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

Thursday, June 28, 2007

The Traveling Circus Moves on to the Melody Tent

We started our early Sunday morning to drive back to Boston to take my traveling companion to the train station. I made one attempt at trying to find the South Street Station but gave up and went over to Logan Airport which was much easier to find. We said our good-byes and I took off for Revere to take a nap at the hotel I was staying in for Sunday night.

Now how many times have you ever run into the situation where the same hotel has two different addresses for the same place? Well, this one did! I had called the front desk for directions (thank goodness my travel agent sends me great information). I followed them to the letter. But as I got to Revere, I found a hotel by the same name but with a different address. Again I called the front desk and found out I was at the right place!

I got checked in, opened up my laptop and checked my messages. I needed a nap, and was ready for a bit of sleep. I set the alarm clock and my cell phone alarm to be sure I got up on time. After a 3-4 hour nap, I was ready to drive to Hyannis for the next show. After getting lost the day before trying to get to Cohasset, I was ready to make my way to Hyannis. I did it! All by myself! Without getting lost once! Great directions from the Melody Tent itself!

I found the gravel parking lot and parked. Some ladies from the New England Soul Patrol had already set up in the parking lot so I chatted with them for a bit. I was hoping to get some great seafood while I was in Massachusetts, but so far that had eluded me. I found out the restaurant that I had passed, the Paddock, had great seafood. It was just the other side of the parking pad where the buses were parked, so I decided to give it a try. Good choice! Some of the best clam chowder and crab cakes I’ve ever had!

By the time I got back to the Melody Tent, it was time to go it. I walked around a bit, noting that the paths were paved but the rest of the area was small pebbles or dirt. The Circus Tent was definitely a nicer venue (and both are owned by the same people!). I ventured to the restrooms, expecting a similar setting from the night before. WRONG! What I found was a single building (not the three the night before) and a row of port-a-potties! Not one for the outhouses, I waited in line to use the regular facilities. Good move!

I passed by the souvenir stand to see if they had anything new. Don’t know what I was expecting to find, but I looked none the less. By the way, new for the summer tour is a harmonica keychain engraved with Soul Patrol. The harmonica actually works! I bought one for each of my granddaughters so they could drive their parents crazy! And I think it’s working!

After a quick survey of the venue, I found my seat. The opening acting, comedian Dan something or other, was doing his monologue. I noticed it was much shorter than the night before because he left out his “getting laid” stuff. I was glad of that! Not age appropriate for a Taylor Hicks audience.

Finally security appeared and the band took to the stage. The usual musical opening was played. Then the famous flashlight over Taylor could be seen and he was coming down the aisle two sections over from me. The crowd was getting giddy just watching Taylor come down the aisle and cheering at the top of their lungs. Taylor started the night with “Rockin’ Pneumonia and the Boogie Woogie Flu”.

(Once the Taylor Hicks’ show started, I found out I couldn’t use my big boy camera (it wouldn’t fit in my pocket), so I had to resort my smaller, not so good camera which lacks the stabilizer and available lighting features that the larger camera has (which accounts for my being able to get great shots!). So please forgive the lack of good quality pictures from the show. Do bloggers qualify for a press badge? I could really use one sometimes!)

A definite crowd pleaser, “Hell of Day” had “Another Brick in the Wall” tagged into it. Taylor Hicks is the master of tagging as far as I’m concerned. I don’t know how it does it, but he makes it seem like it is part of the song – so natural! “Medicated Goo” for the Soul Patrol follows, along with shout outs! Soul Patrol, to you too, Taylor! Soul Patrol!

In some ways the set list is starting to sound a lot like last night’s show. Almost in the same order! Not really like Taylor at all! Taylor finally mixes it up by throwing in “The Deal” after “Just to Feel That Way” and “My Friend”. Another round of “Hold On to Your Love” for tonight. Ah, a soothing change to set list: “Young Turks”. I’m now a very happy camper as they say! I love Taylor’s version of this song. We got “Eastbound and Down” sandwiched into “Soul Thing” next. And then “Heaven Knows”.

By this point I was getting really frustrated – I wasn’t getting any good pictures and the guy in front of me who was video taping had been told by security to put away the camera. I’d started to take note that the sound was not as good as the night before, and that Taylor’s voice was sounding more like he was having to scream into the microphone. Was I tired? Had I just been to one show too many? Did Taylor really appear to not be as energetic as the last two nights? Was the rotating stage getting to everyone? Not be negative here, but I’d just seen two great shows and tonight was not up to the same great level as the two previous nights. I kept feeling that Taylor may have just lost his best friend. At times he seemed a bit down. Not the usual Taylor I was accustomed to seeing on stage. Not the man who had performed when he was so sick he should have been in bed rather than performing. I kept telling myself it was because I couldn’t use my bigger camera and that I was a bit mad about that.

Taylor really did seem to be giving it everything he had to give. I had noticed more than once that Taylor needed to look at the set list on Loren’s keyboard. I don’t ever recall having noticed him do that before! So onto “The Maze” which included “Let’s Get It On” and lots of great harp. And not to mention the shouts of adoration from the female fans in the audience! The set was rounded out with “The Right Place” and “The Runaround”.

I was expecting Taylor to exit the stage like he did the night before, but instead he stayed on the stage and said he would move right on into the encore because his bass player (Al or Boogie) was going to be sick if he had to leave and come back for an encore. I can’t say I was surprised – Al moved as much as Taylor and add that to a revolving stage! I’m surprised I wasn’t getting motion sick trying to watch all the movement!

Taylor and company were going to leave Hyannis with “Taking It to the Streets”. This was his last chance to take us to church for the night. As it ended, Taylor took his bows and left back up the same aisle he came down. Al was able to get off the stage without incident and the entire band made their exits. The show was over and it was time to head back to my car.

I looked around to see if there was a place that Taylor might come out to sign autographs while he was still in the venue. No such place was there, so I made my way to the parking lot near the buses. There was a huge crowd already lined up! My, this was probably the largest group of fans I’d ever seen waiting for Taylor to show up. Taylor did not disappoint! I was able to capture a few shots before he was gone and the crowd dispersed.

I drove back to Boston to my hotel lost in my thoughts and comparing tonight’s show to Cohasset. My conclusion was the same – Cohasset had been better. I would later learn that Taylor had said he was pretty tired, and for the first time, it seemed to show in his performance. But that was fine with me – I’d gotten my Taylor fix and that would last me for the next two weeks when I get to go to Spartanburg’s Red, White and BOOM! See ya’ll there!

Pictures from Hyannis

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Some of My Favorite Pictures