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

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Charlie Had His Angels, Taylor Has His

I’m sure you remember the hit TV show, “Charlie’s Angels”, the trio of crime-fighting ladies with the mysterious employer named Charlie. Their job was to help those not otherwise able to help themselves.

But did you know that Taylor also has his Angels, a group of supporters known as Taylor’s Angels, ladies who Tay-it Forward when the need arises. Let me introduce you to what this group is all about and who these Angels really are.

What started as a random act of kindness to help a fan obtain membership to the Taylor Hicks HQ fan site has turned into the selfless act of helping others join the fan site and in some cases to see Taylor Hicks, live, on stage, in concert. Formed several months ago by this group of Soul Patrollers, over 40 memberships have been gifted and 15 fans have been presented concert tickets to see Taylor Hicks live.

The mission statement is simple: To reach out and touch the hearts and souls of Taylor Hicks fans all over the world by exposing them to Taylor’s music and giving nature.

To accomplish those goals, Taylor’s Angels are Taying It Forward One Soul at a Time. All that is needed to receive a membership or concert tickets is to have financial need. No proving of the need is required. Your word is your bond. This group accepts your request on trust.

Taylor Hicks has been an inspiration to many of us. It is in that same spirit that these Angels want to continue to help other Soul Patrol friends in need. Each of these Angels has already experienced a live Taylor Hicks show, and each knows how special those performances are. They want other fans to have a similar experience which is why they arrange concert tickets gifts.

While this group of Angels provides memberships and concert tickets, there is a limit to what they can do. They don’t arrange meet and greets and they can’t work miracles. These Angels will do everything they can to make sure fans get memberships and concert tickets.

So how is their mission accomplished? Taylor’s Angels does not accept donations. What they do accept is willing volunteers who wish to donate memberships and concert tickets. These Angels also accept recipients whose financial hardship does not afford them these memberships and tickets. The Angels then match a donor with a recipient. Such matching can be known or kept confidential at the choice of parties involved.

Additionally, donors and recipients are not publicly identified unless they want to be. Good manners are expected to be exercised through acknowledgements from each recipient which can be sent directly to the donor or handled anonymously through the Angels.

Who makes up the core group of Taylor’s Angels, you might ask. These Angels have met each other at various concerts over the past few months either during the American Idol summer tour or Taylor Hicks’ 2007 Tour. The Angels are Lmo4taylor1, Webchic00, Cydter, PurpleButterfies, RagsQueen, maryann1, and DidNotExpectThat.

If you wish to be a donor or have the financial need that would qualify you as a recipient, please send your name and information to While this group works very hard to accomplish its goals, these Angels are full-time employees, mothers, wives, retirees, grandmothers, friends, and out on the tour trail. Regardless of other commitments, they will respond as quickly as possible.

There is also a blog where you will find inspirational stories, links to Taylor web site, and other information. Please check it out. And don't forget to leave comments. The blog:
The Angels want to remind everyone that they are not affiliated with Taylor Hicks, Taylor Hicks Headquarters, the Taylor Hicks name, or American Idol. They are merely devoted fans who want to make a positive difference in people’s lives. They do not accept cash, checks, or money orders. All transactions are made between the donor and recipient once they match them and are kept confidential. Any publishing of a gift can be made only by the recipient.

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Sunday, March 25, 2007

The Traveling Circus Has a Jolly Time in Sioux City

As the plane landed at the Sioux City airport, I quickly realized I was about to embark on a different kind of adventure. The airport has two gates with a small area for the ticket agents. And the baggage claim shares space with the car rental counters. It reminds me of the airport in the old TV show “Wings” except this airport was probably twice the size. And it’s run very well! TSA can be very proud!

On the ride to the hotel, I chatted with the driver, a young lady from the area. I wanted to know what the city was known for. Its history includes being on the Lewis and Clark expedition trails, a single casino on the river, skywalks between the downtown buildings, a meat processing plant, and a Jolly Time Popcorn plant. Sioux City is very spread out for a city with a population of 85 thousand. I was expecting bigger!

Tonight’s show was held in the Orpheum Theatre, one of several theatres in a chain. The front of the theatre, except for the marquee, looked like a regular building. The inside had been remodeled in the past few years, and was beautiful. The interior was simple yet elegant. Even the fixtures in the ladies room were gorgeous gold-gilded swan neck spout with swan head hot and cold knobs. There’s a picture in the album which is linked below!

Michael Warren opened the show. This two-man group consists of Michael W. on the guitar and vocals and Michael P. on the bongos and singing harmony or backup. The interaction between the two is chemistry! You can see it in their faces. The smiles and simple nods of the heads quickly let you know these two men have a special musical bond. Michael W. writes most of his own music, and gave us a sample of what he’s capable of doing. You have to hear him to appreciate him. After the entire concert was over, I went by the merchandise tables to have Michael sign my CDs that I’d bought earlier in the evening.

As you are aware, I generally only listen to Taylor, and sometimes a bit of LiMBO. Now I’m adding Michael W. to the mix! While we chatted about the show, I let him quickly know that I enjoyed him over the Greyhounds! I made a joke about thinking I needed to let the rabbits out so they would go away. Michael got the joke immediately and laughed! (OK, for those not familiar with greyhound racing, a fake rabbit is sent around the track for the dogs to chase!)

Michael has great stage presence and can get an audience laughing at his jokes. Perhaps it’s because he is African-American or from the South. You can’t help but enjoy his show! Let’s see….he mentioned that being from Birmingham, he did own shoes, and that you could now get boots there! There were other similar remarks but they escape me right now.

After the set change, the current Taylor Hicks Band took the stage during the “Goldfinger” intro. They played their own opening number, and Taylor Hicks took the stage! Black jacket, black shirt, light blue jeans and trademark sneakers. Taylor was hot tonight! Hotter than I’d seen him since the second Birmingham show!

I don’t know if it was the Iowa air or what. Maybe Taylor’s allergies were in check because there was no pollen as had been the case the past several weeks. Whatever it was, Taylor looked great and performed as if he’d never been sick a day in his life! His performance could be summed as ‘the roadrunner meets the energizer bunny’ – Taylor was constantly moving, energetically, effortlessly.

The speakers were right in front of me so I was expecting to have distorted sound. Not tonight. Taylor’s voice was very clear and strong. If he’d been on recent voice rest, you’d never have known it! This was going to be a memorable performance!

I need to tell you about the audience. The audience covered all demographics – young, middle-aged, older, male and female. In front of me sat two men that appeared to be father and son. No mother or sisters were present. The seats beside me were empty and a couple of young women who had balcony seats came down and took them! They danced the entire time and one kept yelling that she loved Taylor! I thought I saw wedding rings on the hand of both ladies! What am I talking about! I’m a middle-aged, white-haired grandmother! I just wasn’t yelling out anything more than a few “whoo’s!”

Now one of the young women had turned to me and made a comment about Taylor slinging sweat. I tapped the older gentleman in front of me and said that should it ‘start raining inside the theatre, I’d be happy to change seats with him!’ His response was quite simple, “Thanks, but I’ll just put on a raincoat!” So much for my getting his front seat!

I must confess, my second row seat was great! It was probably only 6 feet from the stage! When you check out my pictures (link below), you’ll be able to see how close I was because the pictures are great! Lots of really good close-ups!

Going back to the show. Taylor opened with “Soul Thing”, one of his own original songs. The energy was high and he was dancing all over the place! The lights were just right. Next we got “Give Me Tonight” and “Gonna Move”. Taylor had not stopped except to take a few sips of his bottled water. Got to keep those beautiful pipes wet, you know!

Moving between his own original music and his current album, Taylor maintained his high energy level, never slowing down or faltering. He generally played guitar for his original music and sans guitar with the current album. It’s become kind of a sign for me as to what may be coming up next.

Taylor bantered with the audience, thanking us for voting. He told us he had voted as well! And occasionally for other contestants, just not too many times! Now I don’t what the real truth is, and I don’t really care! It’s just fun to imagine Taylor speed dialing after each show, voting for himself, and maybe one or two others! I wonder if he phoned or text-messaged?!?!?!?!

After “Compared to What” and “Heart and Soul”, Taylor really blew it all out. The lights went pink and purple which distorts his features on film. But the song was incredible! It was Hall and Oates, “She’s Gone”! Oh, my gosh! What a fantastic song for Taylor to do! “She’s gone…..” I was definitely gone afterwards!

“The Right Place”, and yes I was there, “Heaven Knows”, and it sure does, and “The Maze”, which I wouldn’t want to find my way out of at the moment, rounded out the show. Taylor thanked us for coming and left the stage. So did the rest of the band.

But they returned to the stage the quickest I’d ever seen! The finale would be “The Runaround” which Taylor certainly had not been giving us all evening! Some harp at the end and as Taylor was walking off the stage, tapped his imaginary watch to tell the band it was time to go and gave us a peak as the black band he wears as a reminder to himself. Heads nodded, and Taylor continued to tap his wrist. After a few more seconds of this, Taylor was officially gone. The show was over.

As I mentioned earlier, I stopped by the merchandise tables and spoke with Michael W. I finished my conversation, got my picture taken, and then decided to check out the bus scene. Several of us tried to stand near the door to Taylor’s bus, but security moved us back behind the ‘blue’ bus. Our wait was soon rewarded. A number of ladies (well most were ladies there) got autographs. I stood back just taking pictures. It was magical and then it was over. Only pictures for me tonight which was just fine!

For a Saturday night show, the performance started at 7:30. That’s because the skywalks close about 30 minutes after a show ends. No one wants to get trapped in the skywalks, which I can best describe as a maze. I got lost and had to go back to the hotel lobby to call a cab. Also, the city streets close up early in Sioux City so the city folk can sleep. Perhaps it’s because the area is rural. I don’t know. I do know that this show for me, was incredible, and is now second only to the Sunday night Birmingham show!

