Before I start this, I should let it be known that I’m a huge Kris fan. I voted for him just about every week and I’ve never done that with anyone else on this show. But I also loved Adam and Allison wasn’t too far behind. I tried to go to this concert with an open mind for everyone.
So: first things first. In my idiocy, I realized I left my camera at home so I won’t have any pics or anything for y’all. I wasn’t too broken up about it, though, because I’d rather pay attention to a concert than busy myself taking photos.
My girlfriend and I had $55 tickets for the upper concourse at the Verizon Center here in D.C. Earlier this afternoon, it kind of dawned on me that even though we didn’t get the cheapest tickets…our seats were still kind of bad. Like, we were only two rows from the very top of the arena. Major nosebleeds. I called them up and asked if upgrading was possible and apparently it was. Unfortunately, you can only do that at the box office and by the time my girlfriend could get there, extremely attractive seat prospects in the lower level by the stage were gone. BUT we were still able to swing really nice seats in the middle section of the arena on the very edge. We were basically staring straight at the side of the stage.
The crowd was actually a really diverse crop of people. I saw a ton of families, but A LOT of adults there without children. The crowd was probably like 70% female but I think that would be expected. Lots of little girls wearing Adam or Kris shirts, and a few with Gokeywear.
The arena was totally full on the floor, on the lower sections and in the middle section where I was…nosebleeds weren’t too crowded.
I’m really glad my friend and I decided not to get there too early…before the show, they pretty much kept replaying the same Carrie Underwood, Daughtry and David Cook videos in a loop to the point where I wanted to die. They also would show random ads and there would be shrieks in the audience whenever Adam’s face appeared on screen, as well as quieter screaming for Kris.
Anyway, so the show finally began with a lot of booming noises and such with Michael, who I wasn’t a big fan of on the show. He actually did a pretty good job getting the crowd enthused. He sang Gavin DeGraw’s “In Love with a Girl” and Ne-Yo’s “Closer” and sounded decent on both of them, particularly the former. I did have to laugh when he kept trying to order the crowd to stand up and almost no one was (although, to be fair, I feel like this crowd was kind of lame and no one stood up for anyone unless they were on the floor).
Next up: Megan. Who comes out to the stage literally looking like a Barbie, with a hot pink dress, pink high heels and long evening gown hair. Megan is just not a very good singer. I really disliked her voice and bizarre shimmying on the show, and while she sounded marginally better here, I wasn’t impressed. She did Corinne Bailey Rae’s “Put Your Records On” and Amy Winehouse’s “Tears Dry On Their Own, ” both of which are good songs…now, she didn’t completely BUTCHER them but, overall, she was the least memorable performer of the evening.
Then it’s time for everyone’s favorite blind reality show contestant Scott. Scott’s voice in concert is stronger and less whiny than it often seemed on the show. He played piano for both Keane’s “Bend and Break” and Vanessa Carlton’s “A Thousand Miles” and sounded pretty solid. He was also surprisingly funny and made references to Seacrest infamously giving him a high-5 and did a somewhat accurate impression of Simon.
I don’t have all that much to say about Lil. She sounded fine and pleasant and all, but not someone I could ever see being a successful mainstream singer. She performed Mary J. Blige’s “Be Without You” and Alicia Keys’ “No One” and while they sound fine, she doesn’t really do much to distinguish them. Then she showed off some relatively impressive dancing skillz and moved around all over the stage for “Single Ladies, ” with the song’s lyrics being written on the screen to encourage the audience to participate. It was fun, I guess, but like the rest of her set, sounded a little karaoke.
Anoop is welcomed with a ridiculously cheesy clouds background as his intro that made me laugh. But then he launches into a beautiful rendition of “You Were Always On My Mind.” His voice is really rich and I always liked him on the show. He then sang another Ne-Yo song (“Mad”) which was also nice. Then, of course, he did “My Prerogative” and really got a lot of the crowd moving…he showed a lot of swagger and did some “sexy” hip gyrations that were cute because he’s dorky and knows it. Crowd gave him lots of enthusiastic applause and there was the standard “Nooooooooooop” chanting at the end.
