July 21 Rochester NY Idols Show
Rochester concert goers: You can email your re-caps and pictures to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks a bunch.
The place was packed and the show started late, probably due to the huge traffic jam on I-490 getting downtown! Mandisa sounded great on “I’m Every Woman” and immediately got the crowd going. (Her tight jeans, however, did not flatter her.)
Ace came out and did their duet and the crowd went wild. I think he got about the same level of applause as Elliott did later in the show. Ace was surprisingly good on his set. He had real stage presence and connected with the audience. He was jumping all over the stage like a rock star. The girls of course went wild on Father Figure when Ace slipped his jacket off. I was glad I brought my binoculars so I could see a close-up of his rippling biceps. <g> He did a shout out to Uncle Plum, who is a pretty well-known rock band up here in Western NY and I guess Ace is friends with their lead singer, Elvio Fernandes.
Lisa — eh, not so good for me. I know people have been saying that she was better than expected but I thought she was just okay. She seemed a bit “rehearsed” and didn’t come across as really connected to the crowd. Paris, on the other hand, had everybody dancing and sounded great. I know some people have made comments about her Beyonce moves but I personally thought she pulled it off. Her voice sounded full and rich and beautiful. We thoroughly enjoyed her set.
Bucky — also not so good for me. He worked the crowd well and hopped around the stage some, but vocally he was pretty mediocre. As usual, I couldn’t hear half of his words. His best number was Superstition. The “You’re the One that I Want” Grease duet with Kellie was really cheesy. I could have lived without that one nicely. Good excuse for a bathroom break.
Kellie was okay, not great (my opinion only). She blathered on about a couple of kids knocking on her hotel room door and giving her flowers. I thought she was at her best on Walkin’ After Midnight. She had the red corset on under a black leather jacket that had a silver studded cross on the back.
After intermission, up came Chris and the crowd went wild as predicted. Cameras flashing everywhere. He did his usual intense rocker stuff, strutted around, threw guitar picks into the crowd, and pointed at everyone.(Wonder how you are supposed to catch a teensy little guitar pick in a dark room filled with 11, 000 people.) He did a good job on his set, his fans will be thrilled. Me … well, there’s only one Robert Plant. Next to Taylor, Chris got the strongest ovation of the evening.
Then came the duet with Elliott, and Elliott’s set. Elliott sounded really fine and held his own on the rock stuff with Chris. He was working the stage too and seemed more confident and at ease than I remembered him being on the show.
Suddenly the crowd started screaming at full throttle and I knew Taylor was starting Jailhouse Rock, even though I couldn’t see him. The place went wild! Even up in the semi-nosebleed seats where we were, everybody jumped to their feet when Taylor came down the aisle — and stayed there for his entire set. It was the only time the whole evening where I saw the people in the middle and upper decks all up on their feet. The more wild his signature dancing got, the more the crowd cheered him on.
I’m a big Taylor fan, and he was great as I assumed he would be. But I have to say honestly that he seemed tired and his voice sounded a bit ragged to me. I’m guessing that after doing GMA this a.m. he was semi-fried. Maybe that’s just me though. Dingo might have a different perception. Nonetheless, he was obviously the star of the evening.
For the thudders, he wore a medium gray jacket, maroon shirt, jeans, and tan sneakers. He did six songs, not the eight he was doing at the beginning of the tour, and Taking it to the Streets was done on the encore. (He changed into the white shirt for the encore.) He looked thinner than I’ve seen him, maybe he’s dropped a few pounds on tour.
There was no mention of Katharine at all, and there was no video montage. There were a few inkjet-printer signs taped to the poles that said “Due to illness Katharine McPhee will not be performing tonight.” In the aisles, halls, and the infamous ladies’ room, I didn’t hear much talk about her one way or the other. People were talking about Taylor and Chris (in that order). So — no surprises, and pretty much what everybody else has been reporting for the last three weeks. We had a great time! We didn’t spring for the $30-$35 tee shirts or the $15 knock-offs they were selling outside on the streets, though. My 10-year-old, however, did spend $5 on a 8×10 of Ace. LOL.
Well I could not have picked better seats if I had tried. I could have reached out and touched any one of them. Nothing really new here. Mandisa has a tremendous voice and she is beautiful. Lisa is very pretty and also has a great voice. Paris was just ok for me. Ace, well, Ace is Ace. Played to our side of the stage, as there was a gorgeous, young blonde there and he winked at her several times and told her she was pretty. I stuck my finger down my throat lol. Bucky was very good and affable. Chris blew my ears out, he was far too loud with his incessant screaming but he did a hell of a job on Renegade. My ears are bleeding now. (not really but they feel as if they should be). Elliott was ok, just ok. I know he can do better. Kellie was ok. They all put on a good show but it wasn’t great. I was just happy to be there and I had a lot of fun.