Yes, Taylor Hicks, you gave the Soul Patrol one heck of a Saturday night! You ride into town on your shiny rented bus, you thrill us with meet and greets, planned and spontaneous, and your energy level rivals only the energizer bunny! Tonight you were in true Taylor Hicks form and you gave it everything you had. I was so glad I made those arrangements last week to be there! Great show! And thanks for memories! I’ll need them to get me through the next two weeks until I see you at The Foxwoods!

Until then, check back often, gentle readers. I have a few special surprises in store that you don’t want to miss. A couple of interviews and a chance to meet a very special group of Taylor fans. See you then!


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Wednesday, March 21, 2007

The Traveling Circus Rocks in Little Rock

Living in the city where an annual blues fest is held would be an ideal stop for Taylor Hicks. But alas, the closest Taylor has come to my home town is Little Rock, AR, home of former President Clinton. Now Taylor has meet President George Bush, but I recall reading that he thought Bill Clinton was a great president during his tenure. I won’t debate politics here tonight!

Without going into irrelevant details, I had an afternoon appointment with my favorite attorney. Because of the nature of our meeting, we had to drive to Little Rock, her daughter in tow (more like sitting in the back seat!). We spent the two hour or so drive discussing the facts of the case and how we should proceed. All that throwing ideas around and listening to the hum of the tires on the road made me quite sleepy so I took a short nap. The nap was a good thing because I would need to be awake and alert on the drive back.

My attorney, bless her heart, understands what traveling with a child and older person can be like. After all, she had just recently traveled for several days with her daughter and her mom. So letting me nap on her nickel was quite refreshing.

On the corner by the building where our meeting was to take place was a large pool and fountain. Behind the fountain was a small circular drive that we turned into to ask for directions. Our appointment was for 4:30 pm and it was just a little after 4:00. We had to present our motion before the judge and jury at that time and certainly didn’t want to be late.

We were told to pull into an open spot while the guard went to check out where we needed to be. We handed him a copy of our pleading just in case he needed it. He quickly returned, told us where to park, and the information we needed to make our case.

As we pulled out of the space, we took one last glance at two beautiful buses parked by the rear entrance of the building. One was blue and the other was maroon. The side car was out on the maroon bus. Wonder who was in those buses, we mused!

We made a quick turn out of the driveway and headed for our parking destination. Now I’m not used to changing clothes in an SUV, much less publicly. But since I was still in my prison garb, I wanted to change into something more fitting for our meeting. I pulled my arms out of my shirt, slipped on the one I wanted to wear, put my arms in the sleeves, and the pulled the old shirt out of the neck of the new one. Now I would fit in with the crowd.

As we exited our vehicle, we made note of where we were parked just in case we lost our motion and had to make a quick retreat. Nothing like running from the law with your lawyer in tow!
We made our way to court and had to wait for our passes to meet the judge. Only the attorney needed a pass – I was out of jail because of good behavior. I had to be a model citizen tonight. I patiently waited for my attorney and her daughter to visit the judge so he could sign my release papers. And I think maybe she might have needed to have some other documents signed as well. Signatures were obtained and the meeting was over.

I was now free for dinner! The dessert was good and so was the salad, otherwise bread and water would have sufficed. The judge was eating chicken noodle soup in his chambers while we ate. I’m sure his dinner was better than ours.

OK, now to get down to really serious business. We made our way to our seats to wait. Wait for what you ask! Well, the Robinson Theatre was our courtroom, the band was the jury and Taylor Hicks was the judge! We had tickets for the show! And you thought I was embroiled up to my neck in legal troubles! Tsk! Tsk!

Michael Warren was the opening act. His band featured him on guitar and vocals and his partner on two long bongos. What a duo! The music was very good! Michael gave a short intro to each song so he did a lot of chatting with the audience. Now there were a lot of empty seats in the front during his performance and I was beginning to worry a bit. I wanted to see a full house tonight!

By the time the set was changed and the starting montage played, I saw very few empty seats. Whee! Or, Whoo! Now the audience wasn’t the most energetic I’d seen, but after all we were in court! Most people sat and while I sat most of the evening, I was dancing on the end of my seat!

From where I was sitting, front row facing the right side of the stage, I could see Taylor in the shadows doing some stretching exercises! I had no idea this man did that before walking out to entertain us! I should have known – Taylor says his performance has a lot of cardio workout included! Bless his heart, I mean strong heart!

As he took the stage I noticed Taylor had a cowlick! A cute silver cowlick in the back of his head! I took a lot of pictures trying to capture that out-of-place spring of hair! Taylor looked wonderful, and his voice was as whiskey tenor as I’d ever heard it! What a performance he was giving!

From the opening number, “Gonna Move” to “The Runaround” rounding out Taylor’s main set, I could see him smile and glow with joy! Taylor was doing what he loves doing most – performing before a live audience! He was feeling right at home on the stage. Occasionally he would ham or play to someone taking pictures. I even captured a picture where Taylor looks like he’s looking right into my camera!

After singing the first couple of songs, Taylor walked to the edge of the stage and in Indian warrior fashion, stooped down and put his hand over his eyes as he looked out to see the audience. He did this several time, and the audience went wild! Screams, shrieks, and lots of whoo’s could be heard.

New tonight, at least for me, was a Sheryl Crow cover, “Run Baby Run”. That was a great song. I just hope Taylor doesn’t take the words to heart and start running! It was nice to hear Rod Stewart’s “Young Turks” again. That’s one of my favorite songs from the tour. Another song that replays a haunting sound in my head is “Take the Long Way Home”. The harmonica is such a good instrument to play! It’s as if you hear the train leaving the station. It’s really incredible. As I type, the song plays over and over in my mind.

Taylor was much more talkative to the audience. He frequently introduced a song before he sang it. A little discussion about how he got his first harp at a flea market and did he really want to learn to play a flea market harp! During the encore he had his ear plugs out and let us know he could finally hear us! More screams, shrieks and whoo’s.

The finale was the Doobie Brothers’, “Long Train Running”. There was lots of tagging to extend his time on stage. Everyone was on fire, from Loren to Brian to Al to Josh to Brian to Felix to Melanie! This was definitely a “don’t miss” show!

It was over all too soon and the theatre cleared out. Still on our high from the show, we decided to scope out the buses. Taylor had already been out, signed a few autographs and was back on the bus. We hung around talking to the band and each other. I got pictures with several members, and spent time discussing the show with them. Even asked Al if he’d ever been called Gumby because of his moves. He laughed and said he hadn’t! He just feels the music and moves.

I must confess, and I did to Al and Melanie, that a Taylor Hicks show is much like a three ring circus. Which ring will I watch! Between Al’s gyrations and Melanie’s backup and playing and then Taylor’s antics and dancing, it’s hard to keep one’s focus on just one person! I sometimes forget I’m there to see Taylor and watch the others! What a show they all put on! Talk about the cohesiveness and magic of the personalities in the group!

The buses were loaded. Dinner was being brought in (several boxes of cereal and milk jugs). The trucks were loaded. The engines were revved up. We made our way to our car and pulled out of the parking garage. We made one last pass by the buses but they were gone. They were on their way to the next stop. We were on our way home.

Next stop for Taylor is outside St. Louis. Next stop for me is Sioux City. Catch you then!


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Monday, March 19, 2007

The Traveling Circus Remembers the Alamo

As our small tribe of circus clowns left Austin for San Antonio, we decided to stop in at New Braunfels Smokehouse. The Smokehouse is known for its jerky. We stopped there because we wanted to get gifts for Taylor Hicks and his bus mates. Several packs of different flavor jerky, some chili lime peanuts, mints, and sweets, we had our haul and were ready for lunch. I had the sampler, and if you ever get a chance to go there, I highly recommend it! The sampler and the Smokehouse!

After lunch we drove on to San Antonio and checked into our hotel. The Menger is an old hotel, directly across from the Alamo, and was established in 1859. So in essence, we walked the same paths as Davy Crockett! The hotel furnishings looked like they came from the late 1800s or they were very good reproductions. The hotel is beautiful, with a Spanish flair that meets the Old Wild West.

I was one of the fortunate ones to win a meet and greet. Good thing I took a copy of the email! There was a mix-up on my pass – it had my email but someone else’s information. After talking to every theater person and Taylor’s security and crew, it was finally straightened out. I was going to get to see Taylor again!

It’s a three block hike to the theatre’s back stage door. That was the entrance we were using. The buses were parked at the same entrance. When the large ‘garage’ door was open we could see the stage and watch the crew setting up. As Taylor might say, “That was cool!”

Just as I got to the door, Taylor was coming off the bus. It was only three steps, maybe, with his gait! I looked down through the crowd of feet to see that Taylor had one sneaker tied and the other untied! Please don’t trip over those shoe laces as you go down all those steps! People called out his name and Taylor responded with “Hi Guys!” And then he was inside.

I quickly moved to the back of the line. I should say the back of the line at the time I got in line! They let a few go in at a time. Soon it was my time to go down all the steps to where Taylor was set up. Let me tell you, he had on a fitted t-shirt, gray of course! And with that silver hair, he was gorgeous! OK, handsome, since he’s a young man!

Keep in mind I’ve met Taylor a number of times on this tour. (But who’s counting!). Remember I’m the one who tells everyone before their first time to meet Taylor that he will put you at ease, and to remember he’s just like any other man – he puts his pants on one leg at a time! Well, maybe he has to jump into those jeans sometimes. Well, I was shaking like a leaf on a tree in a hurricane! Moi! Shaking! I kid you not! I was so disorganized!

Bless his handlers hearts for trying to keep me calm! They kept saying take your time! I had a CD for a friend, our tickets, the Soul Patrol cookbook, and of course a copy of my blog. Plus the gifts and a copy of the blog for Taylor!

