Sunday, August 29, 2010

Taylor Hicks ~~ A "kick-ass" Summer Tour...

So what makes a “kick-ass” tour?

Taylor Hicks delivered on it.

“Kick-ass” music.

That doesn’t always mean loud and pounding. There was that—like “Bulletproof” that revved up the senses from the first pounding beats and a chorus—“This time baby I’ll be bulletproof” that plays in the head, and it hasn’t stopped yet.

The other end of the musical spectrum was when closed eyes and emotional vocals took you away on a romantic journey. There was “Maybe You Should” which Taylor says is for the couples in the audience and “The Fall” from his own repertoire of early song writing. The impact was stunning, especially if you had just heard “Bulletproof.”

In between there was foot stomping “Back to Louisiana,” funky rock with “Love the One You’re With,” rock and roll classic like “Not Fade Away,” and old favorites from “The Distance” and “Early Works” albums. One tweeter said she didn’t see how Taylor Hicks could do “Seven Mile Breakdown,” “The Fall,” and “Bulletproof,” …what a setlist. Eclectic doesn’t begin to describe the music on this tour.

“Kick-ass” band.

Also named “kick ass” by Taylor, this band brought immense talent to the stage. More importantly, perhaps, they brought the ability to meld into pure musical magic. “Best ever” was the constant description, and I thought I had seen the “best ever” in 2007. I can only give you a non-musician’s take: I was excited to hear every note and every song of the show. Brian Less, Jeff Lopez, Sam Gunderson, Brandon Peeples, Leif Bondarenko, and Matt Kimbrell were not just “backup.” They were always an integral part of the performance and stars in their own right.

Taylor Hicks and this band took “best ever” and made it better.

“Kick-ass” venues.

From roadhouse casual to grand piano posh, the venues gave us a tour of live music homes across America. I had no idea. There was summer place charm in New England, biker bar feel in the Midwest, and a dinner/music “room” in San Francisco. Versatility doesn’t even start. Blues club to jazz club to posh club, Taylor Hicks and the boys from Alabama played them all and took away the accolades for a “kick ass” show.

“Kick-ass” fans.

There were New Yorkers in California and Southerners in New York. Some groups of fans were just all over the place. They always get there! And there were new fans. Fans stood in line for over an hour to meet Taylor Hicks, get his CD, autograph, and picture. And Taylor met every one who wanted to meet him. He hand delivered his CD to a few more thousand fans. They will remember this one.

“Kick-Ass” Mr. Hicks.

Taylor has said that early on he learned that you have to “entertain, or go home.” He has ramped that up to…

Kick ass, or go home!

A San Diego writer reviewed the tour concert at The Anthology just today. He recalled walking through the airport a week after Taylor Hicks became Season Five American Idol and seeing his face on the cover of every magazine. After reviewing the music and “Not Fade Away” in particular, he said:

“Hicks took the lead vocal and proved he'd still be on the magazine covers if enough people could see him perform live….

“Hicks ended his 90-minute-plus performance with a surprising ’70s power-rock cover of La Roux's hit "Bulletproof" that was the highlight of the show. He sang and played a mean blues harmonica on Nick Lowe's "Battlefield" and did a roadhouse-rocking cover of "Love the One You're With" that put Stephen Stills to shame. Hicks included several original songs that all sounded great live but don't translate well to studio production. Taylor Hicks has still got the music in him, you just have to see him perform to appreciate it.”

This is why Taylor Hicks tours and why it is “kick ass!” It is who he is!


another “kick ass”one!

Quote from: “Idol Winner” by Alan Segal, The San Diego Reader, 8/29/10

For more about the Taylor Hicks Summer Tour 2010, visit our tour forum and media board:

Photo by San: Taylor Hicks at The Aquarius, Laughlin, NV 8.21.10

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Taylor Hicks ~~ Rockin' on the River!

I was lucky enough to be there!

Taylor Hicks in my own back yard, or at least within driving distance, was too much! I had packed some things in clear plastic bags before I remembered that I wasn’t getting on a plane. My concert clothes could hang!

