Contemplation Rose: Taylor Hicks Live

Contemplation Rose: Taylor Hicks Live

(written by Basenji)

I am on a 777 flying back to Japan. After watching and listening to and writing about Taylor Hicks for more than a year, finally I have seen him live in Los Angeles and Las Vegas.

I am reading Peter Guralnick’s Dream Boogie: The Triumph of Sam Cooke, and I am pondering the nature of live musical performance, the emotional reaction audiences have to certain performers, and how Taylor Hicks astounded me. I thought I had been prepared. I was the keeper of the tagging list, I had seen videos, I had listened to mp3s, I had the Dewey Tapes. I thought I knew what Taylor Hicks was all about. I was so wrong.

Guralnick’s book shows me Sam Cooke, moving on past his original band, constantly looking for ways to innovate, working on his business savvy, publishing his own music, trying to change himself with his preppy clothes and fancy cars and his cool demeanor, masking his private world of sexual exploits and rage simmering under the surface, hidden behind the mask of the public sophisticated crooner. But in the end, none of that mattered. He became one with the audience members, showing them his enjoyment and drawing the audience towards a mysterious emotional state using his charisma and his voice. Guralnick describes Sam Cooke’s performances at the Apollo Theater, in November 1962:

[quote]Night after night it builds into a mass sing-along in which there is no need to mention church, everyone knows they are having it, and the only way to top this communal feeling is to extend it. […] “Keep on having that party,” he calls out over and over as the curtain comes down, “no matter where you’re at, remember, I told you, keep on having that party.” Through his music, he declares, he will continue to be with them—it’s as close to eternity, in their unvoiced understanding, as any of them are ever likely to come.[/quote]

I sit up in my seat. And on my iPod Van Morrison sings:

And I’m contemplating that rose in a church in Spanish Harlem.

I’ve seen Taylor Hicks live. I am agitated and happy, confused and serene. I’m in that church.


Before the Los Angeles show, I am standing outside in the sunshine waiting for the meet and greet. The House of Blues is painted to simulate the layers of music and smoke that would elsewhere be added with time and use. In the gift shop, the t-shirts are hung neatly; the shop accepts all major credit cards. The bathrooms are clean and the attendant will give you mints. We in the meet and greet line are ourselves tidy and inconspicuous and patient. Everything has been made easy and welcoming for me, from free tickets to the shows from a friend to the mysteriously arranged meet and greet. So, why do I feel grimy? A door opens. Taylor Hicks sits down at a table on the porch. I have the shock of recognition, yet I can barely see him at all:

Ciggie smoke and here’s a fucking song, good boy, bad boy, say Yes and say you are grateful, squinchy face and booty shake, 10 years and Do I Make You Proud?

Gin and Juice and Gray Charles, ratty couches and Jay Leno, get your story straight, jacket-boot symbols, Compared to What?

brrrrruta boop bup boo duh buttata bup buttata bup buttata buttata bup buttata bup buttata bup buttata bup BOH BOH YEAH…Woo!

Merry Christmas, Baby! Here’s some Japanese sake and the tagging list.

Have you ever felt the shame I feel standing here before you?

My hand is shaking and I wonder who I am. Neither of us wants to talk to the other, but we must do this. I have to offer something at the altar. I want to burn everything and let the smoke rise. I want you to disappear so the shame disappears. In Shinto shrines in Japan, sake is offered for purification. I want to purify you of the swirling vortex of need. Can I get a witness?

I keep trying to make order of his music, to make him comprehensible. That damn tagging list is my last chance to pin him down.

Q: “What do you call tagging?”

A: “That’s as good as name as any.”

Well played, sir.

Here’s Pema Chödrön on a moment like this:

“We spend a lot of time trying to nail everything down, concretizing, just trying to make everything solid and secure. When we awaken our hearts…this moving away from comfort and security, this stepping out into what is unknown, uncharted, and shaky—that’s called enlightenment, liberation.”

