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Posts tagged ‘Highline Ballroom’

THE TAYLOR HICKS BAND HAS RUINED ME FOR OTHER BANDS

This post is kindly contributed by Caryl, with photo of The Taylor Hicks Band by Nolamar.

 

In the past month I’ve gone out on two separate nights to hear live music. Even though both bands were competent, I was bored. Both nights people got up to dance, hooted and cheered, clapped and stomped their feet, but I remained seated, uninspired.

I hate saying that. I’ve always been impressed and supportive of any musician brave enough to get up in public and perform. I know what it’s like to choke completely in front of a crowd. Granted I was only about eight years old and the crowd consisted of a few sweet old ladies and their Sunday school classes, but still! You don’t forget a humiliating walk away from the piano like that.

Since then I‘ve come to believe that any person who can get up and perform an entire song without blanking out (like I did) deserves lots and lots of applause. Believe me, I want to enjoy all live music. But when you’ve seen a band with the ’it’ factor, stood in the middle of a crowd as the music swells and you feel your chest will surely explode, it’s hard to appreciate a band that’s merely competent.

Due to a minor and uncharacteristic obsession, I’ve seen The Taylor Hicks Band perform more times than any other band. Though its members occasionally change, the one constant is their band leader who has a knack for assembling top notch musicians capable of reading his signals like a well-coached football team.

The most unappreciated winner of American Idol has the ability to move a crowd to tears, wild applause and dance. I’ve seen it. My most recent Taylor Hicks concert was at The Highline Ballroom in NYC. One song in particular got my attention and reminded me what it was about this singer that made him stand out on that show. He knows what he’s doing.

Performances like the one in the following video have spoiled me for the average local band who take the stage and merely play a song. God bless em, I know it’s not easy. But I don’t find myself remembering those shows, savoring the moments in my memory and longing to see them play again. This does:

This week marks the return of The Taylor Hicks Band to the northeast.  Look to the concert page in the blog header for information on shows in Connecticut, New York, and Vermont, scheduled from 9/15 thru 9/18.

Taylor Hicks on Tour: Date Night at Highline Ballroom

This post kindly provided by Candy/skeeter226 and supplemented by photos from Louise/4tay

 

It was with great anticipation and excitement that I looked forward to the July 25, 2010 Taylor Hicks concert at Highline Ballroom. Out-of-state friends were arriving on July 24 to travel with me to New York City the next day.

On the morning of the 24th I read on Twitter that @TaylorRHicks and @NaughtyNiceRob were running a contest.  The prize: a date with Popeater columnist Rob Shuter and the chance to meet Taylor Hicks after the Highline Ballroom show.  The contest question: “Is Taylor Hicks left handed or right handed?”  I tweeted my answer, and then left to meet friends who had flown in that day. En route I received this tweet from Rob Shuter: “@skeeter226 would you be my date at Highline tomorrow night?”  I answered:  “HELL YES” and it was a total whirlwind after that.

Now reality was beginning to sink in; I started to feel a little queasy and had to pull over to the side of the road.  My phone was going crazy with tweets and phone calls from friends who congratulated me on winning the contest.  It was crazy!

I’ve met Taylor several times and he is as down to earth as they come; he always makes you feel comfortable right away. It was Rob Shuter that had my stomach in knots.  I spent a sleepless night tossing and turning, wondering what this date would be like.  I have to thank my good friends for soothing my nerves before the big event; it wasn’t easy!

I was to meet Rob outside the Highline at 8pm.  I asked a friend to come with me to snap a few pictures and to keep me from freaking out! Rob came rushing up the street at 8 o’clock sharp saying KA’NDEE!! just the way my mother does (she is British also).  He gave me a big hug; we took a few pictures, and then made our way inside. I was totally comfortable with Rob from that first moment.  It turns out there was no reason to be worried or nervous about meeting him or spending the evening with him.

Rob grabbed me by the hand and on the way to our seats stopped to tell several people that I was his date. We paused at the table where my son was sitting for some quick introductions. Our table was in the second row at the end to the right of the stage. I gathered up my courage and asked Rob if he would mind sitting at the table where I had planned to join my friends. These good people had secured 3 tables in the front row center. When I showed Rob where we’d be sitting, he said: “Of course! You ladies have a better table than I do!”

As we settled into our seats and ordered drinks, we discovered that we had arrived just in time for the opening act, Javier Colon. I really enjoyed Javier’s acoustic set.  He has a wonderful personality and is a very talented artist. My favorite songs from Javier included a soulful “Somewhere Over The Rainbow” and “Use Me”.  I am sorry I didn’t get to meet him after the show, and hope he’ll open for Taylor again in the future.

