Taylor Hicks at Harrah’s New Orleans:: It’s All Gumbo To Me
By Louise Uznanski for OnTapBlog
©2013 OnTapBlog All Rights Reserved
We had two simple goals heading to New Orleans last week. One was to find the best music the Big Easy had to offer. The other was to find and eat the best gumbo the Big Easy had to offer. Putting on our musical chef hats we found that the basic principles of good gumbo can be applied to the basic principles of great music.
First, start with a good roux, the base of any fine gumbo. The base has to be mixed just right as it is the foundation for the rest of the soup. At Harrah’s we found our roux in the fantastic facility that is The Theater. One can’t perform in a venue unless all the basics are laid out ready to be whisked. The seating was stadium style and excellent. The lights were the best we’ve seen. Starry background, lights front and back and varietal. The sound was balanced, especially Friday night when the audience was blessed by a guest appearance by guitarist Leo Nocentelli of The Funky Meters.
Having successfully completed the roux, the next jumble of ingredients is a mix of vegetables of all sizes, colors and aromas. Comparing Brian Less, Cody Farris, David Keith and Jason Parker to vegetables might be a stretch but hang with me. These musicians come from different perspectives to join forces with Taylor to make a band as complete as a band can be. They simmer in the roux until the music is bubbling hot and tasty while they wait for the hot sauce to be added.
While the base and the ingredients continue to simmer, the hot sauce is waiting in the wings to make an entrance and bring the gumbo ingredients together to make a fine feast. It’s the base and the ingredients and the hot sauce firing on all burners that make a Taylor Hicks show and a good cup of gumbo so rewarding. Satisfied by each night’s (meal) performance, the band plans to serve up a better night tomorrow and an even better one the night after that. We found our gumbo at Chef Ron’s Gumbo Spot but we found all the cylinders firing and burning at Harrah’s under the spell of the Taylor Hicks band.
I can’t say much more about these three shows at Harrah’s then what the photos will tell except to say that it was worth every minute it took to get to New Orleans to see Taylor perform Why Can’t We Live Together? and Ain’t No Use with Leo Nocentelli; to hear him tag Reminiscing, and to hear him sing Louisiana 1927 from the heart. And, to hear him reminisce about American Idol, his songwriting and his appreciation for our military men and women.
Despite accomplishing our quest for the perfect gumbo, the real coup was the mix of musical talent and passionate performance Taylor Hicks and his band of extraordinary musicians we witnessed on the Harrah’s stage. We consider ourselves well served by the chef and the band.
Keyboardist and Musical Director Brian Less
Taylor and the band honoring the Marines who collected toys for Toys for Tots before the December 5th show.
Guitarist Cody Farris
Drummer David Keith
Bassist Jason Parker
Friday’s special guest guitarist Leo Nocentelli of the Funky Meters