Now to the reason I went in the first place. Taylor. I’m going to say some things here but please remember that I have been a member of the SP since its inception. I love Taylor but honestly, I’m worried about him. First, he is drop dead gorgeous. If it’s possible, he is even more handsome in person than on TV. It’s ridiculous. No, really, it’s ridiculous.
Nothing new with his set, came in doing Jailhouse Rock, crowd was about as loud as I have EVER heard it at The Blue Cross Arena. I mean roaring loud (for Chris too but louder for Tay). He looked tired, no, he looked exhausted. Now I dont care if Taylor is just plain tired, I mean I do care but what worried me is that he didn’t look happy at all to me. It’s like I’m used to him smiling when he performs but he didn’t tonight. He was, IMO, struggling to find every ounce of energy he could and the woooo’s were missing and the set was very rushed and honestly, he didn’t look like he was having a good time at all and that broke my heart. For the first time since I have “known” Taylor, he looked sad to me. Now, he had to do GMA early in the morning then fly back here then rehearse and no doubt that may have had some ill effect on his performance but something was definitely wrong tonight.
He so doesn’t belong up there with those kids. He is so far and away the star and its like they know it and he knows it and its the same freaking songs day in and day out with the same freaking cheap set they use and he is so far past all of that crap. You can see he is really hurting inside. I feel sad right now and I hope that I’m wrong, that he was just tired and that he will be ok but his spirit seems to be damaged. The smile I am so used to wasn’t there and that made me sad.
I had passes for the meet and greet but I KNEW Taylor would not be there and I was right. When he left the stage he looked as if he could barely muster up the energy again, he looked drained so I was not surprised that he didnt turn out for the meet and greet and in fact I was relieved. I don’t think I could have watched him go through the motions knowing it was the last place he wanted to be. I’d bet he went straight to his room and I’m also betting he stayed alone. I have no inside information, it’s just what I think. I talked to all of the Idols, all were cordial, all friendly but Taylor and Elliott were missing.
Don’t misunderstand me. Taylor was very good and people who aren’t really familiar with him probably think he was the bomb but I have seen too many fantastic performances by him and this wasn’t the Taylor I am used to seeing. I’m sure there will be other recaps that will contradict all that I just said but what I wrote is what I felt. Still, I would dish out the money again just to get a glimpse of this extraordinary man.
Let me just start by saying I am presently wearing my $30 Taylor tee shirt that I said “no freakin’ way” to buying and my husband said “Just do it-you really have a thing for this guy (yeah, like he doesn’t like him as well…. NOT) you will regret it if you don’t buy one”. (Isn’t my hubby just a dear sweet thang!!!?) I really don’t even wear tee-shirts! (I bet I’ll sleep in this one some nights…and yes, my husband would expect that!!)
So it’s been a little over 24 hours since we stepped inside to wait in line. (6:00PM to be exact) I was so excited that I started talking to everyone to see who their “favorite” was. They ALL knew who mine was! It actually was quite interesting talking with all the fans. What was MORE amazing to me was how little everyone knew about their fans. As we all chatted, some things that I found out were that some concert goers did not even know Kat would not be there or that she was even sick!!!!!!!! Now that was a real shocker!! So of course, I had to give them all the details, yadda, yadda, yadda. When I told one Chris fan that he wore eye liner (she was about 11 or 12 I think) she said “ewe, you got to be kidding me!” One young man and his girlfriend absolutely adored Kellie. They thought she was “wrongly” voted off the show cause she has such talent! She could have gone a long way if she would have been given a break!! I said “Well, she DID get a contract ya know.” He said “Are you lying to me woman?? (Really, I AM a mature woman, so to speak) They were oblivious, believe me!!! Then I started to tell them about Elliot celebrating his birthday with his girl right here in town. (Thanks be to you Dingo!!!) And the other Idols at the TiKi Bar (in Ra-Cha-Cha as we are sometimes known in this town) and having a great time. How Ace had the connection here in town. (Later when he mentioned this, they all said to me…I can’t believe you KNEW this!!!) This started me thinking about…oh my gosh, I know all these details, how could that be???? (Nutjobs on the blog maybe??!! At that point I felt like “Ask me a question; I know everything about every idol.”
