At the Toledo OH Idol show, mcarolin05 hung out at the buses in the afternoon, attended the pre-show meet and greet AND the after party. Oh yeah, she attended a concert too! Read her extremely detailed recap below. Plus…photos!
This review is brought to you by a long time Idol fan and a Big Mike fangirl. Also, this is very long- mostly because it was a very long day, partly because I don’t want to leave anything out!
So remember when I said I WOULD NOT go to tour this year? Well, clearly I lied, because last night was my second show. Oops. To be fair, my first show (which was opening night and was a blast), I did not get to meet anyone, and I was determined to meet this year’s group. Especially because I am a huge Big Mike fan (have been since the auditions). I run bigmike_fans on twitter. So, I bought a ticket to Toledo since its pretty close to Detroit and I’m a big Crystal fan as well. My friends Sam and Cindy bought tickets too, and then Cindy won pre show meet and greets. Now we were really in!
Even though we had the preshow m&g, we still did buses, because we had heard that it’s just a sign and slide…plus, buses are always an experience. So we headed off to Toledo and arrived at the venue around 11:45 am. We met up with a group of “old idol friends”- about 7 or 8 of us twenty something’s who have been meeting up at shows in the Midwest since season 7. It’s always fun to see them again and share old stories. Anyways…we waited. And waited. And waited some more. The crowd got bigger, but the space by the barricades was very small, so we were in close quarters (which did not make the 91 degree heat fun at all).
There was a huge group of Crystal fans there who were trying to teach everyone the words to “Holy Toledo” to serenade Crystal with. It was really great to see them all out there, from all over the US, to support their girl. Finally, the buses pulled in…with Tim on one smiling (my ears still hurt from the screaming), Lee on another, and Crystal driving herself into the venue in a car. My friends and I were the third little group in line at the barricades, so we could easily look over and down to see who was coming out.
It didn’t take too long for Lee and Andrew to make their way over to us. They were both very nice, signed and took pictures. They even sang for some people, Andrew played guitar and Lee sang a little diddy. Then an ice cream truck went by and Lee got REALLY excited. Lee asked the driver something and then pointed. The ice cream truck parked itself in front of the venue…we had no idea why (but were soon to find out). Tim also came out shortly after. He was REALLY nice…and really pretty. Seriously, I know he looks good on TV but in person he really is gorgeous. I asked him to say hi to my friend Brenna on the phone, and he ended up having a 5 minute conversation with her! He just kept talking- I’m sure it made her day. He also signed and took pics, I let some girls behind me switch in so they could talk to him, with the promise that they would let me back in if Big Mike came out.
So those boys made their way around the line and then headed back in….until Lee and Andrew came back out, and said “all the little kids, come here!” so a couple little kids ran with them, and some teenage girls as well. Lee and Andrew bought them all ice cream! It was so adorable. One of the cutest things I’ve ever seen, actually. After that, we waited some more. People started chanting “Big Mike”, which made me happy. That was all I really wanted, after all. We saw glimpses of Katie, but she never headed over. FINALLY, someone yells “Big Mike’s coming!”. Sure enough, there he was. When he got to us everyone around me waited anxiously, because they knew how much I loved him. I told him I was his biggest fan and that I run bigmike_fans on twitter and he reached out for a hug! We talked for a few more minutes as I gave him my letter and asked if he got my video I had made him. He was really sweet and seemed thankful, but also looked tired. His eyes were barely open! I was happy though. My mission was accomplished. Little did I know, there was much more in store for that day!
After Big Mike, we waited a little bit more but eventually gave up because the preshow m&g was starting soon. So we headed to the box office to pick up our passes, and waited with a group of people. The woman who was in charge told Sam, Cindy, and I that we were one of the lucky groups that would get to take a picture with all 10 Idols. Seriously? Sweet! We had to wait a little bit while they got set up, and then Ray the security guard explained the rules of meet and greet. No individual pics, must sign one thing, etc. He also made the announcement that Casey would not be there, that he was given strict orders for performance only, no pre or after show meet and greets. Bummer!
We walked in and it was VERY surreal to see all of them just sitting there. When it was my turn, I realized I did not know what to say to them! So I just kind of made small talk. Siobhan and I talked about Hanson (Sam and I are huge Hanson fans), I told Crystal that she has inspired me to keep writing even when I wanted to give it up (her response was “let it out hunny!”), told Katie I could not wait to rock out to Fighter with her (she said “I can’t wait to see you rock out!). I also asked Lee why he was wearing a hoodie and a beanie in 91 degree heat. He was like “I dunno, it’s just how I do”. LOL. Good one. I also told Didi that Melinda Doolittle loved her, and her eyes got really big as she said “I LOVE HER TOO!”. It was really adorable. Of course, I got lucky and Big Mike was last at the table. He stood up to hug me and thanked me for my letter I had written him and the video I made. He said he’d be looking for me in the crowd! I exited the line and stepped aside while I waited for my friends. I learned that Siobhan had freaked out with excitement when Sam presented her with Taylor Hanson’s autograph. Hanson fans unite.
