I went with my 13 year old daughter, D. We only live 15 miles from the Arena at Gwinnett Center, but with rush hour traffic, and the jam-up on the exit from the highway to the venue, it took us almost an hour and a half to get there and park the car! Next time we go the back roads. D and I are huge Adam fans, but also love Kris, Allison and Matt. We have been hotly anticipating this event all summer. This concert was my present to her for her middle school graduation. We went and got mani / pedis on Wednesday in preparation. I got black glitter polish and she got black and silver stripes on her fingers and toes in honor of Adam’s Slow Ride pants. Heh!
I’m going to talk about the overall experience and the atmosphere of the event, rather than critique each of the Idols. Everyone has read a ton of note by note reviews already, and I couldn’t possibly add anything about musicality or pitch or song choice. All I can tell you is how I, my daughter and the folks around me felt about what was going on during the concert and the signing at the barricades. And I’m really long winded and very detailed. So join me on our American Idol Journey!
We had floor seats which I bought on presale day thanks to the link from MJ’s ‘ they were about 25 rows back, 6 seats in from the aisle. I thought that was an excellent buy. Meh. Not so much. Both of us are 5 ft 1’ tall. We couldn’t see very much at all, especially when everyone was standing. I can tell you that we will never do that again! Unless you can get into the first few rows, floor seats for short people are NOT a good idea. The show was sold out, and the whole arena was packed including the balcony level.
We met the people in front of us, behind us, and on the side. They were a great group, made up of both adults and teenagers, and we all bonded. We exchanged email addresses, and promised to send each other all the pictures that we took. They all helped make the concert an incredible experience. D bonded with K, who is 15 and was also there with her mom. They were giggling and screaming through the whole show, and were both on their phones texting and updating their facebook status with concert details! We sat through the endless loop of American Idol alum videos, which made K exclaim ‘I am so sick of Carrie Underwood!’ And every time a picture of Adam came on screen, they both, as well as lots of other fans, squealed at the top of their lungs! The girls did the texting contest twice from the Ford music videos, and even though they got all the answers correct, did not win the backstage passes.
I came prepared with my trusty Canon EOS Rebel digital camera with my 80 ‘ 210 mm lens so that I could take excellent pictures of everyone. I knew the camera wouldn’t be a problem, as I took my two younger kids to the David Archuletta / Demi Lovato concert a couple of weeks ago at the same venue, and it was not an issue. What I didn’t know was that the rules were different for the Idol tour. I had my camera with me before the show started when I walked up to the front row of the floor seats to see an online friend that had seats next to the stage. One of the Floor Nazis looked at my camera and measured my lens. He told me that the tour didn’t allow professional cameras and the lens couldn’t be longer than his ID badge. Luckily, the lens was retracted when he measured it and it just barely fit the guidelines. When the lens expanded to reach its full length, it was twice as big and wouldn’t have been allowed. I spent the entire concert trying to sneak long lens pics while the Floor Nazis weren’t watching. Two other Floor Nazis came over during the concert to measure my lens. Both of them measured it retracted and it passed both times. One of them even remarked that the lens looked longer from farther away. Pheww!
Almost everyone around us was up on their feet for pretty much all the Idols. While that was exciting, and made it feel more like a party, it made it awfully hard for us to see. During Michael, Megan, Scott, Lil, and Anoop, it wasn’t too bad. Not that many people were standing directly in front of us ‘ but there was an extra tall guy about 5 rows ahead taking video and blocking my direct view of the stage. If I couldn’t see the Idols, I could watch the large video screens. When I wanted to get a good picture, I hopped up on a chair and took one over people’s heads, and then hopped back down.