The first thing I did was hand Taylor two bags of treats and tell him they were carb-free. “Cool! Thanks!” and behind him they went. I fumbled with the CD next. I wanted to take the insert out so Taylor could sign the front cover and the CD. Even Taylor tried to help, but wound up only signing the CD itself. Next was my copy of the cookbook. Then the tickets (I had 3 for my tribe of fans).

Finally I was able to compose myself enough to thank Taylor for taking the time to do the interview for the blog. I introduced myself as RagsQueen/Mandy, a blogger for The Official Soul Patrol. I handed him his copy and he wanted to know if a copy of the interview was in the notebook. It was. He seemed genuinely happy to receive the notebook. (Gosh, I hope I only wrote things I won’t mind having him read!) Then he signed my copies of part 1 and part 2 of the blog interview. Taylor was very gracious through the whole thing.

I wasn’t trying to be a hog, but I was getting items signed for others as well as myself! OK, go ahead and say it - I was probably a hog! And I was still shaking the entire time! I realized when I got back to my friends that I had been waxing on my gum the entire time! Now I know why I don’t like to chew gum in public, but my mouth was so dry from all the walking!

After the meet & greet, we continued to wait by the buses. Taylor exited the stage door and quickly got back on the bus. This time both shoes were tied. Maybe he had just waked up or gotten dressed and wasn’t given enough time to tie both shoes. Who cared! It was cute to see!

We hiked back to the hotel to put up our souvenirs and grab a quick bite before the show. I realize three blocks isn’t a hike, but for me it was! We wanted to take a horse drawn carriage ride to the Majestic Theatre, but unfortunately the carriages don’t go that way. So we called for a cab.

The Majestic Theatre is absolutely beautiful! The scene around the stage reminds me of ancient Rome or Israel with the clay houses and open markets. The ceiling was painted blue with twinkling lights representing stars. Be sure to check out the picture link below to see the pictures I took. I’d seen similar interiors at other theatres I’d been to recently, but this one really caught my eye! The outside is not indicative of what the interior is like! So don’t be fooled if you ever get the chance to go there!

After getting to the Majestic Theatre, we stopped by Taylor’s merchandise table to see what they had. There was a new black scarf and a 3-button set. I now possess both. We found our seats and watched The Greyhounds perform. The guitar player tried to be a stand-up comedian, but it wasn’t too well received. We were there to see Taylor anyway. But I have to admit, if you like funky jazz, this band is a good listen!

Taylor took the stage singing “Taking It to the Streets”. When he finished, he told the audience he had had the opportunity to walk down San Antonio’s Riverwalk, an old canal that had been redone with walks, shops, restaurants, bars, waterfalls and tour boats. He moved into the rest of his show, doing songs from his CDs, “Taylor Hicks” and “Under the Radar”.

The audience seemed more subdued here. But according to other concert goers, the theatre told them they had to remain in their seats and stay out of the aisles. A few did stand in their places and dance to the music. It was nice to sit and just enjoy the show, even if I did spend a lot of time behind the camera!

One of my favorites of the night was “Compared to What?” which Taylor said was a Supertramp cover. Taylor seems to delight in doing that song. No “Young Turks” or “Goodbye Stranger” tonight, two of my other favorites. Taylor had promised no two shows would be alike, and he had certainly kept that promise!

Taylor wasn’t doing all the moving about tonight that he usually does. I noticed he kept rubbing his neck after each song. I understand that he mentioned he had a stiff neck tonight, something he hadn’t had in a while. Too bad I didn’t offer to help massage the stiffness out! We did get some twirls during “The Runaround” and maybe one other song as well.

During “Gonna Move” I could just see the glee and joy in Taylor’s face. I tried very hard to capture the smiles during the song. He was just glowing with that song! “Gonna Move” is an old standard of his before American Idol as well as a cover song on his self-titled CD, “Taylor Hicks”. It seems to me to be much like the story of his life – moving about a lot, living with other people, becoming a man by taking charge of his life. Yes, I can see why that song means so much to Taylor. And he plays one mean guitar when he performs it!

When Taylor played “Take the Long Way Home”, I wondered how he would end it. After seeing him do this number in Birmingham, would he give San Antonio the same treat of leaving the stage with just the sound of his harp? No, that was reserved for his home town. Tonight, he just played it for the audience, announcing that he had added the song a few nights before.

The encore was a ‘get on your feet and dance’ “Going Mobile” a cover I hadn’t heard before but knew he did sometimes. The crowd loved it. I thought he was saying ‘going bovine’, like the cattle, until I ‘got the wax out of my ears’ and realized it was “Going Mobile”!

Since it was St. Patrick’s Day, someone threw Taylor a green sombrero. He put it on and danced a bit around the stage. He definitely was enjoying his gift! And he looked so cute! Hopefully some good pictures of that will surface on the net!

After the show we went back to where the buses were and waited to see if Taylor would come out. We didn’t wait in vain. Taylor looked like he’d had a quick shower before leaving the theatre because he had on the same t-shirt from the meet and greet and his hair looked towel-dried with spikes sticking up. I tried to get a picture, but being short in a sea of taller ladies didn’t prove successful. But let me tell you, he looked so cute! That gray hair looks silver, a beautiful glow of silver!

Taylor signed a few autographs and moved down sidewalk through the crowd. Not everyone got a reward, but all I wanted was to get a few pictures of the blue-eye soul man with those sexy brown eyes. I stood behind the crowd so that others could get closer to Taylor. I’d had my turn earlier in the afternoon. I didn’t want to be too greedy.
But I must confess, I really do love that silver-haired soul man! His performances are always perfection and energetic! And tonight was no different!

After Taylor got on the bus, my little group decided to try out luck on the Riverwalk. We tried Mad Dog, a hip bar for the under 30 set. It was too crowded so we left. At the Hyatt, we went to Jim Cullins Lounge to listen to a group of jazz players. Seven men playing bass, drums, guitar/banjo, trumpet, piano, clarinet and trombone, wearing suits with bow ties or neck ties. My friend and I tried to guess what their day jobs were because of their facial expression – few really smiled despite the pleasure they were probably having.

Let’s see – we decided one was a judge, a dentist, a lawyer, a gynecologist, a proctologist, a real estate agent/closing attorney, a high school student, and a professor. We weren’t even close although the band leader tried to tell us we were pretty dang close! They were all musicians, playing every night at this club!

Let me leave you knowing that this band in spite of their appearance, was really good, albeit, not the usual Taylor-type. I’d go listen to them again! It was a nice way to relax and wind down after Taylor. We closed the band down and left the lounge for the trek back to our hotel.

We said our good nights and closed our doors to get some sleep and dream about spending an evening with Taylor. I wasn’t quite ready for bed, so here I sit writing my blog. OK, I confess, I wrote half before sleep and finished it when I got up. I’m ready to go home to work a day or two, and then see Taylor again later in the week.

Until then……


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Sunday, March 18, 2007

The Traveling Circus Ropes Calves at the Rodeo

I never know where or when good fortune will find me, but find me it did in Austin, TX for the Star of Texas Rodeo.

Last summer when I went to the American Idol show in Houston by myself, I was ‘adopted’ by a wonderful couple who didn’t think a woman alone should be let loose in Houston. They graciously saw to it that I got to dinner, the concert, to the LiMBO after party, and then back to my hotel. And when we learned that Taylor would be playing at Antonne’s in Austin the next night, they allowed me to join them again! What a week-end that was!

So when Taylor’s tour was announced and tickets became available for the rodeo, my friend called and said she had a ticket for me in case I wanted to come. Wanted to come? Heck yeah, I’m there! Or here as the case is!

After arriving at the Austin airport, we drove back to their home to rest a bit, catch up, talk Taylor and get ready for the rodeo. Now I’m getting quite experienced in traveling, even alone, but I’ve never been to a rodeo. So I knew I was going to be in for a treat.

Since we were going solely to see Taylor, we decided that about an hour of the rodeo would be enough. And it was! We did see a few young ladies ride horses around barrels and the clowns engage in a bull fight. Oh, yes, and the need to bring another bull into the ring to get the first bull so they could saunter over to the cows’ barn. I think the announcer may have been full of bull himself! A herd of horses circled the ring to bring to a close the rodeo.

A round rotating stage was set up in the middle of the ring. Finishing touches were added to the stage. The arena darkened and green laser lights started. A truck entered the ring and backed up to the stage. The band climbed out of the back of the truck onto the stage. As the traditional show opening played, the truck reappeared with its new cargo and backed up the stage to unload Taylor Hicks. No introduction was necessary.

Taylor was in Texas, red ball cap, beige boots, gray shirt and jeans. Sans jacket tonight! Did I mention the boots? Yes, Taylor was wearing boots! Boots!
As I mentioned earlier, the stage rotated. Taylor commented about it going clockwise and then backwards! At one point the stage may have tilted when he got too close to the edge. The stage was smaller than some of the theatres Taylor’s played lately, so I think it must have limited his movements. While he did dance a lot, he stayed mostly in place rather than being all over the stage.

Taylor is always Taylor when he’s on a stage. His vocals were some of the best I’ve heard. Even with limited movements and dancing, he still put on his traditional Taylor style show! And thank goodness for jumbo screens so we could really see the show! About half way through his performance he removed not only his guitar, but also the cap! I thought maybe he was having a ‘bad hair day’! The cap is generally so Taylor can go out without being recognized. But a performance is no place for the ball cap! Even if you do look good in it!

The Soul Patrol was there en masse but so were potential new fans. The stage was probably 10 to 20 feet away from the audience, and with little lighting, it would be hard to see us. The audience didn’t seem to have the energy level I’ve seen in other shows either. Taylor seems to feed off the crowds’ energy and if it not there, he has nothing to feed his own level of energy. Still, Taylor gave an awesome performance. Perhaps that’s why there was no encore or maybe it was already planned that way. And it may have resulted from wearing the cap through have the show!