Matt comes out and launches into The Black Crowes’ version of “Hard to Handle, ” which is one of my favorite songs and rocks it out on the piano. He sounds awesome, awesome, awesome and the crowd is giving him easily the best reception so far. Then he does a really soulful “Georgia” on the piano, and his piano skills and how into it he gets are really fun to watch. He finished with The Fray’s “You Found Me” and does a great job on that as well, considering I thought he sucked when he sang that on Idol. Matt’s applause is easily the most thunderous so far. And let me say this: out of all the performers this evening, Matt surprised me the most. He sounded really, really good. If anyone else from this season gets a record deal (aside from Kris/Adam/Allison, who already obviously have them), it should be Matt.
Next, the bottom 6 come out for a couple of short medleys. I don’t know who decided it’d be a good idea to have Megan and Lil duet on something, but it sounds so off-key and screechy that I can’t even tell what song it is. Next, Matt and Scott rise up on the lift on dueling pianos and sing some of “Tell Her About It.” Then Sarver comes out and does a little bit of “Suspicious Minds.” THEN Anoop sings the opening of “Beggin'” (yes!!) solo before the other five join him and it actually sounds really awesome.
Which brings us to a 20-minute intermission. I am not a moron and do not attempt to use the bathroom since the line for the ladies’ room is obviously ridiculous.
Without warning, the lights suddenly dim and it’s time for my girl Allison. She launches into an attitude-laden version of “So What” by Pink, and can actually convincingly pull the song off despite being 17. A wind machine is going crazy and blowing her hair all over the place and she’s moving around the stage like a badass – great stage presence. Her banter includes asking the audience how excited they are to see the three guys following her, and the crowd loses their shit when she says Adam and (yes, somewhat more quietly) Kris. Then she does a killer “Cry Baby” by Janis Joplin, the song she sang the week she got booted. And next comes an terrific rendition of “Barracuda” by Heart (ably assisted by the band, who are awesome). Crowd goes pretty wild for her when she’s done, as they should.
Then…Danny. I’m just not a fan at all, to be honest. But he has a lot of support in Washington DC, apparently, as evidenced by the massive screaming that accompanies his entrance to the stage. He sings “P.Y.T.” and gets a lot of the crowd up and dancing. Like, he sounds good, but I’m not enthused. Next he sings Santana’s “Maria Maria” and, once again, sounds good but sort of bores me at the same time. He then does two Rascal Flatts songs in a row. Now, I love Rascal Flatts and all, but some variety here would’ve been appreciated. After singing “What Hurts the Most, ” he launches into a speech about “not letting tragedy define you” and “move on from your circumstances if they suck” and it’s heartfelt and all, but it kind of feels like I’m in church instead of an American Idol concert. He finishes up with “My Wish” and you can actually feel the energy in the crowd because everyone knows what’s coming next.
And what’s coming next is the glittery alien from Planet Fierce, Adam. The crowd absolutely goes CRAZY when he emerges; my ears were ringing because there was so much screaming coming from every single direction of the arena (not that I’m complaining, since I was doing my fair share). He comes out with “Whole Lotta Love” and I’m basically in awe of his incredible singing voice. Like, everyone knows he’s really talented and all, but you don’t know know until you see him live. He’s that good. His next song is Muse’s “Starlight” and he again sounds phenomenal. Then “Mad World” is as gorgeous and haunting and hypnotic as you’d expect. Following that, Allison comes back out onto the stage and the two of them do their “Slow Ride” duet and it’s basically just epic awesomeness. It’s during this song that a woman on the floor throws a red bra onto the stage, which of course provokes wild cheers from the audience. Adam closes out his set with a Bowie medley of “Let’s Dance” and “Fame, ” and it’s impossible to look away from him while he’s singing. He takes off his jacket to reveal a sleeveless black shirt (cue massive screams), twirls the bra around and throws it back into the audience, and basically gyrates around the place like a human slinky. So. Freaking. Awesome.