A half day road trip and I was in Laughlin, NV. Even after years in Arizona, I had never been there. It was smaller than I expected—and hotter. Both my car and my phone were telling me that, but I wasn’t prepared for the 110 degrees when I stepped out.

What Laughlin lacked in size, it made up for in sparkle and entertainment. I know I am in my favorite place when there is a poster with a picture of Taylor Hicks announcing his appearance there! That’s what greeted me just inside the Aquarius, a huge twin-towered place on the Colorado River. The River is the boundary between Arizona and Nevada with the gambling and entertainment on the Nevada side and the real world business of Home Depot and Carl’s Jr. on the Arizona side.

Casinos are born promoters. Taylor’s posters were everywhere—over the slot machines, on the walls and on free standing pedestals. At check in I was given an envelope with two tickets and a nice letter from The Aquarius: Welcome to Taylor Hicks Fans! I don’t believe we have ever received a welcome letter before!

I am very fond of tour bus pictures. I know the bus is a symbol of a dream come true. It also is a symbol that Taylor and the band have arrived safely. I actually saw a member of the band before I saw the tour bus parked close to the second floor Pavilion venue. The trailer was nearby with a Tennessee license plate and a Route 66 sign on the front! Let the music begin!

I like to explore any new area, but it was just too hot. I’m from the cool side of Arizona—Northern. Since I am not a gambler, it was a waiting game. I long ago recognized that Lady Luck was not my friend. But, hey, I was lucky enough to be seeing Taylor Hicks in a few hours—that was the jackpot for me!

I always check out the venue and know where I’m going by concert time. I don’t want any last minute glitches. This is a long awaited event. Nothing will spoil it!

It never gets old. It’s always exciting—walking to the concert.

The setup has become classic—three guitars with the shiny red one a bright splash of color on a dark stage. After the bus pictures, I am fond of the guitar pictures. Of course, they all take a back seat to the Taylor Hicks pictures!

It is amazing the connections you make and keep on the Taylor journey. I was happy to see old friends again and catch up since the last Taylor concert. One I had not seen since Roxy’s, and she hadn’t seen Taylor since then. Her enthusiasm to see him again was infectious. It was going to be fun!

It never gets old. The first notes from the band and the introduction of Taylor Hicks! And we’re rockin’ with the opener, “Love the One You’re With.”

Taylor was in a fun and chatty mood. When someone yelled out “How about some “soul patrol,” he ran to the microphone and very quickly and jokingly said an “uninspired” “soul patrol”! He asked if there were any big winners or any big losers? He was as animated as his “Teen Angel” with side glances and playful expressions to the audience. He was having fun, and it showed. So was the large crowd probably approaching 800-1,000. It was a mix of young and old, Taylor fans and casino visitors.

We were all rewarded with one of the best concerts ever. This was my first 2010 concert, but others who have attended this new National Tour quickly said it was one of the best.

I know that it was different, intense and inspired by new music and energy. It made me wonder how Taylor Hicks continues to mix it up, make it better, and obviously love what he’s doing even more than he did last year!

That’s why we keep flying, driving and going.

The crowd showed its appreciation afterwards by joining a very long line to buy his CD, "The Distance," and his merchandise. They stayed to meet Taylor and have him sign his CD and have pictures made with him. There was no rush here. Taylor had changed from his black button up shirt to the simple black t-shirt and was as relaxed and friendly as he could be. We stood in line for a long time and there was still a long line behind us.

As I watched him, I marveled at his genuine demeanor with everyone. He took the time to make lasting impressions on those who had come to see him. He said once that he wanted to “hand deliver” his CDs because people would remember it. I think a lot of people from Saturday night will remember how they got “The Distance.”

It never gets old—the music!

He changes it and makes it better. There is no doubt whatsoever that the highlight of the concert for me was seeing the live performance of “Bulletproof!”

The music is another story that I’m going to save.

Laughlin was a great re-connecting with Taylor live on stage. There is nothing like it. It is why we do what we do!

Thanks, Taylor, for coming West! Continued success like Laughlin!

Have a safe and fun tour!

Photo by San: Taylor Hicks at The Aquarius, Laughlin, NV 8.21.10

Monday, August 16, 2010

Taylor Hicks Beach Ad for Alabama Tourism's Gulf Coast

"Get back to the beaches we all love!"

