Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Taylor Tuesday

Since I'm been too busy to write, I'm trotting out an article I wrote in May about attending my first Taylor concert. You may have seen it already. But here's something you may not know: I gave Taylor a copy of this in person. (God! what is wrong with me?I'm so embarrassed) He told me he'd read it on the bus. Go ahead, tell me the truth, was that a dumb thing to do? Imagine Taylor reading this:

National Ledger
May 15th, 2007

Season six of American Idol is coming to an end, but frankly, it's been a snooze-fest. Where's the passion, the raw uninhibited energy of last year? Well, I’ll tell ya. It's been on a national tour, playing to sold-out crowds. Taylor Hicks took his music to the people, earning respect as a serious musician and leaving behind satisfied, happily dazed fans. Just look at me: the secret smile, the vacant far-away expression, the occasional “Woo!” blurted out for no reason at all.

I’ve been there, man, and there’s no turning back. Taylor won me over on American Idol last year as I walked through the living room and heard him singing “Trouble” by Ray LaMontagne. His voice hit my ears and traveled to my heart, causing an ache so great I had to sit down. He sang, gripping the mic stand, glancing down and then suddenly up into my eyes. The exquisite pain was all there and he made me love it.

That night was the first time I ever voted for anybody on American Idol. I had to keep that brilliant voice in my periphery. I haven’t felt the same way about anyone on the show this year.

When his CD, “Taylor Hicks” dropped in December, I was happy to hear the intensity of his performance come through, even though I couldn’t watch it on my TV screen. But, c'mon. Anyone familiar with Taylor Hicks knows his magic happens in the live performance.

Lucky me, when the album tour was announced I found a date that coincided with a visit to Florida. The only downside was that I’d have to go alone. It was already sold out (sold out!) but I found one ticket available online.

Other fans cautioned that there’s a lot to do before you see Taylor live. You have to go into training because he delivers what he calls a “high impact soul aerobic” show. So, I built up some endurance, memorized his lyrics, practiced whipping out a sharpie and finally, bought a push-up bra and good-butt jeans. Why the clothes? Guess it was my way of giving a little back if I should get an autograph.

Turns out the gods smiled on me so much that day in Tampa that I’m beginning to wonder if something bad is on the horizon. Without any serious stalking on my part, I ran into Taylor three times! And though meeting him was exciting, the highlight of that whole day was the show.

It didn’t matter that I was alone. The feeling in the theater was that we all were in this together. We responded to the musicians and they fed off of our energy. Taylor called the shots, signaling the band to extend certain songs or “’shushing” to segway into another song altogether. He sang, played guitar & harmonica, and danced letting the music take his body wherever it wanted to go.

He showed us no mercy. One song built into a frenzy as Taylor wailed on his harmonica, hunched over, face red and sweaty until finally he threw the instrument down as if it were on fire. Whew! Pardon me while I have a cigarette.

Later, through sheer unbelievable coincidence, Taylor and I wound up on an elevator together. He looked exhausted, wearing a baseball cap to cover the “headlight” (as he calls it) that is his gray hair. He was polite as always, but very subdued, a far cry from the ebullient character he offers up on stage. Bottom line: I saw a real person, spent from a long day of trying to make the world happy. I decided to show my appreciation by leaving him alone.

When we got to my floor, I told him it had been a great show. He thanked me and I left with a little wave over my shoulder. I’ve thought about all the things I could have said during our five flights together but I’m glad I gave this hard-working guy a break. The only thing I regret is that I wasn’t wearing my good-butt jeans as he watched me walk away! Sigh. Gimme a break. It IS all about the music, but I’m still a girl.

I hope whoever wins American Idol this year can deliver as memorable a tour as Taylor unleashed on us. But they’ve got some big New Balance sneakers to fill.


katy11 said...

I don't think this years AI tour even came close to filling Taylors New Balance sneakers. His tours were wonderful. I hope he doesn't stay away too long. I miss him already. I hope he did get a chance to read this, it was very well written.

Betty said...

Caryl, I think what you wrote is a wonderful tribute to Taylor. You have nothing to be embarassed about if Taylor read this. Very well written.

AI will never be the same again after Season V. Taylor brought fun, excitement, exuberance, passion, and, yes, controversy. He was pretty much the talk of the season. Love him or hate him, his name was at the top of the pile for Season V.

I don't think another Taylor Hicks will be found on American Idol ever again.

There are great things on the horizon for Taylor and I plan on following his career to watch him shine.