Check out Anastasia’s VERY detailed re-cap of her Vancouver Idol experience. Bras fly and there’s no booing. Check out her photos at the end of the re-cap…
More photos and videos from the Vancouver concert HERE.
The date: July 8, 2009
The location: Vancouver, BC
The event: American Idols Live 2009
The venue: General Motors Place (a.k.a. ‘The Garage’ ); concert capacity 14, 000 (total capacity 20, 000)
8:55 a.m. On my way to work (running late, as per usual), I walked past GM Place. The equipment trucks (three brand-new 18-wheelers with bright red cabs) were parked in front of Gate 10, the last one with its hazard lights flashing. Next time guys, don’t park on the inside of a blind curve with your arse hanging out.
5:15 p.m. On my way home from work, I walked past GM Place again. The trucks have moved to the back cargo bay, where barricades have been set up. There are roughly 75-100 people standing around. From my bird’s eye vantage point on the staircase leading from the overpass to the Costco entrance, the groups look like they are pressed against the barricades like sardines, although there is no sign of activity ‘ Idol, crew or otherwise ‘ that would warrant being okay with numerous strangers invading ones’ personal space for more than a split second. The rest of the area around the stadium was quiet. I stop at the Will Call wicket to confirm that cameras are in fact allowed, just no video recorders.
6:52 p.m. I leave my apartment, exiting the building through the parkade. I cross the street to the stadium and am in my seat at 6:59 p.m. Seven minutes ‘travel’ time, gotta love it.
The stage is closer than I thought it would be. Nice. There is a barricade between the front row and the stage, with a gap of about 8 feet from front row to the edge of the stage. No touching sweaty Idol palms in this show! A few rows ahead/below me is a woman admiring her souvenir ‘ an Adam Lambert t-shirt. Black, of course. It’s smoky in here ‘ were they playing with dry ice during final rehearsal?
7:05. People are still making their way to their seats. When I came through the concourse, it was packed. Very wide age-range ‘ youngest I saw was probably around 5, quite a few seniors, and everything in between. They’re playing Carrie Underwood and Daughtry videos on the side screens.
7:15 p.m. Oh, I think the show might be starting’ ¦ Cheesy American Idol advertisement on the screens letting you know they have absurdly-over-priced t-shirts for sale. Psych! Not starting yet. More Underwood, singing about anonymous one-night stands. Good role model, there.
7:17 p.m. Start time! Wow, this is loud. It’s either been a long time since I last was at a rock concert, or I’ve officially jumped the shark into ‘late-30’s’ territory. 38 is only 12 days away!
Michael Sarver: Not bad, actually. I’m impressed. I see lots of cameras out. Vancouver has lots of country music fans. ‘Hey Vancouver!!’ He gets the name of the city correct. He says it’s his first time in Canada and ‘so far he kinda likes it.’ He asks if anybody out there is in love. Some cheering, and he says ‘There must be a lot of bummed out people out there!’ , which gets some laughter and louder cheers. Close-up shot on the side video screen. Oh geez, he looks like my ex’ ¦ He’s workin’ the stage. Sounds good. The first section of floor seats is on their feet. Good energy, got the crowd going.
Megan Joy: Holy Barbie, Batman. Now that’s pink. Those shoes must be killing her feet! She’s doing the ” ¦if you’ve ever been gypped in love, this song’s for you’ intro. I’ve never heard this song. Her voice is much nicer than what I heard on the show ‘ none of that odd wavery vibrato stuff. Vocally, her first song is better, but I like the growly bits during the second song. Oh NO, she did the ‘CAW CAW!’ right after the lights went out. Some people near me laughed; I don’t think they got the reference.
Scott McIntyre: His voice is a lot stronger, with much better tonal quality, than I was expecting. Good piano skills! I still hate his hair. LOL, he’s got stubble. I’ve never heard this song, but I like it. He says he lived in Ontario, near Toronto, for four years. He’s talking about the High Five That Was Heard Around the World. Asks if anyone watched the first show (once voting commenced? not sure). Imitates Simon Cowell ‘ ‘It was HORRIBLE!’ He’s funny! He sounds good, great piano. Nice job on the falsetto glory note.
Lil Rounds: Sparkly! Started off well, thought it got a little pitchy in spots. She’s getting the crowd going with the arm waving. About half the stadium follows suit. I don’t know any of these songs, but she sounds good. She’s workin’ those moves! Looks like the entire floor section is on their feet. The glow sticks are out.