Are you going to pull all my rugs out from under me?

It seems a moment later I am standing before the stage in the painted house. The “industry people” are up in the balcony looking down at us all. My friends are asking me if I’m ready. The band starts the intro music and I cover my face with my hands.

What if I am disappointed? What if he is better than I expect?

I look up.


You know what I’m going to say now, right? I didn’t know where to look; he’s astonishingly beautiful and alive. I’m not sure who I met at the meet and greet, but it wasn’t this guy.

I am surprised by the intensity of his singing. I watch his neck muscles bulge and his solar plexus contract. He hadn’t been flesh and blood to me before, but now spittle is flying from his mouth and sweat is already starting to bead at his brow.

At first, I am studying him as he moves, the happy steps, the straddle-shuffle side-to-side, the changing faces: exhilaration, intensity, his mouth making shapes in preparation before the next note. I am distracted by details: Brian’s head bobbing behind the giant organ, the glint of Josh’s wedding ring, the smile on Melanie’s face as she dances, how Loren smirks and then raises his eyebrows to anticipate something Taylor is about to do, Al with his eyes closed and his hands clutching at the bass, the feel of the beat through the speakers.

Taylor makes an exaggerated and slow sweep of his arm to bring Brian forward. Brian is a striking mirage of muscle and sinew and reed and mouth and veins and saxophone. The whole band is radiant.

Taylor has just finished with us on one song and he turns his back, walks back to the harmonicas and the set list. There’s a shift of his shoulder still feeling the beat. He leans down to see the set list, puts a finger on it, and he’s suddenly a shipping agent checking his inventory.

“Heart and Soul” is glorious. Josh opens wide. We get the extended “Brown-Eyed Handsome Man” baseball skit. I am laughing and enjoying it but it takes me outside my head. I’m watching everyone else in the audience. I’m watching him be the entertainer in a conscious, winking way. I’m still outside my head by the end of “Wherever I Lay My Hat,” after which Felix, Josh, Al, and Loren all towel their heads. This makes me laugh. I’m laughing at myself, at this whole scene, at the fact that I’ve come all this way and that I’ll remember those fluffy, white towels better than I will be able to explain why the music has affected me. It’s a rueful thought.

I’ve listened to “Soul Thing” hundreds of times, but this night the band connects the music and the lyrics perfectly:

Where the city street meets the county road,
where the sun is nice and warm,
no matter how long I may roam,
this song still takes us home…

I hear the rushing of wheels, and the music and his voice make this song become hyper-reality for me. I finally get it: Everyone around me must see me jumping up and down and yelling and laughing, but in my mind I am sitting in a zendo in California, years before. I am trying to just breathe and be, and as I count the breaths, there is a window, a short, brief moment when a window to eternity opens. I see reality. I see there is nothing more to do, but to keep trying to keep that window open. And yet to experience the authentic is the most difficult thing to do.

And as I am crying with recognition, tears streaming down my face, he starts the scatty “East Bound and Down” tag, shaking his hand back and forth like he’s shaking a martini. He is crouched into his “rap” stance, lowering down, using the position to make himself feel the tension of the line, as he has to push through the rhythm and the words. It’s a ridiculous juxtaposition of what he is singing and acting out. I’m laughing. He’s crazy.

The most effective songs of the night, the ones where I can understand yet cannot say why I love this performer, are the ones where he builds himself. He uses repetition of words and of motions, to build the band, to build his own energy. He paces back and forth, moves forward to pull us in, he’s dragging us in with eyes and thighs and voice.

Yet, in the live show and in his music in general, he refuses to answer my questions, to become a category, a list, a set of criteria. He keeps eluding me: silly, funky, serious, earnest, poetic, sexual, innocent. I think I can understand him one way and then he does a little pandering hippy-shake dance and makes me laugh. He pulls yet another rug out from under me.

