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

Monday, May 30, 2011

The Traveling Circus Whoops It Up In Manistee

Tucked up in western Michigan on the shore of Lake Michigan is the port city of Manistee. It’s a quaint little town with Victorian houses and shops including an iron sign pointing the way to main area of “downtown” where the storefronts reminded me of the small town where I grew up.

As I drove from Grand Rapids, I was amazed by the farms and landscape. Flat lands and mountain areas, spots that I had no idea it they airports or levees, and tree-lined highways through a national park kept the drive from being boring. In spite of the rain, it was a pleasant drive.

The Little River Casino, just outside of the main thoroughfare on US 31 was a rustic log resort that was built on immaculately groomed grounds. I dropped the car with the valet and headed inside to check in. It was gorgeous inside – very rustic yet modern. Once I got my key I headed for my room, rather suite! A sitting area with TV and fireplace, bedroom with fireplace, kitchenette with bar and two full bathes were mine for the price! I could get lost in there quite easily! Too bad it wasn’t winter and I wasn’t there just to sit back and relax with a good book. Maybe another time!

In spite of my love for food, the Sunday night special on the buffet was prime rib which I generally just pass right on by. But for the price of dinner, I decided I’d give it a try. Good choice – the rib was so tender a regular knife could cut it! Add a side of mashed potatoes and green beans, the buffet was\the perfect way to get ready for the concert!

Once through dinner, we made our way to the concert hall. Behind the doors that stood guard were rows and rows of seats ready for the patrons to fill. Reports have it that there were few empty seats. I can’t attest myself because I was closer down front, and frankly, it didn’t occur to me to check out what was behind me!

Soon the house lights dimmed and the announcer let us know it was time for Taylor Hicks to take the stage. I wondered what all the newbies were thinking – I’d met quite a few before the show and they were all so excited to be seeing Taylor for the first time! That always excites me, and when I see them in the autograph line after the show, with new merchandise purchases, I know right then and there that Taylor has won them over!

Taylor opened the show with “Rockin’ Pneumonia & the Boogie Woogie Flu”. The crowd quickly got into the mood with shouts of “woo” and “ooohh” and heavy applause. With a substitute drummer and bass player (Sam & Brian were there), you’d never know there was band change. These guys were tight and playing with everything they had!

With a mix of music from his different records, we heard “The Deal”, “Battlefield” and “Gonna Move”. Several covers on the 2011 Tour That Never Ends like “Back to Louisiana” gave rise to more enthusiasm from the audience. Reaching back to his American Idol days, “Living for the City” received great response. One of my favorites, “What’s Right is Right”, was performed with Taylor’s usual passion. “Nineteen” ended with Brian playing “Dixie” on the organ and keyboard, but not at the same time. It gave a different feel than when Jeff plays the flute, but it was riveting just the same. The crowd loved it gave Taylor a well-deserved standing ovation!

Taylor Hicks again brought the crowd to its collective feet as he rocked the house with his final song of the set, ”Seven Mile Breakdown” with tags from “Valley Road” The encore, “Taking it to the Streets” again got the audience to its feet clapping and cheering!
There was a lot of harp tonight, including getting down on his knees at one point! I hadn't seen Taylor do that in a long time!

After the show, the line at the merchandise table wound around the lobby and back to the theatre doors. Security was strict, if you purchased merchandise, you could greet Taylor. I bought the poster for a change, and waited my turn. As I waited I saw the couple I had sat next to waiting to meet Taylor. All I wanted to do was to tell Taylor how much I had enjoyed the show and to thank him for delivering another great show. Taylor was more concerned with my flight there! Such a sweetheart, really.

A group of us went for a late night dinner and dessert at the nearby bar. From there, we saw Taylor with a group of friends head into the casino area. We chatted about the show and decided this show really was different. While we were disappointed that the regular band members weren’t there, we realized that Taylor’s voice was more the focal point. With the great acoustics, his voice was clear and powerful. I don’t know who the sound guy was, but he did a great job of making sure that Taylor’s voice would be heard over all the instruments!

This was a show I almost didn’t go to, and had I missed it, I would have missed a great performance! No matter the circumstances or changes, Taylor Hicks always gives more than 100% and that makes him the best American Idol in my book!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I just came upon this entry, Rags and was reminded of the last time I saw Taylor , live, do the harp knee drop. EPCOT !!!

Always a pleasure reading of your adventures.


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