I hope everyone in the states is having a fabulous holiday, and that those of you in other countries are having a great time as well!.
Now, onto the good stuff:
mojavedesertgirl’s GREAT Stadium of Fire recap is below the cut.
“# mojavedesertgirl Says:
July 4th, 2006 at 2:37 am e
Hi everyone! Goodness! With 130+ comments on top of me, this post will probably be buried
and no one will see it! Am I really the only ex-pat GC to see Taylor at the Provo concert?
Amazing – because the audience was packed with the Soul Patrol. I had LOTS of people (well, ok, women) all around me to get all fan-girly with. For awhile there I was truly 19
again…Here’s my best play by play…
First of all – this is my first time seeing Taylor LIVE. I have only ever seen TV and
internet video Taylor. I was so excited that I was literally jumping out my skin the 7 hour drive there, and the several hours we waited for the show to start. The only thing tempering
it was that I got up at 4:30 am – everyone who knows me knows that I am so NOT a morning person! I told my sister that I hadn’t been this wound up about a concert since I had 2nd row center seats for Bruce Springsteen about 20 years ago. I had so much nervous energy that if we’d had a flat I probably could have picked up the damn car and ran with it. But I had the well wishes for safe travel from so many of you – so safe we were. Thanks for all the you go girl!” comments – I read them last thing before going to sleep the night before. I don’t really know any of you, and you don’t really know me – but honestly, I felt like you were all in the car with me as I drove north on Interstate 15.
Have to tell you about 2 pre-concert incidents. First, we finally got to Provo about 4 in
the afternoon – got the tickets from will call, and went in search of an early dinner. Ended up down the street from the university at a restaurant called “Papa’s” boasting of “southern style BBQ” – which we thought fit the theme of the day quite well. Open the menu – first item: “Southern Ribeye Steak Slow Cooked with our Special Birmingham, Alabama Sauce”. I just rolled to the floor in hysterics – too, too funny. Waiter thinks I have lost my mind. Turns out the restaurant is owned by a couple who are orginally from Birmingham (do you hear “Its a Small World” playing in the background?). I chat up the waiter – but he is Taylor clueless. (And yes, I had the steak.)
Back to the BYU football stadium for the concert – and my sister and I settle into our 16th row seats. Well, settle is a relative word – my sister will testify that I did anything BUT settle. All I can think at this point – I’M GOING TO SEE TAYLOR PERFORM LIVE!!!! AND HE WILL BE ABOUT 50 FEET AWAY!!! I’m doing Soul Patrol shout outs to anyone I see in a Taylor T-shirt. In this midst of my pre-show frenzy, a woman suddenly pops up in front of me – could we trade seats? Her whole family wants to sit together…and suddenly we find ourselves sitting in the 12th row. The woman’s father thanks us for switching, and I quip “No problem! I’m just that much closer to Taylor Hicks!!” The man looks at me funny, and responds – “Since you said that, let me share something with you…” and pulls out his camera. Turns out his family WALKED INTO THE STADIUM WITH TAYLOR – and had a picture to prove it.
The man said it was a huge scene – Taylor was surrounded by “handlers” (his words) to keep the frenzy back. He said the screaming was unreal, as if The Beatles or Elvis were walking in. It was a great close up of Taylor, and I had a light-headed fangirl moment where I actually, much to my embarrassment, thought of only one word – yep, THUD. Taylor was stunningly handsome in the photo, but also looking a little wide and white eyed – very serious look on his face. After what I saw happen later, I totally understand the seriousness…but more on that later…
The stadium is completely filled – 50,000 people. I remember reading that Taylor said this show would be the largest live audience he would play for (although that all changes for him tomorrow with the AI tour) – and I’m feeling some awe for him as I look at the crowd. We all then do the WAVE about 20 times as the clock counts down to the start of the video stream to the troops in the Mid-East. And the show, FINALLY, begins. There is a lot of yadda yadda yadda to begin… the media, the show committee, directions on waving our little American flags (yes seriously – the Mormons do like their structure) (and hey no comments at me please, I come from an LDS family – I get to tease!), the invocation, the pledge, dancers performing to patriotic songs…all very patriotic and at times moving, but it begins to lull me into inattention as all I can think is “Taylor Live, Taylor Live, Taylor Live…” and then
SUDDENLY – BAM! There he is 30 feet tall on the stage screen playing his harmonica! My sister stops me from doing a backflip into the crowd trying to SEE him – because we can’t, he’s way behind us out on the field with the dancers and the marching band (300 drummers – they rocked!). So totally caught by surprise I can’t get my camera out in time – so I just watch Taylor dance and play his harmonica with all his heart for about 90 seconds. To what song? Couldn’t tell ya! The stadium is going WILD – the screams and cheers and calls of SOUL PATROL from all around me about knocked me over – goodness knows what Taylor is thinking at the reaction. Truly, the place went NUTS. I got in several “whooo hoos” from all of us.
