Paula took her niece and friend to the Idols show in Minneapolis. Check out her recap below.
Whew! What a day! What a night! My Minneapolis Idols Live experience was nothing short of amazing. I honestly wish I could re-live every minute. Here’s the rundown.
First of all, I should give a little background about myself. I’m a happily married 45-year old woman with four boys, and I have been watching Idol for 5 years. For the first couple of years that I watched it, I never considered going to an Idols Live show, but then I became completely captivated by David Cook and I knew I had to go see him live. The show was incredible, and I was fortunate enough to meet David and some of the other idols that year. Last year I went and cheered on my faves and I was able to meet 8 of the 10 finalists. I have fallen in love with that part of the Idol experience, and I have found that it’s almost as much fun to meet the other fans and to see what shirts they’re wearing and what signs they’re carrying, etc. There is such a fun culture around the concerts, and it’s such a unique experience.
The first year I attended the concert, my husband was my concert buddy, because he said that by watching me when David Cook took the stage, he could see what I acted like when I was 14 years old. He enjoyed the show, but maybe my fangirlishness was too much for him, because he has opted out since then. This year I took my 16-year old niece Brianna and her friend Chelsey (both big Aaron Kelly fans). My friend Christy, who liked Lee and had picked him to win early in the Hollywood rounds for her office pool, met us just before the show. Personally, I like all of the Top 10, but Casey and Crystal are definitely my favorites, and I spent a LOT of time voting for the two of them during the season.
Brianna, Chelsey, and I got to the Target Center barricades at about 1:00 in the afternoon, and I was shocked to see how few people were there compared to other years. It was awesome, though, because we got a great spot in the shade right by the barricades. More Idols for us! We waited a little over an hour, and then Tim, Mike, and Lee came out to sign and take pictures with the fans. Tim was (of course) super smiley and friendly and cute, and Brianna and Chelsey were smitten! They both got pictures with Tim and they said he smelled really good. They were so excited they even made up a song about it. Lee seemed super tired and ambled out very slowly. It honestly seemed like he had just woken up, which made us extra grateful that he was taking the time with his fans. He was so sweet. His hand said “I Love Iowa” in big black Sharpie letters, so we were teasing him that he needed to change it to say “I Love Minnesota”. We saw him after the show too, but I guess we forgot to see if he followed through. I got a picture with Lee but I was trying to figure out my new camera, so in the picture he’s sort of laughing at me. Oh well. It’s a fun picture anyway. Mike was so kind. When people thanked him for signing something or taking a picture, he would say, “You are super welcome.” All three guys were so gracious and very laid-back. Then we sat around for about another hour and a half, and Katie came out. She was so relaxed and friendly and cute. We waited around for a little while, but then decided to go across the street to the Hard Rock Café for dinner on the patio so we could keep an eagle eye on the buses should any more Idols decide to come out. (As far as we could tell, they didn’t.)
We went in to the arena at about 7:00 so we had plenty of time to get settled in. I read afterwards in the Tribune that there were about 5000 people in attendance. They didn’t seem to have sold any tickets in the top tier of seats, but the floor and the lower level were pretty darn full. Honestly, I was at Lilith Fair at the Target Center recently, and this event seemed to have far outsold Lilith. I would guess that the Idols sold about twice as many tickets as Sarah McLachlan, Mary J. Blige, Heart, and the Courtyard Hounds did for Lilith, which I think is amazing. I would estimate that the attendance for the Idols was about the same as it was for the Daughtry/Lifehouse/Cavo show last spring. I think that’s pretty incredible, considering that we had never heard of these 10 individuals at this time last year.
Didi came on first, and I thought she did great. She sang “Terrified” like it had been written for her, and her voice sounded beautiful. I think she picked the perfect songs for her.
Andrew also picked songs that were right in his wheelhouse, and I swear that I still have “Sunday Morning” stuck in my head. His voice sounded gorgeous, and he just had a very cool, laid-back vibe that I enjoyed.
I thought Katie looked and sounded awesome. She started with a Demi Lovato song, and I thought Katie sounded a lot better than Demi (I had taken my nieces to see Demi a year prior at the same venue). I had heard that Katie lectured a little about fighting for your dreams, but actually it was only about one sentence, and I thought it was very appropriate and a great segue into “Fighter”. It was a nice set!
Tim impressed me a lot with his songs because his voice sounded so much more powerful than it had on the show…I think he’s had some voice training in the past months, because he was great! He sounded fabulous on both songs (and believe me, I was NO fan of “Better Days” when he did it on the show) and he changed them up nicely to suit his voice. His positive energy was infectious, and he got big points for waving to Brianna and Chelsey, who were dancing like crazy in the 8th row. That almost made their night, but little did they know…there was more excitement to come.
Siobhan looked and sounded amazing. I had read that she did a lot of posing during the show, but wow, I couldn’t figure out how to get a decent picture of her with my new camera – she was constantly in motion! She did a great job on “Paint It Black”, which in my mind was one of the highlights of American Idol Season 9, and I thought she was infinitely better than Gwen Stefani on “Spiderwebs”, both in terms of her voice and her breath control. I am not familiar with Muse or “Stockholm Syndrome”, but I might have to check them out, because both Adam Lambert and Siobhan have impressed me with their versions of Muse songs. Siobhan rocked it!
Aaron was great! I enjoy country music and I love Marc Cohn, so I definitely appreciated his song choices. He seemed extremely comfortable on stage and he seems to have grown a lot as a performer since May. On the show I always kind of worried about him because it sounded like he might have damaged his vocal cords somehow, but I didn’t detect any of that at the Idols Live show. His voice sounded very pure and strong. I really hope that he pursues a future in country music. It’s a perfect fit for him.