He introduces Bobby, a high-school trumpet player for “The Runaround.” It’s all very sweet. Towards the end of the song, Taylor turns back to Bobby to check on him. Sweetness and light. Kittens and puppies. All my irony bells are ringing and hate myself for it. So, when everyone screeches when the stool come out for “The Fall,” I am distracted. It’s like I’m in the parking lot already and it’s not his fault. I look at the people around me, the people who helped me get to this moment. But now I suddenly and acutely miss my husband, my “real” life. Where am I? What does any of this mean?

Taylor drags me back in when the chords start to pump on “Naked in the Jungle.” I feel a surge of adrenalin, extraordinary pleasure passing through me. I lap up the lions and tigers. I relish the “speak outs.” He’s frothed with sweat now and leaping in the air. The band is immense and looms forward. He’s whipping everyone into a frenzy as he screams “higher” over and over again. He’s doing everything right, and then I catch myself filling in the missing rap:

We be ridin’, down 65
Hit 85 just left the west side
Out my window, be my left elbow
Hand on my wheel, sittin’ down low
I’m headin’ through Atlanta on my way to Chicago…

What window to eternity? Now all I’m hearing is my relationship with this performer, all those words I’ve read and written, all those hours spent in front of a computer instead of out in the world. Am I actually hearing him? What will I take from this?

Well, there’s this:

Taylor has signaled to Josh for a solo. Josh closes his eyes and begins the grinding intense notes. Taylor dances, gingerly steps from foot to foot, and inches closer and closer to Josh. Now he’s right next to Josh, not a polite distance, intimate. He’s urging Josh on, but he’s not directing him, he’s enjoying it. Josh has worked his way up the frets, and has arched his back, and has thrown the guitar up on his hip almost horizontally. Josh’s lips are pressed tight and his fingers are dancing, throwing off notes like sparks. Taylor is in ecstasy with his hand shaking in this exaggerated fast wave, he is tossing his body up and down, his head thrown back. He is twisted and contorted. And at the end, Taylor bends forward as if exhausted, raises his suddenly very pale face, and he gives us a toothy, silly, beatific, glorious smile.

And this:

The Vegas “Hold on to Your Love” begins and at first I take it for granted, thinking I know what’s coming. I’m dancing along with the calypso beat, the tags start, and he does the regular “Jump in the Line” and follows it with “Banana Boat Song.” He shouts for us to enjoy Cinco de Mayo, it all becomes another cheesy skit. He tops it off with a Speedy Gonzales trill, which he holds for so long I guffaw. This is too much, Vegas starts to close in on me. He lifts his hands and curls them for the snake charmer dance. Then he slams us with a sudden change from loveable dork to bluesman: the band segues into “Lonely Avenue,” at first a bit sing-song, the vocal touching lightly and bopping, rather than bluesy. The band works harder and Taylor urges the them to darken and shake, his movements and voice become harsher, grittier. Instead of fluent movements, he begins to cut the air with hands, legs, guitar, like he’s wielding swords. At the climax of this, when we can feel the arc upwards beginning to slow and he holds us for the tipping point, he seizes his body, gripping the guitar, rises up on his toes, thrusts his midsection forward against the guitar, the lights blaze at him, his face contorted on the last almost screeching chorus. I hear myself calling out, but I have no idea what I’m saying. I feel the reflected blaze of lights on him like a blast from a furnace, and it takes over me in the most pleasurable, unambiguous, sensual, full body rush of blood.

Sir, you are a vehicle for joy.

I see me as I could be, pure and ready to be transparent, to give what I have with out affectation and pretense. The words could come straight from me like blood, like opening a vein. And that is what I saw up on that stage, Taylor opening a vein, letting it flow from him, his joy, his being, his music.


I’m sitting on my front stoop in Japan. Good old Van Morrison and I are in the morning sunshine.

