Idol Winner

I remember walking through the airport a week after Taylor Hicks won the fifth season of American Idol and seeing his face on the cover of every magazine. He had hit the big time after years of playing honkytonks and warehouse dancehalls in the South.

He was always my favorite Idol winner because he was authentic and enthusiastic about performing and singing. Yet, his first CD was filled with overproduced power-pop songs and it bombed.

Hicks played a Sunday night gig recently to a small but enthusiastic audience at Anthology. His backup players were superb musicians, and they opened the show with a heavy percussion version of the Rolling Stones’ "Not Fade Away." Hicks took the lead vocal and proved he'd still be on the magazine covers if enough people could see him perform live.

Hicks ended his 90-minute-plus performance with a surprising ’70s power-rock cover of La Roux's hit "Bulletproof" that was the highlight of the show. He sang and played a mean blues harmonica on Nick Lowe's "Battlefield" and did a roadhouse-rocking cover of "Love the One You're With" that put Stephen Stills to shame. Hicks included several original songs that all sounded great live but don't translate well to studio production. Taylor Hicks has still got the music in him, you just have to see him perform to appreciate it.

  • Concert: Taylor Hicks
  • Date: August 22
  • Venue: Anthology
  • Seats: main floor, center bar stool

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I enjoyed your comments about Taylor Hicks. I always thought he had a great deal of talent. Especially as an musician/arranger. I wouldn't call his first CD after AI a total bomb. It was certified platinum and probably would have sold better if it had had better support. But they turned their back on him very early. A story in itself. I still enjoy it. But enjoyed more, his pre AI cd's that he had done, one at a very young age. His 2nd post AI cd is mostly good, but sometimes I think he tried a little too hard. He'll get it just right yet, I think. He is an extremely good live performer and has quite a voice.

Nice to see a well thought out review of a guy who is an awesome entertainer and great singer with a fantastic band. Taylor can sing with any band, but this one is home grown and they mesh well in style and talent. Taylor wasn't handled well right out of the gate from his Idol win. I don't think they really expected him to win. They knew who was most marketable. But now that is all over and maybe Taylor will find his niche and either make it himself, or find someone who believes in him. He can sing pop, but he isn't a pop singer and won't make the money grinding out pop tunes. Unfortunately we didn't get to see another of his original songs, Hold Onto Your Love and what he and the boys do with it, or the song Maybe You Should off his current album, The Distance. Luckily, they are on You Tube. Check them out among others. His first album didn't really bomb. It sold 750,000 out of the box and went platinum. Idols the past few years would have loved those numbers. Thanks for checking out his live music and giving him and his band some props. I was privileged to make this my 8th time seeing this consummate and hard working performer.

Thanks Katydid and mitsee. It's nice to know there are others that appreciate Taylor's talent. When I watched him on AI he always made me feel good and put a smile on my face. I got that same vibe watching him live at Anthology (a great music venue). I'm very limited in reviewing him for the Reader because they have a small word limit. But his is a story of an immense talent with no fit in the new music business for wide spread success. He kind of reminds me of Wayne Newton in a sense that Newton could never make it as a pop singer via the record business, but found a niche in Vegas as a live performer, and became an entertainment icon. I think Taylor would benefit from a long term gig at one of the hipper Vegas hotel/casinos such as the Hard Rock, or the Palms, with a nightly show not necessarily a headliner to start but in one of their lounges and build up a post Idol following, that would take him into the role of a headliner he deserves.

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