Ray and some other staff were trying to get all the Idols up for the group pictures- Big Mike picked Katie up and swung her around. So cute! When it was our turn for the group picture there was some confusion about where to stand, but I ended up right in between Big Mike and Tim- not a bad place to be :) Then they ushered us out and we headed back to the bus area to find our friends. We walked over to Pizza Papalis, ordered a pizza to go, and sat outside on the sidewalk. People kept staring at us…I mean c’mon, doesn’t everyone eat pizza on the sidewalk in Toledo? Some of our friends who had stayed behind met us over there after a while, and said Crystal had come outside. The fans sang “Holy Toledo” to her when she came out. I would have loved to see her reaction to that. Anyways, we finished our pizza and by this time it was 7 pm, so we headed back to the venue to pick up tickets. When we arrived, we learned that somehow, we had gotten after party passes. Like, what? How do we get this lucky???? The box office was a little busy, so we did not walk out of there until right before 7:30- we all ran to our different seats and I literally got there as Didi was walking out on stage.
My seat was amazing. I was in that little section right before the actual floor seats start, third row on the end. I could touch the barricade. No one around me was standing, so I didn’t either for the first few sets. Didi did well, and I thought her voice had gotten stronger, but, like I’ve said before, I just really don’t think she should start off the show. I like her voice but need more high energy for the start of the show!
Andrew didn’t get the crowd moving either, but he sang well…I thought he had improved since the last time I saw him (which was the first night of tour). I really enjoyed “Sunday Morning”. I just have a hard time picking where Andrew should go from here!
Katie was the first to get us out of our seats…Girl has got some major stage presence. I hope she continues to make music because I think she could hit it big in the Disney scene…and, as promised, I rocked out to “Fighter” with her. She moved around the stage a lot and I was again impressed by her incredibly strong vocals.
Next was Tim, who I am not a fan of vocally (but he sure is a sweetheart!). He’s pleasant to listen to, but nothing I would buy, if that makes sense. And no, he did not show his chest. He had “I <3 CB” written above his heart. All he did was move his shirt a little so we would see it. The crowd went nuts. Well played, Tim.
I was just anxious for Siobhan– last time I was at this show she blew me away! People seemed really excited for Siobhan…except the little girl next to me, who was actually terrified. The look on her face was priceless. She even said “help!” to her mom when Siobhan was head banging right in front of us. Siobhan also moves around a lot and got us all up dancing around. IMO Siobhan steals the show for the first 1/2. She didn’t say much in between her sets, just asked us to get up and rock with her and stuff.
The transition from her to Aaron is really quite amusing- but Aaron really surprised me! He’s got a very strong voice (and some moves!). His song choices are great for him- we learned later that he is moving to Nashville, so maybe a country album is in the works. I don’t remember if he talked much to the crowd.
After Aaron came “The Climb”, one of my least favorite songs of all time, yet there I was singing along. At this point I was standing right up next to the barricade, and Didi was so close to me I sort of felt weird even taking pictures of her, haha.
Then intermission! I found some of my friends scattered throughout the floor, we set up a meeting point for afterwards, and I headed back to my seat to prepare for Big Mike– who was AMAZING! I know many people find him boring but I think his voice is just gorgeous, I could listen to him sing all day long. He’s got that soul that I love. I loved every minute of his set! He talked about his baby girl (he said that she has made him a better man), loving Toledo, etc.
Next came Casey…and this is when I realized just how close I was to the stage. I saw him come up the stairs before the lights came on.…and let me tell you, I could tell he was sick. He didn’t sound bad at all, but his eyes were drooping and his energy was very low. I felt so bad for him and at one point I really thought he was going to throw up on that stage. Poor Casey! He still sounded awesome, and his guitar skills are really incredible. When Big Mike came back out for the duet, he said to the crowd “how ya’ll liking Mr Pretty up here?”. Then Big Mike looked over and saw me and smiled at me for the whole time Casey was singing! At one point they faced each other to play guitar and Casey looked at Big Mike with a very sad look as if to say “help!”. Poor guy! After the duet Big Mike walked off on my side of the stage and waved at me, mouthed “thank you!”. So sweet <3<3
After Casey was Crystal, and I am SO glad I was able to see her at her hometown show. Her voice actually gives me chills. There is something about it that you can really FEEL within you! The passion she puts into it is absolutely amazing. When she started singing “Holy Toledo” I was already tearing up, and happy that I have a lot of Crystals preidol music so I knew the words. Then she started crying at the end- she just let out a big gasp and started crying. It was heartbreaking! The whole audience was moved. She looked SO happy out there. Plus, she said she had only practiced that with the band three times- and they were amazing! I will never forget that moment and can’t wait for Crystal’s solo projects.