Over the past year, I have tried repeatedly to cure myself of Taylor Hicks, like he was a disease I had contracted. There are many ways to try to convince oneself that it’s unhealthy or irrational to enjoy his music. None of them stick. Maybe you’ve never tried to resist him like I have. But all I do is question myself: Why now? Why this guy? It’s a mystery. I don’t know if the mystery is in him or in me. The mystery is startling, clichéd, profound, alive, joyous.

But now that I’ve seen Taylor live, I know he’s here to help us touch whatever it was Sam Cooke was pointing at as his curtain lowered.

And I’m keeping my mind on that rose in a painted house in Las Vegas.

bloggers note: Thank you, Basenji, for allowing me to post this.


39 Responses to Contemplation Rose: Taylor Hicks Live

  1. BarbieB says:

    I have just read this and I must say that you have taken the heart and soul of my thoughts and posted them here.. Thank you.

  2. mamaforpeace says:

    Way better!

  3. Julie says:

    Taylor is better.

  4. Mya Tateux says:

    Get a life, Kool-Aid drinkers. Taylor is hot and a great performer but his voice is mediocre. Go see Jonny Lang and then tell me that Taylor is better.

  5. That’s it! I always thought it was just me. I’m addicted.

  6. bcath says:

    Thanks for this, Basenji. Come back here and post now and then. We already miss you. Not fair.

  7. mamaforpeace says:

    Basenji, to answer your question, “why this guy, why now”, I’d say because when he is good, he is so damn good! I just finished listening to One Night in Nashville, which I downloaded today. Amazing! It’s been a long time since I’ve heard someone that incredible, that unique. My question is, “why can’t everybody see that?”. And I’ll add my praises to all the others for your great writing. I used to really look forward to your True Stories at GC.

  8. bjewel says:

    Basenji…You dog! Just kidding. That is prose, deep rose, thank you, great writer.

  9. Maryqtpi says:

    Wow, totally get it, great read and you written so intensely. I relate and love your line “Taylor is your vechile of joy”. Ive been told many times I am obsessed but who are we all hurting? When you write about it being a disease, irrational and unhealthy, is part of how it has been accused. I have no shame, I have been taken to church and enjoying the ride. It is also a mystery for me too as I have never been fangirly ever. Hope you had a M&G that had dialog as I went totally gobsmacked and very well could again.
    Anything Basenji writes, I read. Fabulous outlook. Do you write for a living cause you should. I will now go enjoy a nice glass of wine. Cheers!

  10. taylorized says:

    I am here and lurking and watching jay leno he just said that melinda dolittle got voted off because she is not sexy, like Taylor Hicks and I look like Taylor . funny Jay sorry had to tell you what I just heard

  11. Tayfancier says:

    Yep, sounds like a religious experience.

  12. Marcy says:

    A heartfelt thank you for your magnificent words…….Tears are running down my cheeks intermitent with smiles and laughs as I re-live the wonder of seeing Taylor live…..
    Every word you said is in my heart….

    c-4tay May 18th, 2007
    “My core being has been stirred and aroused and driven in new, positive directions. The true and simple joys are back and acknowledged. I am so grateful.”

    I couldn’t agree with you more……my experience has been the same…..Taylor has inspired me to take a new and extremely positive direction in my life….His passion has reawakened my passion….I look forward to enjoying every moment of this wonderful ride!

  13. madaboutu says:

    Well, basically, as with any addiction, we like the way he makes us feel. Its the “In love” feeling. When Taylor Hicks is onstage, the endorphins flow…………or he can reduce us to tears. He opens up that vein that Basenji describes, in us too. I love that description, as well as the comment of “You sir, are a vehicle for joy”. Remember what Paula said, ” Taylor, you need to be doing this for the rest of your life…….making people happy”.
    When he steps out on that stage next Wednesday, with a big smile on his face, alot of people are going to remember what he brought to AI last year. Pity those who never got it then……….maybe they will now.

  14. Jenk says:

    Awesome, Basenji. Thank you.