Taylor Hicks appeared today on his hometown FOX6 News in Birmingham and told viewers of his love for the Alabama beaches.

From :

“A series of new commercials unveiled on Sunday at the Governor's Conference on Tourism shows several Alabama-native celebrities enjoying all the Gulf Coast has to offer. Two of the commercials that have created the biggest buzz are American Idol winner Taylor Hicks and actress Courtney Cox-Arquette.

“Hicks says he was very glad to help with the effort. ‘Four days after I heard about the spill, I called the governor's office and pledged to do whatever I could do,’ said Hicks in an interview on FOX6 News. ‘I made sure to lend my name to a cause I could believe in.’"

Taylor takes his cause to the Gulf Coast Tuesday as he joins other artists and musicians for a free concert at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum on the Gulf in Biloxi. Bo Bice, Terri Clark, Lone Star, and Montgomery Gentry entertain at the 8:00 p.m. show being taped for CMT and airing in late August. Tickets are available at the Coliseum.

“We want to make sure that people keep coming back…the beaches are open,” Taylor said on FOX this morning.

Staycation, flycation, or road trip—the beaches are calling!

And they have a good whiskey tenor voice!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Taylor Hicks ~~ On the road again--the way west...

On the road for real, the Taylor Hicks National Tour leaves Kansas City today and ventures into the wide open spaces on its way west.

It stops in the stark vastness of Western Colorado in Grand Junction, at the Mesa Theatre on Thursday, August 19, for an 8:00 p.m. concert.

I have one vivid memory from many years ago of entering Grand Junction near the end of the day with the setting sun glaring in my eyes. I was amazed to recently find a great description just as I remembered it by the music blogger, Bob Lefsetz, visiting Telluride via Grand Junction:

“We left the megalopolis of Vail just before noon. The Vail Valley is one big advertisement for planning/zoning. But once you're past Eagle, you're in Colorado wilderness, following the river through the canyon to Glenwood Springs. Truly beautiful.

"And when you pass through the old town with its hot springs (very crowded today), and you don't go up the Roaring Fork Valley to Aspen, you slowly descend into Grand Junction. With bluffs on each side. Hillsides carved by rushing waters or rocks or who knows what millennia ago to reveal sheer cliffs banded in red and white and vertical structures akin to mushrooms that tower in the air like a sci-fi movie.”

Slow the bus down, boys, and enjoy the incredible vistas of this Western country!

August 19~Mesa Theatre, Grand Junction, CO 8:00 p.m.

From the Colorado mountains to the Colorado River, Taylor, the band, and the bus with air conditioning (the lifeblood of the deserts in August), travel through some of the most stunning scenery in the West in Utah and on to the riverside Nevada gambling mecca of Dan Laughlin.

Even on the river, it is hot in August.

Laughlin is the laid-back stepchild of Las Vegas, only a short drive away. It is infused, though, with the chi-ching and lure of Lady Luck. The Aquarius Casino and Resort is a twin-towered jewel beside the river with the indoor Aquarius Pavilion venue where Taylor will perform and the Outdoor Amphitheatre, not often used in August.

In 2005, just down the road in Las Vegas, a virtually unknown Taylor Hicks auditioned for American Idol. Now he is back in the area with his National Tour on a very large tour bus!

August 21~Aquarius Pavilion, Laughlin, NV, 8:00 p.m.

“The Distance” has new meaning out here in the West.

Thanks, Taylor and band, for making the long trek! And thanks to your bus driver for safe travels.

Stock the bus with plenty of water and enjoy those “West Texas skies” wherever you are. We will enjoy having you all.

See you in Laughlin!!!

If you are anywhere in the West, don’t miss this time to see Taylor Hicks. He may not come this way again soon!

“Takin’ his dreams to the Golden State”~~The tour whomps the West Coast in San Diego, San Luis Obispo, San Francisco, and Coarsegold, CA!

It’s our turn!!!

Taylor Hicks National Tour 2010 ~ NEW BOOKING!
Ticket links

August 19~Mesa Theatre, Grand Junction, CO 8:00 p.m.

