Soulpatroller's's Viper Room Recap

Here's my recap of the Idol concert in Los Angeles:

I attended the concert with my friend who, although he's a pop culture junkie, didn't watch the show this season.  He also didn't follow any of the online chatter. My friend is gay, however, so he was well aware of the Mandisa brouhaha.

One of the recurring themes of the evening was how unattractive my friend finds Taylor to be. I get a kick out of this because he's really funny about it.  After scrutinizing Taylor's photo in the souvenir tour book, he complained bitterly about Taylor's "jowls."  I pointed out that the photos are plenty airbrushed.
"Well, what does THAT tell you?" he asked triumphantly.
I gently reminded him that Taylor was anointed People's Sexiest Bachelor. He thinks Taylor bringing sexy back is a likely as the moon being made of cheese.

The Good - Perfect opener, great energy.  My friend applauded politely because even though he hates homophobes more than Taylor's jowls, she did justice to the Chaka Khan song she sang.
Constructive Criticism - Ixnay on the religious pep talk and tone down the "I need a man" desperation.

Duet with Ace - B+

The Good - He sings confidently and well. Very comfortable on stage.
CC - The cheesy chest thing he does almost sent my friend over the edge.  Lose it when you embark on your own tour, Ace.

The Good - Very talented young woman.  Her voice sounded stronger here than on the show.
CC - Too generic. Needs to find a hook, something that sets her apart from all the other talented young singers out there.

Duet with Paris - B

The Good - Sang well on both songs, esp Midnight Train.
CC - Per my friend, please don't ever dance again.  Ever.

The Good - Like Lisa, I also thought he sounded better here than on the show.
CC - My friend was scratching his head as to how Bucky made it as far in the competition as he did.  Needs to improve his stage presence.  It's very weak.

Duet with Kellie - B-

The Good - Vocally she sounded strong.
CC - My friend was obsessed with how big her butt was.  Her outfit was not flattering.  Also, her stage banter was lame.  Dress with a little more class and be more creative with the banter if it's going to be an integral part of your act.

The Good - Strong, great voice.  My friend was most impressed with him, even though this isn't his preferred genre of music.
CC - The pimpage continues with the light show and Burger King flames. This--plus his impressive voice--serves to mask that Chris actually does not have a great stage presence. He needs to figure out how to add variety to his performance to avoid the one-trick pony label.

Duet with Elliott - A

The Good - Elliot sounded wonderful.  His voice is a force to be reckoned with...
CC - ...but is better suited to a smaller venue.  The Laker jersey detracted from his overall presence.  Pay attention to wardrobe.  It matters.

The Good - The black dress looked great on her and my friend enjoyed "Think"...
CC - ...but the dress is woefully inappropriate for the setting and the patented Kat permagrin was in place for all of her songs. Plus, she did not sing Black Horse well.  Toss the pageant gown and demeanor.

The Good - Everything! Heh.
CC - Like Elliott, I think he'll do even better in a smaller venue. I'm heartened by recent interviews in which he seems to recognize that as well.

My friend and I bolted from the AI concert as soon as those cheap aluminum doors closed behind Taylor (after his Ti2TS encore.)  I was hellbent on getting a good position near the teeny tiny stage at the teeny tiny Viper Room.  (I'm petite and claustrophobic so the last thing I wanted was to be stuck in the middle of a bunch of tall and sweaty soulpatrollers! :))  Luckily, I was able to insinuate myself in to a prime location against the stage and right next to the steps leading up to it.  When the guys arrived (LiMBO and E) they all brushed up against me. (Except Tay--but I touched him on his way out ;))  I'm never washing this shoulder again. Hee!

Everyone who has heard LiMBO play says they're great. Y'all weren't lying. Those guys have mind-blowing talent!  My hands were numb from clapping and my voice hoarse from screaming long before Tay arrived.

When he did, he was flanked by two guards (hence no shoulder rub for me.)  Once he was on stage, I could not believe how close he was to me!  It was surreal.  And he looked great.  Very handsome with flawless skin and shiny silver--not gray-- hair.  He is a lot slimmer than he appears on television.

LiMBO played a tremendous set and had the crowd energized but Taylor took the whole shebang to another level.  The soulful whiskey tenor, the "funny" faces, the boundless energy, the generosity to the band and gratitude to the audience were all on display--along with some drinking and cussing :)  No doubt about it: Authentic Original Recipe Taylor was in the hizzouse.

There were moments in their set when it felt like there was no distinction between/among the performers and the audience. As if we were no longer bodies in a room, but a collective spirit or energy.  Words can't do justice to this.  I think it has to be experienced to be understood.

In the middle of all this, I'd totally forgotten that other Soul Packers were expected.  So when Taylor asked if we'd seen a short Jewish guy walking around, I had NO idea what he was talking about. LOL.  A HUGE cheer went up as E bounded onto the stage and took his position (right in front of me!)  He seemed thrilled to be there.  At this point, Elliott has a nice chemistry with LiMBO.  He sang his face off and gave frequent props to the band.  His interaction with Taylor was priceless.  Their mutual respect and affection was tangible and truly wonderful to behold.

It was actually during this kind of moment that Taylor smiled at me!  E was singing his solo on Use Me and Tay was pointing at him, as if to say, "Ain't he awesome?"  My hands were worn out from clapping so instead I did this goofy, waggly (is that a word?) thing with my hands in E's direction.  Tay looked at my hands quizzically then looked right at me and smiled brilliantly! Big fat squee!!

Taylor definitely had a faraway look in his eyes when he left the stage.  E was just the opposite.  He hung around afterward.  I had a chance to tell him that I'm a HUGE fan.  He thanked me and grinned from ear to ear.  His demeanor was very humble, very grateful.  What's not to love with this guy???

I also had a chance to sing the band's praises to the bass player, whose name I'm blanking on.  I have no doubt LiMBO will secure this gig with Taylor.  No way those music execs were immune to the magic and unadulterated joy that swept through the Viper Room last night.  Makes me that much more excited for Tay's upcoming album and tour.