  15. […] Contemplation Rose: Taylor Hicks Live Contemplation Rose: Taylor Hicks Live (written by Basenji) I am on a 777 flying back to Japan. After watching and […] […]

  16. Beverly says:

    Basenji ~ How I wish Taylor could see this beautifully written piece. You speak more eloquently than most of us, and certainly I, can. Still, I am as deeply involved in the mystery and the joy as you. It is a great “puzzlement” why this young performer has seized the hearts and minds of so many who never before were groupies or cared so deeply. Yes, it is his onstage charisma, his energy and his incredible love of music that is so contagious but there is something more. An indefinable something that keeps us all wanting more. I can’t solve it and perhaps don’t even need to, but I thank you for putting into words so beautifully what so many of us feel. I, too, have tried to break the addition, finding it so time consuming. I don’t seem to be able to do that so I just decided to enjoy the journey. KimLoree, I am right behind you, off to listen to “Sweet Home Chicago” again. Taylor is luminous in that clip, it defines him.

  17. Crazymomelon says:

    I watched the Cubs-Sox game today. During the 10th Inning show, they played “Sweet Home Chicago”.
    Well, you know what was in my head.
    Thank you for articulating – to a degree – what’s been up with me for the past. oh, I don’t know — YEAR.
    Love this piece, Basenji.
    Thanks for putting it up front, Ash.

  18. taylor made 4 me says:

    Joseph Phelps- Insignia 1998…Meritage…the blend seems fitting. Smooth. Melodic fruit swirling is in my glass. Although the nose is not perfectly balanced the legs on this go on forever. Earth notes are strong as fruit blends with tobacco forward on the palate. The finish is complete but somewhat undefined as it is complex, but I can handle that. I am now ready to post.
    Basenji: Your post indicates to me that you are in possession of a highly desired talent, which you should consider honing. You are obviously a very talented individual capable of deep, organized, and poetic thinking and better yet expressive writing. I usually get bored when I read most things if they are not as cerebral as I am in thought and as far reaching as I am in analytical breadth and emotional depth.

    I detect uncertainty in your passages for the part of another, perhaps your family conflicts with your love of Taylor, and you feel the “shame” as you put it I know that too. I have three beautiful kids, and a wonderful husband, and a fulfilling career…but for a time I wanted to walk away from it all and just follow Taylor’s path-absence of mind I call it. The pull is almost too much at times, and then reality hits me.

    Basenji, you and I share a common bond…we both can write about deeply emotional, highly spiritual, higher plane connections that others can only dream of feeling and putting to paper. But at the same moment the paradox complicates the entire picture. Is it fair? We are all witnesses to the rising of a star, and it’s difficult not to get caught up in the energy of it as Taylor passes overhead. It very obvious from your post that you are in deep, and I hope that you are okay as you move ahead with your “real” life.

    I have not been to many of these “Taylor” boards, and I post only on this board, for what reason I do not know. The first thing I ever read on here was written by you, and I really loved it! In fact you acknowledged me, and wrote something about forgetting to get a girl’s number, or something funny like that! Thank you for taking the time to see me, recognize me. That is an incredible gift as well, the ability to see others and know instinctively what they need. I do not know what it was exactly that you wrote, but it caught me!

    I guess I am trying to tell you to continue with your craft, and if the presence of another person in your life is your inspiration then go with it. Don’t feel guilty about inspiration! A rose isn’t truly a rose without thorns. Inspiration is the rose here Basenji, but there are too many thorns to hold the rose in your hands. The beauty of it all is that, like a rose, with anything wonderful there will be a certain amount of torture. Holding a rose is never easy and usually comes with the opening of a vein however tiny, but you still bleed. Roses are unique in that they are both glorious and painful, if the loved one gets to actually hold one in his/her hand.

