Taylor Hicks or Bo Bice? That is the question savvy blogger Sean T. McMann presented on his blogspot, Sean's Space. His question asked popped up on the latest google alert that crossed my e.mail. This garnered my short attention span, and since I have blogspots on both men documenting their American Idol journeys and later career moves I thought I'd play.
Of the two blogspots, hands down, this one garners the most hits and interest. Both blogspots have the same rankings, both have about the same amount of information and links regarding information on Bo Bice and Taylor Hicks, but this one consistantly has always received more traffic. In fact, this blogspot had crashed three times during the season 5 American Idol shows - being flooded with hits over Hicks, I had to rebuild it once and have help from blogger to get it going again, it was knocked off the face of the web, flooded with double digit thousands of hits within a span of minutes. To be fair, during Bo Bice's run on the show the internet did not seem to pose as heavy an influence as it has developed into, most notably becoming a force predominantly in Taylor's year on the show. I attribute this largely to technology and the changing of the times, the internet a viable and fast source for information becoming more the norm and less the new.
Back to the question Sean posed, would I spend my last available entertainment dollars on Bo Bice or Taylor Hicks? Selecting one or the other based on this imaginary query with it's imaginary quandary, I ponder my experience with both musicians and my musical tastes and what I enjoy in a concert experience. Obviously both appeal to me on differing levels. I am not one of the type of folks that listen to one certain type of music, I admire and appreciate music of varying types, themes. My tastes span jazz to pop to rock and layers in between. Music is a form of art and like the visual format I find a variety of pleasures in the varieties of offerings available. Granted I get on tangents, and will wallow in one format or another from time to time, but I'm not one to stick with one genre and that's the only one for me. I don't go with a sound that makes me want to dance like some folks might, it's a deeper thing for me.
In concert as a live experience, you attend to feel the sound, be engulfed by the emotions and the vibe of the entertainer and performer. Live music allows you a semblance of intimacy with the musicians, it is a complete sensory experience, a tactile input, the appeal lying within being able to experience the sound and groove of the artist with your own senses. Concerts are a sharing of sorts between fans too, we gather together to celebrate our shared interest and appreciation for the entertainer.
One of the truly notably great entertainers of our day, Elvis Presley, understood all of this, intrinsically. This the reason he's gone down in the musical annals as one of the greatest entertainers of our day. Elvis connected, he shared, he gave of himself on stage as well as producing phenomenal performances. Johnny Cash was like that, Willie Nelson is that way too. One of my other favorites, Frank Marino, another example of a man who loves to share his music and openly appreciates his fans. He provides free music on his site as well as no charges for admission to his website. This in contrast to what has seemingly become the norm for many new artists, to have a fan club complete with yearly dues. Frank is a class act; always has been and always will be. First time I met him I was a girl of 17, he walked up to me, guitar slung on his back, shook my hand introduced himself. I was too starstruck to hardly speak, but his vibe has remained a strong impression with me always. He's a truly good guy. Don't get me started on the man's art, just check Frank out here.
In referencing some of these artists, my point - as a fan I felt like they loved that we fans were there for them, for their music, that all of us gathering together were appreciated in sharing not just for the money being generated. Raucous and rollicking loud music and rowdy full-on cowbell banging is entertaining but does it really complete you like the type of shows you attend in which you feel personally welcomed by the artist? That doesn't just involve hand shaking as in the case of Frank, it can simply be the vibe, the opening of feeling the artist throws out from the stage, no matter the size of the venue. The Rolling Stones, performed here in Dallas a few years back at a large open air stadium. Part of the way through the concert it began to rain, then pour. Some folks got up to head for the exits, most around us thought that would be the end of the show. Contrary to what we thought, the Stones kept on going, Mick did not let rain, no matter how hard the downpour stop him, he was a whirling dervish of energy, daring the lightning to strike him amidst all that electrical equipment on stage. Fans who had started to leave stopped in their tracks and I watched most retake their seats or stand where they were. Mick and the Stones worked their show in that downpour and we stayed, everyone got on their feet for the next hour, immersed by the intensity, the loyalty the Stones showed to us, their fans. Mick's strutting cockiness defying that deluge. That was one of the best thunderstorms I have ever openly stood out in and the best concert I've ever attended. The emotions that cut through the rain and the storm and kept everyone there were palpable, the Stones heroic in all our eyes.
So deciding between spending my last entertainment bucks on Hicks or Bice would go to Bo. I come to this conclusion based on my previous ramblings. The Biceman in concert is real, he's palpable. He gives of himself and looks you in the eyes. He touches the crowd in a sensory, tactile way. He gives out those good vibes you know lie within him from his music. I saw him too in an outdoor venue, it wasn't raining but it was hot, almost 100 degrees and he'd been sick. The man was on the thin side, but you'd never know he wasn't feeling well. He prowled the stage, he hung on the edge like he'd walk right out into the crowd with us. His voice as always sounded gorgeous, full, he can exude that right kind of sexual chemistry even when the circumstances are not 100 percent perfect. Bo Bice presented himself for camera shots during the show. I know, I was all over the place taking shots. Following the show he took some time to speak with those who walked to the edge of the stage.
I'm not knocking Hicks, I admire the man, I admire his fire and determination, I admire his seeking a goal and striving to achieve that goal. I enjoy his type of sound and his taste in music. He's an attractive man, but he - at least in my experience which has been limited, doesn't or at that time, didn't exude the vibe reaching out to the audience. Hicks was more in tune with reaching inwards and exploring his own musical experience and if the crowd shared, great but that did not seem the main goal. It is evident Taylor loves his music and enjoys performing but the vibe is different when coming from another internal source. So to this imaginary question, if it were my last $35.00, my last concert I could attend, of the two talented guys, I'd pick The Biceman.