The first group number was fine.
Big Mike came on after the intermission, and he sounded great and really poured a lot of emotion into his performances. Christy totally had goosebumps. I was kind of dreading the third song because I really couldn’t imagine Mike rapping, but I actually thought he did a nice job with it. Mike has a great voice, and I hope that he is able to stick with music on a big scale.
Next it was Casey’s turn! Have I mentioned that I’m a big fan? I had warned Christy beforehand that I was going to be fangirling and dancing during his set, but in the end I decided to tape as much as possible of Casey’s set (there will NEVER be enough video footage of Casey’s performances). That pretty much kept me from moving around and screaming while he was performing. I stood for part of his set, but I was in the 2nd row, and people on the floor were being pretty intolerant about that …it was really weird. Last year the whole crowd was pretty much on their feet for Anoop and every performer after that. I don’t know what changed this year. What’s up with that? Anywaaaay… I was anxious to see how Casey was doing after the reports of his St. Louis hospital visit. I could see as soon as he started “I Got Mine” that he was a little under the weather, but I thought that his voice sounded fabulous and maybe even better than usual…I love it when he sounds a little gritty and raspy, and his illness seemed to bring out that aspect of his voice. Of course his guitar playing was incredible, and so was Tim Stewart’s (?). I had noticed Tim when he was accompanying Siobhan as well… the guy is seriously amazing. I loved the back and forth of the dueling guitar bit. It was so fun! Then Casey did “Don’t”, which was one of my favorite performances of his during the season. I put down the camera and tried to soak it all in, but I had to sneak in a few pictures. I couldn’t resist! I noticed that Casey still closes his eyes a lot when he sings, but if that’s what allows him to be so emotive during his performances, it’s totally working. Then Mike came out for Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman, and Casey lit up! He was smiling so much. I think Casey is a great performer, but I feel like he really needs to be part of a band or something, because he feeds off the camaraderie of having someone on stage with him. I almost felt like I had missed something funny onstage. Does anyone know? Mike and Casey were so happy doing that song. It was great to see! Finally, Casey closed with “It’s All Over Now”, which was amazing. I love the bluesy tone he adds to the song. I would love to hear Casey do more songs in this vein. I can’t wait to see Casey when he comes back to Minneapolis with his own show. Even my husband is up for that show; he really appreciates Casey’s guitar-playing abilities and is looking forward to seeing that.
Crystal was next, and she came out all sunny and casual and happy. Did I mention that I love her? I thought “What’s Up?” was a great song choice for her, and I was so excited to hear that she had chosen that. I loved “Come to My Window” as well, but the harmonica didn’t make for the best photo ops. ;-) I taped all of “Up to the Mountain”, and even though I find it difficult to concentrate on a performance if I am recording it, I totally had goosebumps and may have teared up just a teensy bit when Crystal did this song. I really felt like Crystal was singing this song from deep inside her soul and was singing about her whole life’s journey and her Idol journey at the same time. It was an amazing moment when Crystal did this song on the show, and it was an amazing moment when she did it in Minneapolis. It was a truly transcendent performance. I love how Crystal can make her voice sound so tender and gentle, and she can then make it soar in the next moment…what a gift! “Piece of My Heart” was great too; this was another great song choice for Crystal.
Then Lee came on stage and FINALLY people got on their feet! At the barricades and throughout the concert, I had seen a lot of Lee fans, and they really gave their boy some love! He started with “Beautiful Day”, of course, and he sounded great, but I have to say that the song was completely unrecognizable to me. I loved “Rocket Man” and “Treat Her Like a Lady”, which was one of my favorite S9 performances. Lee did a fabulous job on “Use Somebody”, and I hope he does some songs like that on his upcoming album.
I have to admit that Brianna, Chelsey, and I made our escape at that time to secure a spot by the barricades, so I never heard the group number. I love this group of Idols, but I had heard them do “My Life Would Suck Without You” on GMA, and that was quite enough for me. I think they are much better individually than as a group.
We ended up finding a place right in front of the barricades by a lot of teenage girls who all seemed to be huge Aaron Kelly fans. We waited for quite a while and then saw Casey walk from the back door straight to the buses. I wasn’t really expecting to get to meet him because of his recent illness, but it was disappointing all the same. Oh well. I know that I will get to meet him some day when he comes back to tour in Minneapolis. I’m looking forward to it! We got to meet all of the other Idols and got all of them to sign things for us. They went by pretty quickly, but there were some fun moments:
– I told Crystal how my 8-year old son had cried himself to sleep when she didn’t win, and she seemed genuinely touched by that. I think she has a real soft spot for little people.
– There was an older woman in the front row in front of me during the concert, and she was holding a sign with pictures of Katie, Lee, and Siobhan that said “The Best”. She said that she was a huge fan, and she was even wearing a big butterfly in her hair and one on her lapel that she was going to give to Siobhan if she got to meet her. It was so sweet! The lady was totally rocking out during all of their sets, and they showed her on the big screen more than once. At the barricades I mentioned her fan to Siobhan and she loved it. She had noticed the sign and the butterflies, but at that point Siobhan hadn’t yet met her great fan. I hope they got to meet later that night!
– Aaron made Brianna and Chelsey’s nights by giving them each a kiss on the cheek! I think that made their summer…they were on cloud nine!
– The Idols were all so pleasant and friendly. What a great group of people!
I really think that all 10 of these Idols are very talented, and I hope that they all stick with the music/entertainment industry. I can’t wait to see what they do in the future!
Casey James – I Got Mine (Part 1)
Casey James – I Got Mine (Part 2)
Casey James – Don’t
Casey James – It’s All Over Now (partial)
Crystal Bowersox – Up To The Mountain