During Matt’s set & the group number, however, everyone was up and dancing. Great for Matt, not so good for me. I was practically hysterical that I couldn’t see. I was physically sick to my stomach, and I actually almost burst into tears. I didn’t want to spend the entire second act watching the video screens and not being able to see the Idols. I came to see Adam, not the back of people’s heads. Thankfully, that problem was solved. I don’t know why, but the aisle seat in the row in front of us was unoccupied. At the beginning of the concert, I am sure that some one was sitting there. The couple that was sitting next to the aisle seat didn’t move over and left it empty. I certainly would have claimed it! And a whole family in the row behind us also left 15 minutes into the show ‘ I don’t know if they were getting better seats, or if the concert was just too much for them. One of the ladies in our group that was on the row in front of us kept popping down to the empty aisle seat to take pics in the first half. During intermission, I decided to use the seat to take pics. Everyone thought that was a great idea since I had the best camera. D came to my new seat as well, so we were both sharing the space. And the woman who was back and forth during the first half came down also ‘ so there were three of us in that one tiny space, which now expanded a bit into the aisle. We were all standing, so space wasn’t really an issue. The second act was a lot more relaxed than the first, since I had a place from where I could actually see the concert and I could get really good pictures straight down the middle aisle. Thank goodness, because I really would have had a nervous breakdown if I couldn’t see Adam and Kris. The only issue was that one of the Floor Nazis kept standing in the middle of the aisle, blocking the best picture views.
Overall impressions of the concert. Count me as a total American Idol fangirl, but the entire concert was just Awesome! I have read lots of reviews and kept hearing over and over that everyone sounded better live than on TV. And I completely agree! You could definitely see why all of these singers made the Top 10. Everyone sounded great ‘ their voices were strong, they were much more relaxed and they all seemed very comfortable up on that stage. The Atlanta crowd was great, and was ready to enjoy themselves. The crowd reaction grew with every singer. There were no down spots in the concert at all ‘ there were some more quiet, reflective moments during some of the sets, and even most of the floor sat on some songs, but the energy stayed high throughout.
Michael was a strong opener and had everyone around me singing along to Closer. Megan was stunning and got whoops from the audience when she announced that ‘When Tears Dry On Their Own’ was for those that had been gypped at love. Scott won D over with his singing and piano playing. She loved his rendition of ‘A Thousand Miles’. Even though I’d read it a ton of times, his joke about ‘The High Five Heard Round the World’ was cute and his impression of Simon ‘That Was Horrible!’ was too funny! Lil was very high energy and our whole section was dancing and singing to ‘Single Ladies’. Anoop was very smooth ‘ K’s mom said that she had to sit down because he made her cry. And everyone was up and dancing to ‘My Prerogative’. I knew that I would love Matt, and he didn’t disappoint. ‘Hard to Handle’ was a rocking good time, and then he slowed it down to play ‘Georgia on My Mind’, which he called our state song! Hah! And once again, everyone was up and dancing and singing along to ‘You Found Me’. I would have loved the group number, but this was when I was my most upset about not being able to see, so I couldn’t really enjoy it. They sounded good ‘ not sure how they looked! Then Allison absolutely rocked the arena! The entire floor was up for her whole set. I especially liked Cry Baby, on which her voice shined. We enjoyed Danny a lot more than I thought we were going to. ‘PYT’ was great, his salsa dancing was surprisingly good, and his banter was much more chatting and personal philosophy than preaching, at which I was relieved. His voice was the only one on which I heard a bit of strain on the big notes. The crowd really got into both of the Rascall Flats songs, which was kind of ironic, as Rascall Flatts was playing downtown Atlanta at another arena at the same time as Danny was singing ‘What Hurts the Most’ and ‘My Wish’. As soon as he finished, the screams were defeaning in preparation for Adam. And it got louder still with the first notes of ‘Whole Lotta Love’. The important stuff ‘ Emo hair, Baby, red bra that he whipped around and threw back into the audience, purple boa that he picked up and put on Allison, various other items on stage that I couldn’t identify. The set ‘ just incredible. ‘Whole Lotta Love’ rocked my world. ‘Starlight’ was gorgeous. ‘Mad World’ gave me chills. ‘Slow Ride’ was awesome and the interaction between Adam and Allison was lovely! The Bowie medley was incredible and the crowd loved it! There was really no change in atmosphere when Kris came on stage. The curtain lowered, everyone cheered, and he sang an awesome version of ‘Heartless’ with his acoustic guitar. All the teenagers around me screamed and sang along. Then he switched to electric guitar for the Killers song and killed that! The grand piano came up on the lift for ‘Ain’t No Sunshine’ and ‘Bright Lights’ and the entire crowd was on its feet for ‘Hey Jude’. Everyone came back out for the ‘Na na na na’s’ and were having a great time! Much Kradam cuteness! And ‘Don’t Stop Believing’ was all kinds of awesome, from Matt and Scott on piano to Adam’s glory note at the end. What an amazing event! We were on our feet for the entire show, and enjoyed ourselves immensely!
