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

Saturday, June 23, 2007

The Traveling Circus Visits the Music Circus

It’s was a great day for flying from Elmira to Boston via Philadelphia! I was still jazzed from the concert the night before and ready to get to my next fix. Once I was on the ground in Boston, I collected my luggage and picked up the rental car and traveling companion. My plans were to drive to Cohasset for Saturday and then on to Hyannis on Sunday for the third show of the week-end.

Now if you are from the south, you are probably quite used to street markings and directional signs that make sense. I don’t know who planned the highway and street marking in Massachusetts, but they would do well to take a few lessons! As to getting lost and taking forever to find my way out of Boston, I’m placing the blame there. Can I also blame the Yahoo! maps I had? A notation said something like .5 miles when it should have said 5 miles! That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!

When I was making hotel reservations for the Cohasset show, many of the local hotels were full! Where might I find a room was becoming the general response to ‘No Vacancy’. Finally, an inn in Scituate was found, and I would be staying at ‘The Inn in Scituate Harbor’. Now on the map I had, I questioned the harbor part when it appeared that there was no water anywhere close by. I was wrong! From my room I had the view of the harbor with the boats anchored in the harbor! It was really a beautiful sight. The inn was quaint, as was the town center which was just around the bend in the road.

After the Yahoo! maps fiasco, we decided to get directions from the desk. That was the best thing! She wrote down very concise directions (and much easier than what Yahoo! had) and left them on the counter when she took a quick break. In just a few minutes we pulled into the parking lot of the Music Circus. The venue consists of a circus tent structure with seats around a round revolving stage. The tent had flaps that could be up or down, depending on the weather and temperature. For tonight, the tent flaps were down. There are building for concessions, souvenirs, and restrooms. Lots of ladies’ room facilities!

The gates opened at 7:00 but you couldn’t go to your seat until 7:30, so we walked around a little and then found a bench to sit on to people watch. It’s always nice to see familiar faces when I travel, especially when I’m by myself. I had picked up a traveling companion when I came through Boston (which was planned) so I wasn’t completely alone this trip. But our seats were not together for the show. When we finally got to sit down, my friend was only a few rows behind me!

The opening act was a comedian by the name of Dan whose last name escapes me. He referred to himself as the ‘kid with the Jew fro’ or ‘cauliflower hair’. His jokes were a bit flat at times, and at other times evoked a few laughs. Most of his material was about life in general and ‘getting laid’. Not too appropriate for the array of ages in the audience! Ok, my grandmother instinct is coming out. The audience was all ages and gender! A nice mix for a Taylor Hicks show though!

Show time! The band made their way down the aisle to my right and took the stage. Kind of reminiscent of Taylor’s entrance during last summer’s American Idol Tour! After the usual musical intro, Taylor ran down the same aisle and up on the stage! A few waves and “Rockin’ Pneumonia and the Boogie Woogie Flu” started off the show. What a way to start the night. Taylor Hicks was at high energy level and was going to get even higher! To keep the momentum going, “Hey Pokey Way” with “Mardi Gras Mambo” followed.

Now keep in mind that this stage rotates – first one direction and then turns and goes the other direction. Imagine the entire time that Taylor is moving and grooving, running around the stage, behind the musicians and back. I would have been dizzy, but not this man! He was a fever pitch and enjoying the moment! Every last one of them, all maybe 70 to 90 of them! And so were we! The audience forms a circle around the stages, and the theatre boasts that no seat is more than 50 feet away from the stage! I believe it! My seat was great! (The pictures will prove it!)

I really enjoy hearing Taylor do some of his original music, and I think the summer tour will showcase that more. Even by the end of the spring tour, Taylor was doing more of his pre-Idol music. It’s much more soulful and gives one the feeling that Taylor is a natural writer, singer, musician, performer and entertainer all in one package.

“Heart and Soul” was next. I love the way “Brown-Eyed Handsome Man” seems to make it into his music – and how Taylor acts out the “high fly into the stands” and waits for to see if Loren will add the ballpark riffs. Will he or will he not – and the playful repeat of the lines just to tease us!

“Hell of Day” followed and was tagged with “Another Brick in the Wall”. Now I’m noticing that the audience stands some and sits some (I’m a sitter, myself) depending on the section. The fans are grooving right along with the music. And for those who need a cure, “Medicated Goo” is sure to provide that. I must confess, until I started traveling to see Taylor perform, I’d never really heard some of the tags he uses, like “Another Brick” or “Medicated Goo”, but I have to admit that these are great songs. I love hearing them and can’t help but have a silly grin on my face when Taylor performs them!

Thank goodness for the Boogie Board set list because I have a terrible memory (remember the white hair!) so I have to refer to them to help me write my blog. Thanks to you ladies who do this! It’s about time I give you a shout out for your dedication and wonderful cellcerts!

Back to Taylor’s debut CD and first major single for “Just to Feel That Way”. Just thinking about how Taylor performs this song, and I visualize him scrunching up with his arms close to his chest as he wails into the mike and his knee is almost under the microphone. I don’t remember if that’s the way he did it in Cohasset, but that’s how I picture it, anyway!

Some more Taylor Hicks originals are next. “Hold on to Your Love” gets “Can’t Trust Your Neighbor” tagged into it. Rather appropriate tags and some genius as well! Then a song written for a crazy friend, “My Friend”. Taylor tags into “My Friend” some “When the Saints Go Marching In” and “What a Wonderful World”. The last tags was just a few bars, but what I’d have given to hear a little bit more!

Somewhere during the last few songs, one brave fan yelled out “I love you, Taylor” to which Taylor responded with “I love you too” without missing a beat in the song! Lucky lady! Someone else did it later and was rewarded with “Soul Patrol” for her efforts.

Before the show was over, “The Runaround” was performed with Taylor’s encouragement to get up and dance. This really is a hard song to sit through so I’m up and taking pictures as I do my own style of dancing in place (called standing still!). When the song ended, Taylor thanked us for coming, waved and got down off the stage. He went around to what would have been the backside from me, shook a few hands in the front row, and then went back up on the stage for the finale. The band didn’t leave (the rotation of the stage probably was the reason!).

The finale was “Take Me to the Pilot”. When it was over, Taylor ran back up the aisle he came down and was gone. The show was now officially over. Or was it!?! The band left the same way and then the lights came on. We gathered our belongings and made our way outside.

By the time I got out of the tent, a large crowd had gathered near the souvenir stand. I stood around to watch. Good thing I did! In just a few minutes Taylor along with security (Bill to be specific) appeared and Taylor was out signing autographs and giving photo opportunities to those with cameras. Now I was excited to see Taylor – he was wearing a red STAX tee shirt! I love red, and seeing Taylor in red was great – I just wish he’d wear it more often! I took a few pictures, but the lighting caused the red to turn into a bright pink! Even that looks good on Taylor! So please, when you see the pictures, know that the shirt is red, red, not pink!

After Taylor left the area, we headed for our car and drove back to the inn in Scituate. Since we were thirsty, we drove around the town area to see what was open (not much) and found a service station. With bottles of water and a few snacks, we headed back to the inn to look at our pictures and talk about the concert. What a great night this was! We finally wound down enough to get some sleep because Sunday morning we had to get up early to drive back to Boston to put my companion on the train for home and for me to drive to Hyannis. Catch up with you there as the traveling circus heads on over for the third show of the summer tour!

Pictures from Cohasset

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