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

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

The Traveling Circus Glows in Glen Allen

Nothing like an early Saturday morning flight! When I booked my flight several months ago, I decided to fly into Washington, DC. I don’t know what possessed me to do that except that Ashburn, VA was close by. I got up early to finish packing and then my darling daughter, who hates early mornings more than I do, took me to the airport to catch my plane. Nothing spectacular there except maybe getting bumped to first class, which is a much better place to nap!

After landing in DC, I picked up my rental car and set Madge up in the front seat. She was all nicely programmed to take me to my hotel in Glen Allen where the concert was to be that night. As I drove out of DC, I was able to see several of the great monuments such as the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Monument, the Jefferson Monument, the Capitol Building, and the Pentagon. It was quite interesting to see these again – the last time I was in DC was over 35 years ago. Now I want to plan a trip there later in the fall to take my granddaughters there to see all the famous sites!

The traffic from DC to Fredericksburg, VA was bumper-to-bumper for about 30 miles and one hour. Once I was able to get past Fredericksburg, it was smooth sailing all the way to Glen Allen! I stopped a time or two for a bathroom-food-stretch break and then back in the car to keep going. Driving alone, while tiring, is a great way to clear my head and get ready for the night’s events!

I was meeting up with some friends there, none of whom were from Virginia! We were coming from Michigan, Alabama, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee for the sole purpose of getting our Taylor Hicks fix! After everyone checked into the hotel, we decided we needed to head over to Innsbrook Pavilion for the show.

Since the gates were scheduled to open at 6:00 pm, we thought we’d get there around 5:00. What a mistake that was! The line was at least 150 feet long, with people standing 2 to 4 people across! Bless one terrific Boogier who was ‘holding’ our place in line! I don’t know if I could have stood in the line for an hour, much less try to walk to the end of the line!

Finally the gate was opened and we were allowed in. First, a scan of the ticket, then the stub was torn off, walk down to the golden circle seats and get a wrist band on. The wristband part was almost as bad as the line to get in the place!

The stage was a simple steel outdoor structure with parachute type of roof and a stage height of at least 5 feet! No one was going to be able to jump up onto the stage while Taylor Hicks was performing, that’s for sure! We found seats in the center section of the gold circle, about the fifth or sixth row. Just far enough back to watch the concert without craning the neck and close enough for some terrific pictures (see link below).

Now mind you, Virginia in the summer is hot, and this day was no exception! There was no breeze – just hot, still air! I thought I was going to melt – and I would have if I had been an ice carving! Because of the heat, the men were sweating while the women were glowing!

We took our seats and waited for the opening band to take the stage. I think it was a local group, and really not too bad! They sang for about 30-40 minutes. Once their set was over, their instruments were moved off the stage and the final sound check for Taylor Hicks was completed.

We heard the usual intro of “Soul Finger” and the band and maybe Loren introducing Taylor Hicks. Out Taylor comes waving to the crowd. “Gonna Move” must be the anthem for starting off the show as some sort of promise that we are going to be moved by the music. For most of the show, the mixed crowd of both genders and all ages were up on their feet. Yes, we were being moved!

Taylor Hicks next went into some of his own original music with “Call Me the Breeze”, and “My Friend”. Now when he asked if we had any crazy friends, I couldn’t help but think most of us there, especially the ones of us who travel around a lot to the shows, must be thinking we don’t need any crazy friends because we are crazy ourselves. I know I was!

Next came the first single off “Taylor Hicks”, “Just to Feel That Way”, and a favorite of Clive Davis’. At the end of the song, someone yelled out “Welcome to Virginia” but somehow Taylor must have thought someone was asking for a kiss because he said they needed ‘Soul Control’, or maybe he was talking about himself! Not really sure!

Now if ever a song is going to keep me awake at night because of its beat, “Medicated Goo” is just that song! I went to sleep hearing that song over and over in my head! A couple of tags, “Fire on the Bayou” and “Light Your Fire”, were incorporated with all that “Goo”!

Taylor Hicks is definitely a Beatles fan. He’s added “Don’t Let Me Down” to the summer tour set. That’s a song the crowd always seems to like. Tonight was not exception! And when Taylor tags “Another Brick in the Wall” with “Hell of a Day”, I keep thinking this man is so focused on his music that he knows what song can tag into another and keep the pace of the song going. It’s musical genius in my book!

I know it had to be hot under all those lights and coupled with the night heat, Taylor was definitely sweating. Add some foam soap, and he would have been all lathered up! Even from where I was sitting I could see the sweat beads on his face and arms! Forget the shower; just pass the old boy a dry towel!

Going back to the debut album, Taylor and company performed “The Deal”, “Heaven Knows” and “The Maze”. Even as I write my recap, I can hear the opening musical phrases the “The Maze”. Just how to express that in words just simply escapes me!

As the night’s set is drawing to an end, we get to hear “The Right Place”, and “The Runaround” with lots of tags. Some “Grits Ain’t Groceries, “Baby Please Don’t Go” and “Willie Brown Blues”. When the song ended, Taylor thanked us for having him and our coming, waved to us and left the stage. The crowd was chanting for Taylor to come back. We still wanted more despite of the heat!

Taylor Hicks has yet to disappoint us with an encore. The band returned to the stage followed by Taylor. He started the show by “Gonna Move” us, and he was ending the show with “Taking It to the Streets”. After less than ninety minutes of Taylor live and in person the show was over. But before the show was completely over, there was a fray in the audience!

Taylor got the wild hair to throw his harmonica into the audience. It went over my head and back a few more aisles. All those football tosses with the guys was paying off! Next his sweat-drenched towel flew threw the air and like a slow-motion camera shot, it fell to the earth about five feet in front of me. I stepped forward to attempt to catch it but it was caught by two or three women who were intent on playing tug-of-war with the towel or until someone gave up or the towel tore into shreds. Not sure what the outcome of that was! And as if one towel wasn’t enough, here came a second towel that looked like it might land on my head! A couple of ladies behind me made a grab for that towel and more tug-of-war. I gave up! No towel for me tonight, or rather, no bruised or broken finger nails!

People lined up near the buses which were close by hoping to catch one last glimpse of Taylor. It was hot, getting late, and we were hungry and tired. My group of traveling buddies decided to leave the venue and meet up at the hotel so we could go grab some dinner.

At the hotel, we were discussing where we might go for some good nachos, and another hotel guest suggested a Mexican restaurant close by. Off we went looking for some good food. Ok, the service may have been lacking and our orders a bit off, but the guacamole was excellent! Sorry I can’t remember the name! With full stomachs, we went back to the hotel to get some sleep before heading out the next morning to drive to Ashburn for Sunday night’s concert. Catch up with you then!

Glen Allen pictures

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Some of My Favorite Pictures