I picked up some last minute tix to see Taylor Hicks perform Friday night in a beautiful theater in Concord NH. I had no idea Concord was such a small town–it reminded me of the fictional New Hampshire town Grace Metalious wrote about in her scandalous pulp novel, Peyton Place. But, don’t ever say that to anyone who lives there–apparently that book is a sore subject for the live-free-or-die set.
The venue was intimate, and I was right up close. Unfortunately, my camera was confiscated as I came through the door. What’s up with that? The venue reps insisted that the orders came from Taylor, which seemed strange to me, because he normally allows fans to take pictures. I had three separate people tell me that, by the way. Odd. This picture is courtesy of J Frazier, who snapped it at a recent Portland, ME concert. He wore the same T-shirt at both shows, so lets pretend it’s Concord, shall we?
I attended the Taylor show in Cohasset, MA on his last swing through New England. I have to say, that show was my favorite of the four I’ve seen so far. Cohasset was at the beginning of the tour’s summer leg, and Taylor and the band were full of energy. It was a fast-paced, intense show, and I’m glad I was able to capture it with my camera. (check out my videos here) In contrast to the Spring tour, Taylor seemed less concerned with promoting the record. He performed nearly ALL of “Under the Radar, ” and all the self-penned songs from his major label debut. There were some fine covers–particularly the Who’s “Going Mobile, ” and Elton’s John’s “Take me to the Pilot”–the concert’s show-ending barn burner. He stretched familiar tunes out into intense jams that went on over 10 minutes at times. Pretty awesome.
Saturday night’s concert in NH had me working initially to get over the fact that my camera was taken away. Once I dealt with that, I was able to settle in and enjoy the show. He opened with “Give Me the Night” and closed with an unexpected cover–Dan Fogleberg’s “Same Olde Lang Syne” which was lovely, despite being a bit outside his vocal range. This concert had more quiet moments. He performed the best song off his debut album “The Right Place” beautifully, though I wish he hadn’t asked the audience to sing along. Heh. I was really happy when he launched into Paul Pena’s “Gonna Move” which is absolutely my favorite Hicks cover. Familiar Hicks tunes like “Heaven Knows, ” “The Maze” and “Soul Thing” were all turned into funky jams, punctuated by Taylor’s harp playing and penchant for tagging bits and pieces of songs in the middle. The last song before the encore, “Runaround” turned into a rousing “When the Saints Go Marching In.” Good Stuff.
His live show is fabulous. The tour ends in September, at which time he says he’ll be planning his next album. So far, it seems that Taylor has not broadened his fan base beyond his initial Idol base. I say forget Adult Contemporary and go for Adult Alternative with the next album. There’s no doubt in my mind Taylor could gain a broader fan base with the right material.