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

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Traveling Circus Bids Adieu to 2010

Another year comes to close for the Traveling Circus, and looking forward to 2011 see more traveling in the works. Before looking forward, though, a look back at the year is in order. Here are my favorite memories from my travels.

Grease hits the road for the final leg of the national tour and the Traveling Circus meets the show in St. Louis. It's the first time for my younger granddaughter to see the play, and she sat through two back-to-back performances without moving a muscle! We wore the poodle skirt I made for her mother when she was younger, so the skirt had seen a lot of years!

Spring comes with fun events, like the singing competition at Wind Creek Casino. After a flight into Pensacola and drive to Atmore in the lower part of Alabama, the Traveling Circus arrives in time to visit with friends and make new ones while waiting for competition finale to begin. Sinbad is the host, and it was fun to watch the interaction between Taylor and him. Between competition sets, Taylor Hicks performed a few of our favorites, one being "Maybe You Should".

Grease finally comes to a close, and our traveling minstrel promises to take time off, but before you can turn around, a summer tour is announced, and the Traveling Circus is packed and ready to go! First stop, the High Line Ballroom in New York City and front row seats with friends! Taylor Hicks called it his "Bad Ass Tour" and I have to agree.

Taylor would play some great places as he crossed the country. There were many shows I wouldn't get to attend because of timing, but when I could go, the bags were grabbed and planes were caught and I was transported to musical heaven. Sometimes it just plan bad karma for a corporate tax accountant with a September filing deadline and a busy summer. But week-end shows would be hard to miss and after a month-long draught of no shows, a trip to Kansas City, MO would have to get me through until another show came along.

Knuckleheads was an interesting outdoor venue so close to the railroad tracks that when a train came through I'd swear you could just reach out and touch it! As Taylor was singing "Nineteen", a train came through, blowing its whistle as Jeff Lopez was playing "Dixie" at the end. Taylor, in his usual style, never lost the beat or seemed phased by the train while we were struggling to make sure we could hear every word of the song he played as a tribute to our service men and women.

Of course, after that night, all it took was one invitation to go to the Aquarius Casino and I was there! What a show that was! Taylor Hicks was the most talkative I'd seen in quite a while, and he was having such a good time! It's hard to explain the energy and vibe of the different shows, and for certain shows, that energy and vibe is just higher than other times. The Aquarius was one of those higher times. You had to be there to see and feel it. I'd seen it before, and I'd see it again before the year would end.

Back to the land of the working stiffs for a few weeks and one all the major returns were filed and a short vacation was in order. Time for the Traveling Circus to hear north and catch the last three shows of the tour. Watch out, New York, Taylor Hicks was working his way back to you! And the Traveling Circus was back on the road too!

Bay Shore and Tarrytown would not be the same after a visit from Taylor Hicks and the Traveling Circus. Time to meet up with friends again as we made the circuit with our fearless leader. The week-end would be a trifecta of winning shows. Rutland (VT) would finish out the week-end and even being stranded at the airport for hours and missing my connecting flight would not put a damper on the trip! Some of my favorite songs had been performed over those three days, and I was on a musical high! At Bay Shore, the stool of soul made an appearance as Taylor sang "The Fall", one of the earliest songs he had pinned. Reminisce with me as we return to that evening.

Halloween would find the Traveling Circus visiting the land of Mickey and Minnie Mouse for the International Food and Wine Festival and the Eat to the Beat Concert Series. Taylor Hicks had been so well received the year before, he was invited back to perform six shows in two days. Hot sunshine and warm evenings didn't hamper our gathering under trees and the benches to catch all the shows he would offer. Fans came from all parts of the country to enjoy the music and food, fireworks and a few Disney characters, although the most interesting ones were the one in line at the outdoor theatre. Yes, the Traveling Circus spent a fair amount of time in that line as well!

Before the end of the fifth set, a new ride, 'Flying Plexiglass', had been designed and tried out of stage when the drum surround tumbled over, barely missing Taylor Hicks while he sang. Fortunately the only thing hurt was perhaps the Leif's feelings, but the smiles that erupted from the band said all was fine, including the red guitar which hit the floor as well!

The Traveling Circus is well acquainted with Taylor's charitable side. The late fall would find him doing several charitable events. The Big Oak Ranch for orphaned children near Birmingham, AL would be one of the first. The Dawn of a Dream Gala, raising funds for the Children's Cancer Research Foundation would soon follow. Both events were sell-outs and much needed funds were raised. Being in the room for these events was well worth the price of admission and the Traveling Circus was happy to help support these wonderful events.

As 2010 was coming to a close, one final show would make the end of the year bittersweet. Birmingham's Workplay would be the scene of the final gather of the Traveling Circus. Before a sell-out crowd, rules were broken and surprise guests would receive a wonderful Holiday gift from Taylor Hicks and his band. The opening act, Carson James, a 16-year old with cancer would have Taylor join him on stage for his final number, "Superstition". Carson would later join Taylor as he closed his portion of the show. Ruben Studdard, another American Idol winner, would join Taylor for a duet of "Woman's Gotta Have It". What an evening to remember!

And that folks, is the year in review for the Traveling Circus.

We look forward to what 2011 will bring, first the Jam Cruise which I won't be one because of work (time to consider retirement!) and a couple of Mississippi casino shows popping up in late February. Taylor Hicks is promising an exciting year, and the Traveling Circus will be a long for the ride whenever there's room on the bus (and work and life don't interfere!)

By the way, here's wishing each of you a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year!

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san said...

It was a great year to remember. Each one seems to get better than the last!

Thanks, Mandy, for sharing your travels with us!

KarinP said...

2010 was a busy year for Taylor and for you!

I am looking forward to 2011 because I think it is going to be a great year for Taylor. Hopefully, your bags will be packed, RagsQueen and I want to say "thank you" for all of the Taylor concerts you have shared with us. It really has been wonderful for me to enjoy the many miles you have travelled.

Wishing you, your family and Taylor a Happy, Healthy and Successful 2011!

Anonymous said...

Do you EVER unpack your suitcase , RagsQueen??

A big circus has three rings . Taylor's venues, while only having one stage evoke a cacophony of different feelings.... The outdoor stage, the jazz club, the intimate dinner club, the hotel lounge, the casino, the "dive bar" as well as his turn on the Musical Theatre Stage....Big cities, small town and all those in between. Taylor covered them all.

I thoroughly enjoyed your travels with the Circus in 2010 and look forward to more 2011.

Keep those suitcases packed.

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