Idols at the barricades ‘ This signing was much more organized than it sounds like from the other venues. They didn’t have the meet and greet out by the buses, but right outside the front doors of the arena. There were metal barricades about 10 feet back from the arena, on either side of the main entrance with an aisle down the middle for everyone to get out and get to the parking lot. When our group came out there were already a ton of people waiting ‘ the crowd was about 5 or 6 deep down the entire 100 yards of barricade. We exited and stood along the aisle that formed. According to security, it was going to be over an hour before any of the Idols came out since they had their official meet and greet inside. Some people gave up and left, included two in our group that had to work the next day, but most stuck it out. After security emptied out the arena, they closed off the aisle with another metal barricade, and everyone rushed to stand on it. D and K got all the way to the front. The moms got caught behind everyone and we were about 10 people back. D was on the barricade, and took the official program, the Rolling Stone and Adam’s Entertainment Weekly magazine for autographs. K had her Adam Lambert shirt that she wanted Adam to sign. I could literally see nothing but the people in front of me and the top of the arena. A bunch of teenagers next to me, who were all Adam fans, were talking about how hot he is. One of them said that she was going to ask him to prom. She said that he probably wouldn’t go, but he would remember that she asked him. Heh. There was a very tall teenaged boy standing next to me that could see over the crowd and could tell me what was going on. He was a huge Adam fan and had driven three hours with his mom for the concert. He said that Adam was robbed, and that he should have won. A couple other people in the area agreed with him. So we all had a conversation about how Adam is fine with second place and is happy for Kris, and that his fans should be too. Don’t know if I convinced anyone, but I tried.
At this point there were about 2 ‘ 3, 000 people standing in front of the arena. The Idols started coming out around 11:15, with handlers and security, going up and down the barricades, signing autographs. D was in the very center of the barricade line. Since I couldn’t see a darn thing, I backed off the crowd and found a place to stand where I could at least see the tops of the heads of the taller Idols. Then I was able to stand on a concrete barrier, and was able to at see everyone’s faces. Michael came out first and started on one side, then Megan came out and was walked down the whole line to start at the other side. Then Danny came out, and started on Michael’s side. Scott came out with his brother and walked past everyone to start on the opposite side. Matt came out on Michael and Danny’s side. There was screaming during this whole time, but then Adam came out and walked down the whole line to the far side, and the screams were deafening. And some of the crowd at the barricade ran from the near side to the far side to be near to Adam. Kris came out next and walked across the line to the far side as well. Anoop came out last and started on the near side. Most everyone made it down the line, except Anoop, who didn’t even make it to the middle. D got everyone who made it to her area to autograph the program, except Adam ‘ who signed both the Rolling Stone and the EW.
D spoke to everyone, and actually had a conversation with Kris. She asked him if he would ever get used to all this, and he said no. She told him that she was going to be a famous actress, and he said that they should hang out then. She asked him if Lil or Allison were coming out and he said that he had no idea, but that Lil was really sick. Someone yelled out ‘Kris, where’s your wife?’ and someone else said ‘Maybe they broke up and just don’t want to tell anyone.’ Some people are morons. D told Megan that everyone was prettier and hotter in person, and she said thank you. There was lots of ‘Megan, you’re beautiful’, ‘I love you Adam!’, ‘Oh my god, it’s Kris’, ‘Oh my god, it’s Adam’, ‘Kris is so short’, and ‘Marry me, Danny’. There was a girl wearing an ‘I Love You Danny’ shirt that I thought was going to have an aneurism! And a bunch of Adam fans that I thought were going to pass out. One girl had a life-sized flat Adam, which got passed up to Adam to sign, and then passed back to her, like Adam was in a mosh pit! The Idols were all generous with their time and really good with the fans. They stayed out til midnight, when security brought them back inside, and the crowd dispersed.
The entire experience was amazing and one that we will never forget. The concert was awesome, the Idols were great, and we had an amazing time! We can’t wait til any of the Idols come through Atlanta on their solo tours. We will so be there!