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