    In Japan, I am aware of the lotus, I believe it grows in water wild and different. Unlike a rose the lotus, while beautiful is dependant on another element that not many can understand. The lotus needs mostly water while roses needs roses need air. Both beautiful but both have different needs. A rose inspires and sets the heart into motion. A touch of Taylor on my hand at Sayreville and I knew that. I felt the rose that night for one brief instance, velvety and pure, fragrant and complex, alive and colorful, classic and timeless, the Taylor rose touched me too.

    But I felt the thorns later, when I realized that Taylor really is a rose. He blooms when he hits the stage like the passion variety the month of June. The stage lights are his sun, and the looks from us are his food. The music is his vehicle to our hearts and souls like the fragrance of a rose fills our heads. He speaks of love just like the rose, in symbols and glances from musical petals. Taylor is filled with excitement at the thought of performing just like a rose finds its glory in the arms of a man in love. He just simply revels in being the center of attraction even if in the end he ends up lonely himself after he is used to suit the purposes of others. It’s probably the plight of a rose no matter if it’s Taylor or even you Basenji that eventually, the entire message comes full circle. A rose in there to inspire, and bring joy…it is not meant for any other purpose unless it grows in your own backyard. In that case, a rose is not fulfilling its true purpose, that is, it is not being displayed and celebrated

    Taylor is meant to provide you with endless opportunity to develop your inspirational writing skills Basenji. For that you must thank him. You have found the fountain that springs forth your creative energy and your inner soul. That core is important Basenji. The one that can access it for you is not to be taken lightly. Hold on to your love, your inspirations, it’s all you truly have in life. But for the good of the world, find Taylor in your life at home. I have. Last night I sat down and wrote two beautiful songs that express my intense feeling for this man. I had to. I don’t think Taylor wants any of us in pain, God knows he is a beautiful person who wants everyone to be happy, not sad. So I wrote and wrote and wrote. It is too funny, but I wrote an amazing song called “Soul Communion” and my daughter read it, and she is only 15, but she said “Mom…this is incredible, this is a Kelly Clarkson type song!” I showed it to some close students at my high school and they were floored! What the heck is going on here? How about that for inspiration? Taylor has inspired us, and I for one am not going to let it slip by without making the most of it. My only question is how can I protect what I have done? I know nothing of this business. How to tell the world what I have found?
    I don’t know if there is way, but perhaps someday, when you listen to the radio you will hear this inspiration come through loud and clear.

    smiles and lotsa love

    cranking out BJ right now…It’s called Summer Highland Falls
    (so we’ll argue and we’ll compromise and realize that nothing’s ever changed……
    for all our mutual experience our separate conclusions are the same
    now we are forced to recognize our inhumanity
    a reason coexists with our insanity)

    Michelle Marie

  19. c4tay says:

    Basenji, the first time I posted, I thanked you, but because my wireless mouse died, I was not able to scroll all the way through this glorious piece that you just wrote. My entry before is so trite compared to this writing of yours. I am not capable of expressing to you how this touched me. I am sitting here weeping and smiling and planning and contemplating, too. You have put into words so many thoughts of my own that I have been unable to share. I have felt strange and abnormal and obsessed, so unlike my usual self for this last year, but still, all of it good. It has been one of the happier years of my life, so much influenced by Taylor Hicks and his music and the people I have met to share him with. My core being has been stirred and aroused and driven in new, positive directions. The true and simple joys are back and acknowleged. I am so grateful. Thank you, Basenji, for this exquisite piece of writing. I have read it many times already and know I will again. Thank you.

  20. taylor made 4 me says:

    Posting today in response to the Basenji piece requires a very good glass of wine. I will be right back.

  21. Laurita says:

    Glad this awesome essay was brought to the home page today, but fyi, its original posting by Basenji, with many excellent and interesting responses are over on the Tour/CC recaps thread under the “L.A. and Las Vegas” section, which I recommend checking out:

    (and if you go back and just start at Page 1 of that section, where B. started it all off, there are some very cool ruminations and other great writing and stuff …)

  22. madaboutu says:

    Basenji………………… was worth the wait, as I knew it would be.