THEN THEN THEN what I’ve been waiting for happens. I get to be in the same place as Kris and hear him sing. Kris rises up from the lift, guitar strapped across his shoulder, and the crowd goes insane which made me so giddy. On a shallow note, I’ll mention that he is tiny and adorable and pocket-sized in person, of course, and our view of the stage was on the side as I said so we had a really nice view of his ass most of the time he was singing. I did not mind. He launches into “Heartless” and sounds absolutely wonderful live. I have always adored the richness and soul in his voice, but his voice is so clear and confident in this type of huge concert venue. A part of me wishes he could’ve done the song a cappella with just his guitar like he did on the show but I know that’s not really feasible, and it sounds terrific with the band anyway. Next, the song of death (No Boundaries) has been forever destroyed and Kris has replaced it in his set with “All These Things That I’ve Done” by The Killers, without a doubt one of my favorite songs. People always talk about how Kris is so mellow and his detractors talk about how he has no edge, but he really does a great job rocking out in his own unique Kris Allen way. And, surprise surprise, he sounds INCREDIBLE yet again. He asks the crowd to sing along with him on the “I’ve got soul but I’m not a soldier” part, although I think a lot of people in the crowd suck and don’t know the song. He does a little bit of banter next and gives President Obama a birthday shoutout, which I thought was adorable. Then he gets onto the piano and begins “Ain’t No Sunshine, ” and the crowd goes crazy when they recognize what song it is. You can just hear the passion and emotion in his voice with every word he sings…so few performers can play music and really tell a story while they do it, and Kris is one of them. He stays on the piano for Matchbox 20’s “Bright Lights” and I’m still giddy at how INTO IT he gets. It’s all about the music for Kris…you can read it on his face and see it in his body language while he performs…it’s like the rest of the world is gone and it’s just him and the piano there. Next is his closing number (and I am sad that his set is already almost done) as he performs “Hey Jude.” Kris asks the audience to take out whatever they have that glows and sway it in the air, and a majority of the audience follows the request. “Hey Jude” is a hard song to pull off successfully just because it’s so iconic, but Kris pulls it off and then some. He does a cute little rocker scream during the “BETTER BETTER BETTER” part and it’s fantastic. The rest of the Idols come out back onto the stage during the “Na na na na na” part while pretty much everyone in the audience who knows the song sings along.
On another note, to contrast some of the earlier reports of those who were on the floor who saw a lot of people leaving during Kris…I only saw a few people do that, honestly. I was looking around while he was singing and there wasn’t some crazy mass exodus or something…it seemed like maybe 15 or 20 people total to me. DC overall showed Kris a ton of love and I don’t think people leaving during his set should be made into a big deal, especially since I don’t think the small number of people who do that even bothers Kris. And it shouldn’t, because it’s those people’s losses.
Scott and Matt rise up from the lift on the dueling pianos again and begin the opening strains of “Don’t Stop Believin, ” the group number closing out the show. The rest of them gradually come out in pairs: Sarver/Megan, Anoop/Lil, Gokey/Allison. Then Kris and Adam rise up from the lift together (and my view from the very edge of the arena totally allowed me to see that they head their arms around each other’s waists or something similar before they came out onto the stage like BFFs, which was so cute I basically flailed) and join them, and I can’t concentrate on anyone else but the two of them. They’re right next to each other the whole time and do some majorly cute little dancing things (both of them get down on one knee at the same time and look at each other, for example). I really think the two of them are great friends and have such genuine respect and appreciation for each other. They throw in a tiny bit of “Na Na Na Kiss Him Goodbye” before closing out the show, and it’s ovahhh. On the way backstage, Kris appeared to slightly jump on Anoop and gives Matt a playful slap on the butt (lol).
Overall, I am so glad I decided to go to this. It was not really at all cheesy like I had feared it might be (I think the Idol concert used to be like this and they’ve moved away from it). Some of these kids are really, really talented (specifically Kris and Adam, who are both in my top 5 favorite people Idol has ever produced) and it was just a good chance to hear some music in a relaxed, fun setting. I had a genuinely good time, and while I might not go to one of these things ever again, just because I went this time because I have such appreciation for some of these contestants, it was lots of fun overall.