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

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

With the Traveling Circus, It's Always an Adventure!

For her thirteenth birthday, I promised my older granddaughter a trip to see Taylor Hicks in “Grease” when it came close to Memphis. Birmingham seemed like the logical destination until Taylor added two shows at Workplay. Actually, I had bought tickets for her but when the second show was added, it was decided that her mom (my daughter) should go instead. I would take her somewhere else.

Durham seemed like another logical place, especially she would be on fall break on Monday – we could attend both of the Sunday shows. I knew I would have to work late on Friday plus by Red Hat luncheon was Saturday – not something I wanted to miss. But on Tuesday night, I made the decision we would go to Durham if I could get everything worked out.

I checked my frequent flyer miles – enough for two tickets. Then I checked Ticketmaster to see what sort of seats might be available. Next I had to make sure I could take Monday as a vacation day. Once the vacation was approved, within 30 minutes the plane tickets were secured, hotel & car reservations made and tickets to “Grease” were purchased.

Finally it’s Saturday afternoon and we get to the airport in sufficient time to get through security and down to our gate. The first leg of the flight would take us to Atlanta for a plane change. And a pleasant surprise! As the gate attendant scanned out tickets, new tickets were printed out – we had been upgraded to first class! My granddaughter was elated! Thanks to my elite status, the airline made me look like a ‘can accomplish miracles’ grandmother!

By the time we arrived in Durham and picked up our rental car, it was quite late. And rainy. And pitch black. My first mistake was leaving Madge (my GPS) at home. The second was expecting my granddaughter to be the navigator. We tried to use the Yahoo directions I had printed out, but we kept going in circles and making wrong turns. Finally, we tried my iPhone which has GPS. Nearly 30 miles and one hour later, we were safely at hotel, which was really 16 miles and 20 minutes from the airport (perhaps as the crow flies, but that’s another story)!

Now my granddaughter is not the easiest kid to wake up, but she set the alarm so she could get up and go down stairs to enjoy the free breakfast. No time to wait for me to get ready – we kept in touch my texting. She had a great time making herself a waffle and even brought me juice and bagel.

Once I was ready, we left for another adventure – driving to the Durham Performing Arts Center, or DPAC. According to Yahoo, it should be a 30 minute, 20 mile drive. Forget it – 45 minutes and three re-routings – we made it to the theater! Thank goodness I had given myself at least an hour to get there!

While my granddaughter was getting a pre-show snack, I was talking the security guy. We discussed that the theatre was new and that I was from Memphis. Wrong person to tell that too! More later as to why!

We found our seats, center of the third row! We would see their pupils as well as the color of their eyes! Vince Fontaine started off with the pre-show revue to get the audience ready for the show. The usual dance routines, where the audience was from, birthdays, etc. I tried to get my granddaughter to dance, but she wanted too much of a bribe! And that was in addition to the “Grease” sweatshirts I had purchased for her and her sister!

The matinee was definitely the show to pay close attention to. During the first day of school cafeteria scene, as Patty Simcox is about to make her appearance, Rizzo announced that Patty was getting close because she could smell her coming. I snickered – that was new! In Marty’s bedroom, the radio was working properly and she had to ad-lib a bit until it started working again!

In the second half, with THE ice cream cone in place (I can only imagine what the Teen Angel did when he heard the goof), Sonny calls Frenchy “Sandy”! Then poor Roger is slinging his antenna around when it slips out of his hand and lands near the curtain behind him! He had the “what the heck do I do now” look, although I doubt that’s what he was thinking! He picked it up and the scene continued!

Finally the moment I was waiting for – the cone is opening! Now I’ve seen the show (covering my mouth as I say how many!) a number of times, so I know what to expect and what may get changed up. I was disappointed at the initial response and had to remind myself that North Carolina is home to three other Season 5 top 10 contestants.

But WOW! Frenchy and Taylor went all out during the matinee! As Frenchy did her “I voted for you” and ran her fingers up Taylor Hicks’ chest, she then put her finger on his nose and rubbed it! Taylor seemed to be surprised by that move! Then when they did the ‘hair & sizzle’, Frenchy said “hot diggity dam” when they did the side bump and she tried to pat Taylor’s butt! The audience chuckled!

After Taylor gets back in the cone to finish “Beauty School Dropout”, the audience does give him the applause he was due! Too soon Taylor was gone and the show continued! Taylor came out for the encore and then to sing “Seven Mile Breakdown”. As we all know, Taylor can change up a song at will, and at the matinee, he did just that! I loved what he did – a bit of higher notes at the end!

For any lack of cheering during the show, the audience made up for waiting in line to get a CD signed! It was orderly and moved quickly, in spite of the number of people waiting! I was very pleased to see the crowd. My granddaughter wanted to have her sweatshirt signed and became concerned when the theatre usher said Taylor would only be signing the CD or his merchandise. I kept telling her to lay the shirt down and that Taylor would sign it. He didn’t disappoint – he even signed it to her! While he was doing that and I was trying to catch a quick picture, the security person I had talked to earlier informed Taylor and Clay that I had come all the way from Memphis to see the show! I’m sure I was blushing while Taylor and Clay just smiled! In the end, all that really mattered was that my granddaughter had gotten her shirt signed! Nanee ruled!

We left the theatre to see what was close by for an early dinner, but downtown Durham was pretty much dead except for the Mellow Mushroom, a pizza place across the street. I must confess, it was a great pizza! By the time we finished eating, it was time to go back to the theatre for the evening show.

This time, my granddaughter took her sister’s hoodie to be signed. We found our seats, still center, but eighth row this time. Now after the matinee mishaps, I waited to see what would happen that evening. Nada – everything went off without a hitch!

When Taylor Hicks made his entrance, the audience was much more receptive than the matinee crowd, and it felt like the usual appreciation I had come to feel. Frenchy didn’t rub Taylor’s nose or add the diggity when they did the bump, just “hot damn”! And when Taylor sang “Seven Mile Breakdown” I didn’t notice any of the nuances I had heard earlier.

Again Taylor was signing CDs after the show. With this the final show and a Sunday night, the waiting crowd was smaller, but still a number of people. The hoodie was signed and I got a better picture of Taylor before we left.

By now, the navigator had figured out how the GPS on my phone worked and we were ready to head back to the hotel. This time we made it in record time! Well, record for us but not according to Yahoo time.

Our flight home was scheduled for sunrise (7:05 am) so we had to leave the hotel very early. As we were driving to the airport, we passed the Cheesecake Factory. My granddaughter pointed it out and informed me she had seen it last night. What! She didn’t mention it! That’s where I wanted to take her to dinner! Because she took the name literally, she didn’t mention it! I can’t really blame her – I hadn’t told her I wanted to go (not to mention I had no idea where it was much less that it was on the same street as our hotel!!!!)

Because of the weather, our flight was late leaving. I slept during the wait. My granddaughter read and chatted on the phone with her mother several times. We were finally airborne and on our way home. When I asked her if she’d had a good time and wanted to go somewhere again, she said she let her know when!

By the way, she really enjoyed the show! Both times!

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2 comments:

KarinP said...

Mandy, reading your blog always brings a smile to my face. You certainly had an "adventurous" weekend and I am in awe of your ability to book a trip so quickly.

A very special time for you and your granddaughter. She certainly won't forget it and I think that it must have been so special for both of you.

Thanks for the great blog.

cath said...

Again, I was transported. I guess you can thank Taylor for the frequent flyer miles........ an added perk.

Fun recap. Your granddaughter will remember this for a long time...Grandma is quite the character, I remark fondly.

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