I love to hear Taylor whistle, and tonight we had that treat when he sang the Supertramp song, “Goodbye Stranger”. Another cover Taylor does is “Badge”.
Taylor sang for about an hour, mostly songs from his latest CD. He ‘jammed’ with the guitars and sax. Not as much showcasing the others in the band tonight. Again, I think it was limited because of the tight stage.

With an original tune, “Hold On to Your Love”, Taylor tagged “Can’t Trust Your Neighbors” and couple of “T is for Texas, T is for Tennessee”. There were lots of cheers from the audience, including this Tennessee girl!

He ended with “The Runaround”, a great song to leave the audience with a positive and upbeat feeling. As Taylor finished the song, the truck returned to the stage. Taylor was holding his arms out as if to balance himself or perhaps horsing around. In the end, two guys grabbed him as he came off the stage onto to truck bed because from where I sat, it looked as if he might have missed his step and was about to fall. (No injuries allowed, Mr. Soulman!)

The remaining band members climbed aboard with Taylor. The truck took a turn around the ring with everyone waving and Taylor holding on for ‘dear life’ to the truck roof! You could see the joy in his face – I swear it looked like he was ‘glowing’. He knew he had nailed his performance, and was ready to go have some after show fun!

Aside from the rodeo, South by Southwest, SXSW as it’s known, is also in Austin. This is a music festival for musicians as well as fans, if you can afford the tickets. The fans affording the tickets, that is. I think I found tickets for around $800 for the week’s activities which includes film as well as music and other forms of entertainment. Needless to say, I won’t be there!

I imagine that Taylor is looking forward to jamming with fellow musicians on Friday night (the rodeo performance was Thursday night). In a local radio interview he had mentioned Willie Nelson would be there. As I recall, the line-up was a virtual who’s who in the music industry, at least among the older performers. This is Taylor’s opportunity to rub elbows with his peers and those whom he respects and wants to learn from.

Me thinks this is really a night off for Taylor so that he can recharge and re-energize with other musicians rather than a night to entertain his fans. So Taylor have a lot of fun, enjoy yourself, this Soul Patroller and “rabid fan” won’t be there choosing to give you time for private musical enjoyment.

So in cowboy speak, ‘head ‘em up, move ‘em out’…….

Pictures from the concert

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Wednesday, March 14, 2007

The Travleing Circus Finds Its 'Home in Alabama'

After a full day Saturday, the girls and I decided to sleep in. I needed to recap Saturday night for my blog and download pictures from my camera. By 3:30 we were hunting for Dreamland Bar-B-Que, a favorite of Taylor’s. I had a combination of ribs and chopped pork. It was good, quite tasty, but being from Memphis, well…..

We arrive at the Alabama Theatre about 30 minutes before the doors were to open. Actually, it seems like the doors were opened earlier tonight. We chatted with old friends and met some new ones. It was likes a ‘who’s who’ of the Soul Patrol meeting. Soon we found our seats and waited for the show to start.

Again, this would be an evening of pure Taylor! No opening act again tonight! I had a dead center seat on the second row! What a view I was going to have!

Taylor took the stage making like he was an airplane flying around the stage going in front and behind the rest of the musicians. This was a 30 year old man having fun with his music! And I was loving every second of it! Once he stopped “flying”, Taylor sang “Taking It to the Streets”. How appropriate to open the show this way – he was definitely taking his music wherever it would go – theatre, streets, bars – you name it!

At the end of each song, Taylor would chug his bottled water. I counted three bottles in front of the drums. He was prepared to sweat and drink! He moved from song to song, singing “Heaven Knows”, “The Maze”, “Compared to What”, “Wherever I Lay My Hat”, “The Deal’, “Give Me Tonight”, “Just to Feel That Way” and “Going Mobile” before taking a break.

You could feel the energy tonight. Taylor had evidently gotten plenty of sleep Saturday night, because he was ready to out run the energizer bunny! Taylor was perpetual motion, bouncing, twirling, spinning, jumping, dancing, etc. It was boundless joyful energy that filled the auditorium and infected the audience.

They were up on their feet most of the night. Some were singing right along with Taylor. Others were shouting and whooing at the same time. There were squeals of joy and excitement everywhere.

Sunday’s show was going to have an intermission so the audience could make donations to the American Red Cross for recent storm damage in Alabama and Georgia. I really expected the volunteers to come into the audience with buckets to collect donations but that didn’t happen. The break lasted about 15 minutes and gave us time to visit, chat and compare thoughts on the show.

Taylor started the second half of the show with “Gonna Move” and then did “Dream Myself Awake”, “Naked in the Jungle”, “Soul Thing”, “The Right Place” and “Take the Long Way Home”.

Now when Taylor sang “Naked in the Jungle”, the females went wild! This song was an old standard of Taylor’s before American Idol. And he was giving it back to his Birmingham hometown fans!

Another crowd favorite is “Soul Thing”, written by Taylor. Writing is another of his many talents. As the song ended Taylor ran back to Brian’s organ and began to play the upper notes! Brian held up the mike and both hands to let us know it was Taylor, and Taylor alone, that was playing! Brian was pointing to Taylor and both were grinning from ear to ear! What a show! Taylor playing the organ! What would be next!

Before performing “Take the Long Way Home”, Taylor talked about getting his first harmonica at a local flea market and how his friend reminded him he didn’t know where it had been! Taylor was doing a bit of standup comedy and getting lots of laughs! He made some other comments that I really couldn’t make out, but something like ‘it must have been ok!’ The song was performed in true Taylor style with an unexpected ending. As he played the harp on the end of the song, he walked off to the darkened part of the stage. The harp sounded like the wailing of a train going down the tracks as it left the station. What an ending!

The usual end of the show fake out took place. As the band returned to the stage, the Homewood High School Drum Corps began playing the drum beat as they walked down the aisle toward the stage. When they were all on the stage, Taylor joined them to sing “The Runaround”. This was an incredible encore! Taylor was so energized and the smile on face told us he was very happy!

The drum corps left the stage and a stool was brought out and put in the center of the stage. Taylor came out strapping on his guitar. Taking a seat on the stool, he would provide his own accompaniment on the guitar. Gently strumming and plucking the strings, Taylor sang “My Home’s In Alabama” in a soft yet meaningful way.

I wasn’t dry-eyed nor were many of those around me. I could see through the viewers of cameras around me that Taylor had what looked like tears streaming down his face. It might have been sweat, but I don’t think so! Many sang along with Taylor, even amidst the tears. The emotion had peaked for everyone, and it was time to move on. When he finished the song, Taylor quietly left the stage.

Another show had ended and it was time to pack up the equipment and buses. We left the theatre and went around the corner to where the buses were parked and waited. And waited. And waited. As we waited outside, many of us discussed what we had just witnessed. Even thinking about the show brought on more tears! But who cared! We had been stroked and strummed by the blue-eyed soul man. We had been Taylorized. We were satisfied.

Our wait paid off because Taylor came up to where we were standing. He signed autographs and we could get pictures of him, but not with him. I was able to tell Taylor that he had given us a fabulous and incredible show. He only had to say ‘thank you’ for me to know the gratitude he was feeling.

As I think about the words to the song, I can hear the similarities to Taylor’s life. I’m taking artistic liberty by copying the words from DidNotExpectThat’s recap of the show. The version of the song I’m familiar with was done by the country music group, Alabama.

Drinkin' was forbidden in my Christian country home
I learned to play the flattop on them good ol' Gospel songs
Then I heard about the barrooms just across the Georgia line
Where a boy could make a livin' playin' guitar late at night
Had to learn about the ladies, too young to understand
Why the young girls fall in love with the boys in the band
When the boys turn to music, the girls just turn away
To some other guitar picker in some other late night place

Yeah, held on to my music, I let the ladies walk away
Took my songs and dreams to Nashville then I moved on to L.A.
Up to New York City all across the USA
I lost so much of me but there's enough of me to say that my

Home's in Alabama, no matter where I lay my head
My home's in Alabama, Southern born and Southern bred

What keeps me goin' I don't really know
Can't be the money Lord knows I'm always broke
Could it be the satisfaction of bein' understood
When the people really love ya and let you know when it's good

Oh I'll speak my Southern English just as natural as I please
I'm in the heart of Dixie, Dixie's in the heart of me
And someday when I make it, when love finds a way
Somewhere high on Lookout Mountain I'll just smile with pride and say that my

Home's in Alabama, no matter where I lay my head
My home's in Alabama, Southern born and Southern bred
Southern born and Southern bred
Southern born and Southern bred

And my home's in Alabama, no matter where I lay my head
My home's in Alabama, Southern born and Southern bred
Southern born and Southern bred
Southern born and Southern bred

As I listened to Taylor sing the final number, I could hear him saying good-bye to his home in Birmingham. I’ve heard that he has decided to make LA home for work reasons. That saddens me because LA is a rough town for celebrities where they can lose themselves or be hounded by the paparazzi. Maybe in time he will be able to return to his southern roots.

What keeps me goin' I don't really know
Can't be the money Lord knows I'm always broke
Could it be the satisfaction of bein' understood
When the people really love ya and let you know when it's good

Yes, Taylor, we know it’s all good and our votes for you proved that. You deserved to have your voice heard and win. You are your own person and you know what you enjoy musically. You have talent, even undiscovered talent perhaps. You show potential to be a musical genius. And yes, you are understood – the Soul Patrol gets it! We get you!
You came home for the week-end and you gave us your best. You pulled out all the stops for us, your hometown and fans. There will never be another show like this in another city or venue. You reserved this solely for Birmingham. It was like the American Idol tour last summer when you took the stage in the purple velvet smoking jacket.

And my home's in Alabama, no matter where I lay my head
My home's in Alabama, Southern born and Southern bred
Southern born and Southern bred
Southern born and Southern bred

The traveling circus found its home in Birmingham this week-end. We had a great time with other members of the Soul Patrol, meeting and greeting each other. It was all good as Taylor often says.

Good night, sweet soul man. You’ve earned a rest. Until we meet again….

