Tour Re-Cap – Manchester, NH  July 5 – Opening Night

I left Boston at 5:30.  Oops.  I ended up cutting it really close.  I got caught in some traffic.  I didn’t enter the Verizon Wireless Arena until after 7 pm.  I didn’t even get the chance to peruse the merchandise table!  Luckily the show started about 15 minutes late.

A picture named AceMandisa1NH5.jpgMy seats were 14th row.  And I’m sorry, but I’m spoiled.  I’m used to 1-3rd row seats for these Idol shows.  I had to watch most of the concert on the big screen because of all the people in front of me.  And the sound from where I was sitting was really muddled and distorted.  I can’t remember that being the case at all Season 3 and 4 tour.  Nevertheless, I enjoyed the show.

Mandisa was up first.  She sang “I’m Every Woman” and then “If I Was Your Woman”, which she dedicated to Ruben Studdard.  I wonder if he’s heard she has a crush on him? Heh.  Right after, she gave a little speech directed at the young folk, telling them they can accomplish whatever they set out to do.  She quoted her favorite scripture.  Her aim was to send a positive message out to the kids in the audience.

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She began singing “I’m your Angel” and then Ace Young joined her, to very loud cheers from the audience.  After Mandisa left the stage, Ace performed “Father Figure”–he did a really nice job.  That song was his personal best on the show, in my opinion.  His next song was “Harder to Breathe” which gave Ace a chance to rock out a little. At one point, he unbuttoned and took off his jacket.  The crowd liked that A LOT.  Heh.

Lisa Tucker was next.  She performed “Signed Sealed and Delivered” pretty much like she did on the show–it was a bit too school pageant for me.  She fared better when she sat down at an electric piano and sang “Your Song” (one of my favorite Elton John songs) and “Someone Saved My Life Tonight”.  She was wearing a Micheal Jackson shirt, which seemed like a dubious choice…hmmm. 

A picture named LisaParis1NH5.jpgParis Bennett joined Lisa for a duet on “Waterfalls”.  The two youngest Idols were a cute pair.

Next, Paris sang “Midnight Train to Georgia” and she busted out a few dance moves.  And during her next song, “Crazy in Love” she showed the audience what she’s really got.  That girl does love to dance.  She had a routine that involved a chair.  No, it wasn’t raunchy, but she does love to shake her booty.  She really seemed to be having a great time up there.  However, I like Paris best when she’s old school.  I’m a little disappointed she didn’t sing at least one jazz standard tonight.

Bucky Covington was next with “Superstition”.  The band, by the way, was really good.  The lead guitarist was HOT.  He played a pretty wild solo during this song.  Bucky (and the other Idols too) came down off the stage to shake hands with audience members.  Bucky’s second number was “Drift A picture named Bucky3NH5.jpgAway”.  To be honest with you, if I never hear “Drift Away” on Idol again, I’ll be happy.  My one beef with Idol is that list of like, I dunno, 1000 songs that are cleared.  The same tunes are sung over and over again. I would have loved to hear Bucky do a contemporary song (a Kid Rock tune would have been awesome).  But “Drift Away” was suited his raspy vocals.

Kellie Pickler joined Bucky on stage to sing “You’re the One That I Want” from Grease.  The arrangement was twanged up a bit for the two country Idols, and they made a very charming couple.  Hee.

A picture named Kellie1NH5.jpgNext, Kellie sang Patsy Cline’s “Walking after Midnight”.  Afterward, she told a story about the finale.  Apparently her fly was open during the entire girls medley. She had me cracking up.  On the show, Kellie came off like a caricature rather than a real person.  Off the show, she’s warm and funny.  Who woulda thunk it.  She briefly mentioned that she had her wisdom teeth out the week before, and that she wasn’t sure whether she’d make it tonight or not.  She made a crack that her faced swelled up so much, she thought she’d blow away like a helium balloon.  After her anecdotes, Kellie performed Melissa Ethridge’s “I’m the One”.  

 

INTERMISSION

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There were three screens.  A big one in the middle behind the Idols and two on the sides.  The side screens were always close-ups of the Idols performing.  When it wasn’t showing Idol closeups, the middle screen would flash the Idols names in BIG letters while they performed (lest we forget? Heh) or some crazy hilarious dancing animation, like on the show.  During Paris’s performance there was a giant moon.  The middle screen was also used to show clips of the Idols from the TV show. 

