On the way to the concert last night I told the bride, "Did you know I've been looking forward to this concert for a long time?" She acted so surprised and responded with a "Nuh-uh!!!!!" She didn't graduate Cum Laude from Lipscomb for no reason. She's articulate, that bride o' mine!.
Before I get into the concert review, here's a couple of observations. First, they say there's not a bad seat at the Ryman. I found out last night that there actually can be a bad seat. It's when you sit behind a 7-flippin'-foot-tall guy. I had several camera shots blocked by his big ol' melon. (The shot to the left was my view for most of the night.) And to top it all off, he acted bored for the entire 2 1/2 hours. I think his wife must have dragged him there. Second, I've mentioned before what a saint the bride is. She's a must kinder, gentler, sweeter human being than I could ever hope to be. Case in point - as we watched two women in their 30's attempt (unsuccessfully) to squeeze into their seats last night, we both had reactions. The bride said, "I guess obesity is really becoming a problem." Nice, sweet, kind. Of course my reaction (I kept it inside until we were walking back to the car after the concert) was a little different. My first thought was "On the back of the ticket it ought to say 'if your butt is wider than 30 inches, you must purchase 2 tickets'." See how much nicer she is than me? OK, enough of that.
A band called "The Greyhounds" opened up the show and played for about 30 minutes. Decent band. I think alot of people didn't realize there was an opening act. I heard a guy behind us say, "I thought Taylor Hicks was supposed to play tonight?" There seemed to be alot of talking going on for the entire set. I had the feeling that most of the crowd there last night didn't go to alot of concerts.
Taylor opened up with Gonna' Move, and was greeted with squeals, cheers and applause. He followed with Heaven Knows. A few songs later he did his current single, Just to Feel That Way, and seemed to be losing his voice. I heard someone later say that he'd been battling some kind of bug. But he came back with one of his better performances of the night in Give Me Tonight. He stopped every now and then to talk to the audience, things like: thanks for voting for me on American Idol; feeling the need to say "How-deeee!" since he had been in Minne Pearl's dressing room earlier; and how much he loved being at the Ryman. He seems to love performing for and interacting with the audience. The decibel level went through the roof whenever he started dancing or playing the harmonica. The female population in the audience was particularly enthusiastic when he sang the first verse and chorus of Let's Get it On.
My favorite songs/performances of the night were The Right Place (where his Ray Charles moves came out in full force), Supertramps' Goodbye Stranger, an old jazz song that Ray Charles covered called Compared to What, and a great jazzy/bluesy rendition of Will the Circle be Unbroken.
His band was, as they say, tight. I enjoyed watching and listening to both the drummer and the bass player the most. They were awesome.
As I said earlier, I had been looking forward to this concert for a long time. The guy we all saw on American Idol was just a small part of the real performer. His energy level is always at the very highest level when he's performing, and the audience appreciates it.
Wonder what Simon would have thought of last night's show.....