Pictures from Sunday Night

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The Traveling Circus Goes 'Home' to the 'Prettiest City in Alabam''

Little sleep is something I’m starting to get accustomed to these days; that and barely making it to the airport to catch my flight to the next stop. I needed to be at the Atlanta airport by 6:00 am. Instead I was just calling for a cab! I had to referee an argument between my cab driver and one with his sign off sitting outside my hotel. Getting through Atlanta airport on a good day is trying enough but when running behind……you know what I mean!

I may have been late for the plane but we made good time and arrived back in Memphis early. For the Birmingham experience, my daughter Beth and granddaughters Maleia & Braelyn were going with me. I had already told Beth I was going to sleep for the drive. And like Taylor, I keep my promises!

Our first stop in Birmingham was the hotel. We had tickets to the open house at Studio by the Tracks but I needed a shower. So we decided to start our adventure at Laser’s Edge, the Homewood, AL record store where so many copies of Taylor’s indie album “Under the Radar” were bought.

Security at Laser’s Edge was tight and well organized. When the lines were long, only 25 people, with wristbands, were allowed in. Bless you my guardian angel, for helping me get our wristbands! Since I only had two, I was going to take Braelyn, my younger granddaughter in with me.

Both granddaughters had gone to Build-A-Bear the day before to make a stuffed dog for Taylor. Dressed like Elvis, the dog was named “Soul Patrol”! After a lot of bickering, Maleia conceded to letting Braelyn give the gift to Taylor. But ‘Nanee’ (what they call me) had other plans. When Braelyn and I got in line, I found a “VIP” lady that I spoke to and explained that I had another granddaughter outside in tears and that the two girls had a gift for Taylor. As quickly as she disappeared, she returned to tell me Maleia was cleared to come in. Now I had two very happy little girls!

Now Taylor was saving his voice for the show, so he doing very little talking. But when the girls gave him “Soul Patrol”, he did chat a bit about the dog as he studied it. As he checked out his gift, Taylor admitted he’d never heard of “Build-A-Bear. It was quickly decided that Soul Patrol would be given a seat on the bus! They got their picture taken together with Taylor and Soul Patrol. Taylor signed my album, Braelyn’s note to Taylor and one Birmingham show ticket. Braelyn had written a note to Taylor, but he signed it and gave it back to her!

I was also getting a t-shirt signed for the artist of the note card group. Taylor graciously signed the shirt and acknowledged meeting the group before! He remembered us from House of Blues! In my excitement, I left the shirt! Thank goodness I remembered it before I left the store! I walked back over to the table and as I explained to security that I left the shirt, Taylor leaned over and placed it on the table for me! Bless you, Taylor! Now my friend would be happy!

Our next stop was Nor Dys Gallery for a pre-concert party and a tour of downtown Birmingham. We spent 30 minutes plus trying to find the gallery, going back to the hotel several times to get our bearings. There’s 3rd Avenue North and 3rd Avenue South – each on the opposite side of the city, across the bridge! Passed ‘the buses’ several times in the process!

Nor Dys Gallery was a time of food, beverage, catching up with old friends and meeting new ones! Even the Little Memphis Blues Orchestra guys plus Erin Mitchell put in appearances! It was a very nice gathering, and the food was excellent! I was so busy eating and chatting that the only art I saw what near the buffet or the wall beside my table. One picture really caught my eye, but I never had time to completely check it out.

After getting lost going to the gallery, we decided we needed the additional time to get to the theatre. Parking is limited so going early meant a better chance to find a space. Luckily we found a parking lot close by. We parked and walked across the street to get in line outside The Alabama Theatre. Taylor was about to play to a sold out crowd! Signs on the door said “SOLD OUT”!

Our seats were not bad but not great either. The box office has just opened up a couple of front row seats which I quickly bought. Front row for Taylor’s homecoming show! What a coup!

Once inside the theatre, we checked out our seating options, deciding to take the better floor seats. Now traveling with kids at a concert can prove trying sometimes. And we had a tired 5 year old with us! She actually fell asleep during the show! She fell asleep during Taylor! She will be taking a nap before the Sunday show for sure (and so will I)!

Security was strong and forceful! I was glad! I had to make sure my flash was off because there was a security guard right in front of me. That was fine – no one would be blocking my view! Thank you sir for your attention to keeping crowd control!

Show time! No opening act! No Greyhounds! Only Taylor! And the 5 year old needed to go potty! No! I was going to miss the opening! OK – a quick trip to the bathroom and we came down the aisle as Taylor took the stage! I missed nothing!

Taylor Hicks was home! He even said it was good to be home! The emotion and energy was high for both Taylor and the audience. Throughout the night, Taylor acknowledged the balconies and his beloved Soul Patrol. He thanked us for voting. He sang his own original music as well as songs from his self-titled album “Taylor Hicks”. Taylor was happy! And so were we! Go Soul Man! Live your dream! You have earned it!!!

Taylor did a couple of new songs, including the first song he learned to play harmonica on, “Take the Long Way Home”! What a treat for his homecoming! It was wonderful! Let me digress a bit. I was at Laser’s Edge, Taylor looked tired, maybe even a bit under the weather or allergies acting up. But on stage – you’d never have known there was anything wrong! Taylor was energized and happy! He was beaming and glowing! He was home! He was …. on fire! Hot!

Tonight’s show was phenomenal! I know, I say that about every show. But tonight was a different kind of phenomenal! It was perfect! Taylor pulled out all the stops. No holds barred!

The encore started with “The Runaround”. What! The Homewood High School Marching Band Percussions Corps came down the aisles during the opening bars drumming the entire time! What a treat! This performance was as close to the recording as possible! A drum corps! Taylor was out front in the middle singing the song! The grinning and joy on his face can not be expressed. But the emotion, the joy, pure Taylor was there! And we, those fortunate enough to be there, were witnessing it! What a wonderful experience!

How could the encore be any more special! Taylor had given such an incredible performance already! His first song for learning harmonica! A drum corps for “The Runaround”! What more could he do!
Only Loren Gold came back out to play the keyboards. A stool was placed in front of the mike stand. And Taylor came out and sat on the stool. He told us how he had heard someone else perform this song, and that he hoped he too, would have the opportunity to perform it as well. “Birmingham”! “The prettiest city in Alabam’”! Oh my! What magic! And what grateful emotion!

I think at one point even Taylor was overwhelmed. He turned away from the mike for a split second. Rumor has it there were a few tears for Taylor. There were for me, so I can only imagine what he must have felt! At points, the audience was singing along! “Birmingham, Birmingham, the prettiest city in Alabam’”

Thank you, Taylor, for wanting your voice heard and auditioning on American Idol! Bless you Bell South for uninterrupted phone service on Tuesday nights! Thank you, Simon, for your negative comments that drove Taylor to do better and concentrate on his performance. Thank you, Clive Davis, for forcing Taylor to record “Just to Feel That Way”. Thank you, Dr. Brad, for having such a wonderful son. Thank you, Ms. Joni, for your support for Taylor. Thank you to anyone and everyone else involved. Tonight was for you, your gift from Taylor. It was Taylor’s gift to the Soul Patrol.

And from me, I love your talent Taylor, and for the passion and gifts just watching you that I get. Until the next time…..

The night didn’t end there. We went to Workplay to listen to Little Memphis Blues Orchestra. There was a small crowd of fans but the place was still packed with no place to sit. LiMBO was great, playing their music and having fun. The crowd loved it! Most of us stayed to close the place down! After getting lost for the umpteenth time that day, we finally made it to the hotel and bed.

What a day!

Pictures from Saturday Night

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The Traveling Circus Joins the Atlanta 'Tabernacle Choir'

After a short night in Nashville, I had to drive back to Memphis. For some reason, the westbound side of the interstate was closed and I had to take a 30 mile detour. Thank goodness for the trucks on the road – I had no idea where I was going!

A quick shower, fast drive to the airport, purse search by security, a wheelchair ride to my gate (2 miles away, or so it seemed!) and I was boarding my plane to Atlanta. First class for a change. A girl could get used to such frivolity! But I had other plans – a nap! The line was around the block, but moved quickly once the doors opened.

I stopped by Taylor’s merchandise stand to pick up one of the new t-shirts. This one said ‘Soul Patrol’ on the front. I also wanted a cap. There was one interesting item for sale – an autographed harmonica that Taylor had played at The Ryman on Thursday night. I asked if the proceeds were going for charity but the vendors didn’t know. The reason I had asked, was because the Red Cross was going to the Birmingham shows and Lazer’s Edge the next two nights raising money for Alabama storm victims.

I walked into the stage area and discovered it was standing room only. There were two balconies that had seats. I asked where the handicapped seating was and security said upstairs. No elevator. A hundred stairs – ok, not that many – but still a lot! I made it to the next level and was given a seat. Front row right over Loren Gold! I was up close and personal! Whooo!

The Greyhounds opened again tonight. I heard someone say that they were part of the ‘gray brigade’ – hint, hint – the color of Taylor’s hair! An Atlanta native friend of the guitarist joined them on stage. Interesting performance. But after 3 weeks of them, I’m ready for a change!

“Goldfinger” starts and The Taylor Hicks Band takes the stage. They do their opening number and Taylor walks on stage as it ends. He waves to the crowd and going into his opening number, “Soul Thing”. The crowd, and I do mean crowd, cheered wildly! Taylor was getting his energy from them, and they fed off Taylor!
Taylor quickly moves into songs from his album such as “Heaven Knows” and “The Maze”. Drumstick and cowbell in hand, Taylor set the beat and rhythm for “Compared to What”, an interesting cover song. It’s back to the album for “Wherever I Lay My Hat”, “Just to Feel That Way” and “Give Me Tonight”. There are lots of phrase repeats that are drawn out and the crowd goes wild.

Sometimes the audience sings along with Taylor! At one point Taylor comments that he has his own “Tabernacle Choir”! Yes, the traveling circus is now the “Tabernacle Choir”! I love it! I can sing off key as usual and Taylor hears a choir!