 

Chris Daughtry opened the second half of the show with Led Zepplin’s “A Whole Lotta Love”  Chris is gonna give us every inch of his love!  Alrighty!  During this tune, the big screen behind him flashed groovy 60’s psychedelic dancers.  That was pretty cheesy.  Despite that, Chris sounded great.  Next, he picked up an acoustic guitar and performed “Wanted Dead or Alive”.  This tune was one of his best on Idol, and he didn’t disappoint here.  The crowd LOVED Chris.

A picture named Elliott2NH5.jpgHe sang an abbreviated version of Styx’s “Renegade” and then Elliott Yamin joined him to sing Nickleback’s “Savin’ Me”.  I really liked it.  Elliott rocking out is good.  Chris played guitar for this tune too.  It was actually pretty cool to see Idols playing instruments.  It’s closer to how they perform in the real world.  With the kids finally allowed to do what they do best, they nearly always perform better on tour than they do on the show. 

Elliott’s next song was the sweet R&B tune, “All My Love”.  Very nice.  Then he bluesed it up on Elvis’s “Trouble”.  I was happy he reprised this song.  Last but not least, he sang the great “Moody’s Mood for Love”.  The crowd ate it up.  Elliott said that tonight was his first concert EVER.  Wow.  And he didn’t seem nervous at all.  Pretty cool.

Katharine McPhee was unable to perform tonight, as most of you know by now.  She has Bronchitis and Laryngitis, and will probably miss a few more shows.   There were signs posted on the entrance doors, but it was never formally announced during the performance.

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At the point where Kat would have performed, Elliott, Ace, Chris and Bucky (both strumming guitars) took the stage and dedicated “Patience” to her.  While they sang, the big screen showed clips of Katharine from the show.  There was some real nice a cappella harmony on this song.  Afterward, as Ace left the stage, he threw one of his trademark beanies out into the audience.

A picture named Girls1NH5.jpgMandisa, Kellie, Lisa and Paris came out next and sang “I’m a Woman” and “I Feel Like A Woman” from the girls Finale medley.  They managed to fill in the gap where Katharine was supposed to be, but it was a little strange.

After all the Idols had their chance to perform, it was time for THE American Idol to take the stage.  Taylor Hicks entered from the back, singing “Jailhouse Rock”.  He had some security people with him clearing the way–it was all very rock stah fabulous.A picture named Taylor2NH5.jpg

Bob Seeger’s “Hollywood Nights” was next.  Taylor played electric guitar on this straight-up rock n roll tune.

Next, Taylor went retro with the 60’s soul classic “Sweet Soul Music”.  Really, Taylor was electric and had the audience on their feet from the minute he hit the stage.

Taylor started off Mavin Gaye’s “What’s Going on” very slowly and then shifted into a cool mid-tempo groove.  This was totally the Taylor show.  I was digging it.

He sang “Living for the City” next.  Taylor danced a lot and was extremely energized.  Lucky me I get the Idols at the beginning of the tour before their vocals are run ragged.  Taylor’s sounded might fine.

A picture named Taylor4NH5.jpgFor the next tune, Taylor picked up an electric guitar and sang a cool bluesy Beatles tune, “Don’t Let me Down”. 

 “Do I Make You Proud” was next.  For those wondering, Taylor performed it like he did on the finale.  But in the context of the Idol’s show, it was perfect.  With a good band backing him up and no cheesy synthesizers or backup singers, it was really improved.  Plus, as usual,  he sang the hell out of that piece of crap song.  I actually look forward to hearing it again tomorrow.

Taylor left the stage, but then came back for an encore.  He sang “Takin’ it to the Streets” where at one point, he proceeded to tear sh** up with his harmonica.  Wow.  He also played the tambourine and danced like a maniac.  It was awesome.  Taylor did NOT disappoint tonight.  Also, during this encore tune, he introduced the band.

Taylor left the stage, and the rest of the Idols came out to sing, “We are the Champions”.  Things got a little cheesy here, and I said to myself, “Well it’s about time!”  Hee.  The was plenty of A picture named Group2NH5.jpghand waving during this number.

Finally, Taylor rejoined the group and they all sang “Living in America”  The Idols left the stage, but then came back out for one last bow.  Ace did this really mad crazy hop as he left the stage.  He literally flew into the air.  Then he tossed another beanie into the audience.  The idols exited stage left and right.  Taylor left through a door in the center of the stage set.  And it was over.

I’ll be at the show tomorrow.  I’ll post another recap, filling in the details I missed and hopefully, I’ll have some of my own pictures to post.

In the meantime.  You guys out there–if you’re at the show tomorrow–come back and post a recap in comments. 

Thank you!

Thanks a whole bunch to MrsTrep, intrepid photographer for the pictures posted here!