Taylor Hicks on Tour: Taylor Tags the East
Louise/4Tay traveled to Taylor’s 4 shows in the East and this blog is kindly provided by her along with photos captured at each show.
The late summer air turned crisp as we drove through New Jersey, New York and Vermont, headed for Taylor’s mini-tour in the East. We expected a good solid show at each stop, but were rewarded with shows of such unique character and heart, it is hard to choose a favorite. Why are Taylor Hicks’ performance so unique? In a word: TAGS-tags, those songs within a song that turn an ordinary performance into something truly special.
Eastbound and Down….. Running on Empty……….Tupelo Honey…….This is a Man’s World………….Love Not Fade Away tagged with The Runaround………Valley Road……
As Taylor did so often during his 2007 solo tour around the country, he did the unexpected. In 2007 live performances of original tunes “The Maze” and “Heaven Knows’, often included snippets of Van Morrision tunes seamlessly integrated into the mix. In 2010 and throughout this 4 gig stop in the East, this tradition was continued. We went for the rhythm and blues from Hicks, we left each night trying to guess what he would do the next day.
Four shows in a row meant four chances to answer that question. Each night brought a new style (gray henley, blue oxford, purple check and red and black check flannel shirts) but the one constant was always the seamless ride into the next tag.
There will be endless media from fans when they get home and recover from their travels. The media from this whole tour has been outstanding. What a gift Taylor has laid at our feet this summer and what a treat to see his fans record it with cameras and cell phones, uploading to Youtube and Vimeo. But it has been in the mind’s eye that the memories of what Taylor does lives on forever.
It is said that hearing the recorded voice stirs in the heart unforgettable, intense images. Each fan of music should experience the live performances of an incredible artist like Taylor Hicks. The images he can evoke, especially in the tunes Maybe You Should, The Fall and Hold Onto Your Love, sung on a stool, solo, with an acoustic guitar, tug at your heart and make you want to be there and see it all just one more time. Again and again.
Perhaps that is why Taylor tags his songs so well or at all. Sliding another heart stopper into a song that needs more pain is what Taylor does the best. And, you have to really be there to hear its perfection. Or hear it from someone who was there.
Best show (for me): Tarrytown Music Hall. What a great little town and a wonderful place to perform music. Jeff Lopez, spiritual sax player, commented that the acoustics were so fine they did not have to over-exaggerate their playing to be heard.
Best lighting, sound: Tarrytown with Bay Shore next. Light to die for to see Taylor and his band do their thing. Photographers swam in the light. Videographers reveled in its purity.
Best styling by an artist: Jeff Lopez for his snappy vest and fedora seen every night at the beginning of each show. Later he reveals his bandana under his cap. When the cap comes off, you know Jeff is getting ready for a jam. Who else plays two saxes at once?
Best blues guitar lick: Sam Gunderson on Battlefield. He brings that slide guitar out and it’s all smooth.
Best venue: I loved the country ‘barn’ atmosphere at Infinity Hall. Quaint and cute, it was an unexpected pleasure to see what the venue held on the inside.
Best ribs: Smokin’ Al’s in Bay Shore. I hope Taylor got to enjoy this place.
Best crowd: From beginning to end, the audience at the Paramount Theater in Rutland cheered, clapped and stood on their feet.
The sold out crowd at Bay Shore: An awesome site from the stage.
A show or tour cannot end without giving kudos to the band. Leif Bondarenko: the solid rock on which the band depends. He is unforgettable. Sam Gunderson: he feels and lives for the music and it shows. Brandon Peeples: rock star bassist with some of the classic Al ‘Boogie’ moves. Jeff Lopez: the silky sax just slays the audience with his spirituality, especially on ‘19‘. Brian Less: Taylor’s little brother and the thread that keeps the band together and tight.
And Taylor Hicks, whose voice comes from deep in his gut with such energy and passion you cannot help but feel the raw emotions that just seem to spring up when you see him perform live.
Click on the image for a larger view.
Jeff Lopez, Saxophones, Paramount Theater, Rutland, VT
Leif Bondarenko, Drums, Paramount Theater, Rutland, VT
Sam Gunderson, Guitar, Paramount Theater, Rutland, VT.
Brandon Peeples, Bass Guitar, Rutland, VT.
Brian Less, Keyboards, Tarrytown Music Hall, Tarrytown, NY