My new favorite song that rivals “Young Turks” is “Goodbye Stranger”. Even Melanie gets to sing a solo bit. But when Taylor begins to whistle at the end, I hear a chorus of song birds! He can whistle any time – and I’ll come running!

Back to the album and then he ends with “The Runaround”. Taylor bows and waves to the fans, no longer just the crowd, crossing the stage from right to left. He leans across Loren’s keyboard and hits a few high notes. Then Taylor walks around behind the keyboard and pounds the keys! Taylor is playing the keyboard! Taylor is playing the keyboard! I can barely focus my camera, but I manage a blurred Taylor on the keyboard! Whooo! Soul Patrol!

The band does the usual fake out, and then returns. Out comes Taylor! Mike in hand, Taylor starts “Georgia”. The screams, the whoos, the applause is deafening! It this has been a political rally there would have been a riot! Taylor was hawt! Taylor rawked! Taylor nailed it! I will never be the same! And neither will anyone else who was there! “Georgia”! What a show stopped and ending!

And then, Taylor left the stage!

Check out my pictures at

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The Traveling Circus Goes ‘Country’ at The Ryman

When I think of Nashville and The Ryman I generally think of country music. That twangy, nasally sound. But Taylor Hicks sure blew that theory with his whomp style music at The Ryman tonight. Even Taylor was amazed to be there!

After his opening number, “Gonna Move”, Taylor announced that he was using Minnie Pearl’s dressing room and just had to come out and say ‘Howdy’ (think Minnie Pearl). At least he left the hat with the price tags still on it in the dressing room!

Tonight’s show, for me, had the level of energy that I saw at the House of Blues in Myrtle Beach. The crowd was drinking in everything Taylor did, and Taylor was feeding off that energy. According to one of his close associates, Taylor was sick. But as Taylor said in Jacksonville, he would never let a little illness get in the way of performing. And performing he did!

I don’t think he stood still for more than a nano-second at a time! Between his bouncing, bunny hopping, twirling, etc., there was no way to tell Taylor was under the weather. Taylor was moving faster than a roadrunner! Try training a camera on him and you will quickly know what I mean!

The Ryman was definitely a high energy show. The crowd was standing for most of the show. The cheers and whooos following every ending. Taylor was on fire, and the crowd was not ready to extinguish it by any means. Taylor was in his element! And awed at even performing there! He told the audience he was thrilled to be there. That thrill and excitement translated into his performance!

I watched him more closely tonight as he sang and danced, even though my camera was aimed at the stage and Taylor the entire night. He would make a gesture and the band obeyed the command. Taylor could “stop them on a dime, and turn them around”! The band and Taylor were in the same groove, almost as if a single unit of one. It was fantastic to see.

I was glad to hear “Give Me Tonight”. Taylor’s only been doing that song for the last few shows. He nailed it and the crowd loved it! Tonight, Taylor was doing more announcing the songs he was about to perform, and at one point, named one song and said, no let’s do something else. Just like he might have done in a small club in the past. Ah, “The Deal”. Yes, let’s make that deal – Taylor you make and keep as you have promised!

Taylor stated he was going to do a jazzy number, a jazzy “Compared to What”. With drumstick in one hand and cow bell in the other, Taylor was controlling the song’s rhythm. The crowd went wild with it. I was amazed. When Taylor started whistling, I thought I had died and gone to heaven. That man can whistle as beautifully as he sings. And those clicking sounds he makes sometimes when he wants to imitate another musical instrument.

The song that really blew me away (not that the other songs didn’t as well!) was “Goodbye Stranger” or “Supertramp”. Melanie sang a solo part that was so sweet. And Taylor whistled at the end! Taylor has a beautiful whistle that is almost bird-like. The whistling, I can still hear it in my mind. And Taylor was sick? You never knew it. Taylor must be the only man that can perform as if nothing were wrong and then collapse later and let the illness take over until the next performance. Whistle any time, any place, any song. Just whistle!

At some point near the end of his set, Taylor decided to play with the drummer! He took one of the drumsticks from the drummer’s hand and then shook hands with the drummer! And then gave it back! The impish grin on Taylor’s face said it all! HE was having some fun with the band and enjoying every second!

Rod Stewart’s “Young Turks” and Rob Thomas’ “The Right Place” are really my all time favorites. Taylor, as usual did them to perfection. I could sing along, and frequently did. Performing for nearly 90 minutes alone, Taylor bade the crowd good night and then he was gone. For only a couple of minutes, at least.

As Taylor came back on stage for his encore, and what an encore it was, he looked like he was chewing something – cookie, gum, lozenge, or something similar. It was cute in a ‘familiar’ sort of way. Taylor was definitely relaxed on stage and with the audience.

The crowning glory was his finale. He started it with “Soul Thing”. And then….and then…. (think “Streaking”) he went into a combo of country and gospel. Perfect for The Ryman. Perfect for a finale song.

“Will the Circle Be Unbroken”. No, Taylor, it won’t. You’ve come full circle yourself. You spent a year or so in Nashville trying to get your voice heard. You didn’t find success during that time. But tonight you commanded the stage as any country music star would have. Tonight was your night to shine. And shine bright you did.

You have not broken from what you promised. You have stayed true to your musical roots and talents. You have not disappointed. Tonight was my seventh show and I have three more shows in as many days. I don’t get tired of your shows – I get mesmerized and energized. I need more. And tomorrow I get it. Catch you soon!

After the show we went outside by the buses. Taylor’s bus has a pop out or extension or whatever you call it. It gives him more room in the living room area. And the large flat screen TV was going. The blinds were slightly open so it was easy to see inside. Not that I was looking, mind you!

We were waiting in the cool night air to catch a glimpse of Taylor. One of his handlers came out and told us that Taylor would not be signing or taking pictures because he was going to go straight to the bus. He was sick and didn’t need to stand in the night air. We continued to stand around waiting, and my friend and I decided we needed to walk away. Give the poor guy some privacy. The crowd remained. Finally Taylor came out the door to a barrage of flashes. Quickly he was on the bus. He didn’t stop. He was going to take care of himself! Good for you, Taylor. Protect your voice and your health. We can wait! At least, I can!

Get well, Taylor. Get some rest. Don’t forget the chicken soup. And maybe a warm brandy and tea. Try some warm lemonade. Do whatever you need to do. Keep on keeping it real because that’s what we love. All of those Soul Patrol shout outs. Keep them coming! I’ll be back for more!

Yes, I was ‘countrified’ tonight at The Ryman. Taylor did it right! The stars are in alignment, and all’s right with the world.

Taylor at the Ryman - Pictures

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Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Interview at 10:00 - Taylor is in the House

Hopefully you have read Part I of the interview with Taylor. Below is the Part II, the final part of the interview. And like any good interview, I must pay homage to my sponsors!

Seeing Taylor, live, in person, performing at small intimate venues and theatres is what makes Taylor so unique. His voice, dance moves, guitar and harp playing are all part of the total package! Be sure to see Taylor live because Taylor Hicks live will rock you and leave you wanting more!

To find out where Taylor is performing, check out, and for more information. What are you waiting for – there’s nothing better than Taylor Hicks live in concert! You will be Taylorized!

So you find below, Taylor’s responses to the rest of my questions (well I did have some help but I still won’t tell who asked what!)


Part II
Music in general:

RagsQueen: What musical instrument do you wish you knew how to play, not necessarily one you would play in a show, but one just for fun? (See picture above)

Taylor: The Vibes

RagsQueen: Where would you like to perform that you haven’t (it can be anywhere in the world)?

Taylor: Sydney Opera House

Ragsqueen: We all know that you are a great performer and you have confidence in your singing abilities. What genre of music would you not attempt in public?

Taylor: Thrash metal

Charitable endeavors:

RagsQueen: How did you get involved with Kid One Transport and Studio by the Tracks? What caused you to select these 2 rather than other charities in the Birmingham area?

Taylor: They were kinda artsy and close to me.

Getting to know you better:

RagsQueen: Blindness played a role in Ray Charles’ career. Which sense would you be willing to give up and which would you miss the most?

Taylor: Smell because it wouldn’t affect me musically.

RagsQueen: What gives you peace of mind?

Taylor: Having a great show.

RagsQueen: How do you feel when women seem to be paralyzed or speechless in your presence?

Taylor: Flattered, wouldn’t you?

Just for fun:

RagsQueen: Will you play an April Fool’s joke on your crew?

Taylor: Yes, and what it will be is a surprise!!

Thank you, Taylor, for taking the time to respond to these questions that will give your fans more insight into the person you are and what makes you such a special person with the Soul Patrol.

Stick around folks. The traveling circus is headed back out this week-end for more Taylorization, I mean more Taylor tunes, I mean more Taylor energy. Oh heck! I’m just going to go watch the live energizer bunny as Taylor Hicks performs live at The Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, TN!

Monday, March 5, 2007

Interview at 6:00 - Taylor is in the House

Trying to keep fresh ideas when writing a blog is not always an easy task, but it definitely is fun! So I get this hair-brained idea to see if Taylor would do an interview for the blog. He’s busy with his tour, but maybe, just maybe, he could squeeze in a few answers between the greens and roughs while on a golf course.

I have to tell you, though, pure Taylor is seeing him live, in person, on the stage, in a small theatre such as the Florida Theatre or House of Blues. The passion, the energy, it’s all magical! Given a chance to bet on Taylor or the Energizer Bunny for the longest lasting energy, my money’s on Taylor!

To find out where Taylor is performing, check out, and for more information. What are you waiting for – there’s nothing better than Taylor Hicks live in concert! You will be Taylorized!

So you find below, Taylor’s responses to my questions (well I did have some help but I won’t tell who asked what!)


Part I

Tour related questions:

RagsQueen: What do you do before a concert to get yourself mentally and physically ready to go on stage?

