MK's Louisville, KY Recap

Here’s my recap of my Louisville adventure. Sit back; this is going to take awhile.

I got to my motel about 1:30 and thought I would walk over to Freedom Hall to see if I could get a little peek at the Idols off the buses. I’m not big on autographs, but I decided to take along my front page of the Messenger-Inquirer for Taylor to sign. We were working on that paper during the finale, so I hung onto it for old time’s sake.

I walked the long way around. It was hotter than you-know-where. I thought admission to the fairgrounds was $5, but it was $7. Mercifully, I found extra money in my fanny pack. It was about 1:45 when I got there, and there were about 30 people there, because school is already back in session. Most were for Ace, but there were Chris and Taylor fans mixed in as well. We were told the buses would be there any minute. I thought, “yeah, right,” but about 2 o’clock, there they were. Bucky got off first to wild cheers, even from non-Bucky loving me. Then Ace came out and lit up like a kid on Christmas morning and came over to schmooze. If I ran for office in Colorado, I want this guy on my side working the crowds. He is that smooth. Chris came out, gave a salute and disappeared. They started moving the crowd back to accommodate the buses. I figured that would be enough cover for Taylor to duck the mob and avoid the heat. Elliott unloaded some items and disappeared. I was looking around, and all of a sudden, I heard shouts of “Taylor, Taylor,” and there he was. Gibson guitar shirt, shades, khaki shorts, looking very athletic. I figured I had a very small window of opportunity and worked my way over to his end. I don’t really remember what I said, something like, “would you please?” I wasn’t going to keep him out there with inane chit-chat He signed it and I thanked him and he said “yah welcome” in that voice like butter on a hot waffle.

I stood back and took some pictures which may or may not turn out. It was insufferably hot, but he signed and signed, I think still a little unnerved about the effect he has on people. I heard some “don’t cry, honey” “don’t shake,” “ah’m not going anywhere,” and wished someone “happy birthday, dahlin.” I remembered my request on the scary board, so at one point, I yelled out, “how about some riffs of ‘My Old Kentucky Home’ tonight?’” I got the sense he considers this an obligation more than anything else, but he owed us nothing. It really seemed like he was meeting people outside of the Flora-bama. He didn’t act like a big shot at all. I was really happy and walked back to call everyone I knew.

Flowersky came at 5:45 and we had a delightful dinner at Cracker Barrel. We walked right in and were out about 7 to go to the concert a block away. At this point, I had used up my serendipity. The traffic was horrible. She makes a nifty U-turn to get us in the right lane. But we sit, and sit. It takes us 50 minutes to get to the fairground entrance, and they started hassling Flowersky about the fair price not being included with will call tickets. I threw some money at them just to let us out of there. Really, the most poorly organized thing I have ever been to. I get to the turnstile at 7:55, and the ticket takers are sharing a scanner. What? I ran in, went to the restroom and went waaaaaaaaaaay up to my seat, halfway back, three-fourths of the way back. Thank goodness for binoculars.

8:15, it’s showtime. For the recap, I’ll just give answers to nagging questions I had at season’s end …

Mandisa: Why do smart women make foolish choices? If she had never picked Shania Twain … sigh. I was so thrilled she was back, and she was terrific. She looked fantastic, and the drummer, whose smile lit up the arena with her flirtations, should take her up on them. Her inspirational talk really hit home here in the Bible belt.

Ace: Why don’t I get him? Ace quickly squandered the equity he built up outside. Waaay too cheesy, the chest-pounding, the rose and rose shirt. When you get the loudest cheers for putting on a hat, you might want to rethink that musical career. Still, he has so much charisma, I think he’ll end up in a good place. Was happy he didn’t kill himself on the jump.

Lisa: Remind me, why did she get the pimp spot during the season previews? Because she’s talented, darn it! She got waylaid amid all of the personalities this season. “Someone Saved My Life tonight” was one of the first half highlights.

Paris: Old or Young? Sorry, I’m old, so I love old Paris. “Midnight Train to Georgia” was great. I pulled a hamstring watching her dance. She’s a teen; she doesn’t want to play 45, so I’m not going to hold that against her.

