Plantwalker's Tacoma, WA Recap

I don’t post often, so this might be of little interest, but I have a few observations about the Idols’ Tacoma appearance. Kirsten already posted a great recap, but I saw a few things she didn’t, and we had different perceptions and reactions in a few cases.

First, let me say it was great fun to meet another mj-er! We had told each other what we’d be wearing, but early in the afternoon I hadn’t changed into that top yet, so she didn’t spot me; and I didn’t approach her because, although she was dressed right, she looked far too young to be the age she claimed to be. We didn’t make contact until late in the afternoon, after I’d gone to my hotel room and changed into the red shirt and shiny blue jacket (in honor of Taylor). Then she approached me, and we were off to the races (having verified that, in fact, neither of us was an axe-murderer or even remotely creepy.)

As Kirsten has said, she suffered a dreadfully long delay at the border. She still arrived at the venue by 2-ish, which in most of the cities, would have been plenty of time to catch the idols at The Fence. Alas, in Tacoma they were early. I hadn’t planned on scoping out the buses at all, but on one trip in the hotel elevator – which has a glass side looking out on the Dome parking lot – I saw a big bus maneuvering into position to park. That’s them! I thought – and hustled my buns out there. It was just past 1. So I lucked into an event I hadn’t even planned on attending. It was just after 1, and the group waiting by the fence was small - two dozen, tops. There were 5 buses in all. The ladies’ bus was 4th in line, but the guys’ bus was the one closest to us.

It seemed to take forever for anyone to emerge. Every now and then someone in the crowd would shriek, “TAYLOR!!” or “CHRIS!!” but to no avail. The first person we recognized to come out was Ace. He came right over to us at the fence. I have to describe for you the very unsatisfactory arrangement there. We were outside of a 5-1/2’ chain-link fence, on a strip of grass and dirt about 10’ wide with a wall on one side and a four-foot drop into a loading dock on the other. Not being an autograph collector, I hung back from the main crowd and just watched the goings-on.

Ace visited with people for a good 10 minutes or more. He’s awfully cute but that beanie is just icky. He finally went back by the buses and talked with people (staff) over there. Other Idols came off the buses, and most of them went straight into the Dome, giving us just a quick wave. Mandisa looked exhausted. Paris was wrapped in a color-splashed lightweight giant scarf-like thing and wore fuzzy blue footwear (slippers?) She was limping badly (left leg sore). She came out to the fence later for a few minutes. I didn’t see her well that time. Kat had on a white tee and black pants and was carrying a laptop case slung over a shoulder. She wasn’t limping at all. Didn’t see Elliott or Lisa at all.

Taylor went into the building but came out after a bit. He had on khaki shorts, a gray tee, a Gibson cap and sunglasses. And sneakers. Regular-guy-looking, but a very attractive regular guy. Great, great legs. The first thing he did when he got to the fence was sort of bend over to look at the people standing on the narrow ledge of the loading dock and say he hoped nobody would fall off. Later the security people moved us away from the fence, down to the sidewalk. He looked relaxed and happy. I think somebody asked him to take off the shades so we could see his eyes. Oh, wow. They are dark, and deep, smiling and intense at the same time. He had a sense of personal privacy about him, but I would not call him “guarded.” In fact he looked directly at the people he was talking to, really looked at them, looking for contact. He scanned back my way once and may have wondered who that grinning fool by the tree was.

After Taylor had taken care of everyone and gone back in, nothing much happened for a long time. A young mother with a boy about 7 years old came up. The boy’s jersey said “Elliott and Ace are MY IDOLS.” They had 3 or 4 gift bags to give the guys, and were so disappointed they’d missed Ace. The mother persuaded one of the guards to take a bag to Ace and ask him to come back. Finally Ace came over, and invited mom and kid inside the fence. The crowd let out a big Ooooh! and we all watched as Ace just lit up while talking to the boy. He was very sweet with the kid, and talked to them for maybe 10 minutes.

After we’d been relocated to the sidewalk, Bucky came out and signed things and had photos taken with a lot of people. His hair is just gorgeous. I want it. On me, that is. He has such a sweet face and manner.

A young couple came up about then with a sign for Ace. They’d been to the Portland show the previous day, and missed him there too. They were crushed to have missed him again. Well, the woman was crushed. Her companion was good-humored about it. He asked who all had come out. Before I could answer, he said, “Not Taylor. He NEVER comes out.” Where do people get that stuff? I said Taylor almost always comes to meet the fans, and that I thought all the guys did real well at that, but the ladies not so much. A Kat fan agreed with that assessment.

