Hi everyone. I’ve been to both the Portland, OR and Atlantic City, NJ shows (and I’ve got tickets to the Reading, PA show as well!). I’m going to provide a bit of background on my perspective, so if you just want to hear about the concert skip ahead. I’m a 27-year-old female, and I’m primarily into electronic and metal (although I really truly love all types of music, especially classical and jazz, excepting country, of which I own one song). I’ve been to so many concerts/festivals (a la Burning Man)/clubs that I’ve forgotten many of them, but suffice to say, nothing that happens on the Idol tour would be remotely shocking to me. I got into American Idol during season 4 (for Bo), and continued following it, although I didn’t have another favorite until Jason last year. I got very angry with how the show treated Jason, and refused to watch at all this year. I started watching the week after “Ring of Fire” when I finally gave into all the buzz and watched the video from that performance online. I was not disappointed. Adam is the first time I felt someone on Idol shared my background and perspective, and he’s also an amazing singer and performer. I wouldn’t have watched for anything less. Anyway, onto the shows …
I was in Portland to attend my best friend’s wedding that week, and when I found out the first Idol show was going to be there I had to get tickets. I went to the Atlantic City show last year because I can use comps for the Tropicana, and was able to do the same thing this year. My friends that I went to the show with in Portland (the bride-to-be and her fiance) are casual Idol fans, the friend that went to the Atlantic City show did not watch any of the TV show. I had seats in the bottom tier of the stands toward the front for Portland, but was all the way in the back a few rows from the top for the Atlantic City show. Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City felt substantially smaller than the Rose Garden (Portland), although I don’t think it’s really that much smaller. It may have just been my seats. The Atlantic City show must have been sold out, if not very close to it, because there were not any empty seats in my section.
In Portland I really enjoyed Michael’s opening. He got the crowd into the show. The Atlantic City show started pretty late, and a lot of people were still finding their seats when he started. It was very distracting and I had difficulty paying much attention to him. My friend thought he was like a heftier Nick Lachey. Being Atlantic City, a lot of people were also drunk before the show started, including the dudes sitting next to me. (My section had a pretty typical Idol crowd in Portland, but there were about an even number of men and women in my section in Atlantic City–and the men danced more and screamed louder than the women).
Megan seemed really uncomfortable in Portland, and I had difficulty enjoying her. She seemed more comfortable onstage in the Atlantic City show. My friend only liked 4 of the 10 Idols, and Megan was one of them. She said she’d buy Megan’s music. The guys in my section also very much appreciated Megan.
I didn’t like Scott during either show. There are some AC songs I like, but not very many, and he’s too FM-lite. My friend in Atlantic City enjoyed his Vanessa Carlton cover, but did not like his voice that well.
My views concerning Lil can be summed up by friend’s commentary during her performances. “Mary’s better.” “Alicia’s better.” “Beyonce’s better.” She really needs to find herself, and I’m not sure imitating those she’s been compared to is a good way to go about it.
Anoop seems pretty comfortable on stage. I enjoyed his set at both shows. He has a smooth voice. His performance was the first time the crowd in Portland started screaming, and got up. The Atlantic City crowd sat for most of the show. I’m not sure I would buy anything from Anoop, but I certainly wouldn’t turn the radio if he came on.
I didn’t really like Matt during the Portland show. I was getting pretty impatient at that point for Adam and it was difficult to sit through everybody leading up to him. He also seemed pretty nervous. I really enjoyed him during the Atlantic City show, and he was my friend’s favorite of the entire show. He was also the favorite of the drunk dude sitting next to me. My friend commented that she wanted him to do a Justin Timberlake song (she’s been obsessed w/JT for a very long time). It was amusing in light of all the JT comparisons during the show, but from her it’s definitely a compliment.