Enough about waiting in line…. I have better stuff! We got inside and got to our seats. Not bad, I thought, section 108, (pretty close to Dingo… I think I heard somewhere yours was 104) Okay, so we sit down, me with my Labatt’s blue light, checking things out. The seats started to fill, and I started to get really pumped up! So, I connected with my daughter in Florida for a cellcert. She said “Okay Mom, calm down, I am at a party here in Florida. I know your Man Taylor will be on , so take a deep breath! She said “there are some Chris fans here at the party so we want to know when Chris and when your Taylor Man comes on and that will be okay as well.” (She is 30 and thinks I am obsessed with Taylor, in a good way of course, as does my wonderful husband!!) We sit down and I started to talk, of course, with everyone around me. 2 young couples behind us, and to the one side (stage side) a nice young family of 4 (kids were 6 + 9), Just great nice people, chatty like me! Being so close, I could hear stuff they were discussing. Not trying to be nosy or nothing……but I answered many of their questions and could even tell them more!! I answered many, many of their questions, no matter what Idol they were discussing, and KNEW every answer! I was at, this time, feeling like the” Queen of Idols” I said to myself……OMG…..is this my life?????? Is this is what I do in my down time???? Blog, blog, blog…and then………………..it happened.
I was talking to the mother next to me with the 2 sweet daughters and I said….and I DO QUOTE “at any minute… Taylor Hicks is going to have a spotlight shined on him and he will be coming down “somewhere out of the arena” singing Jail House Rock.! She was so excited to know that and said “How cool is that?” I said, “The Cool thing would be to have him come down our isle!!! I swear…..at that EXACT MOMENT IN TIME, I glanced back at our isle….. And then….’THERE HE WAS!!!! Out of the corner of my eye, I saw the “Gray Hair” …it was like a spot light….enhanced a katrillion times over!!! It was HIM! I screamed like a maniac….”There’s TAYLOR”.. He took a very deep breath, blew it out and then he started !!! I now can say….at that moment of time….I felt like 16 years old, the “OMG” I can’t believe I was within 3 feet of actually touching him!!!! My daughter (she’s 30) on the phone could not believe my screaming and excitement! I could not believe my excitement!! (No sh*t….I almost wet myself!!) My husband could not believe his excitement! But ya know what? The excitement ALL AROUND me was unexplainable. They went absolutely nuts! I mean nuts! It was incredible to experience that! When he got on stage….at the end of JHR, he said “Hello Rochester!!!!!” Then, he said “It’s been a long day”. I’m sure he was referencing GMA and the delayed airflight and getting to Ra Cha Cha later than anticipated. (Don’t you recall him saying that Robyn and Dingo?)
After that, I viewed almost the entire concert through my binoculars. I did not want to miss one, NOT EVEN ONE, move our guy made. And moves he had! How about the one where he looks like he “walked like an Egyptian” except he didn’t do the arm thing! Is that what you all are calling the Chuck Berry walk? How cute. And the “sort of Mic Jagger” move with his hands on the hip!! Not struttin’, but just like “owning” the stage!!
I was sweating, really sweating! Loved his songs……loved every move he made….loved his set…okay…here it comes folks… He was exhausted…physically, mentally, and I honestly believe emotionally. He lacked something…just like Robyn and Dingo said. It was like he wasn’t feelin’ the music. (You would only know this if you were “one of us” because everyone I have talked with since, and that was there, never said a word except how he was “more than they expected”. Now, I am not trying to alarm anyone either. And yes, maybe he can’t deliver 100% all the time, or had a bad day.
I’m not saying he’s sick, down with it, tired, bored, sorry, or anything else you can think of. I’m not criticizing his performance. What I AM saying is this. Taylor does not want to disappoint us, I don’t think he has learned to say “NO THANK YOU, , but thanks for asking” yet. I think he’s overwhelmed. I know he love’s what he’s doing, and he’s lovin’ the paycheck, and last, but NOT least, I think TPTB are almost borderline, abusing these kids. Come on folks, I have partied with the best of them in my younger days at this age. I could go a certain distance. Look at their schedule. They added more concerts but never gave them more time off. How many times do they have more than 2 days off! When and how much time do they get to sleep? SLEEP is a great recovery! They hardly even have a day! And what kids their age do not love to get some serious zzzzzzz time in? Concerts and concerts and concerts oh my! Okay, I’ll shut up now.
Well, I , had , the time of my life! ( Which reminds me of Kat and Taylor at this point!!!!) So, might I add just one istby, bitsy, remark about Kat……if she comes back at all, it won’t be the grind these kids are putting up with. Guaran-frickin-teed! Oh….one more thing……Dingo…you were right…..this young man is absolutely, positively, most aptly, the nicest and best looking young man my eyes have laid upon from 3 feet away, ever!!!!!!! (Except for my own 35 year old son!) So…to the rest of you “nutjobs” around here, this was my experience and I’m sticking to it. I can’t wait for “the Taylor Hicks Solo Tour” when he’s really in His Groove. Now, if anyone can tell me how to upload from my Kodak Easy Share site, I will kindly give you some of the thrills my husband and I and 10, 000” other people enjoyed at the concert. Yes, I have video’s, but don’t know how to present them to you. Okay….so I’m a little long winded. That’s my nature. Oh…yeah….Chris rocked, The “E” was fantastic and Mandisa was awesome! Really enjoyed their sets. TayTorTot……out!