Taylor: Eat chicken noodle soup.

RagsQueen: How did you go about selecting the cover songs for the tour, especially Rod Stewart’s “Young Turks”? (I love your version of it and was caught completely by surprise when you sang it in Jacksonville!)

Taylor: It just made sense. I wanted to pick music that connected to me.

RagsQueen: What is the message you are trying to convey with that song?

Taylor: Be young, be foolish and be happy.

RagsQueen: Before each show, how do you determine the set list?

Taylor: Usually, my musical director, Loren, and I get together and talk through it.

RagsQueen: Is it influenced by the location, your emotions, or what you had for breakfast?

Taylor: By my wheaties, definitely. 

RagsQueen: How does your laundry get done while you are on tour?

Taylor: I do it myself at the hotels.

RagsQueen: Describe your perfect day when you are not on tour, and when you are on

Taylor: Not on tour-golfing. On tour- golfing and then performing.

RagsQueen: What do you do to unwind after a show?

Taylor: I enjoy a glass of wine and hang with the band.

RagsQueen: Will we ever hear “Give Me Tonight or “Places I’ve Been” on the tour?

Taylor: I just started playing “Give me Tonight” and you never know what I will decide at a future date about other songs.

RagsQueen: What is your favorite amenity on your bus?

Taylor: Root beer

RagsQueen: For your next tour, what would you like to add?

Taylor: More dates!

RagsQueen: Who decides what you will wear at a meet & greet or for a show?

Taylor: I do. I have taken a liking to picking out clothes and looking sharp.

RagsQueen: Have you ever been so caught up in the music that the audience seemingly disappears?

Taylor: Sometimes, but I love performing for the audience so the disappearance wouldn’t be for a long time…

RagsQueen: What do you have planned for the Soul Patrol and your career after this tour? Another album? Another tour? What can we expect?

Taylor: Definitely another album and another tour and this summer, I will be doing press tour for my book, Heart Full of Soul. Keeping the momentum moving.

Be sure to check back often. Part II will be posted soon! And now a word from our sponsors!

Check out for the latest information on Taylor Hicks’ national tour. Meet other fans and make new friends. Become a member today. Special thanks to those responsible for making this interview possible, especially Taylor and his “alter identity”.

The Traveling Circus Goes to Rocky Top Tennessee

The Tennessee Theatre – Knoxville, TN

After my flight experience to Myrtle Beach on Thursday, I was determined that I would get to Knoxville with time to spare. Getting up at 4:30 am with just of couple of hours of sleep to get to the airport is something I would only do for Taylor Hicks! Fortunately there was space available and I could fly standby for an additional $25. What the heck was another $25 to my already $725 plus ticket! And with a 4:30 pm appointment for a meet & greet, it was just pennies!

I made Knoxville by 11:00 and went straight to the hotel – the Knoxville Hilton. After arriving at the hotel, I learned that I had made the right decision to go early because Atlanta weather was affecting all airports and delaying flights. Whee! I would make the meet & greet on time! I had all intentions of napping before the M&G, but I spent my time on the internet catching up with all things Taylor! So much for the nap!

It was decided to go to the Tennessee Theatre around 4:00 pm. That was way too early because the sign in the will-call window said passes wouldn’t be given out until 5:00. I was with PaytheDevil so we spent time schmoozing with other M&G attendees. Finally the shade opened and it was time to get the M&G passes. Big problem! I wasn’t on the list! OK, I know I’ve met Taylor before, so I stayed calm. The lady behind the window wanted to see the email. Thank goodness PaytheDevil had her phone with her and could pull up my email account! We found the email and showed it to the lady. A few phone calls and 2 wristbands were produced! I was going in! I don’t know why I had 2 wristbands. Maybe they thought I had a child with me. Maybe some oversight. Who cares – I was meeting Taylor again!

This seemed to be a larger group than usual. We lined up by the gold door and waited to go in. As we gathered inside the entrance, Taylor was taken into the room through another outside door. He was in his bus which was parked across the street from the entrance. We could hear him coming in and being seated. He sat at a table with his back to the hall and a door blocked any access to him. Poohy – no getting back behind the table for pictures – we would have to stretch across the end of the table – not necessarily an easy task for a vertically challenged round lady!

As I walked through the door, Taylor recognized me and said “Hello dear. Nice to see you again”. I muttered something and then said “you’re gonna soon get to the point of saying ‘oh no, not her again!’”. Taylor’s response was “Right!” with an emphasis that let me know he didn’t mind repeat visitors! Alright! When’s my next meet & greet!

A group of us went to the Downtown Brewery and Grille to grab a quick bite before the concert. It was another opportunity to meet Taylor fans and socialize for a bit. We were all excited to be seeing Taylor. It was quickly time to go back to the theatre for the show. The tour merchandise was just inside the front door so I stopped to buy my first ever hoodie! Black with “Taylor Hicks” in turquoise and white. (It would keep me warm the next morning as when I flew back home!)

The Greyhounds from Austin, TX were the opening act. They are quite good, but their set is pretty much the same each night. Everyone remained seating during this part of the show and gave great applause after each song. Now after the show, I would meet them in the hotel lobby, and found them to be very nice chaps! But after all, I was really there to get my Taylor time and fix! After the Greyhounds did their thing, the stage was made ready for Taylor.

The recorded opening song, “Goldfinger”, stated. The band took the stage and after their opening number, Brian Less welcomed Taylor Hicks to the stage! The audience was now standing up and cheering. Taylor opened with “Give Me Tonight”. Tonight was the first time he had performed it on the tour. WOW! That’s all I can say! He moved quickly into “Heaven Knows”, “The Maze”, “Hell of a Day”, and “Dream Myself Awake”. Wait! What! No Taylor playing guitar on “Hell of a Day”!

Taylor thanked the audience for coming and also for voting for him. Said he bet some of us needed to use Neosporin on our fingers after all the voting! Lots of laughs from the audience! Some had voted over 50 times per night, so they must have understood the joke! Several times throughout the evening Taylor thanked the audience for coming.

Taylor didn’t seem to have the energy at tonight’s performance as he did the night before. But he still had an abundance of energy tonight. At the meet & greet I thought he looked tired. Maybe he had just gotten up from a nap on the bus. Maybe the tiredness impacted the show. Maybe the audience wasn’t as energized as the night before. But either way, Taylor was still 110%, giving his performance all he had!

Strapping on his guitar, Taylor did “The Deal”, one of his own original songs. That was followed guitar-less by “Gonna Move”, “Wherever I Lay My Hat” and “Young Turks”. I can’t seem to get enough of Taylor’s version of these last two songs, especially “Young Turks”. And his long drawn out ’home’ in “Wherever I Lay My Hat” just sends me! (Can’t say where, you know!) At some point in the song, Taylor saluted Knoxville with “Rocky Top” tagging with “Night Shift” then back to “Wherever I Lay My Hat”. If they weren’t fans before, they were now. Taylor had just converted the Vols!

With the guitar is back on, Taylor sang “Heart and Soul”, another of his original songs. I enjoy his original music as much as I do what he has out currently. His guitar playing style amazes me! At first I thought the guitar was just a prop until he played a few notes solo! Oh man! That open hand on those strings! Rapid strumming! Up and down the frets. Change the subject (this is entering uncharted territory!)

Taylor closed the show with “Just to Feel That Way”, “The Right Place” and his whirling dervish “The Runaround”. Waving to the audience and quick hand slaps with the front row, Taylor was gone. The stage darkened, the musicians left, and the audience began to chant, “Taylor”, “Taylor”, “Taylor”. The musicians retook their places and Taylor came back to do an encore with “Badge”. Another series of waves and hand slapping and the show was over. The house lights came on and we were ushered out of the theatre.

Another satisfying night with Taylor. Another chapter for the traveling circus was finished. A few more people had been ‘Taylorized’. And I was ready for a late night snack with my new Taylor-friends!

We went back to the hotel to meet and decided we’d go back to the Downtown Brewery and Grille. The music was way too loud for conversation. The alcohol and smoke was freely flowing. I went upstairs with a couple of ladies in our group, Allyn and SSNEVETS. They are such delightful ladies! After a lot sweet tea and appetizers we went back to the hotel. We saw most of the Taylor Hicks Band and the Greyhounds in the lobby chatting with other Taylor fans. It was late and I was tired…too tired to post pictures and write my blog entry. So off to bed for me because I had an early flight home in the morning and a chance to meet my new great nephew during my Charlotte layover.

Keep watching. The traveling circus may be in a town near you soon!

Post script #1: be sure to check for pictures. They will be up later in the week.

Post script #2: As I was checking in for my flight, a man got in line behind me. He looked so familiar! After I boarded the plane for Charlotte (US Air connection) this same man got on and wanted to know if this was the flight to Vegas! He proceeded to remind us that what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas! He! He! He!
When I sat down in my right seat (I misread my ticket) I found I was one row back and on the opposite side of this man. I had his seat mate tap him on the shoulder, and when he turned to look at me I asked “how is you haven’t aged while I have!” He laughed and said it was the Puerto Rican in him! The thanked me and said it had been 30 years!

When we landed in Charlotte, we had to deplane just outside the terminal. As I was coming down the steps, one lady was getting her picture with him. Another guy with his photo taking cell phone was getting a picture. I asked for one with him and got it! Who was this man you ask! Why, it was my “CHiPS “ idol, Eric Estrada! That man has not aged a bit! Watch out Taylor!

The Traveling Circus Goes Cameraless at HOB

House of Blues – Myrtle Beach, SC

Flying to Myrtle Beach Thursday morning proved to be quite trying! Because of a cold front moving across the southeast, Atlanta, Charlotte and Memphis were being deluged by rain. The flight from Charlotte to Memphis was delayed 2 hours which meant my fight from Memphis to Charlotte was delayed 2 hours (this was a shuttle between the airports). That resulted in missing two potential connections out of Charlotte to Myrtle Beach. I finally arrived in Myrtle Beach around 5:00 (my original arrival time had I not paid $100 to change my ticket to leave 2 hours earlier so I would get there earlier!)