August 21~Aquarius Pavilion, Laughlin, NV, 8:00 p.m.

August 22~Anthology Supper Club, San Diego, CA 7:30 p.m.

August 24~Downtown Brewing Company, San Luis Obispo, CA 7:00

August 25~The Rrazz Room at Hotel Nikko, San Francisco, CA, 7:30 p.m.

August 26~Chukchansi Gold Resort & Casino, Coarsegold, CA

August 28~ Armed Forces Appreciation Day, American Idols for our American Heroes, “Bull Rigdon” Fairgrounds, Fort Walton, FL
Contact information: 850-244-8191.

September 15~Infinity Music Hall, Norfolk, CT, 8:00 p.m.

September 16~Tarrytown Music Hall, Tarrytown, NY 8:00 p.m. NEW BOOKING-Unconfirmed at Tickets on sale 8/20/10

September 18~Paramount Theatre, Rutland, VT, 8:00 p.m.

September 26~SOS Children’s Villages Concert w/Matt Cusson, Kimmel Center, Philadelphia, PA, 8:00 p.m.

October 9 – 10 ~Epcot Center “Eat to the Beat Concert Series, Orlando, FL, 5:15, 6:30, 7:45 p.m.


Photo credit to L.H. via TaylorHicksNews on twitpic: Taylor Hicks and Sam Gunderson at Knuckleheads, Kansas City, MO, August 14.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Taylor Hicks ~~ Soul in the Heartland!

In 1998, “Grease” played the Sangamon Auditorium in Springfield, Illinois.

The Sangamon welcomes a former Teen Angel this week as Taylor Hicks wields a different harp and plays the spectacular venue on the campus of the University of Illinois at Springfield, Tuesday, August 10, at 8:00 p.m.

The 2000-seat theatre, named after the Sangamon River which winds through Central Illinois for 250 miles, is home to a rich show business history since opening in the early Eighties.

“Sangamon Auditorium opened its doors on February 21, 1981, and has since presented more than 2000 events. The Auditorium’s inaugural event was Hal Holbrook performing his one-man show, “Mark Twain Tonight”! As recently as the 2002-2003 Season, Holbrook’s performance of this historical piece continues to pack the Auditorium to capacity.”

In its almost 30-year history, the Sangamon has presented a plethora of entertainment from Broadway productions to pop sensations. Buddy Guy appears there October 10, 2010.

In a telephone interview from his tour bus last week, Taylor talked about his success with Brian Mackey of the State Journal-Register in Springfield:

“I never take it for granted, because I know what it’s like to struggle,” Hicks said. “You have to stay out there and work it.”

Taylor is staying out there on a 20-city national tour, bringing his high-energy live concert to the Land of Lincoln before heading north again for a show at the Dakota Jazz Club in Minneapolis Wednesday night and at The Annex in Madison, WI on Thursday night.

A few miles from Springfield in Peoria, I stood in line with my best friend, Janice, to see Elvis Presley in his first movie, “Love Me Tender,” at the Rialto Theatre. I saw my first live drama, “The Sea Gull,” at a summer theatre production in a local park. My first musical show was Mario Lanza in the movie, “The Student Prince.”

I’m a long way from the Sangamon now, but a little piece of my heart is there as someone dear to my heart plays the Sangamon Auditorium tomorrow night.

There’s a saying: “Will it play in Peoria?”

Springfield is only a few miles away. Will it play in Springfield?”

I’ve been there, and, yes, Taylor Hicks and the boys from Alabama “WILL PLAY” in Springfield!!!

Rock the Heartland!


Taylor Hicks National Tour ~ 2010

Catch it while you can!

August 11~Dakota Jazz Club, Minneapolis, MN, 7:00 p.m.;jsessionid=59317AAC37B38F17484A60BB66CE233D?eventId=302125&presenter=DAKOTA&venue=&event=

August 12~The Annex, Madison, WI 8:00 p.m.

August 14~Knuckleheads Saloon, Kansas City, MO , 8:00 p.m.

August 19~Mesa Theatre, Grand Junction, CO 8:00 p.m.

August 21~Aquarius Pavilion, Laughlin, NV, 8:00 p.m.