  23. c4tay says:

    Basenji, what a beautiful piece of writing, yet again. I love to see how you craft your work. Thank you. There are so many others, here, too, who have written so well about the Taylor, the man and the experience. Please, all of you, other posters, lurkers, and of course, those who have written above me so beautifully in this threadt, take your words and thoughts to to request Taylor be a guest on her program. She would love him as she got to know him and watched him perform and her program could reach such a vast audience. There is a request on another board, maybe here, too, since I just arrived here for the first time today, to request that Taylor be a guest soon. Since he has had such a successful tour, is starting another, is putting out his book, does so many kind things for individuals and charities, and because he so deserves to be taken seriously, I hope she will invite him.

  24. Mare says:

    Thanks for the explaination.I too have been in a state of near possession for the last year and a half. It’s kinda scarey but I think this enigma that is Taylor Hicks, is going to teach me to let go. Let it flow. I’m happy.

  25. saboo says:

    KimLoree, I too am having a hard time being “reasonable” about all of this. Your post is one I could have written. So, I’m going with AgingHippies’s advice just to relax and enjoy the ride.

  26. BJinFLA says:

    I KNOW …………I KNOW
    TO US……

  27. graciecat says:

    Basenji, you have truly inspired all of us with your wonderful stories, for that is what you did for us. You told us the story of what is is like being a fan of Taylor Hicks and through your words, your wonder and awe, we too could truly appreciate the magic of the music that is Taylor Hicks. I encourage you to take Peter Guralnick’s lead and write your own book…could this be a thought with your wonderful title today “Contemplation Rose: Taylor Hicks Live”? It would be a wonderful book. I have too many thoughts to share so I will simply say, I gave up long ago trying to figure out why Taylor Hicks music changed my life and decided instead just to enjoy the fact that it did! Have a great day all!

  28. KimLoree says:

    AgingHippie….are you a phsychiatrist?

  29. AgingHippie says:

    sometimes it’s OK to just relax and enjoy the ride 🙂

  30. KimLoree says:

    I was happy to see Basenji’s work of art brought to the front today. It is a lovely piece. However, I was hoping that somehow Basenji’s promised “overblown, fussy, pseudo-mystical analysis of the meaning of Taylor Hicks” would solve “the mystery” for me. But once again…I’m left only with the realization that at least I’m not alone in my fascination. While that is somehow a little comforting, I still don’t know how to get my life back to normal.

    It’s not that Taylor Hicks hasn’t brought a tremendous amount of joy into my life….it’s just that I can’t seem to be “reasonable” about it. Rationally, I should simply be able to just listen to his music and enjoy it. I could even do that while I worked or have it in the background while I spent time with my family. But nooooo….I have a need to know where he is, what he’s doing, where he’s playing next. Did I miss a performance, an interview, a recap of a performance, a news article, a new photo, a new video? Heaven forbid…I must go in search of it, download it, watch it over and over again. And when I can’t find anything that I haven’t already seen or read, then I want to hang out and chat with my online friends who seem to be as caught up in this maze as I am.

    I thought maybe I could break away just a little after I finally had my very own live performance. Didn’t work….now I just feel like I’m in mourning that MY show has come and gone. Sorry to be a downer today….but I’m kind of at a loss. Any psychiatrists out there?

    I know…I’ll go watch “Sweet Home Chicago”. That one just makes me giddy.

  31. karoray says:

    Sir, you are a vehicle for joy…………

    Loved that, wonderfully written Basenji, and that line, a vehicle for joy is exactly how I have seen Taylor for so long. I will take your word that I won’t ever quite know until I see him live. But I have seen enough and I have heard it in his voice, watched him become one with the sax or the guitar player to know every word you wrote is true. I saw it in the little snippets of Taylor that we got on AI, heard it in his harp, felt it in the emotion in his voice. Sometime I wonder if I would live through it live. What an emotional experience it would be.

