The Minneapolis American Idols concert on Tuesday night (9/1) at Target Center was my second AI concert. I went last year, after watching the entire season with my then eleven year old son. My favorites last year were David Cook and Jason Castro. This year I watched the show alone because at twelve, my son had become too cool to watch with me. I went to the concert alone this year and it was actually fun to enjoy it solo.
My background includes involvement in music and theater in high school and college. I took voice lesson and sang in concert choirs. I mention this not to suggest that I have expertise as a musical performance reviewer, but just to say that my experience with performing music informs my personal interests and enjoyment.
The crowd. Impressive from the start was the crowd. Target Center was just about full, and most everyone was there from the start. I was just forward of half court, not far up on the lower level, and I could see most of the crowd. At least eighty percent of the crowd stood for a portion of each of the Idols set ‘ from those in the front row seats on the floor to those at the very top. No Idol had the entire crowd standing for their entire set. Minneapolis loved all the Idols. Michael noticed it right from the start. Danny said during his set, ‘all the Idols are coming back and saying you guys just keep brining it and bringing it.’
Michael. The crowd stood as soon as Michael appeared and started to sing. Right away I noticed the band was very good but way too loud. The audience kept standing throughout the first song and Michael took note, ‘Hello Minneapolis! This is the first time everyone has stood up for me!’ I suspected I would have been enjoying his set, if the band wasn’t so loud and I could’ve actually heard him.
Megan. Again for Megan, the band was too loud. But I thought she, too, was doing pretty well. Her hair was styled in a quirky curly updo that vaguely resembled a fauxhawk. I expected to wince at her awkward stage moves, but she has developed a strut that works for her set.
Scott. When Scott performed on the show I felt uncomfortable, and I wondered if I’d feel that way at the concert. I didn’t. He’s certainly talented and confident and has fans who love him. Scott was the favorite of the twelve year old boy who sat next to me, ‘because he plays the piano and he’s blind.’ Scott’s style is not my favorite, but I do love his story.
Lil. When Lil appeared I thought she looked great. I liked her outfit ‘ it was rightly proportioned from a bit of a distance ‘ but I’m not sure I would have liked it up close. And I liked her dance moves ‘ at first. I wanted to like her more, but by the middle of Single Ladies I was losing interest. I thought she did her job and entertained us. But I wondered what more ‘ musically and professionally – she really, truly wants to do.
Anoop. As Anoop was introduced I noticed the crowd was getting louder and more cameras were flashing. Always on My Mind was great ‘ I loved it. Vocally, he was spot on. I thought he performed well on stage, and I really didn’t see that on the show. I hope he finds a label – and a sound that brands him uniquely and allows him to go further – because he certainly has the voice and stage presence needed to be successful.
Matt. I was eagerly anticipating Matt’s performance ‘ especially Hard to Handle – and he did not disappoint. What an explosion of energy and pure joy! Seeing him play his keys and watching him share the passion he experiences was so very fun! His vocals were also impressive. Sign Matt Giraud. Definitely!
The group number before intermission was a mix of highs and lows. A highlight was Scott’s and Matt’s dueling pianos. The lowest point was when Megan started laughing uncontrollably during her duet with Lil. I did not see Lil laugh ‘ Lil kept composure. But Megan just lost it for what seemed like about a half a minute ‘ it was unfortunate and unprofessional. The highest point was Beggin’. The guys looked especially good and the choreography worked very well (Scott was impressively equally as cool as the others). Beggin’ was an unexpected delight.
Allison. Allison was beautiful and at first her hair was not in her face. I saw this because I had to look at the big screen during So What due the extremely bright yellow light behind Allison that was shining in my eyes making it impossible to see her. Her hair stayed out of her face until about half way through Cry Baby and by then she was moving all over the stage. I didn’t even remember that she ‘is only seventeen’ until she was into Barracuda. The fact that she makes me forget her age is telling. She completely owned the stage. I thought her set was fabulous. Her performance of Barracuda was way better than on Conan. Cry Baby was just excellent ‘ definitely my favorite.
Danny. I wasn’t expecting to really love Danny. He’s of course an excellent vocalist, but I kinda got bored with him on the show. PYT was pretty good ‘ quite fun. I was looking for bad dancing with the microphone on Maria Maria. Didn’t see it at first ‘ but then there it was, unfortunately. Oh, well. And then there was the speech ‘ which I expected to experience as self-indulgent. At the beginning I heard him say, ‘not to make this about me, but most of you know my story.’ By the end of the little speech he had me believing that he just really did want people to pursue their dreams and not give up. Didn’t see that coming ‘ he made me a believer and won me over at that point. OK, so I’m glad 19 has signed him and look forward to seeing what he does next.