When he stops playing, Taylor gives a big BIG smile into the camera and waves to the crowd on all sides. Big as life – yet a little shy at the same time. And he was wearing his peacock blue suit. Absolutely gorgeous in the stadium lights (it’s about sunset at this point – the thunderheads were pinking up behind him).
OK I’ve written a lot – don’t want to lose it so let me post, and I’ll continue on…
# mojavedesertgirl Says:
July 4th, 2006 at 3:41 am e
My story continues…
Now I have to sit through the opening acts…a local band…Miss America the emcee…a country guy…army dudes parachuting into the stadium (actually, that was very dramatic and very cool)…more people talking…a faux Queen, a faux ABBA, and a faux Beach Boys (the latter quite good)…Raven-Symone in some kind of food fight with 2 families trying to win a big screen TV…a bunch of other stuff that I really can’t remember…and then, and then, and then Raven-Symone is introducing Taylor and the crowd is again screaming so loud that you can’t actually hear her say his name. Spotlights on the stage – and Taylor demurely steps out from behind the curtain and is standing on the stage. I swear for a moment he held onto the curtain like he was trying to steady himself – and then that big gorgeous smile of his and he strides out to the front of the stage. Waving, intoducing himself (yeah, like we don’t know his name!), saying he’s happy to be there, a shout out to the troops, and then into
“Taking it To the Streets”.
He’s all over the stage – singing, dancing, playing harmonica.
Everytime he dances the stadium ERUPTS with cheers – and HE IS LOVING IT! Each times he rewards us with that HUGE smile, and the bendy Taylor move with his hands crossed over his heart – which of course makes us all scream some more. Yes, the music is a recording – but c’mon people, don’t be harsh. All I could hear was TAYLOR – his voice, his harmonica. Besides – it was all about the visual. He is so close, I feel like I can reach out and touch him. I can FEEL his ENERGY blasting off the stage.
Fellow SPers – I guess if you’ve had the opportunity to see him perform in person you probably already know what I’m trying to express. Remember, for me – this is my first time with Taylor Live. He is a big presence – electrifying personality. Again, I am astounded that he is not already established and famous. Next to me I can hear my sister saying, “Wow – what an entertainer! Wow!” It was so hard trying to focus my attention. It’s hard NOT to watch those humongous video screens, especially the camera close ups since he is just so darn handsome, especially giving us THAT SMILE. But I didn’t come 400 some miles to watch video Taylor – so I kept my eyes as best I could on that stage. All of us in the field seats
were on our feet, and the woo-hoos and the soul patrol shout outs and the Taylor shout outs nearly drowned him out. A sweet Taylor fan in front of me turns around – we grab each others’ hands and scream “THIS IS THE BEST!!!!” (If you’re reading this, hi Kay from Draper!).
TITTS ends and Taylor is endlessly thanking the crowd as a roadie comes out with a guitar and the holder-thingy so he can play his harmonica at the same time – OH MY GOD HE’S GOING TO PLAY HIS GUITAR – and Taylor says he’d like to do one of his own songs if we don’t mind – I believe he said “an original Taylor Hicks” – and launches into The Deal. Luckily, the crowd sits down – thank goodness, because I feel like my knees are giving out. How lucky am
I – I cannot believe it – I am watching Taylor perform his own song, and playing guitar. I thought I wouldn’t get to see that until he goes on his solo tour. And DAMN, Taylor is an EXCELLENT guitarist. Truly – I am not being all fan girly with my praise. There is great guitar work on Under the Radar, but I was never sure if that was his craft or his bands’ –
well, ok, no question now – he is indeed a serious musician. He knocked it out of the
stadium. And people knew the song – at least those of us in the field seats, because I heard a lot of voices singing along. Taylor kept looking, or really, squinting out at the crowd – I’m not sure if he was trying to see past the stage lights or if he was trying to take in the size of the crowd or trying to judge the reaction to his own music – I can’t say what he was thinking, but he was very intense and serious while performing The Deal. No smiles this time – just hard ass guitar playing and gritty vocals. Loved it, loved it, loved it. It was like a TASTE, a little taste of what’s in store for us when he finally hits the road on his own. This is Taylor Hicks, and here’s a fucking SONG!
