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Taylor Hicks at Harrah’s New Orleans:: It’s All Gumbo To Me

By Louise Uznanski for OnTapBlog

©2013 OnTapBlog All Rights Reserved

TaylorHarpDay2

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.

TaylorDay1Keyboardist and Musical Director Brian Less

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Taylor and the band honoring the Marines who collected toys for Toys for Tots before the December 5th show.

©2013 Louise Uznanski

©2013 Louise Uznanski

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Guitarist Cody Farris

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Drummer David Keith

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Bassist Jason Parker

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Friday’s special guest guitarist Leo Nocentelli of the Funky Meters

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23 Comments Post a comment
  1. mtoffee #

    These photos are great! Taylor is a master at what he does and he is a very giving man who shares his destiny with us. Love his passionate soul and sense of humor. These photos are to be enjoyed. thank you for sharing your article with us.

    December 11, 2013
    • ontapblog #

      Thank you for reading and commenting. It’s not hard to capture his passion because everything Taylor does is about the music.

      December 11, 2013
  2. Dfarris #

    What a beautiful article!! You capture so many amazing photos during a show. Appreciate the love you show the band, too! Together and separately, they are amazing!!

    December 11, 2013
    • ontapblog #

      Thank you so much. I think the band deserves praise. They are gifted and work together so well. Cody is a wonderful addition to the band. Hoping for good things and many more shows ahead in 2014. Thanks again!

      December 11, 2013
  3. Lee #

    Great article and amazing photos! Taylor is a great performer, musician and very gracious to all his fans. It’s clear that Taylor loves what he does and we do to!

    December 11, 2013
    • ontapblog #

      Thanks, Lee. New Orleans mix of good food and music is intoxicating. Taylor spends a lot of time with every fan after each show and those who attend and get to speak with him even if it is briefly, really appreciate him. Thanks for ready and commenting!

      December 11, 2013
  4. Tammy #

    Thanks so much for this!! Your article and pics make me feel like I was right there. Thanks for “warming up” my cold and icy Wednesday morning!

    December 11, 2013
    • ontapblog #

      Thanks,Tammy. I thought you could use some warming up on this cold and snowy day. I just added a photo of Taylor with the Marines who were there collecting for Toys for Tots. It was a lovely moment.

      December 11, 2013
  5. Linda T #

    Thanks for a wonderful article and some phenomenal pictures. I especially loved the analogy of “hot sauce waiting in the wings”. 🙂

    December 11, 2013
    • ontapblog #

      Thank you, Linda. That hot sauce analogy means a lot. Taylor’s the spark that gets the whole thing moving. I’m still waiting for the day when the band opens up with Soul Finger. Miss those days. The Saturday night show at the mid-point got into that spirit of craziness and fun. Hopefully his run will continue closer to home where we can all enjoy the hotness of the sauce.

      December 11, 2013
  6. MNSue #

    Well, you’ve gone and done it. You’ve made me hungry for gumbo AND another Taylor show. Great pics, as always.Thank you for sharing!!

    December 11, 2013
    • ontapblog #

      Thanks, Sue. The gumbo at Chef Ron’s was good but the musical soup at Harrah’s was hot! Grateful to be there. Always looking for more!

      December 11, 2013
  7. Great write up and the pictures are exquisite. You just keep topping yourself Louise! Wow!

    December 11, 2013
    • ontapblog #

      Thank you so much, Peg! Always working and trying to get better. Taylor’s passion seems to bring out the best in us all. Thanks again!

      December 11, 2013
  8. Great review and pics-left me with cravings for another Hicks fix asap! Thanks!

    December 11, 2013
    • ontapblog #

      I completely understand. Leaves you wanting more! Thanks, Liz. Hope we can see one another at a show near us soon!

      December 11, 2013
  9. Mia Breet #

    Thank you for always posting the most amazing photographs and informative reviews. Because I live in Africa, I will probably never get to see a Taylor Hicks show, but these pages always make me feel like I’m right there where all the action takes place!

    December 11, 2013
    • ontapblog #

      Thanks, Mia. So happy that you found us. Taylor would be happy to know he has fans in Africa and all over the world. Thank you for your kind words. I hope one day that you have the chance to see Taylor in concert.

      December 11, 2013
  10. Lisa #

    You are crazy awesome with the lens Louise thank you so much. My favorite is the black and white. Keep that shutter clicking girl.

    December 12, 2013
    • ontapblog #

      Thank you, Lisa. Very kind of you to say. Black and white does lend itself to some mood altering sights. Thanks again!

      December 12, 2013
  11. jonibug #

    Awesome article and photos about an awesome guy and his awesome band! Did I overdo the “awesome”?….oh well, it’s true none-the-less! 😉

    December 12, 2013
    • ontapblog #

      Haha. Awesome about sums it up, Joanie! Thanks for reading and commenting. Stay tuned. More dates in 2014 to make your life even more awesome!

      December 12, 2013
  12. OBG #

    Nice analogy-Taylor is the Hot stuff for the gumbo-I like thaand its sooo true-thanks-now on to read the 2013 summary-keep in mind you can always use any pics of mine from any show-

    December 30, 2013

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