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

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The Traveling Circus Stays Home for Southwhatever

What would any good traveling circus do when Taylor Hicks comes close to home? Head out of town, stay home to listen to the cellcert or show up with the rest of clowns? The clowns won, I have to tell you! Not intending to be disrespectful of the Mississippi bedroom community of Memphis, Tennessee, several members of this circus troupe had trouble remembering the correct name for this state line town, so we kept referring to Southaven as Southwhatever.

Snowden Grove Park began building its state of the art amphitheater in late spring, installing the seats only a few short weeks ago. The amphitheater has all the qualities to make this area very proud – room seats, food courts, spacious dining hall for the musical groups, ample parking, and restroom facilities. Well, for now, a couple of line of port-a-potties for the time being. But when the construction is finally completed, this will be a great place for outdoor concerts. And Taylor Hicks was the third or fourth entertainer to perform here since construction started! Even Taylor commented about how nice the amphitheater is!

The weather was perfect for an outdoor concert. I’ve lived in the area for quite a number of years, and let me tell you, July and August in Memphis can be hotter than your know where with humidity that can curl even the straightest hair! But tonight was perfect! Just enough breezes to think you further north, yet enough warmth to know you were further south. Maybe it was sweet tea that let Taylor know he was truly in the South!

Tonight was a truly wonderful show! Lots of energy from Taylor even though most of the audience sat for the show. Stand up and you were asked to sit down, but from time to time, a few were able to stand without interruption. Try to move to the front in the aisles for a few pictures and security sent you packing back to your seats! A couple of ladies were sent back several times to the point security actually stooped down beside me to keep the aisles clear!

And a longer show than I’ve heard lately – about an hours and a half including the encore! WHOOOO! SOUL PATROL! Oh, and there were lots of shout outs to Memphis, Tennessee! Even a tag or two about being here! Hopefully Taylor won’t wait too long to come back this way again!

Camera policy was being strictly enforced tonight. Nothing more than a small point and shoot type of camera. Fit in your pocket size, so the pictures tonight aren’t much in the way of close-ups, and a few got washed out, but the form in there to let you know what was going on. And really, I was shocked to find out I took over 450 pictures! I let only the best – almost 400 – so try using the slide show to view the pictures quickly!

Showtime! A bit of “Soul Finger” and the band’s opening montage. The intro of TAY-LOR HICKS and out came Taylor Hicks to greet the audience amidst cheers and applause! Black Otis Redding tee shirt and jeans that looked great on Taylor, and the guys were also wearing black shirts and jeans. I love the summer look of the men in black!

Taylor Hicks opened the show with his own original “Soul Thing” which he has said is the closest thing to having his own anthem! And tagged with “East Bound and Down”, it’s really hard to sit still! I was dancing in my seat! Or was that some sort of wiggle!
Lynyrd Skynyrd’s, “Call Me the Breeze” followed, and I think about that time we were actually getting a bit of breeze on a summer night! Another Taylor Hicks’ original, “Heart and Soul” was weaved with “Brown-Eyed Handsome Man” and some Chuck Berry’s “Memphis, Tennessee”, which was a great way to honor the area!

Back to the “Taylor Hicks” CD for “Just to Feel That Way”, the first single from the album. And what about all of those crazy friends we have – Taylor has his own because he wrote “My Friend” for one, and he reminds of what it’s like to have such friends! Me? Nah, I’m not a crazy friend, I’m just plain crazy! And loving every minute of my insanity! Why else would I be the traveling circus!

“Medicate Goo” will keep me up half the night listening to it roll around in my head. That and the three classes of diet coke I had with my burger at Huey’s in Southaven after the show! But who cares – I just have to work in the morning, and probably until early evening at that! I’ll survive! I’ll just relive the concert and remember hearing “Wherever I Lay My Hat” and think about how Taylor was dancing around the stage!

Taylor may like to perform the Beatles, “Don’t Let Me Down”, but he definitely did not let us down with his performance and energy! A couple more Taylor Hicks’ pre-Idol originals, “Hold On to Your Love” and “The Deal” followed. The crowd really seemed to like those originals. I know I do! I’m looking forward to Taylor’s next album when he gets to write more of his own music, because he definitely “feels” what he writes!

The concert finishes with cuts from the post-Idol CD, “Gonna Move”, “Heaven Knows”, “The Maze”, “The Right Place” and “The Runaround”. There were lots of great tags including “Do You Believe in Magic” (yes, I do and it was here tonight!) and “Let’s Get It On” (which gets the women thudding and swooning, not to mention screaming!) OK, Taylor, you definitely have our attention when you add that Marvin Gaye tag!

Now I must confess, when Taylor sings “The Right Place”, my heart just skips a few beats. And tonight, my heart just melted with that number! It’s one of my favorite songs, right up there with Taylor’s original “Somehow”, “The Fall” and “West Texas Sky”, written long before American Idol, and maybe even before he turned 20! I’ve had the privilege of hearing live the first two Taylor Hicks’ originals, but I certainly hope “West Texas Sky” will make the set list in the near future! I wonder if I put a $100 in the tip jar that he might sing that one night!?!?! I know there are other fans of that song who would probably help come up with the tip!

Taylor thanked us for coming and having him before he left the stage. The band finished their musical interlude and also left. Of course, I knew about the encore, but a lot of people “bought” the fake-out and left the venue. Out comes the band followed by Taylor. With the microphone on the stand, I was watching for the “stool” but it didn’t appear. Instead, Taylor performed Boz Scaggs’ “Lowdown”, which is a song that I’m not familiar with, but certainly liked! The encore ended with Elton John’s “Take Me to the Pilot”. And once again Taylor left the stage!

As he walked off, he grabbed a towel and wiped his face. He then came back to the stage and threw the used towel to a little girl on the front row! What a great guy Taylor is to do special things for children to make the show that much more memorable for them! That’s why the Soul Patrol loves this Southern Soul Man!

Taylor Hicks has a busy week coming up with more book signings, and will be back in Memphis at Davis-Kidd Booksellers on Thursday, July 26. Yours truly will be there with a few more circus acts as we welcome Taylor back to our humble Southern city known for its blues and soul music. Stick around, the circus doesn’t have far to travel this week to capture more Taylor time, and for this ringleader, that feels both weird and great at the same time!

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