have expected her to have had a more professional type of camera instead of the small digital she was using. Camera phones were being used as well as other types of digital cameras. But I was honoring their policy. So I’m sorry folks, there are no pictures from me for this show.

After the opening montage, Brian Less announced Taylor Hicks! Taylor came out from the right side and did his signature wave – left hand under the right elbow with the right hand up! Not sure what that’s supposed to mean, but that’s what he did! Taylor quickly moved into “Soul Thing” as the opening number.

We got quite a mix of music tonight. Lots of “Under the Radar” and “Taylor Hicks” along with a few covers. Let’s see, we got “Give Me Tonight”, “Dream Myself Awake”, “Hell of a Day”, “The Deal”, “Medicated Goo”, “Hold onto Your Love”, “My Friend”, “Just to Feel That Way”, “The Runaround”, and “The Right Place”. At least that’s what I remember.

One tag in the mix, “Don’t Trust Your Neighbor (With Your Baby)”, was particularly special. As he repeated the words “don’t trust your neighbor” Taylor added in “I know!”. Must have lost an old flame to his neighbor! That raised a chuckle from the audience, and I had to make a mental note!

Taylor was Taylor tonight. Never stopping. He was in constant motion dancing, jumping, twirling, what I call ‘rooster walking’, and other moves that only Taylor can do! Pure raw energy. The audience was on their feet most of the night! Me too!

I must confess. It was nice to watch a show for the sheer pleasure of watching Taylor perform rather than from behind a camera! But I did miss being able to capture to great facial expressions Taylor was making tonight! He was beaming and smiling the whole time! And lots of harp tonight! Lots of harp! And with Denver a mile above sea level! Yes, lots of harp! Taylor even sang into the harp mike which gives his voice a different texture! Hard to describe, but it’s incredible to hear!

The show ended all too soon for this fan. The band didn’t have time to fake out the audience. Taylor walked off stage and behind the curtain just long enough to drink some water and catch his breath! Back out he came! As he came out, someone in the center seats threw a flowered looking item that has stirred questions….panties or bra! Taylor caught them in mid-air and then realized what it was and dropped it like a hot coal that was burning his hands! He took a second look and said either “it’s panties” or “it’s padded”. So the debate goes on! Ladies, keep your undies to yourself! Taylor seemed embarrassed by the gesture!

Encore, baby, encore! “Take Me to the Pilot”! Plus several tags, which escape me at the moment! Longest encore I’ve seen yet! I had hoped for “The Fall”, but maybe next time. What an amazing encore! Taylor bowed to the band, waved to the audience and started off the left side of the stage. He turned around and started back across to the right side. As he did, he slapped or shook hands as he went. I moved my guests to the front so they could touch Taylor while I moved back to keep from being trampled.

With the last hand touched, Taylor left the stage. I got a set list for one of my friends as they were being passed out by the stage crew. Our next plan was to go outside to the buses. But first I needed to retrieve my camera from her car. Our wait wouldn’t be for too long. Taylor must have taken a quick shower or at least changed shirts. Someone said he was doing a meet & greet after the show.

Now the buses were a good 100 feet or so from the back door of the theatre. As security walked Taylor to the bus area, everyone was very respectful – no one moved towards him. He moved behind the security rail and quickly started signing whatever was handed to him. I snapped a few pictures, but with a cap on and looking at what he was signing, I’m afraid I didn’t get such very good shots. OK, maybe one good shot!

I watched as Taylor worked around the railing. He signed whatever was handed and looked up from time to time. In front of me was a young boy, maybe 10 or so, with Downs Syndrome. Taylor had said little up until that time. But with this lad, he stopped and chatted a bit, asking “How’s it going, buddy?” There was an exchange of four or five sentences and then Taylor moved on. I can tell you this, Taylor was definitely the real deal with this young lad. The sincerity just oozed from Taylor’s pores. Too bad I couldn’t get to Taylor to let him know just how special that exchange was.

After Taylor finished signing everything, security took him to a waiting car. Taylor turned and waved as he got in the back seat. The car drove off, and Taylor was gone. We continued to stand around talking and taking pictures with other members of the band.

It was getting late, and I needed to go back to the hotel to try to take a nap. Forget that! Here I sat typing away. Taylor’s Angels’ blog entry. My blog entry. What has Taylor been quoted as saying, “If you’re having fun, sleep can wait!” Tell my boss that in the morning!

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