  32. AgingHippie says:

    And yet again you astound me – leave me smiling and contemplating –

    I have never tried to resist – – however I have watched your attempts and have always been glad when you lost your battle and came back to us – – but I certainly have done a lot of pondering.

    A lot of time has been spent wondering why I am so taken with this artist when I have never paid much attention to anyone in the entertainment industry before.
    In fact even as a girl I laughed at my friends with their letter writing and collections and Beatles & numerous other posters all over their walls – I just didn’t get it. Loved a wide variety of music even back then but never really cared about who was singing it.

    Until quite by accident I hit a wall named Taylor Hicks. If I had to pick the point at which I realized this was someone to be closely watched – it would be Taylor’s response to Simon on the Top 12 guys show – –
    on a TV reality show dedicated to finding the next pop-tastic seller of CDs this kid comes out with – “It’s music man . . . . . . . ”

    Definitely not just another brick – – something very special about this young musician – – and over the months we all discovered just how special – –

    But I still questioned why I have taken such a personal interest in his life and career — know part of it is simple curiousity – where is he going to take us on his musical journey ? ?

    and your beautifully crafted sentence provides the rest of the answer – for me at least – thank you for that ! !

    “”And that is what I saw up on that stage, Taylor opening a vein, letting it flow from him, his joy, his being, his music.””

  33. glittersquirrel says:

    Not only do we “get” it, we are infinitely enriched by your creative, artistic, and emotional intuition and ingenuity.

    I enter and exit that church at different times throughout my day, often afraid of the actual revelatory power of performance and music to my thoughts. When you are “in the church,” you feel attuned to every whisper of the universe, because the melodies and lyrics around you seem to narrate your existence, from a standpoint both omniscient and omnipresent, while floating you between the intangible surreal and anchoring you to the temporal and very, very real.

    I try to embrace that as I move through my days and nights. And knowing that you have finally been “united” with this experience in the truest sense, I feel a darn-near-cosmic shift of… [I don’t know what you want to call it]… resolution, as with the the completion of a major chord which the Western-trained ear unabashedly and conditionally strives to hear. A momentary feeling of completion and relief and tingling fulfillment. Never satiety, though—

    But the build, the unresolved tensions of harmony and the undulating kaleidoscope of timbre through days, weeks, months; that is what carries the seismic thread through the Tour Stop Triangulation points along the way.

    That we feel this fulfillment with you and for you, and for fellow fans who “get it,” I *hope* illustrates my convoluted triangulation analogy.

    Much admiration and appreciation from afar.


  34. Freelance says:

    WOW, this is fantastic. I, too, question, why now, why this guy, but I know like others, that the world and the music world is now a better place because of Taylor Hicks.

  35. MelissaD1 says:

    Basenji, I just wish all the critics and those who don’t “get” Taylor take just a few minutes to just read what you have written. This would give them quite a few minutes pause and maybe they would begin to consider the possibity that Taylor transcends “numbers” and that he really is here to stay. I think, in part, the answer to the question of “Why now?” and “Why this performer?” is the fact that the infectious joy the man spreads just jumped us all from behind. We really were not expecting him (at least I wasn’t) and the impact he has had on our lives. Now that we have Taylor and his music, I find myself spending considerable time and energy wondering how in this world we ever managed without him.

  36. Pamela says:

    Basenji, Thank you for making the world a more beautiful place for the rest of us to enjoy.

  37. JAG says:

    WOW Basenji…………..It is we who should thank you,once again you have captivated with your words! You have so beautifully defined what so many of us feel. Your last sentence is right on the mark,this is a wonderful mystery!One that I am thrilled to be a part of !

  38. Hicksaholic says:

    One word INCREDIBLE!!!!! If only Taylor would hire you as his publicist people who have not seen Taylor live might be drawn to see if he is really all that you describe. Those of us who have seen him understand you completely because you have verbalized our thoughts so beautifully! Thanks so much

  39. wompuss says:

    YES……..just yes

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