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Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Taylor Hicks, Having a Whomping Good Time on Tour

Taylor Hicks performed in Mobile, Alabama last night to a crowd of about 1900 fans, one of whom was Grandmother Joni. In the review written by Lawrence Specker of al.com Taylor's dear Grandmother received some star treatment of her own. Mr. Specker covers that attendees cheered when she was seen making her way to her seat, fans sought her out to take photographs with her. She was a huge supporter of her grandson during his run on Idol, notably she shared information and background tidbits of Taylor's life prior to entering the show which added to her popularity.

Mr. Specker said this about Taylor, "...in the music, he let himself go. The staging was minimal and the sound quality was no better than average, but on sheer personal energy Hicks kept many of his 1,900-plus listeners on their feet throughout."

It has been a rare concert for me to witness the attendees standing throughout the performance so I can imagine the high energy level present at this show.

An insightful observation by Mr. Specker, "If his stage moves lack the fluid grace of a Mick Jagger or a David Bowie, they somehow seem to convey passion bursting out of an average Joe. And that in turn seems to connect with fans looking to bond with a kindred soul rather than an aloof superstar." This is what the idiom, 'hitting the nail on the head' refers to - and folks who have not become fans of Taylor Hicks, who scratch their heads over his appeal and marvel at this gray-haired young man taking the win on Idol have sorely missed the point. Taylor Hicks, the average Joe, the unlikely Idol was able to convey that passion into the living rooms of viewers every week last season for any and all receptive to this concept. Here was one of "us", his difference lay in his "specialness"; he possesses the depth, energy and courage to do what most of us could not.

The review from Taylor's Tampa, Florida show from The Tampa Tribune, written by Walt Belcher contained this highlight, "It’s great that Hicks won “Idol” because he is such an anti-Idol type. This 29-year-old good ol’ Alabama boy has a decent voice and his musical heart is in the right place."

Overall, reviews are coming in quite favorable for Taylor and his tour. The fact he is selling out venues the size of these is encouraging. I like the fact that the concert goers are able to pack their cameras and take pictures. So many artists today ban cameras, instead opting to market their own pictures, or leave the photography coverage just to the press.

On a personal level, I'm so pleased for the Soulman. His CD sales were not quite what they had been anticipated to be, although reports say it has 'gone' platinum. Mr Hicks had broken out of the sales starting gate with a bang but the numbers dropped immediately. I believe he was prepared for this because even before the CD dropped Taylor stressed he was not going to be about the numbers. I found myself disappointed in the amount of over production present throughout the CD. I hoped that evil Clive Davis could have been kept completely in check by Hicks, but in reality, not even Taylor could slay that dragon. I will stress that there are some very good tracks on the CD, reflecting Taylor's "Heart and Soul" and making it a very worthwhile addition to my CD collection.

Groove on Soulman.

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