Then, it’s DIMYP. Taylor dedicates it to the troops. Again, he’s singing along to the recorded music (I admit – too bad it’s not just him and a pianist, I really like that
simplified version the best.). As he sings he walks back and forth across the stage, making a point of looking to all parts of the stadium and waving – including the far sides that can barely see the stage. Not the big smile Taylor this time, but the gracious and grateful smiling Taylor – I felt like he was trying really hard to connect with the entire crowd, when it would have been so easy to just sing to the rows in front of the stage. Or easy to just let the cameras and video screen do his performing for him – but I felt like he was trying to be big enough for the stadium. Am I making sense? He was not taking it lightly or going through the motions – he was PERFORMING. And it was great. Amazingly great. He sang DIMYP so sweetly and sincerely. I cried.
And as suddenly as it began – it was over.
Let me post this – and I’ll be back to wrap it up.
# mojavedesertgirl Says:
July 4th, 2006 at 5:23 am e
And now here’s the REST of the story…
I don’t really remember what followed Taylor – people talking, awards I think – I don’t know because I was wiping away my tears and giving myself some self-talk about growing up dammit, yer 45 not a little girl, and then Miss America is talking and GUSHING about how wonderful Taylor is and the crowd is screaming his name and whoo-hoooing again and my sister is
patting me on the back and telling me she got lots of pictures (which is good cuz I kinda
stopped – it’s too hard to watch and take pictures at the same time!) and I’m holding hands with the lady in front of me and her teenagers are rolling their eyes at us and I’m thinking this. was. so. totally. worth. it. (Oops, forgot the fashion report – for his set Taylor wore his silvery gray suit, I think the same one he had on when he did Leno the first time. Sorry, couldn’t make out his shoes – blame the dude with the 50 gallon white cowboy hat.)
Next, Lee Ann Womack is performing – which thrills my sister, and I’m happy for her – she knows all the words to all the songs and so she gets to have her own concert moment. (I didn’t know Womack did “I Hope You Dance” – I love that song, and that was a treat.) About 2 songs into Womack’s set, I hear this HUGE commotion off to my right – and I realize that women, teenagers to ladies older than me, are jumping out of their seats and running to the big aisle that runs between the field seats and the stadium stands. I hear calls of “That’s him! It’s Taylor! There he is!” It’s so loud, it tunes out Womack. I can see a large group of people are surrounding a person, and they are moving fast – ever seen one of those nature programs when they show a bunch of ants moving fast through the jungle floor carrying something in their midst? That’s what it looked like! – What was in the midst of the group was Taylor. I can tell you he is taller than his handlers and there is no mistaking that gray hair.
At this point I’m not really sure what’s going on – he is leaving? Is he being moved to
another part of the stadium? Is there more performing on the way? All I know is there are a lot of folk chasing after him – and I think back to the photo the man showed me before the show and how Taylor looked just the teensiest bit scared and I am instantly all mom-like with worry. Why are people chasing Taylor? Leave him alone! He just sang and worked his guts out for us – why isn’t that enough? But either he’s gone (I’m thinking, Taylor Has Left the Stadium) or the handlers have rebuffed successfully because I see women returning to their seats. I’m relieved to see that they are not carrying shreds of clothing, or body parts, with them.
And the end of her song, Womack does a Taylor shout out to the crowd – “Hey everybody, what did you think of that Taylor Hicks?” and the place goes NUTS – again! She says she’s very happy to be sharing the stage with him, that she thinks he has an amazing voice. She mentions that she has never watched AI – not her thing – but when she was doing a radio promo she heard a clip of Taylor’s audition song and she remarked that if someone with a voice like that was on AI, well then – she would watch! (Doesn’t that just sound like US?)
Continues to compliment his voice, and wishes his career well. I thought that was incrediblely gracious of her – she is the headliner, and suddenly all the media attention
was on HIM and not on her. She could have been snitty, instead she’s a fan too. Nice! (My sister had googled Stadium of Fire in hopes of getting a map – and got 1300+ hits, all of them about TAYLOR.) And how nice for him to get such a compliment.
Both during and after her performance, there are families being reunited with returning
soldiers and satellite hook ups so families in the audience can talk to their soldier dads
in Iraq and Afghanistan. Touching – beyond touching, words cannot describe the heartbreak and aching. (This war, this stupid stupid war.) Then Miss A and the country guy are saying goodnight – there isn’t anything left is there – and AGAIN the crowd starts shouting: TAYLOR! We want more Taylor! Soul Patrol! – his name was echoing around the stadium. Wow –
I’m thinking – wow-wee, our boy is bigger than I think we know…my sister and I looking rather big-eyed at each other when the finale begins – a fireworks show to end all fireworks shows.