August 22~Anthology Supper Club, San Diego, CA,

August 24~Downtown Brewing Company, San Luis Obispo, CA 7:00

August 25~The Rrazz Room at Hotel Nikko, San Francisco, CA, 7:30 p.m.

August 26~Chukchansi Gold Resort & Casino, Coarsegold, CA

August 28~ Armed Forces Appreciation Day, American Idols for our American Heroes, “Bull Rigdon” Fairgrounds, Fort Walton, FL
Contact information: 850-244-8191.

September 15~Infinity Music Hall, Norfolk, CT, 8:00 p.m. Rescheduled from Sep. 25th

September 18~Paramount Theatre, Rutland, VT, 8:00 p.m.

September 26~SOS Children’s Villages Concert w/Matt Cusson, Kimmel Center, Philadelphia, PA, 8:00 p.m.

October 9 – 10 ~Epcot Center “Eat to the Beat Concert Series, Orlando, FL, 5:15, 6:30, 7:45 p.m.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Taylor Hicks National Tour Hits Middle America

Taylor Hicks takes his National Tour to Middle America tonight!

The two share a fondness for each other. In the first few pages of his autobiography, “Heart Full of Soul,” he talked about their understanding of each other:

“Debbie [Williams, one of American Idol’s stage managers] kidded me about my gut, which unfortunately, had gotten more noticeable during all those weeks [on American Idol] with easy access to free catering tables. ‘Watch out, Taylor, you’ve got a little belly there,’ she said as nicely as those words can be said. I looked her straight in the eye and replied, ‘Hey, middle America loves that belly.’ ….I understood middle America because that’s where I’m from. That’s who I am. I’m from Birmingham Alabama, and that’s as middle America as you can get—okay, perhaps not geographically, but in every other way.”

He is in middle America this week minus that belly!

He is carrying, however, four years of eclectic musical experience under his belt—a very successful national tour in 2007, Broadway starring role and National Tour of “Grease,” and three successful album releases. A svelte Taylor Hicks was recently seen shopping, perhaps to stock a healthy pantry on his huge tour bus as it heads to Middle America.

Taylor Hicks Middle America Summer Tour opens tonight!

Friday’s Fish Fry
Fat Fish Blue, Cleveland, Ohio, August 6, 9:00 p.m.
“Blues, barbecue and Bourbon Street”
describe the goodness of Fat Fish Blue in Cleveland, Ohio, where Taylor and the band open a swing through the Midwest tonight at 9:00 p.m. The home of live blues music 5 nights a week, Fat Fish Blue is a hot dose of New Orleans in the heart of downtown Cleveland. Can’t you just smell the spicy creole cuisine?

Saturday’s Pig Gig
Veteran’s Memorial Park, Bay City, Michigan, August 7, 6:00 p.m.
Benefiting Boys and Girls Club
“Food, fun and music as hot as the ribs”
is the billing for the celebration succinctly tagged the “Pig Gig” Saturday night. Taylor and his band headline the outdoor show expected to draw huge crowds to the Bay area.

Monday’s Music in the Windy City
Reggies’ Rock Club, Chicago, Illinois, August 9, 9:00 p.m.
The Chicago urban rock scene welcomes the tour for a show about which Taylor tweeted: “Chicago is going to ROCK!” “A backdrop of murals created by local graffiti artists, state of the art sound, and a giant video screen complement old Chicago Brick and Steel making REGGIES ROCK CLUB one of the most intimate and unique spaces in Chicago to see a show.”

Taylor’s tour through the heartland and points beyond continues next week. We’ll look at some of the venues that host the boys from Alabama as they wind their way west to the Golden State. The next stop--Sangamon Auditorium in Springfield, IL

For more information on all the tour stops and summer events and for media from the show and appearances, visit our Connections forum:

Wherever you can catch the Taylor Hicks National Tour, DO! It’s a marvelous way to spend the waning days of summer!

Next: “Sangamon—in the Heartland”

Photo by Joe Marzullo: Taylor Hicks, Highline Ballroom, NYC, 7.25.10
"Heart Full of Soul" by Taylor Hicks, Random House