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

Friday, May 29, 2009

The Traveling Circus Keeps the Triple Door Open

The Emerald City, the Rain City, the Gateway to Alaska, the home of the Mariners and Seahawks, the birthplace of Starbucks and UPS, and the location of the Triple Door – Seattle was the place to be to see Taylor Hicks. From around the country, the Traveling Circus flew into town to catch the show, and what a show it was!

The Triple Door was a fantastic venue for an intimate club show. Dinner and drinks before the show, plenty of time to chat with friends and neighbors. The food was what I’d call Asian, served with rice and vegetables cooked with garlic and ginger. My pea pods were exquisite! And those princess prawns – I recommend them! Excellent service from friendly staff as well. But enough about the food!

The place was quite interesting. There are four rows of four half-moon booths that seat four persons each. Behind each row of booths are long tables that seat parties of varying numbers, as well as a row of single-seat tables at the foot of the stage! Tables line the sides so that there is no bad seat anywhere because everyone faces the stage! There’s also seating in the bar area if all you want to do is listen. There was an upper level that could look down on the stage, but appeared to have limited seating.

Since my reservation was for one, the hostess asked if it would be fine to seat me with other guests. Sure, no problem. I was led to my seat at table 6, front row, at the foot of the stage just a little left of center. What a treat because I was seated with other fans I have met during my travels. You might say, there were a lot of members of the Traveling Circus there for Taylor Hicks!

The opening act was Keri Noble, a very talented singer-songwriter from Minneapolis. With just her voice and a keyboard, she entertained the crowd and warmed us up for Taylor. Her music was pleasing to listen to, and I’m sorry to say, I didn’t get one of her albums. She’s the kind of entertainer one would enjoy while curled up in front of a fire with a glass of a nice mellow wine, just listening to her music without the desire to move. Keri was one of the best opening acts I’ve seen Taylor use in quite a while – actually her style and music reminded me of Michael Warren, another Birmingham musician that had the opportunity to open for Taylor during his 2007 Spring Tour.

Following a brief intermission, the house lights grew dimmer and Taylor’s band took the stage before a full house – the show was sold out! After a few warm-up bars, Taylor Hicks took the stage and “The Distance” was the opening song. Wearing the usual gray shirt now covered with a gray vest, black jeans and boots, silver hair glistening, Taylor Hicks owned the stage and would continue to do for the next hour and a half! “The Distance” was a great song to open with, a way to bridge the gap between all people whether at the show or just in the world in general. With a shout out to “Seattle” and grinning ear to ear, Taylor knew he had an audience that was ready to be entertained, to hear him sing and enjoy an evening of good music!



Continuing with his latest album and the first single, “What’s Right is Right” was next. A wonderful song about love in its purest form, performed live, transforms into the memory of the music video that accompanied the single’s release. Taylor sings with heart-felt emotion and passion, leaving the listener knowing that this is the type of love that Taylor is looking for and desires.



From his first album, “Taylor Hicks”, tonight would feature “Heaven Knows” and “The Maze” with lots of other songs tagged within them. “Ain’t it Funky” and “Inner City Blues” found their way into “Heaven Knows” while “That’s Where it’s At” and “Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoe” were included with “The Maze”. For over ten minutes Taylor continued without stopping to even gulp a drink of water! Two funky songs with lots of dancing and pure energy!


What Taylor could easily call his own mantra, “Gonna Move” was dedicated to the memory of its writer, Paul Pena. Taylor cracked his own joke about moving, ‘gonna move to where...’! A standard of Taylor’s from his early bar days, is still just as fresh today as it was then. “Old Weakness” was also incorporated into the song before it was over. Also, one of the musicians from “Grease” joined the band for the song, Josh was all I caught. Taylor was going to play his guitar but the guest was using Taylor’s amp, so he had to put his guitar back down and shouted out ‘guitar players’ to get the crowd to laugh!


From the recent album, Bobby Womack’s “Woman’s Gotta Have It” was next. From the first time I heard it live including the recorded version, I find this song is perfect for Taylor’s voice and style. Hopefully, one day we will get to see Elliot Yamin join Taylor on stage to perform it as a duet!



It’s always nice when Taylor performs one of his earlier works, such as “The Deal”. With a big standard guitar, one that almost looks like it might overtake him, Taylor plays his own simple accompaniment to the song.



The bonus track from the Wal-Mart release “Hide Nor Hair” was a crowd pleaser! The young woman sitting with her husband on my left remarked afterwards that “Hide Nor Hair” was her new favorite! It’s been one of mine since the first time I heard Taylor perform it before “The Distance” was officially released! Taylor definitely does Ray Charles proud with his version – I’m sure Ray smiles down on him every time he performs it!



For those who’ve found love and lost it, “I Live on a Battlefield” might bring back those less happy memories. But as Taylor Hicks sings, those memories quickly fade as watching Taylor brings smiles to the faces and hearts of the listeners.



Almost an hour later, the show end with “Seven Mile Breakdown”, almost eight minutes of pure country rock pleasure! Watching Taylor play the guitar during this song made me wonder if his fingers might bleed from the sheer speed with which he played! While this version wasn’t as ‘country’ as the latest single mix is, it’s still a great song performed live, and one that serves Taylor well in his set list.



After a few minutes to catch his breath, Taylor came back for one more song, George Harrison’s, “My Sweet Lord”. I love Taylor’s version which seems faster and maybe a bit jazzier than the original, but definitely a great listen! That is definitely one song I would love to know why it was chosen for the encore (not that it really matters) and one that I look forward to hearing again real soon!



Leaving the stage one last time, the house lights came up and everyone was ushered out the door because the parking lot next door was closing at midnight – not because we would all be turning into pumpkins! Several of us stayed behind to compare notes on the performance, chat with other guests who found Taylor’s performance to be amazing, or just try to figure out where to find some of the many pictures that were taken during the show! For now, the Traveling Circus just needs a little rest before the next adventure, so until then, enjoy the pictures and video that can be found below!

Triple Door Photos

ETA: More fantastic Triple Door pictures courtesy of 4tay

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Monday, May 25, 2009

Remembering Our Military

On this Memorial Day, remember to take time to thank our military for their unfailing sacrifice for our freedom and say a silent prayer for those who have given their all.

While you celebrate the holiday with picnics, bar-be-ques, family and friends, enjoy the following version of "Nineteen", performed by Taylor Hicks at the Roxy on Sunset which was written by Tom Hambridge, Gary Nicholson, Gary and Jeffrey Steele after the September 11 attack on the World Trade Towers.

The story of a young man, only 19, with the opportunity to play football for Tennessee, who chose instead to enlist in our armed forces to fright for our freedom. Whether he saves another soldier and loses his own life or survives to return home to a hero's welcome is open to interpretation. No matter how you think it ends, it's a wonderful story and tribute to the men and women of our Armed Forces.

To them, I say "Thank You". May you be safe this day and every day that you selflessly serve our great nation.



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Thursday, May 7, 2009

Seven Mile Breakdown - The Video

While Taylor Hicks is making his debut on the Country stations, he's also giving us another great video! Here Taylor is with his latest single, "Seven Mile Breakdown", which was filmed just a few short weeks ago.



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Some of My Favorite Pictures