Now people – I live in LasVegas, Sin City, Entertainment Capital, home to one of the
planet’s largest 4th of July fireworks show. Tonight my neighbors and I will be sitting on our front lawns (well, ok, my front rocks) sipping wine and watching The Strip explode. When it comes to fireworks, I admit to being just a bit jaded. Well, whoa nelly – knock me on my butt and call me Fannie. “Stadium of Fire” is not just some cutsy same for a show – I experienced the biggest, baddest, wildest, in your face fireworks show EVER. Take out Taylor, take out the whole show – just the fireworks alone were worth the drive and the ticket. Seriously. And we were in the prime seats – the fireworks went off LITERALLY over our heads. Firework DEBRIS rained down on us (and ow! sometimes that hurt!) – I was still getting the crap outta my hair the next day.
So if you’ve hung in here this long reading my story, by now you are probably thinking – I didn’t really need to do the play by play of the ENTIRE concert, shouldn’t I have stopped talking after Taylor’s set…or at least after the Womack shout out? Well…I have another story to tell! As we leave, my sister and I stop for a pit stop – and being the woman’s bathroom of course there was a line a mile and half long. Plenty of time to look around. I spy on the woman in front of me – a yellow wrist band with the words TAYLOR HICKS emblazoned on it. I look at the woman – What does your wrist band mean? She grins a cat eating canary grin – “I met Taylor”. WHAT????!!! HOW????!!! Tell me, pleeeeeeeeeeeeeasssssssssssseeeeeeee!” – yes, no pride, no shame! Her daughter is on the show committee so set her up for a meet and greet
with our Taylor – autograph and actual conversation. I say – he seems like such a nice young man, and she replied “Oh yes, really nice – I said to him, you must be so excited about winning American Idol and all this fuss about you and he said to me ‘What I’m excited about are the fireworks! I can’t wait!” and she goes on to remark about the commotion over him during Womack’s set – I guess she could actually see what was going on. They had a place for him to watch the rest of the show, including the fireworks – but people saw him, and so freaked out that they had to move him – and she thinks they ended up moving him out of the stadium, but she wasn’t sure. Together we were both very upset for Taylor – that so much fan frenzy might have caused him to miss out on that incredible and public praise from Womack
AND to miss out on the fireworks show that he obviously wanted to see very much. (Thank you nice lady for sharing your story with me – sorry I didn’t get your name.)
I hope hope hope that isn’t true – I hope the handlers found a safe place for him so he
could enjoy. Ugh! C’mon people! Taylor is not a cartoon character, he’s not a wind-up doll – we get to go crazy while he’s performing, but afterwards, he’s done! He’s off the clock! He gets to be his own person! Yes we helped him to win AI, and we helped to make his dream come true – but that doesn’t mean we own him. If anything – doesn’t it mean we, above all, should be taking care of him? I know he has been wanting and waiting and working for this level of stardom for a long time – but I guess I worry that we’re just gonna wear him out. I want Taylor to have a long, successful, happy, and creative career – I want to be able to enjoy the man and the music from now until my twilight days. Man – fangirl to sniffling romantic
to den mom, Taylor sure can bring out a range of emotions in me. Gotta love him.
Our journey home included a two and a half hour drive from Provo to our motel room (closest non smoking under a $150 we could find!)…Under the Radar, DIMYP/TITTS, and the Nashville Sessions going full blast all the way – or as my sister came to call it, The Full Woo. After sleeping in, we spent Sunday leasurely exploring scenic Utah, playing Taylor and reliving the show all the way home. And we have pictures to share – be patient with me as I learn with my new computer how to post them to my website page that’s under construction. (Where was I most of today? Sitting here with my head buried in the MacBook manual, with off and on napping on the couch with the animals. I only pretended to be 19 – this road trip took a lot outta me!) My sister (who owns the better camera, and who also had much more presence of mind while Taylor performed!) has some great shots. We also have many many many hilarious shots of just “Taylor pieces” – an arm, a piece of suit, part of a guitar, the top of his
head. Why? BECAUSE HE MOVES SO DARN FAST AND HE’S SUCH A MANIAC ON THE STAGE!
It was a fantastic 48 hours of Taylor Trip. Thanks again for encouraging me shake off the chains of work and home responsibilities and just go be a fun fangirl for awhile. It was great. And you were all there with me, heart and soul. WHOOOO HOOOO SOUL PATROL!!!!!!
PS Thanks Taylor for giving Provo your all – and I really really really hope you got to see