Bucky. Why is Bucky still here? That was my weekly question. Like Ace, he immediately squandered his good will with his performance. He did sound pretty good on the boys’ number, so I’ll give him that. And, he was playing in a state with thousands of Buckys, so lots of screams.

Pickler: Fake or real? I wrestled with this all season. I can testify now, absolutely real. A kid had a “Pickler for President” sign that she noticed and proclaimed “you’re going to go far in life,” which was cute. But then she said, “Just kidding. “ Huh? She got all flustered, realizing how terrible that sounded. Everyone loved it. Sounded great with Walking After Midnight, when she finally revealed the red top. Hooray! If she sticks with the country crowd, she could make it.

Chris: Will my ears stop bleeding? OK, I don’t enjoy rock music. Honestly, but from the preshow montage, there was no question who the crowd was waiting for. SCREAMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM. Here come the flames. It’s Tuesday night again. But an unexpected thing happens. I find myself bobbing my head to the music. Strange sounds come from my throat, “Wanted, Dead or Alive.” He was sensational, absolutely born for arena rock. The crowd was nuts, and Chris loved it, absolutely loved it. No doubt in my mind who the big money-maker’s going to be in this bunch, and it kills me to admit it. He even smiled during the duet with Elliott. Even made a note of it

Elliott: Is he going to get lost on the big stage? No, the graduate of the Taylor Hicks Performance Academy held his own with Chris and did great on his numbers. I was happy for him.

Katharine: Why, oh why did you finish #2? Some mysteries are best unexplained, but she is more beautiful in person. Keep your hair natural like that. I was waiting for her to kill herself on the dress in “Black Horse.” That was lukewarm, but she did dance a little with the cast, so good for you. I allowed myself one snarky moment, yelling out, “woo” when she said a cow had spit on her. I was happy she didn’t commit another faux pas by perpetuating stereotypes: “How many of you married your first cousin?” With my nastiness out of my system, I really wanted chills for “Rainbow.” Nope. Sorry. But many of the crowd gave her a genuine standing ovation.

OK, was it worth hours on the phones and online discussing the object of my affection? Of course, but it was probably one of his weakest nights. It took me most of “Jailhouse Rock” to find him. Ecstasy. He’s wearing the lavender shirt just for me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Black jacket and tennis and gel (I’m non-gel person, but that’s OK) But that number was quickly extinguished and lost if you weren’t on the floor.

I LOVED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ‘Hollywood Nights” I want to again throttle that critic who said he merely used the guitar as a prop. He deftly worked in “Freedom Hall” in the lyrics. I went nuts over the Chuck Berry duck walk. “Living for the City” was good. I screamed when he said “I’m going to take you to church,” and the woman in front of me gave me a dirty look. Honey, you don’t have to act like you really are in church. My section was dead, dead, dead.

Anyway, at this point, Taylor hit the wall vocally and labored through DIMYP. I read so many accounts of this being such an emotional high point of the night, but it wasn’t. “Streets” was fine, did the harp on the floor, but that was pretty short. Honestly, I don’t think he was getting enough love from the crowd to give it back in return. A lot of the little Taylor nuances get lost in a big place. I had feared the schedule this week would be too much for him, and it was. I just wanted to go out a buy him a cart of Nicorettes so he would stop smoking before it kills himself and his career. You have to do it, kiddo. There were enough good things in his set, all of my favorite moves were there, so I give him a B overall.

After the lackluster group numbers – no T&K interaction, we left and lingered by the buses again. I figured they would make a quick getaway for Chicago, but soon there was Taylor again with soul-piercing brown eyes I hadn’t seen earlier. Very serious, very intense. I can’t imagine how late it would be before he could calm down enough to sleep. Ace said on TV the boys had been out until 4 a.m. Friday in the entertainment district, and now I understand.

I held back to enjoy the crowd’s reaction of receiving autographs. Shouts of joy. One woman banged her hand on the top of a vehicle for joy. Another came through shrieking with a signed CD. Someone even had a signed Pop-Tart. Good luck with that. Hairdresser, an original Soul Patroller, was thrilled with a signed fan she had made, saying she would keep that the rest of her life. It was a good note to go out on … I hope he took enough love from these people not to ignore Kentucky on the solo tour.