As the American Idol Tour wound down this summer, it became a tradition: Taylor Hicks (sometimes alone, sometimes with pals named Elliot and Bucky) would surprise customers at some local watering hole after a show.
It took place again last week, two hours after the American Idol winner sang in front of 17,000 people at HP Pavilion in San Jose. Hicks played guitar and harmonica, while singing for about 150 devoted fans in an after midnight surprise show at a local club.
A fan in attendence blogged about the event for The Mercury News and stated emphatically that no one there was let down, as Hicks ran through a medley of soul and funk hits. The audience was about 85 percent female and flashbulbs popped and video cameras ran throughout the performance.
"There's something about this year, with the variety and genres of music that has brought in a variety of people, young and old," said Modesto accountant Alice Pierson, 53, who stood in line outside Club Angel four hours before Hicks took the stage. "It's renewed an interest in music for the Baby Boomers."
Pierson, like millions of others, said she was impressed with Hicks's "charisma, looks and voice."
Marcy Feldman, 46, a Los Angeles-based independent consultant for television programming, caught the band in Birmingham and LA. Heck, she enjoyed it even when Hicks didn't show up.
"Their energy is amazing," she said. "You can't sit still. I'm stuck in the seventies. I love Billy Joel and Michael McDonald. There is nothing in the last 15 years that has interested me. But this has brought me back to music."
The band's manager referred to venues such as the San Jose joint as "home for Taylor." Dean Sanders even said the smaller and less crowded, the better.
It's a refreshing point of view from a singer that's bound to become an evern bigger star before the year is over.