Anoop Desai: Lots of cheers. The floor section is still on their feet. He sounds really good. He’s wearing metallic silver sneakers. Wow, is that booing? WTF. LOL @ the geek glasses. Are they booing again, or chanting ‘NOOOOOP!’ Can’t tell for sure, but I think it’s the latter. Booing doesn’t make sense. ‘My Prerogative’ ‘ I’ve never liked this song, but he’s rockin’ it. The 8(ish)-year-old boy in front of me wearing a backwards baseball cap is on his feet dancing his butt off. Anoop should stick with this type of music, it totally works. Handfuls of people here and there are on their feet clapping. Much cheering at the end of his set.
Matt Giraud: Big cheers. The floor section is still on their feet. More people up all over the stadium. Wow, I’m impressed. I was worried about ‘Hard to Handle’ for him (for me, for him), but no need. He’s rockin’ it. I think I’ve used the word ‘rockin” a few too many times already, and the show’s only half over. Here comes the piano rising out of the stage. Sounds really good. He nailed that falsetto. WTG, Matt. The crowd loves it.
Group Song/Duets: Megan and Lil together hurt my ears a little, too sharp. Matt and Scott sound good together. LOL @ the upright pianos ‘ they look so small on that stage. Michael looks better in a suit than the white jacket (or the plaid/denim he usually wears). Does a good job on ‘Suspicious Minds.’ Definitely a country boy. I don’t know this song called ‘Beggin” , but they sound good! I hate rap, but Lil works it out. Oh god I’m starting to sound like Randy. Lil and Megan dueting again hurts my ears.
Intermission. The lights come on, and I realize my pen has been leaking all over my hands. Nice. Lots of people head for the exits for beer and bathroom breaks. Now they’re playing David Cook videos on the screens. I think I prefer Daughtry. I spot a 10-foot banner down on the floor that proclaims ‘Vancouver Y’s American Idol!’
There’s still a haze hanging around the rafters. WTF were they smoking in here?! There’s a sign on bright pink poster board saying only ‘Adam Lambert, ‘ nothing else. Do they think he needs to be reminded of his own name? I see a couple of gals totally sequined out. Full-on sequin action belongs only on Vegas Showgirls, Drag Queens and Bellydancers. Sorry ladies, no free pass to Planet Fierce for you! The two gals to my right are giggling their asses off with a little girl I assume is the daughter of one of them. She looks about five years old.
More Underwood videos. More leaking from the pen. Fail. Glad I have another one in my purse. There’s an ‘Allison Rocks!’ sign down on the floor. A dad two rows ahead of me is drinking beer and looking at his daughter’s autographed photo of Adam. Repeat of the Daughtry video. Does he only have the one? I think I’d enjoy this guy in concert. The Anoop-lovin’ baseball cap kid is back, clutching an autographed 8×10″ photo of Danny. My stomach reminds me I haven’t eaten since lunchtime. My heart rate is up. OMG Kradison!
There are far fewer kids here than I was expecting. Lots of 20- and 30-somethings, and a lot of people who are clearly over the age of 50. Colour me surprised. I don’t think Vancouver got the memo about the ‘team colours’ . Most people seem to be wearing whatever, although I have seen a number of women in all black. This is practically the Official Uniform for Vancouver women. The large central screen comes to life. Another psych-out. LOL @ this AI/Disney propaganda ‘ I mean commercial. Sooooo cheesy!!
The lights dim and the crowd begins cheering. People are still coming back from pit stops, a little faster than they left.
Allison Iraheta: Huge cheers! The crowd loves her, and with good reason. She is SO good. I feel like a broken record since so many people have said this, but I cannot believe she’s only 17 and is a rookie at this. She looks right at home up there. Love the fan-action with her hair blowing. She’s talking about ‘those other three guys, you might have heard of them’ ¦’ Adam and Kris get an equal amount of cheers and noise. Kradam lives! Allison is really really great. What can I say that hasn’t already been said? The girl can rock! I am very impressed.
Danny Gokey: He’s got lots of people on their feet, clapping and cheering. Most people in my section haven’t risen yet, but my ears are ringing. He sounds good. Praying he doesn’t go for any falsetto glory notes. ‘ ¦Damn, I need to pee. Can’t leave now, Adam is on in two songs, I’d never make it back in time. Danny looks like he’s got skinny calves. It’s probably the angle. He rips his jacket off and throws it towards the crowd. Can’t tell if it goes over the barricade or not. He’s workin’ his dance moves, and the crowd cheers. Vancouver loves salsa dancing. I’m pretty impressed, actually; his voice is holding up well. I don’t hear any straining or reaching for notes. ‘ ¦Oh Jesus H. Christ on a piece of toast, here we go with the sermonizing’ ¦ Okay, I kind of take it back ‘ the preaching is minimal and the ‘Always follow your dreams. I dedicate this song to everyone in this room!’ isn’t yuck. I could be wrong, but I think country music would be a good fit for him.