The crowd was just as responsive to Lee as they were Crystal! People were cheering and on their feet. Lee did an awesome job, as always. I don’t know how his voice has held out this whole tour- I always feel like he is putting absolutely every last breath into his songs. He was great, and once again extremely grateful to the audience. I believe he said “I know why you guys love Crystal so much and I definitely know why she loves you so much!”.
Finale was awesome- you could really see they all had fun together. Not as epic as the MJ/COOK dances were back in Season 7, but still fun. I noticed Siobhan and Big Mike rocking out together. I was on the side with Didi and Andrew, they blew a lot of kisses to the crowd.
After the show I met up with my friends in section 118 for the after party. It didn’t take too long before they led us to the room with all the Idols. Everyone was there except for Casey and Andrew- and Crystal was only there for about 5 minutes. That bummed me out, because I wanted her to sign my songwriting journal and to get a picture with her…but it’s okay, everything else made up for it, and I’ll catch her on her first tour.
We went up to Lee first because he just happened to be right there. He remembered us from earlier and we took some pictures with him. Very, very sweet guy! Just like he was on TV. That’s always refreshing :)
We made our way over to Siobhan since she had been so grateful to Sam at the preshow. She was VERY sweet. I had made a collage with all the Idols for them to sign, and she was confused and said “where’s my face?” We ended up talking to her for a good 5-10 minutes, mostly about Hanson. She told us her favorite songs from their latest album (Carry You There and Voice in the Chorus), sang a little part of Carry You There (which was beautiful), and told us that on Idol people come out of the woodworks, saying stuff like “oh I’m your cousin!” and she got all sassy and was like “no you’re not, I don’t know you!”. I loved her! We thanked her for everything and then stopped over at Katie and Aaron before we went to Big Mike.
Katie was very, very sweet and talkative. She looked at me and said “did you rock out?” haha! We took our pictures with her and told her how great she was, then we turned to Aaron.
Aaron was really adorable. Sam was talking to him and ready to take her picture when I felt this BIG HAND across my shoulder and I hear “hey I need you!” I look up- it’s Big Mike. He said “I’m leaving and I came to find you in here to say goodbye and to thank you!”. Then he hugged me. I said “Your welcome, don’t leave yet, let me take their picture!” So I took the Sam/Aaron picture and then turned back to Big Mike. He had his hand on my shoulder this entire time, by the way. So he continues to thank me for the twitter page, video, letter, etc. He was being so sweet I almost cried! I asked him if we could get a picture before he left, and somehow my camera landed on the floor…so Aaron (who was still standing there watching all of this) picked it up and took my picture with Big Mike for me! The Big Mike hugged me again, and Sam got her picture with him. We also thanked him for all he does on twitter, and he said that he loved doing it because he liked to show that they were just real people too. Seriously, Big Mike made this summer! If he had not put up those LNS videos, I feel like people wouldn’t be as attached. I told him I hoped to see him soon, and he hugged me one last time. Then this girl came over to get a picture with him, but whoever was taking it was behind Sam and I, so we literally had to dive onto the floor so this girl could take her picture. Aaron was STILL there, and laughing at us. Finally we escaped that little corner, after saying goodbye to Big Mike one more time, and me getting my picture with Aaron.
We found Didi in the front of the room so headed over to her. I talked with her for a second about Melinda Doolittle, she signed our collage (She said she hated the dress she was wearing in her picture, I think it was from top 10 night), and we got pictures. She was also very sweet, and really reminded me of Brooke White.
We headed over to Tim and since we had gotten his autograph earlier just took pictures, plus a special surprise for one of our friends. (She’ll see it later today). He really is a sweetheart! And that smile is amazing. He’s just so friendly! I wonder if he’s always like that, because I can’t imagine him mad.
The room had pretty much cleared out by now—the after show barricades were right behind us, so every time an Idol walked out there we would hear the screaming. They all slowly made their way out there, until Aaron was the only one left in the room. He had a big group around him and made small talk with everyone! He is SO Archie 2.0, just a bit more talkative. He was really outgoing and friendly, and also very giggly! He laughed so much, and got really excited when a couple people told them they were going to his fan day on Sept 11th. He hugged all of us goodbye before they made him go outside.
We all walked out together happy and sharing fun stories of the day. It really was an amazing night and I am very thankful for how everything played out. I do not know how I get so lucky, but I feel very blessed and I’m glad I have great friends to share it with!
That’s it, I’m really done. No more Idol tours for me….yeah, right. Pictures are on my FB- I don’t have many good ones from the show (sorry!) Even though I was close, my camera doesn’t always like me…and Lee/Crystal were never close enough to me to get good ones. http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2467518&id=12111236&l=dd1286bf4c
Thanks for reading!