Looong fangirly post that starts out with a rant and ends with some plugging :D
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Pansin ko lang ang malas ko sa pagimbita lately. For two consecutive events, I kinda got stood up. And the people I invited had totally valid reasons for not being able to join me, but I can't help but feel bad about it, hehe.
So yeah, was able to watch Taylor Hicks at TriNoma, albeit alone. What's funny about that is that my friend Christi from RX 93.1 gave me 6 seat stubs so I can watch Taylor up close (yey!), but I only ended up using ONE.
Another funny thing is that three hours before the show, I went to claim the tickets from the Concierge, but was told that there were no tickets from RX. After almost an hour and a series of texts and phone calls, I finally got my six tickets.
Another funny thing is that I forgot to bring my camera; the main reason I wanna watch gigs up close is for better shots. Alas, none of that for me this gig.
So anyway, I used one ticket and was able to give away three. I searched the crowd outside the fenced seating area and picked a girl with an SLR. I approached her, asked if she had a ticket so she could take better shots inside. She had two companions with her so I gave them three tickets in all. At least those seats weren't wasted.
I remember watching Elliott Yamin at TriNoma last September, from the 3rd floor, looking down at the seating area, seeing the empty seats and thinking, "Those seats are mocking me." Hate to say it, but some folks must've seen the seats beside me last Thursday and were probably thinking the same thing. Actually there also were a lot of vacant seats at the back and it would've been better if people outside the seating area could've used those seats, too.
At a bit past 7pm, the band went onstage and was soon followed by Taylor. The crowd's reception wasn't as excited as Elliott's crowd. During Elliott's TriNoma gig, folks were already positioning themselves in strategic spots around the mall 3 hours before the gig, and they screamed (shrieked?) when Elliott came out for soundcheck (which I didn't see Taylor do, though he did soundcheck for both Glorietta and Greenbelt) and when the announcer would say that the gig was about to start in a few minutes. The crowd wasn't really responsive either to the music, there were only a few people who'd clap when Taylor clapped, or cheered when Taylor introduced his band members. In fairness, though, those who did respond clearly enjoyed the music, and showed it! Also, when Taylor waved to the fans in the upper floors, they'd wave back.
As for Taylor's performance, it was awesome! So much energy, and a strong soulful voice, and the cutest dance moves ever :P And yeah, Taylor Hicks is waaay cuter in person than in photos! Aaaaand Taylor and his harmonica rule!!! A lucky guy was able to catch that harmonica when Taylor threw it to the audience at the end of the show. Too bad there wasn't any encore - super bitin pa ako! I wish he'd come back for a major show, if not at the Araneta, even just in Hard Rock or some other venue that could accomodate a good number of fans.
Taylor's band was awesome, too! Got this list from The Official Soul Patrol Forum: Maestro Louie Ocampo - piano and musical director, Rickson Ruiz - percussion, Bobby Taylo - bass, Ric Mercado - guitar, Tats Tolentino - sax, Mike Agorrilla - drums, Marvin Querido - 2nd keys. I don't really know them (sorry!), but I've heard that they're well-respected musicians in the scene. And they're really, really good! They got to shine in different parts of the gig with their solos as Taylor would introduce them to the crowd. It was also great watching Taylor having so much fun with the band. I can't find the names of the back-up singers, but they were good, too!
The meet-and-greet after the show was really quick; I think only 25 stubs were given out for that (my seat stubs from Christi didn't come with meet-and-greet passes). So I just hung out backstage and waited for Taylor to leave (sorry na, professional stalker po talaga ako ng mga musikero). When he passed by, I handed him a Christmas gift - a CD of OPM songs (same CD I burned for Elliott) and a necklace from UP Shopping Center that had the word "pananalig/faith" carved in Alibata. He took the gift bag and was about to sign it when I shouted out, "No, that's for you!" He said, "For me?" and then motioned to hand the gift over to his manager but then ended up walking away with it instead. He didn't say thank you, but I was glad I was still able to give it, though I wasn't able to have my "Heart Full of Soul" book signed. I know Andrew hates it when I get all fangirly like this, but I can't help it. I just keep thinking that if I were a performer, I'd love to know what the audience thinks about my work, and I'd definitely appreciate it when they'd tell me about or show me their appreciation. Sorry na kung loser ang dating, but for me it's just genuine appreciation for their gift of music.
After the gig, I was finally able to meet up with my supposed gig buddies, Andrew and Sam. I had dinner while Sam had coffee at Starbucks, where we found ourselves sitting next Taylor's band. We were later joined by our friends Sandra and Peter, and then it was time to leave Quezon City for traffic-cursed Sucat.
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In the days leading to Taylor's TriNoma gig, I did my homework and uploaded his album to Rabii. I bought the album almost as soon as it was available in the Philippines, but I never really got to listen to it much until now. Unlike Elliott's R&B and Chris Daughtry's alternative rock, Taylor's blues/rock/soul takes a bit more time to appreciate, but I'm learning to love it, nonetheless. I just noticed that of the Top 4 in American Idol Season 5, it's only Kat McPhee's album that I don't have; I'm interested, but I'll probably buy it way later on. What's nice about that AI season is that it really was overflowing with talent (so much so that I ignored the following season), and their music genres are so diverse that each AI fan has a different favorite.
After the TriNoma gig, I also ended up buying Taylor's pre-Idol album, Under the Radar. It was independently released in 2005, produced by Taylor himself, and contains two tracks ("Soul Thing" and "The Deal") that are also found in his self-titled, major label, debut album. The CD had an autographed sleeve, and cost P600. If it weren't so expensive, I would've also bought his other independent album, In Your Time, which also cost P600 and was also autographed. I'm kinda regretting it now because I'm not sure that album would be available anywhere here in the Philippines.
A day before the gig, I also bought Taylor's autobiographical book, "Heart Full of Soul". I'm only in Chapter Two, but it's turning out to be a very nice read. Taylor tells his story so well, with so much emotion, and with a lot of wit, too! You'd really feel bad about his growing up in a broken family, but you'd also be entertained by his witty comments now and then. Like when he was talking about him and Kat McPhee in the Idol Finale, he said: "The two of us didn't talk much to each other as we awaited the big decision that evening. It was nothing personal, though...I liked Katharine and knew she'd worked hard to get this far. Plus, let's face it, she was pretty easy on the eyes, and it was more fun looking at her than Chris Daughtry." :P I wish the TriNoma gig had been longer, or that I had attended Glorietta and Greenbelt, too. Ironic even that it were the gigs closer to my house that I wasn't able attend. It would be awesome to have Taylor Hicks (and, of course, Elliott Yamin!) back in the Philippines :)
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Awesome pics from Taylor's Greenbelt gig, by Eric Fernandez.