[I put my pen & paper down at this point. The Glittery Alien Prince from Planet Fierce, a.k.a. the Cosmic Alchemist, demands the full attention of his Minions. No multi-tasking allowed.]
Adam Lambert: I don’t think I have enough words to describe this; I don’t think the English language itself has enough words. The crowd’s largest response in Adam’s set was, by far, to ‘Mad World.’ Someone threw a hot-pink bra at Adam during his ‘Slow Ride’ duet with Allison. He grabbed it and twirled it around his head like a lariat a few times then threw it back into the crowd, without pausing or losing his concentration with his part in the song. Love the vest and the bare arms and chest. He looks like he would be silky-smooth to the touch. He is indeed a human slinky. Why can’t hetero men ever move this way?!? If they did, I might be able to forgive some of their B.S. Adam’s voice is truly otherworldly, and crystal clear. He slides so effortlessly from his lower register into his upper range and back down again, that you don’t even notice the transitions. You feel his voice go through you like a hot knife through butter, or that scene in ‘The Bodyguard’ with the silk scarf and the samurai sword. I have never understood all those who sneer in Adam’s general direction and rant about screaming/shrieking/screeching, because his voice is none of those things. I’ve got five words for you: Exquisite perfection. If I could hear only one voice for the remainder of my life and be deaf to the rest of the world, I would choose Adam’s voice, hands down.
Kris Allen: Huge cheers from the crowd. The slower sections of ‘No Melodies’ sound weird to me, like he’s playing tonsil-hockey with the microphone. Lots of people all around the stadium are still on their feet. Applause afterwards is a little more lukewarm than that for ‘Heartless, ‘ but I think it was a response to the song itself, not Kris. His speaking voice is stronger and more confident than I thought it would be. He’s rocking ‘Ain’t No Sunshine’ and nails the falsetto at the finish. ‘Bright Lights’ ‘ I love this song! This style suits him. He rocked that electric guitar solo like a pro. ‘Hey Jude’ is also Kris’ style. Lots of waving arms in the crowd.
Group Song: I’ve always liked ‘Don’t Stop Believin’, ‘ so this was not cheesy for me. I think I might have heard a couple of bum notes, but not whose they were. Lots of love from the crowd.
10:05 p.m. Exiting the stadium. As I walk to the intersection, I overhear a couple of girls (mid- to late-teens, I’d guess) talking about Adam vs. Kris. As I pass by I hear one of them say very earnestly, ‘Adam belted it out, but Kris has more variety; he’ll go further. Adam’s just a head-banger.’ LOL. Time check when I walk in my apartment door: 10:11 p.m.
Reflections on Kradam: Kris Allen is definitely not a meek little mouse – although I do love the nickname some cyberspace groups have given him: ‘Pocket Idol’ . This makes me smile. Kris might be low-key and understated, but he commands that stage. Like Adam, you can’t take your eyes off him when he sings, but in a totally different way. Adam is larger-than-life; his energy is like a Mexican jumping bean on speed (I imagine this could be quite jarring for a lot of people. I guess I really love crackhead legumes). Adam pulls your emotions from you, concentrates them into a ball of pure white light and throws it back at you, and it takes your breath away. Kris also has an intensity, but it draws you in quietly and you’re just ‘there’ in a warm, cozy little bubble; then you shake your head, look around and realize that more time has passed than you expected and you feel like he might have hypnotized you a little bit.
General Comments: All ten received great response and lots of love from the audience. They sound much better live than they did on the show, and they all impressed cynical old me. There was no mass exodus during anyone’s set, and no booing at all (except for what I thought at first was booing during Anoop’s set, but it wasn’t [see above]). I have never been to an Idol concert, and I admit to having serious doubts about everyone except Kradison (and if I’m being totally honest, the only one I felt sure was going to nail it and send it home first-class airmail, was Adam). I am pleased (as is my bank account, for avoiding the ‘Damn what a Gi-Normous Rip-Off’ guilt-trip of massive proportions) to report that this was a VERY good show, and thoroughly entertaining. It (as do the Idols) seems much more polished than one would expect for only their third stop on the tour. If anyone is wondering if it’s worth the money and trouble, this Idol-Concert-virgin and diehard Adam-centric Minion is here to tell you, it definitely is. For this year, at least. When the last note of ‘Don’t Stop Believin” faded and I watched them all exit through the back of stage, I thought, ‘Wait! Oh wait, couldn’t I just rewind that and watch the whole thing again??!?’