After another 15-20 minutes of nothing much happening, I went to put on my red shirt. And that was it for the fence action. The only other really fun thing before the show was that Kirsten and I went to the hotel lounge for a drink – Sprite for her, and I ordered a red snapper. The bartender didn’t know the drink but she asked what it’s made of, and she came up with a tasty concoction. I rarely drink hard liquor, but with nuts (amaretto) and fruit (cranberry juice), I figured this one was practically a health food. We toasted to Taylor, and headed to the Dome.

OK, I must differ from Kirsten regarding the Tacoma Dome. I loved it. It’s one of the biggest structures anywhere with a roof supported by wood beams. A well-informed usher told us all the beams came from lumber salvaged from the Mt. St. Helen’s damage area. Cool. I was so smitten with the web-like pattern they made, I took pictures of the Dome’s ceiling. OK, so I’m a geek.

Kirsten had a super seat, marred only by the obnoxious people sandwiching her, as she describes in her recap. But seeing her photos and video clip, I’d say it was worth it! My seats were decent but a ways up, which was cool because I could see most of the crowd and who they stood for, waved lights for, etc. Pleasant spot except for the shrieker next to me, who was 13 and so had some excuse, and the other shrieker behind me, who was 35 and so had no excuse at all. I took earplugs but the only time I really needed them was when that woman cut loose, but of course she never gave warning so my plugs were of no use.

The helpful usher had said the Dome’s acoustics were “echo-ey” but I thought everyone sounded quite good. I loved that the bass jarred my bones, but my ears never felt assaulted. Somehow the sound was strong without being overly loud, except for the shriekers and a couple of times in Chris’s set (and even then it wasn’t painfully loud).

OK, random observations:
Find of the night – Bucky was wearing a wallet chain! A small-link, unobtrusive chain peeking out from under his shirt over his left hip.

Mandisa gave me chills. Absolutely the best choice to open the show.

I loved Lisa’s performance. Her voice got a harsh edge to it when she was belting, but when she dialed down the volume it was so lovely. When she started at the keyboard, a young male voice hollered from somewhere above me, “I love you, Lisa!” She looked like she blushed and said, “I love you too.” Whoops and hollers from above.

No sign of a limp from Paris during the show, so don’t know what was going on outside by the buses.

I hope Ace doesn’t blow out a knee doing that ramp jump. It’s fun to see, but geez. It ain’t worth it, guy.

The Bucky-Kellie duet was better than I expected based on recaps. I quite enjoyed it. Enjoyed all of Bucky’s set. He got a LOT of response when he asked people to wave lights, and from where I sat, more people sang along with him on Drift Away than sang when Chris asked them to on Dead or Alive.

Chris was powerful but it’s not my kind of music, especially with so little variety in his set, and I just don’t get the view of him as sexy. He seems focused, decent, and hard-working, though, and I wish him well.

I thought Elliott was in very good voice. I didn’t pick up on the “catches” Kirsten heard. He looked like he was having a good time, and was so much more comfortable on stage than he was on AI.

Kat’s voice was strong on all three songs. She looked like she had fun on Think. She hit a flat note close to the end of SOTR that was jarring, but other than that sang well. But she did not look the part of a Big & Sexy spokesperson. The lank hair does not flatter her.

Taylor! The whole show went fast, and Taylor’s sent went by much too fast, even with 5 songs. I want more! He moved so freely, and he had that sparkle in his eyes, which I could see thanks to the jumbotron screens. He sounded great. His voice came through especially well on DIMYP, maybe because it’s a slower song and vocally demanding. He did that moving his head back and forth in front of the mike thing twice. Very cool. I was worried we wouldn’t hear him play harmonica. He got deep into TITTS before picking it up. Then the band stopped and it was just him wailing away on it. He did a short bit with the tambourine just before leaving the stage, when looked back over his shoulder at us with kind of goofy expression that might have meant, “Oops, I should have picked that up sooner.” He looked happy the whole time he was up there. I do wish he’d have taken just a few more beats between songs. The songs themselves weren’t rushed, but moving from one to the next felt too quick. !
 He didn’t do any chitchat with the audience as the others did, which was fine, but it would have been nice to have a little more breathing room – and cheering time – between songs.

Oh, the towel thing. When Kat and Taylor came out on the top ramp during LIA, she was flicking the towel at him. Then she went around behind him and made like she was going to wipe his head with it. He waved his hands like he was swatting away a big fly, then got the towel from her. He tossed it over his shoulder and carried it around until later in the song. When Elliott sang, Taylor fanned him with it as if to say E was really hot (hawt?) The other cute thing was that when he called out each singer’s name at the end, when he got near Chris, Chris sort of pushed him away. They were both cracking up. Don’t know what that was about, but they were having fun.

Well that’s it. It was great fun.