I stayed seated during intermission for both shows. The show seemed to start up again very suddenly in Portland. Allison was the favorite of my friends there so they were pretty crazy during her set. I liked “So What” best, because it really seemed to set the tempo for the second half in a “and now the real show starts” sort of way. I knew what to expect in Atlantic City, and the crowd wasn’t as loud so it didn’t seem as big an entrance. The people around me weren’t that into it, although there was a nice-looking teenage boy that was there with his girlfriend, I believe, who had puffy-painted a home-made Allison shirt (I asked, he made it, not the girl). I really think she resonates with the teenage set, and will be very successful now that a choice doesn’t have to made between the boys and her.
I missed most of Danny’s set in Portland. My friends didn’t want to see him and took a smoke break, and I used that time to use the bathroom free of a line, and then got a drink. I saw his entire set in Atlantic City. I really don’t know what kind of music he wants to do. My general criticism of AI is pertinent to him. I don’t think the viewing audience of AI is the same that buys pop music, and as a result AI ends up with a lot of adult contemporary singers instead of pop artists (the purported purpose of the show). Pop music isn’t family oriented. It’s aimed at teens and twenty-somethings and it’s supposed to be risque. The artists my generation can name from past generations are not the ones that made parents happy during their time. That said, I don’t think a show that actually focused only on people who could be pop artists would be anywhere near as successful as AI, as there wouldn’t be the “this could be you” element to it. Anyway, I hope Danny is able to make a career of something he loves, and if he signs with the right label and gets good people behind him he should be able to, but I do not expect to see him on the pop charts, except perhaps like some other Idols his initial release for a few weeks.
And finally … the entire reason I watched Idol at all this year, and purchased tickets to three tour dates … Adam. I was in a trance during both shows. My favorites are “Starlight” and the Bowie medley (the only time my section in Atlantic City stood up–and they danced!). I lost my voice in Atlantic City I screamed so much (not during the singing), and my throat was all scratchy so I had to ditch on drinks later. Like I said earlier, I’ve been to a lot a lot of concerts. There have been very few singers who can hold attention the way Adam does. My parents are also fans of him (especially my dad), and were bugging me to watch Idol to see him when I was still adamantly against it. My grandmother took my dad to see Elvis in the 50s (she had my dad when she was 40, so she was the Adam cougar’s predecessor by 60 years), and he still remembers that concert in awe. My dad was in a rock band throughout college and after, and actually likes a lot of the music I listen to. He loves prog rock, and it’s the strangest among my collection he tends to appreciate best. Anyway, my dad told me he thought Adam was like Elvis before I ever watched any of Adam. I showed him concert video from the Atlantic City show (thanks to those of you who seek out and post the youtube vids!) and he thought the moves were awesome, and the bra throwing pretty standard for a male pop/rock star. My parents are planning on buying an Adam album for each of them even though I stated it’s probably going to be more electronic dance pop stuff with classic rock influences (which I love, and really hope it is, because I will love him forever if he goes the male Lady GaGa route).
Kris felt kind of like a letdown in Portland as I came off my Adam high, but I really enjoyed his set anyway. No Boundaries pretty much lost the crowd, so I’m really glad he replaced it on the tour. The only part of his set I don’t like is “Bright Lights” which is definitely the song rather than him. There are some songs I just flat-out really don’t like, and that’s one of them. I didn’t see a lot of people leaving during either show, although the crowd started out during “Hey Jude” in Atlantic City. Adam and Kris were the other two my friend who went to the Atlantic City date with me really enjoyed. I don’t know if I’ll see Kris in concert again (I tend to prefer my concerts loud and full of spectacle, if I want to chill I’ll do so at a coffeeshop or my bedroom), but I’ve purchased songs from his Idol run, and if there are some good ones on his album, I’ll definitely buy those too.
I didn’t attempt to stay to get autographs at either show. I might try at the Reading show, simply because I think a Rolling Stone (hell yes I bought it), with Adam’s sig will be worth a lot in a couple of decades (like my mom’s signed Beatles concert ticket).