Sunday, September 19, 2010

Taylor Hicks on Stage in Vermont

Taylor Hicks
Paramount Theatre, Rutland Vermont
September 18th, 2010
Photos by kcortez

sound check

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Taylor Hicks, Musician

I love watching Taylor Hicks perform music live. So when I recently moved to Canada, I sadly assumed those opportunities were behind me. He barely dipped his toe in Canadian waters in the past, only steering the tour bus over the Rainbow Bridge into Niagara Falls, Canada. (Now I'm distracted by an image of him sticking his foot in the rapids over the falls. Not exactly what I meant. ha. Anyhoo-)

Two years ago I got a "Save The Date" card in the mail from my nephew, who was getting married in New York in July 2010. So, of course we planned our yearly trip back home to coincide with the wedding. To my delight, Taylor very thoughtfully scheduled a show during that visit to Long Island.

You've all read the reviews and seen the videos from The Highline Ballroom in NYC on July 25. I doubt there's anything new to say. But today I came across my ticket from the show which I had printed out on letter-sized paper. All along the margins on the front and across the back were scribblings I had made during the show.

I never intended to write a review, take pictures or video. I just wanted to experience the music. But shortly after the show started, I found myself fumbling for a pen. It was too good to forget.

I believe that was the best Taylor Hicks show I've been to. I've seen him display skill, confidence, playfulness and joy in the past but not to this degree.

Maybe all those nights performing in Grease helped kick his stage presence up a notch. Maybe being away from the clubs gave him a new perspective. Maybe he was just damned good and ready to sing his own music again. When the music started up and Brian called out, "Give it up for Taylor Hicks!" he danced out. Yeah, he was ready.

Let's see if we can make some sense out of my scratchings on the back of my ticket:

Jeff Lopez got applause when he came out on stage.

Before Taylor sang "The Deal," he said it was an ode to Stephen Bishop and the movie, "Tootsie." *pause* Taylor added, "I know what you're thinking and that ain't it."

I think he's gonna have to be cut out of his pants.

Taylor: "This looks like a 'Storyteller's' room. You want a story? How much time you got?"

Taylor: "Because of you guys I don't have to work. This isn't work."

Where's his Ray Charles doll? (Do me a favor? Don't bring him another one. Let it go!)

Standing ovation for "Battlefield."

During "Soul Thing" I could swear he couldn't find his harmonica again. ("Play the piano," he quietly told Brian)

Taylor: "I'm breaking out some older songs that I hope you'll like. If not, I may be out of a job shortly. I may have to put that Teen Angel suit on again." *laughter* "Which wasn't such a bad gig, by the way. The other actors would come off stage with their tongues hanging out of their mouths and I'd be sitting there in my robe and slippers." He pantomimes smoking a cigarette. "What's that? You want me to sing a song for five minutes? Sure. I can do that."

Taylor: "Rob Shuter's here. The only journalist that likes me. And I'm not kidding about that." In a deep, gruff voice: "It's not about them. It's about us, right?" (Movie reference? It got laughs but I didn't get it.)

Taylor: "My good friend Mandisa's in the house! Give it up for Mandisa!"

He tried to do a New York accent at one point. "I got some weird looks up here. And I don't think it was because of my accent."

During "Seven Mile Breakdown" Taylor closed his eyes and sang, "Let me get right down to it..." A guy next to me yelled out, "Get down to it!!" Music played as we waited for Taylor to sing the next line. Eyes still closed, he slowly smiled and said, "OK." *laughter*

What a great night. Taylor Hicks has matured as an entertainer. There was a moment during "Hold On To Your Love" when I thought to myself, "this is brilliant." I remembered what it was about his performances that made my toes curl. Taylor Hicks, the musician. Man, I've missed you.

And now, if you're wondering about that Stephen Bishop reference, here ya go:

Sunday, May 23, 2010


Tonight is Taylor Hicks' last performance in his 18 month run as Teen Angel in Grease. He needs to make it memorable. Here are my top five suggestions towards that end. He should:

5. Grab one of the Beauty School Dropout dancers and take her back with him in the cone.

4. Do "Beauty School Dropout" as a rap number complete with expletives.

3. In the middle of his song, break into ‘Dancing Queen.’ (Let's make it a tradition. ha!)

2. Tell Frenchy he really doesn't give a crap what she does.

And now, the number one thing Taylor Hicks should do during his last performance in Grease:

1. The cone opens to reveal that, instead of wearing his trademark Nudie Suit, he's actually nude.

Well, if nothing else, it’ll get him in the papers! What do you think he should do to make his last performance memorable?

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

NJKar/Harp/etc Karen

I don't remember 'meeting' Karen online. But I do know our friendship grew within the comment section of righthickssave. We bantered back and forth playfully until somewhere along the way we took it to e-mail. One night via e-mail, I invited her to my chat room. Turns out we had a lot of the same online friends. We may have even shared a few laughs in graycharles' chat room, but neither one of us could ever remember for sure.

I let her know early on that I have no interest in fan gossip or fan wars and she respected that. She never brought any of that up with me. I still don't know why she didn't get along with everyone within the fanbase and please- don't tell me. I don't care. None of it has anything to do with me.

I guess she helped run a fansite? I never went there, either. So right about now you're thinking this is the most lame tribute you've ever read. It sounds as though I barely knew her.

But here's the thing. Here's the reason her absence hurts me so deeply. Our friendship wasn't wrapped up in trading gossip or commenting at length about a Taylor Hicks photo. (Please don't take offense, I'm trying to make a point.)

It was about US. Our lives, our families, our hopes and dreams. She listened to me. She supported me. And when the serious stuff was purged, she made me laugh. We laughed our ASSES off.

I was supposed to meet her face-to-face for the first time last Sunday. But my life intervened and I couldn't go. I told myself there would be plenty of time this summer to get in on one of her frau-fests. And now suddenly, unexpectedly, painfully, time is up. So instead of getting together in Pennsylvania on Sunday, I found myself driving through her state on Monday, on the very day she breathed her last.

I'm forever making lemonade out of lemons, but I gotta tell you, this is a tough one. I'd like to take those lemons and hurl them, one by one, at God. Karen would probably tell me it's OK to be sad, but somehow she'd find a way to take me away from my sorrow even if only for a little while.

She made every day a little brighter and I'll miss her more than she realized.