PaytheDevil and Cydter picked me up at the airport. We needed to make a few detours as we drove to back to North Myrtle where we were staying in a condo at the Avista Resort on Ocean Drive Blvd. What a nice place! Those detours included scouting out several hotels looking for buses. We found the tractor trailer, but the buses eluded us. We gave up and went to dinner. After dinner we went to the condo to unload and catch up with PurpleButterflies, Cheri, RRDobbins, and Laurensilk (screen names are used to protect the innocent and the guilty alike!)

You would have thought we were a bunch of kids getting back together for summer camp or a sorority sisters’ reunion the way we were laughing and hugging and giggling! We had all met last fall in Wilkes-Barre, PA for the final Idol tour show. We’d had such a good time together that we decided Myrtle Beach would be a reunion! What a reunion it was! PaytheDevil gave everyone light sticks and Taylor Treats (a CD collection of Taylor moments). Cydter made canvas bags for everyone. PurpleButterflies updated us possible M&G passes for the next day. But Laurensilk was about to blow us all away!

I recall her saying she used to do a lot of portraits with pencil when we met last fall, but that she had let her art go over the years. You’d never have known it with her gift to us! We each received an iron-on transfer of a drawing of Taylor Hicks. Laurensilk had drawn the very essence of Taylor playing his harp. She then handed each of us a gray wrapped package of note cards (I’m framing mine!) that had 5, count them, 5 different drawings of Taylor! They were gorgeous! She had truly captured this man! But the real gift was what she had for Taylor – a framed set of each of the pictures as well as a set of the note cards.

While different ones needed to make calls home or take showers, several of us, me included, decided to make a late night Wally World run and seek the buses again. Success at Wal-Mart only. No buses! Now where could they be!

Friday morning everyone woke up leisurely with me being the last to get up. Well, if you are last to go to bed, you are probably last to get up! Makes sense to me anyway! We all got dressed and dolled up for breakfast at a local pancake house. We plotted how to spend the day and where to look for buses. We checked out the House of Blues, but only the road crew bus was there. And of course, the tractor-trailer was there. Got to get the stage set up early so they can do the sound check! Since the House of Blues has a get in early pass if you ate dinner in the restaurant or spent $15 in the gift shop, we decided to get our dinner (carryout, that is) and have something to drink.

While PaytheDevil, Cydter and I were on our bus hunt, we were making phone calls and chatting away when PurpleButterflies called Cydter to tell us to get back to the condo pronto so we could get all beautified because we needed to get back to the House of Blues by 4:30! We were going to meet Taylor! Our Wilkes-Barre M&G was very hurried and far from relaxed, so we were excited about this second chance. Purple – you rock! To plug something special, be sure to check out the Support Our Troops CD Drive at which PurpleButterflies promotes.

We made it back to House of Blues (HOB for short) in plenty of time to sit around and wait. Laurensilk was getting nervous about giving Taylor her gifts. Knowing Taylor, he would put her right at ease and she would be fine! PurpleButterflies picked up our passes and gave us each one. Roll call was taken by Taylor’s security and we were lined up to go in. I don’t know why, but M&G are always on the opposite side of the venues, upstairs or downstairs in some obscure out-of-the-way area. This was no different. We were taken to a hall, lined up, and could see Taylor sitting behind a table in the small room at the hall’s end.

Several ladies that weren’t in our group were in and out very quickly. Soon we could see Taylor! As I walked up to the table, Taylor recognized me from last week, and said “Hello dear. Nice to see you again”, only for me to mumble something back (short term memory goes first, they say!). I leaned in across the table and said “we don’t have to kiss and tell, do we!” Taylor laughed and said “no we don’t!”. He signed everything I had which was a picture from Coral Springs, one of the note cards, my ticket and CD. I leaned in for a picture and then my time was up.

By the time Laurensilk was in front of Taylor, he had realized something special was about to happen. We had all had him sign a different note card. He began to refer to us as the “note card group”. He wanted to know who we knew and RRDobbins let him know he was about to meet the artist! Taylor was definitely impressed!

Laurensilk gave him her presents and had him sign her stuff. Then she presented him with the framed set of the note cards. Taylor studied it carefully and then remarked that this was by far the best set of renderings of him that he had seen. Laurensilk was beaming and grinning from ear to ear with pride! And so were we! We had shared a special moment with her and even now, writing my blog, I can’t help but tear up remembering how truly special it was!

We left the M&G to get in line outside for the concert. Since HOB is mostly standing room only, everyone wants to get in front of the stage first. Because I was using a wheelchair (I had hurt my leg last week doing a lot of standing) I was taken upstairs via an elevator to watch the show. I decided to sit in the pews so I could see better. Cydter was allowed to stay with me because only one guest can be with someone in the handicap area. We had a fantastic view of the stage and could sit back and enjoy it without being trampled, pushed, prodded, or stepped on. Being short definitely is a disadvantage when you have to stand to watch a concert!

Again the Greyhounds opened the show. After several times seeing them, I was beginning to like their music. But they are not LiMBO or Taylor. Soon it was time for the real show! HOB has a No Camera policy and it is strictly enforced! And I do mean that – I witnessed a camera being taken away from someone near the front of the stage! Camera phones were used to smuggle a few shots, but only discreetly. Being out front on the balcony, that would prove to be true (I could run maybe, but I couldn’t hide!) Still have the phone, but only a picture or two or three! Sorry, they won’t be posted! Got to protect the innocent and dumb!

Wearing all gray, including what looked like a velvet jacket, Taylor took the stage opening with “Gonna Move”. He moved into “Heaven Knows” and “The Maze” which he tagged with “Let’s Get It On” The crowd was going wild! At some point, Taylor does that hands out and squatting thing he sometimes does. Now that drives me wild!
Taylor announced that this was his first House of Blues performance and that “In Your Time” was being re-released for the first time tonight. I had to make sure I get a copy before I left (fret not; I did, with the help of security since I was still in the wheelchair. The security there may be strict, but it is very nice, too!)

I’m amazed at how Taylor plays his guitar. His hand is stretched out as he strums the strings. It’s like he “palms” the strings. You have to see it to truly understand what I mean. It really amazes me!

“Hell of a Day” was tagged with “Tupelo Honey” with Taylor playing guitar. Off comes the guitar and Taylor sings “Dream Myself Awake”. More chatting with the audience. “It’s the coolest gig he’d ever done” was followed by thank yous for coming and voting. He admitted he’d voted too! Next came “Hold on to Your Love”, another original Taylor tune.

He strums his guitar without a pick. With his ‘trilling’ tongue sounds and machine gun guitar movements, he shouts out that Myrtle Beach has the House of Blues. He jerks back his head mimicking Ray Charles, tagging “My Life” with “Hold on to Your Love”.

Off comes the guitar and Taylor picks up a cowbell and drumstick. He belts out “Compared to What” (a new cover song for the show, possibly an Eddie Harris tune), doing chicken struts, one leg tapping, jumping up and down, and running over to turn on Ray Charles (stilling at a small piano near Brian Less.)

He talked about almost not making his first post-Idol single, “Just to Feel That Way”. He said that Clive Davis thought he did such a great job that this would be the album single! Strapping back on the guitar, Taylor sang his original “Heart and Soul” and tagged it with “Cold Baloney” and “Brown Eyes Handsome Man”. During all of this part of the show, Taylor was dueling guitars with Josh Smith, dancing with the mike stand, spinning and hopping around the stage.

Taylor again reminds us that this is a memorable gig for him, his first HOB! He is so excited! He begins doing “Night Shift” and having the audience sing along. He tells them “ya’ll sound good”. He does the sing along a couple of more time, smiling and beaming like a kid on Christmas morning! He comments on the fact that the floor is so crowded that it’s hard to get drinks to the audience.

Singing “Young Turks”, Taylor points at himself when he reaches ‘don’t let them push you around’. I think there must be some message in that song for Taylor.

Taylor announces he’s going to do a special song for the Myrtle Beach House of Blues. He sticks one hand in his jeans’ pocket, the lights turn green and “The Right Place” is greeted with cheers. Taylor pats his chest several times, his sign of thanks, love and grateful heart to his fans. He quickly moves into “The Runaround” and tags it with “When the Saints Go Marching In”.

At some point during the song, he picks up the tambourine. I marvel at how much he hits, more like beats, his chest with this instrument. I don’t know how he does it or if it bruises his chest! When the song is over, Taylor drops the tambourine like its on fire, salutes the audience and bows to the band. He is off the stage.

At some point during his performance, Taylor actually left the stage and went into a corner behind a stage wall. Those who could see thought he was trying to catch his breath. He can do that on stage anytime, and often does so, letting band members have the spotlight. I think he went back to compose himself. Taylor was so overwhelmed by the crowds’ reaction to his performance. Of all the shows I have seen to date, including Knoxville, this was by far, his best performance! By far!

His encore, “Taking It to the Streets” is a blow out – a real big ending – dropping down on one knee as he played the harmonica. Again Taylor points to the audience and salutes them, and slaps hands as he leaves the stage. Tonight was pure magic. It was magical for Taylor as well as for us. Pure magic, I tell you, pure magic!

We gathered our troops and headed back to the condo where we recapped our evening and watched Cydter’s video of Laurensilk with Taylor. We hugged and said our good-byes because several of us would be leaving before daylight. PaytheDevil was driving on to Knoxville, and I was taking an early morning flight. It was a magical week-end. We had rekindled and captured the emotion of Wilkes-Barre. We needed to just bask in the moments of the day. With well wishes, hugs and tears, we went to bed, tired but happy.

Sweet dreams my precious friends. Until we meet again! My love to you all! Peace!

Pictures of our adventure!

Some of My Favorite Pictures