Wednesday, May 02, 2007
Part 2: Meeting Phil and Sonny in Denver
Taylor’s Angels - Phil and Sonny
Pictures Courtesy of RagsQueen (Mandy) and MsSonny
Slide Show Courtesy of Cydter (Teri)
I’ve been very blessed. I travel around the country watching Taylor Hicks perform. This week-end, I received a very special blessing, one that comes from accepting opportunities to be of service to another. This week-end has been one of those special times.
I’m one of the seven Taylor’s Angels. A couple of weeks ago, we received a letter from Sonny, the caregiver for Phil. Sonny had heard that Taylor’s Angels arranged tickets for fans who wanted to go to a concert but couldn’t afford the ticket. Would we be able to help Phil see Taylor at the Paramount Theatre in Denver, CO?
Of course, we would. We found a donor. Not just a single donor. A couple who gave up their seats so Sonny could sit with Phil. You see, Phil is very special. Phil is a high-functioning autistic. He has Asperger’s Syndrome. Talk to Phil over the phone and you’d never know there was anything special about him. But meet Phil, and you will lose your heart.
Sonny played Taylor’s CD for Phil quite a lot, and Phil quickly became a Taylor-atic, just like the rest of us. Phil wanted to see his Idol in person, to hear him sing, to watch him dance, just to be in the same room as Taylor. And now, Taylor’s Angels have made his dream a reality.
But Taylor’s Angels’ work stops with the ticket. Taylor’s Angels doesn’t arrange meet and greets or any other type of meeting with Taylor. They arrange only concert tickets or memberships to Taylor Hicks Headquarters. And Taylor’s Angels are in no way affiliated with Taylor Hicks, The Firm, American Idol or anything else for that matter. We are a group of Taylor Hicks’ fans that want to help others.
But as I said, fulfilling Phil’s dream doesn’t stop with a concert ticket. We met in the lobby of the Grand Hyatt. In Phil’s hand was a small purple gift bag with purple tissue paper. As he handed me the bag, Sonny told me that Phil had gone to the store earlier in the morning to pick out a gift for me. Wrapped up tight and neat was a beautiful silver necklace with pink crystals filling out the special word, “Angel”. I was deeply touched by his generosity. Sonny helped me wrap it around my wrist so I could wear it like a bracelet.
Our adventure was just beginning. We walked over to the Paramount Theatre and stumbled upon the opportunity to meet Taylor. I was going to capture the moments with my camera. Both were so excited about getting to meet Taylor! When Phil found out he threw up both hands and cheered. (The meet and greet was NOT arranged by Taylor's Angels.)
We had to wait a while before we could go in. A local radio station was taking in a group of people for their M&G, which also included listening to the sound check! Lucky bunch! Soon it was time for us to go in. Where was Sonny? We had to go in without her, but I let the doorman know she was coming. While we were waiting in line to meet Taylor, Sonny appeared. She had gone to get me a glass of tea because I was so thirsty!
As we got closer to the table, which was outside behind the theatre, we could see Taylor wearing a light blue button-down shirt, jeans, and green cap with “Life is Good” in a circle on the front. That’s so true – life is good, especially when you let yourself live it!
Sonny went first. While she had her time with Taylor, I was snapping away! I wanted to make sure she had lots of pictures to remember the day by. Then it was Phil’s turn. He sat down in the chair next to Taylor and chatted with him about wrestling. Phil wanted to know who Taylor’s favorite wrestler is, but Taylor ever so politically correct, said there was a number of wrestlers that he liked! Way to go Taylor!
Phil continued to talk to Taylor while Taylor signed what Phil had. Phil thanked Taylor for a good year, good music and for Taylor’s Angels. Taylor responded with something like “that’s great!” Phil thanked Taylor for Taylor’s Angels! Before we left, I leaned over to tell Taylor that Phil was a recipient of Taylor’s Angels. Taylor was pleased and responded with “that’s good”.
With the meet & greet over, we walked to the restaurant that a number of Soul Patrollers were going for dinner. The place was crowded and a bit warm, so we left and walked around the corner to the Hard Rock Café. We were able to be seated immediately, and our server got us out in record time!
The Paramount Theatre has a very strict “no camera” policy, and Taylor’s management was going to honor that, so there were going to be no pictures. Well, at least not from me. I try to follow the rules as best I can. I had already taken my best camera back to the hotel, and then decided to put my smaller camera in Sonny’s car for safe keeping. I would get it when we went around back to stand by the buses.
Show time! The doors opened and we went in. Phil and Sonny stopped by the merchandise table to pick up tee shirts. I had to make a pit stop, so I went in search of the ladies’ room. We met at our seats, which were on the front row, on the right side of the stage. Front row! Phil was going to be close to the stage!
Since the opening act didn’t show up, Taylor was coming on stage at 8:30 rather than his usual 9:00. That was fine with me! I watched Phil from time to time to see how he was reacting. Think intense. Think drinking it all in. Occasionally a smile would creep in. Phil was taking it all in. During “The Runaround”, Phil even did a Taylor-twirl. Just like Taylor does! Too bad I couldn’t take pictures.
At the end of the show, Taylor came back for his usual encore. This one was longer than usual. When the encore was over, Taylor started off the left side of the stage, and then came back around the front of the stage. He was going to shake hands as he walked off the stage! I moved Phil up close to the stage and then I moved back. Sonny joined Phil. And Taylor didn’t disappoint them – he slapped hands with Phil and Sonny. The look on Phil’s face – the smile! His night had been made! Taylor had grabbed his hand!
We decided to go back behind the theatre to see the buses. Soon Taylor walked out with security. Phil moved close to the front and got Sonny’s set list signed. Phil was so proud of what he had done!
After Taylor left, we stayed around a little bit longer. I took pictures of them with Brian Less. Both were just thrilled! And I was glad I was there to take their pictures!
We said our good-byes, and Phil gave me a hug and thanked Taylor’s Angels and me again for the ticket. And everything else. We got into Sonny’s car and she dropped me off at the hotel. While it’s all still fresh, here I sit writing up the adventure.
Yes, I’ve been blessed. But the blessing came from being with Phil and Sonny. It came from knowing that something special had happened tonight. Sonny got her wish fulfilled, and Phil had met his idol.
Yes, I was truly blessed. Thank you for reminding me that blessing come in ways we can’t always comprehend. Thank you, Phil, for your wonderful smile and company. Thank you, Sonny, for asking Taylor’s Angels for help. It was our pleasure. Yes guys, as Taylor often sings, ‘You’ve come to the right place, yes you did’. And I was there!.
Tags: Taylor Hicks, American Idol, Soul Patrol, Taylor's Angels