Janerazor's St Paul, MN RecapI got my tickets only about a week before the concert. I kept checking Ticketmaster, and sure enough, some great seats became available. My stepdaughter and I were on the left side on the floor, Row 7. My husband managed to nab a lower-level seat in a section near the stage from a scalper outside the Xcel Energy Center. The ticket's face value was $68.00, and he paid $30.00.
I had thought about making some kind of t-shirt for the night, but had run out of time. In retrospect, I'm glad I didn't, because I saw maybe a handful of people with fan shirts--most of those were young girls--so I think I would have felt a little silly.
OK, on with the show.
The set looks like it was designed for some high school stage production of War of the Worlds. There's even a two-panel door in the center that slides open in a really clumsy way. Every time a performer emerged from it, I expected to hear, "Greetings, Earthlings. I come in peace--to rock your world!"
Mandisa is gorgeous. I know, I know, she's a big gal, a really big gal. But I was surprised at how striking she is in person. And she seems a little slimmer. Also, I noticed that the musicians smiled at her warmly when she was on stage. She comes across as energetic and professional, so maybe they appreciate that as much as the audience does.
Ace. Ah, Ace. He's so friendly and affable and playful, he's like a kitten--a big, buff, hot, impossibly sexy kitten with bedroom eyes, that is. Oh, look, he's pretending to strip for us. Now he's flashing that million-dollar smile. Now he's leaping to and fro for our amusement. Little girls love it! Big girls love it! Thank you, Ace!
Lisa? Oh, yeah, now I remember her. She sounded great and looked great, but I thought her piano playing was clunky. You can hear much better in any dive piano bar in any city in the country. And I guess Paris is now her best friend, because she said so quite forcefully. Paris and Lisa looked cute doing their little dance to "Waterfalls," but the bent-over wriggle to the line about the rivers and lakes was goofy.
I knew Paris could sing, but boy howdy can that girl dance. I think she was in motion the whole time she was on stage. I got whiplash just trying to watch her. Someone in the audience gave her a feather boa that she played with for a few seconds. Paris sounded awesome on "Midnight Train to Georgia." I was too distracted by her aerobics during "Crazy in Love" to know if that one sounded good.
Bucky! I was on my feet for the first time this concert! Do all the guys wear their shirts like that now? Tucked in front and loose in back? I liked Bucky. He asked the audience to raise something that lights up, but I wasn't sure why. "Superstition" was great, but who told him to sing "Drift Away"? Not the right song for him. However, when "You're the One that I Want" started, he was back to being country-fried yumminess on a stick, y'all.
And then Julie, the cruise director from the "Love Boat," came on stage to join Bucky. Hmmm, she's put on some pounds. Wait, that's Kellie? Where did the '70s hair and the junk in the trunk come from? If Mandisa has lost weight, Kellie found it! Every recap seems to make note of what she wore, so here it is: Kellie was not, I repeat, was NOT wearing a bustier. In fact, she didn't even take her jacket off until the finale. Her voice sounded OK, but she appeared tired.
Intermission. Gosh, they charge a lot for pop.
Chris, as you all probably know, started off the second half. I had to laugh when I saw his wallet chain and the flames of pimpage. Just like the show! The Xcel Energy Center is large, and Chris is totally made for this venue. His screaming declarations that he wanted to be my "back-door man" (!) reached the far wall of the upper deck and back again with no problem. Chris shouted and growled at Minnesota, and Minnesota ate it up and licked its fingers. Biggest crowd response of the night. Chris, like Bucky, also asked us to hold up cell phones, lighters, and such, and I began to wonder if maybe he just had trouble seeing up there.
I had enjoyed the concert up to this point, but when Chris started "Savin' Me," my legs got all weak and shaky. I'm filled with E-Dub Love through and through, and I knew Elliott would be on stage soon. The doors of the space ship, er, I mean, the doors in the center of the stage parted, and then there was Elliott. Singing. Bliss. His voice did seem a little raw from either illness or overuse, but that pure, wonderful tone was there. At times, I realized my mouth was hanging open with an audible "ooooohhhhh" coming out. During MMFL, everything else that was going on around me--the audience, the band, the lights, everything--was fuzzy and in slow motion. For me, only Elliott was in focus. And he was singing to me. I truly felt as if we were the only ones in the room. Why does his voice do that to me? No idea, but it does.
Loved the makeshift boy band doing "Patience"! Ace and Chris at the end sounded especially good.
And Kat. OK, I'm really, really NOT a McPhan. I never caught McPheever. Yeah, yeah, pretty girl with a pretty voice in a pretty dress. Yawn. One of her eyes looked funny, like it was puffy and she was trying to hide it by piling on a metric ton of make-up. Yawn again. Hey, I wonder where Taylor is going to appear in the audience when his set starts?
I could hear Taylor singing JHR, and everyone was looking around trying to spot him. I thought maybe he'd come down the aisle near me, but he didn't. I was never a huge Taylor fan, but I did enjoy his set. He is a natural-born performer. He danced and twitched and played the harmonica. When he disappeared inside the space ship, I got excited, because I knew the cheesy group numbers were next.
You know, this group really sounded nice together. And they were complete good sports--and even having fun with the hokey choreography they've made them do. At the close of "We are the Champions," they ended in a pointy pose, but only Bucky was doing the true pointy pose with index finger extended. And I thought, "Hey, c'mon kids, give up the pointy pose! You know we all want it. We all came here to see it. Now fork it over!" Hee. I got what I wanted at the end of "Living in America." Pointy poses all around! Hooray!
And then my husband and I were off to the LMBO gig at O'Gara's, which I'll recap shortly.