Finally the time came for Taylor Hicks to hit the stage.  If there is anything better than seeing Taylor perform live, it’s to see the show with someone who has never had this experience before.  My friends and I tried to prepare Rob for what he was about to see, but as I have said many times, there is no explaining a Taylor Hicks show.  You just have to see it for yourself.  Taylor did not disappoint;  he burst onto the stage with “Not Fade Away/Runaround”, and it just got better from there.  Taylor’s band is fantastic and they were tight that night!  One comment from Rob:  “Taylor is NOTHING like this when we are out for drinks!”  He really seemed to be impressed, especially with Taylor’s guitar and harmonica playing.  I had the best time just listening to his comments during the show.  My favorite performances from Taylor Hicks that night were “Ain’t Gonna Hurt Nobody”, “Hold On To Your Love” and the encore performance of “Bulletproof”.  Simply fantastic!

Judy Katz took this picture; I'm short, and so she chopped off our heads to get everyone in, but I still love this picture!

After the show Rob introduced me to some of Taylor’s “people” and there were photos taken.  I really enjoyed listening to Taylor and Rob talk about the show backstage!  Taylor’s publicist Judy Katz was there and she was such a sweetheart.  She was very calm among all of the craziness and kept everything running smoothly.  I also enjoyed a good fifteen minutes talking to saxophone player Jeff Lopez backstage, and that was another one of the very special times that night.  Jeff is extremely talented and always a joy to see; I felt so lucky to have been able to spend so much time with him.  All of Taylor’s band members take the time to talk with the fans and I really appreciate that.

The Highline Ballroom show was just the beginning of a fantastic tour, and I can’t wait for September when Taylor Hicks and his band come back to the northeast.  Taylor Hicks and his band LIVE makes me “FEEL SO GOOD DOWN IN MY BONES” and THAT’S what it’s all about!”

Huge thanks to Rob Shuter, Taylor Hicks, and Judy Katz for making this a magical night that I will never forget!! You’re a “doll” Rob!!!..CHEERS!!!!

For more on Taylor Hicks, visit www.taylorhicks.com

Follow Rob Shuter on Popeater at http://www.popeater.com/bloggers/rob-shuter/

Taylor Hicks: At Home on Stage in New York City

This original story and all accompanying photographs graciously provided by blogger Louise/4tay.

 

Only a few short weeks following the end of his successful national tour of the Broadway show ‘Grease’, the fan question most often heard was ‘when is Taylor going back on tour? Taylor and his band of long-time musician friends entered the stage on Sunday night at the Highline Ballroom in New York City and left no doubt of the answer to the question of when Taylor would be back home on stage.

Dressed in New York chic black and blue, Taylor and his band took center stage with a command only matched by a caged animal who has been waiting to be set free.  From Love the One You’re With to RunAround and Battlefield, Taylor injected some ‘new’ with the familiar.  Through his long and animated riffs with guitarist Sam Gunderson and keyboardist and Musical Director Brian Less, Taylor was taking every audience member to dig deep and remember his 2007 Caged Animal and Hot and Humid tours.  Yes!  An answer was emerging.

A sadly soulful 19 brought cheers and applause from the audience.  New fan, gossip columnist for PopEater, Rob Shuter   commented that the combination of Taylor’s voice and the masterful sax solo by Jeff Lopez moved him to tears.

Drummer Leif Bondarenko drummed out a rousing intro to The RunAround, a single from Hicks’ first major label CD, Taylor Hicks.  Matt Kimbrell provided just the bongo accompaniment needed to ramp up the volume as Taylor burst into his harp solo.  On his knees at the front of the stage, the man was bringing himself back home and the Sunday night audience to church.

Hold On To Your Love brought bassist Brandon Peeples along for the ride as Jeff Lopez  made soulful sounds from the flute ringing a familiar note to those who have seen Taylor perform this original tune many times before.  The difference?  Taylor was in salsa mode, dancing and moving his body, releasing that energy pent up from many months on a Broadway stage instead of a live concert stage.

New tunes, only hinted at by Taylor in tweets leading up to the tour, were welcomed with rousing applause.  Ain’t Gonna Hurt Nobody was transformed into a roadhouse number complete with Hicks’ southern drawl and expressive emoting at the mic.  Taylor’s standard original hit Seven Mile Breakdown found the audience clapping hands and stomping feet as he finished his set with the crowd on their feet.  Taylor was almost home.  He had turned the key to the lock with Seven Mile Breakdown.  Would the encore that would surely come unlock the door and bring Taylor home?

Bulletproof by LaRoux is a huge pop hit.  Like it or not, in Taylor’s hands, the song became an instant favorite.  Re-entering the stage, Taylor in a Legends t-shirt and waving, began the Bulletproof to a mostly unknowing crowd.  He told the audience that this is his mantra now.  The musicians, Taylor, the audience at the stage by this time, made that song a new tour favorite that night.

Taylor was home.  He had made the leap from Broadway star, touring musician and Idol winner to his home as a live performer.  Taylor Hicks and his band will be bringing  their energy and musical genius to venues all across the nation this summer.  If you can catch a ride on the Soul Patrol train, GO.  Even if it’s not on a Sunday, you can go to church with Taylor Hicks any day he’s appearing on stage.

Click on image for larger view.  Photo credit:  Louise/4Tay

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