Scott Wilks/Amazing Photos
Friday, July 13, 2012 | 11:30 a.m.
Once an “American Idol” winner, always an “American Idol” winner. Season 5 champion Taylor Hicks’ soulful voice, charm and, well, endearingly awkward dancing are on full display in his eight-week headlining run at Indigo Lounge in Bally’s.
The show started right on time at 7 p.m., and for the next 90 minutes, Hicks’ voice, harmonica and tambourine shared the spotlight with his solid and high-energy five-man band. Hicks and Co. could easily fill House of Blues at Mandalay Bay; Hicks, from L.A. (Lower Alabama, natch) and his boys are living proof that there’s nothing like a great jam band in an intimate music venue. Indigo is great, just like the Lounge at the Palms and HOB.
It’s a shame that Indigo doesn’t drown out the slot machines on the casino floor -- Hicks mentioned the “Grease” slot machines more than once and even, hilariously, incorporated the lyrics “Grease is the word … is the word” into one of the songs. However, the audience rewarded Hicks with a standing ovation at show’s end for his talent and patience.
Hicks defeated Katharine McPhee to win the Season 5 crown. On his way to first place, he also displaced Elliot Yamin (3rd) and Chris Daughtry (4th). Full disclosure: As an avid “Idol” fan for many years -- Adam Lambert and David Archuleta are two of my favorites -- I was never a big fan of Hicks or a member of Soul Patrol. But I have newfound respect for Hicks after seeing him live.
The set list: “For the City”; “The Deal” (which he wrote); Delbert McClinton’s “Back to Louisiana”; Elvis Presley’s “In the Ghetto” (one of Hicks’ memorable performances on “Idol”; there is loud applause for the saxophone solo); “Battlefield” (not “Idol” Season 6 winner Jordin Sparks’ hit); Frank Sinatra’s “That’s Life”; “Maybe You Should”; Michael McDonald’s “Taking It to the Street” (another memorable “Idol” performance); “19” (a tribute to the military that received a standing ovation; not the 1980s British hit by Paul Hardcastle); and “Which Right Is Right?” The encore: “Viva Las Vegas,” of course.
SHOW AND A DINNER
Dinner at nearby Bally’s Steakhouse followed Hicks’ concert. It was my first time at the site of the infamous weekend Stirling Brunch, and it won’t be my last. The restaurant is quiet and intimate, and the food and service were top notch.
The filet mignon and prime rib were prepared perfectly, and the sides of macaroni and cheese (the side version, not the lobster macaroni and cheese that’s nearly $50) and garlic mashed potatoes were rich, creamy and delicious, just like I like my … never mind.
An “American Idol” winner and an American steakhouse made for a terrific night at Bally’s. Did Hicks make his fans proud? The answer, Soul Patrol members: Yes. Soul Patrol, Soul Patrol!
Taylor Hicks performs at Indigo Lounge in Bally’s on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. The show is dark Wednesday and Sundays. Check the Bally’s box office for show times and tickets.
Don Chareunsy is editor of VegasDeLuxe.com and senior editor, arts and entertainment, of LasVegasSun.com.
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
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