Read wjmtv’s impressions of last night’s Idols Live concert in Lee Dewyze’s hometown!
I’m baaaaack. This was my second show of the S9 tour (the first was Milwaukee), so I’m not going to do a full-blown recap. This will be more like impressions. Or an awards show, in honor of the Emmys Sunday night (Go Jon Hamm!!!). Or something.
I had hoped all summer I’d get to go to Chicago, because I’ve had my eye on Lee since “Chasing Cars, ” and the thought of missing his hometown show was just wrong wrong wrong. But life was conspiring against me until last week, when I was finally able to buy my ticket in the 14th row on the floor, a little bit right of center. Was it a good seat? Well, I was close enough to tell you Tim Urban’s watch is by Swiss Army, and the pick Casey held in his teeth was lime green.
The stage was smaller than Milwaukee—I’d say close to half the width. I thought that made for a better show, or maybe it’s because I was so much closer to the stage. I dunno. All I do know is that this show was better than the first one in every possible way.
Best Backstage Decision: Firing the sound guy they had at the first show and getting someone who knows what they’re doing. Didi and Andrew sounded fantastic. Didi’s voice was much stronger than I thought (and she’s always been my #2 Girl, after Crystal), and Andrew’s “Sunday Morning, ” which I loved in MKE, was stellar. He asked us to sing along, but he didn’t need to. This was a very willing-to-sing crowd.
Best Sign: “Garcia for President.”
Best Rack: Katie Stevens.
Best 3” of Washboard Abs: Tim Urban. Every time he raised his arm to point into the nosebleeds (yes there really were people up there) his shirt raised up just that much. If he weren’t such a sweetiepie, I’d think he had it shortened for just that purpose. He was in good voice tonight, and the tweens in my section were definitely feeling the luv. If there’s any justice in this world, he’ll come off the stage in Indy and find Ryan Murphy standing there with a contract in one hand and a pen in the other.
Most Improved by Virtue of my Better Seat: Siobhan Magnus. I wrote after the first show that she didn’t do it for me, no matter how much I wanted to like her. Word to the wise: if you’re going to see her live, get seats up close. She does not translate well to the back. But from the front, she’s awesome. I loved “Spiderwebs.” I think she needs a band. She also outed Lee’s brother (and family) as being up in the front row. That was fun.
Best Graphics/ Best Lighting Still Siobhan.
Most Extensive Offstage Cardio Program: Once again, Siobhan Magnus. I have no idea how she ran around, head-banged and bounced like she did, and still managed to sustain some of those notes. Big Mike must be working her like a recruit in the Israeli army, when he’s not bench-pressing fried pork chops smothered in gravy. ;)
Shortest Person to Completely Own the Stage: Aaron Kelly. I loved him then and I love him now. His singing voice is so much richer than his speaking voice—I find that interesting. He’s soooo comfy on that stage. It’s a joy to watch him. FYI: he may be short, but what height he has, is all in his legs.
If he comes near you as a solo act, go see him. Just trust me on this.
Prettiest Song: “Ready for Love, ” Mike Lynche. In Milwaukee, I thought Big Mike was perfectly serviceable. After a summer of Late Night Sandwich, he’s frickin’ adorable… and he’s got a damned fine voice. I’m pretty sure I stood there with a shit-eating grin through his entire set.
Band’s Favorite Song: “I Got Mine, ” Casey James. They didn’t try to hide it either. I thought we might need an ambulance for one of the backup singers. Oh, and the bass player is really hot.
[I’m playing Pandora, and Lee is singing “Annabelle” to me. That’s my favorite song of his. Life is good.]
I Can’t Believe I’m at a Cheesy American Idol Concert: Casey’s guitar solo during “It’s All Over Now.” I’m telling you, people, we’re gonna be saying, “I knew him when.”
Best Costume Change: Crystal’s cutoff clamdiggers. Awesome. I think her legs may be as white as mine, but she’s a helluva lot cuter than I ever was. “Up to the Mountain” was wonderful. There is a powerful voice packed into that small body. She sang the entire first verse to Little Tony, with mimed hugs and everything. Awwwwwww. She kicked ass on “What’s Up.” We were really singing along to that one.
Moment I Knew I’d Sustained Permanent Hearing Loss: You know how when a noise is insanely loud, you can physically feel it pressing against your eardrums? That’s what happened when Lee’s name flashed up on the screen. Chicago gave everyone a lot of love tonight—the audience was 1000x more receptive than Milwaukee (I was surprised and impressed by the cheers for Andrew & Katie). But they saved a little extra for the homeboy. At the end of his set, he said, “There’s nothing I’d like more than to stay here until morning, ” and he very obviously didn’t want to leave. He’d take a few steps back, then turn and say something else. I thought they might have to get the hook. His final words were, “Drive safely.”
His voice was wonderful tonight, especially on “Beautiful Day.” I don’t care what anyone says—I LOVE what he does with that song. He dedicated “Use Somebody” to the audience, then gave it everything he had and then some. That’s when I started having trouble with my contact lenses.
I was pleased that I got to go to both their second show and this one, their almost-last. I wanted to see how much things changed between the two performances. So, my final award:
Most Improved: Lee DeWyze. By a mile. In Milwaukee he was like a duck in a shooting gallery, racing from one end to the other of that gigantic stage, and I don’t think the win had fully sunk in yet. He’s gained some serenity in the last two months, and it meshes well with the gollyshucks persona that his fans fell in love with and is obviously quite real. That peace gives him a stillness (and power) that comes with practice and realizing that the audience isn’t going to leave because you aren’t giving them fire-eaters and trapeze artists. He just stood there and sang for a fair portion of his set, and it was more than enough. Dude loves his music, and he made us love it too. Sweet stuff, man.