Adam. I used earplugs for the intro for Adam. Of course he got big, loud love. I didn’t want to miss a moment of his vocals, so the earplugs were out fairly immediately for Whole Lotta Love. Everyone was on their feet from the beginning. Some were sitting for Starlight and Mad World. Unfortunately, I experienced the ‘helium voice’ effect, starting with Starlight. It was very distracting and knowing others had experienced it before, I just tried to ignore it and be in the moment.
Starting with Whole Lotta Love, I thought his performance was subdued. I mean ‘subdued’ by Adam Lambert standards. He brought an excellent performance by standards set for anyone else. But knowing what he can do ‘ from seeing videos from other tour stops – I didn’t think this was one of his highest energy performances. It can’t be easy, on such a grueling schedule, to be held to the high standards he has essentially set for himself. But even when he may not be at his absolute best, he’s still quite amazing.
Adam sang ‘woman’ on Whole Lotta Love. Elvis hair. There was stuff on stage for Slow Ride but they didn’t pick it up. Alli looked at something light blue ‘ possibly a bra ‘ but didn’t pick it up. Adam considered a multicolored feathery thing that I don’t think was a boa – but I have no idea what it was. He didn’t pick it up. There was more stuff for the Bowie Medley ‘ including an aqua blue feathery thing (probably a boa) – but it wasn’t picked up.
Kris. There was very loud appreciation for Adam as he descended. Then there was a brief lull making it very clear that Kris owned the next eruption of screams and cheers. The crowd loved Kris ‘ including me. There was no mass exodus of any sort (as I mentioned, I could see most of the arena). The mom in front of me left with her four year old, but the poor girl had been whimpering because her ears hurt from the noise.
After the concert Kris tweeted that he would ‘definitely’ be back to Minneapolis. I will definitely go to that concert. I loved his creative interpretations on the show, so of course I enjoyed experiencing Heartless live. I loved his performance at the concert. He’s a musician who draws you into his passion. During the concert I was particularly drawn into Ain’t No Sunshine and his guitar solo on Bright Lights.
LOL. The guy behind me who had accompanied his wife and teenage daughter to the concert hadn’t moved or made a sound until Ain’t No Sunshine, after which he clapped three times and said ‘beautiful.’ Hilarious.
DSB. I thought Don’t Stop Believing was uneventful. The crowd was singing along. Nothing crazy happened. The audience was happy. The Idols all seemed happy. Adam was the first Idol off the stage. Right after the song ended, he turned and purposefully exited center stage. And everyone knows, when Adam’s gone the shows over.
Reflections. I realized after the concert I had gone specifically to see Adam. I knew I would likely see Kris in concert again. But I didn’t think I’d see Adam again and I wanted the opportunity to hear his amazing voice live. It was good even to be there, in the ‘room, ‘ with him singing ‘ knowing how gifted he is ‘ and hearing some of that. Of course I had hoped for Adam to be in his best voice and to deliver a high-energy performance. That didn’t happen ‘ and I don’t fault him for it – given that he had been working both in Kansas City and L.A. within the 48 hours before he performed in Minneapolis. And of course, even if he had been all I expected, since I experienced the ‘helium voice’ effect, I wouldn’t have heard all that I wanted to hear anyway. What the heck is that helium effect anyway? Aargh!
Megan ‘ If Megan was singing at a nearby small club or coffee house, I can see myself going (out of curiosity) and expecting that I might like what I hear. I’d bring a friend and plan to either have dinner or sip coffee over conversation while Megan was singing. I’d be counting on Megan sitting down, too.
Matt ‘ I very possibly would go see Matt live again. He’s so talented ‘ a showman with such joy. But I have no idea if I’d buy an album because I don’t know enough about what to expect. As good as he is at covering songs, he still hasn’t established his unique branding.
Adam and Allison ‘ I will definitely be following Adam and Allison in the media and be interested to see where their careers take them. I am very fond of both of them and appreciate the entertainment that they’ve provided me during AI8. Would love to see them both be wildly successful, but I don’t see myself buying their albums or going to their concerts. However, I’d be very likely buy a ticket to see Adam be the lead in a Broadway musical. (Sorry, Adam-the-rock-star, that’s just me.)
Kris ‘ November 17 ‘ album release date – is on my calendar. As I said I will definitely be going to his concert when he returns to Minneapolis.