Jack’s American Idol Tour 2009 Hartford, CT Recap

Well, here it is. My extremely long and detailed recap. This is what I’m going to submit to MJ’s, but I’m going to post this in parts because we had like, three parts to our day. Before the show, the show, and after the show. I will post pictures that correspond with the parts that I am talking about since I have a ton of cool pictures. And of course, I will post every single picture I have of Megan because Megan is awesome!!


Disclaimer: This will be very long and detailed! It was a long day and I was very fortunate to get after party passes through a fantastic idol, so I’m going to load this up with all the details since after party passes are not easy to find this year. Feel free to skip around, read certain parts, but I hope you all read the entire thing! I am an 18 year old and my favorites this season were Megan Joy and Kris Allen. I did like them all though, but I am going to keep this as objective as possible.

American Idol’s LIVE 2009. Season 8. Hartford XL Center. 7 PM. Despite a 7 PM concert , my Idol day started well before that. We got to the arena around noon and we wanted to fill the day with as much Idol as possible. The Hilton Hotel is actually connected to the XL Center, so we knew that this was the hotel the Idol’s stayed at. Coincidentally, my friend in my group also stayed there the night before so she knew what was going down. After a quick bite to eat, we walked into the hotel only to find Kris Allen taking pictures with some fans in the lobby. First thought? WOW! He is so tiny. They call him Pocket Idol and he really is! I thought it was awesome for him to just stop in such a public space to talk to his fans. He then walked right by us (we knew we would meet him later) and out of the hotel. We could see him just walking down the street. It was funny to us that the American Idol Winner was just walking down the street with two other people like it was no big deal, haha.

After our brief Kris encounter, we decided we were going to wait at the hotel to see the Idol’s load the buses. The busses were parked just a little before the hotel and we knew they had to load them so they set up barricades. The Idol’s weren’t going to sign right here, but we wanted to watch them, wave, and just see them (Come on, we are all Idol junkies after all). They came out one by one with Ray, the tour manager (who looks kind of creepy, but must have an awesome job) All of them came out except for Adam. Now, this may get me some haters, but it is my recap so I’m going to just say it how I see it. I know Adam is on vocal rest, and I understand he is on doctor’s orders, but he couldn’t walk 5 feet from the hotel to the bus? He was apparently already gone, so we were told, but he never came out. Either he was in the bus already (which I don’t think he was, since I’m positive the busses were empty) or he walked over through the catwalk that connects the XL Center and Hilton. It wasn’t like it was an autograph or meet and greet signing, it was simply walking and waving. I just didn’t understand why he didn’t do that, even if he is on doctor’s orders. I kind of felt like (and still do) it is as if he is getting special treatment for some reason. Tons of people there were lined up to see him (some of them even had blue in their hair) and it just seems like such a disappointment that they can’t even see him up that close’ ¦but more on Adam later. There were some funny moments here. Michael was one of the first Idol’s to come out and he was sitting on the bus basically so he was at the door, looking out at us. He kept doing all funny faces and going up and down on the window. He waved to all of us and took a picture with his iPhone. It was already apparent how into the fans he was. Megan’s hair was in curlers, so of course she looked funny when she came out! Danny came out and waved and said, ‘If I knew ya’ll were going to be here, I would have done my hair!’  At this time, it wasn’t spiky. I have an awesome picture of him saying this when he threw his hand up in the air, which I will post! It was hysterical because whenever the doors would open, people would freak out that it was the Idol’s, haha.

Kris about to load the buses

Lil walking by!


MEGAN IN CURLERS<3 Sorry it came out blurry, my friend took it and was hyperventilating that Megan was right there, LOL!

Scott and Todd

Danny saying, “If I knew ya’ll were going to be here, I would have done my hair!” LOL

The buses in front of the hotel

Michael making faces and movements at us. He literally sat there and watched us all. He’s so awesome.

So after this, we wanted to get a spot at the actual barricades. We were going off of last year’s barricade experience but apparently it changed. After a long time of waiting, security brought us to where the Idol’s would be signing. Now, tell me if this makes sense. Where we were, where the Idol’s were last year was in the box office area, completely air conditioned (it was 90 degrees today), TONS of room to move around, and barricades were already set up. Instead, they brought us outside, in this little cramped area, (literally, there was no room) and it was on a slope so as the Idol’s would go down and sign, the gap between them and the fans got even bigger. Not to mention, it was just disgustingly HOT! I felt like I smelt so bad I was going to offend whoever I was sitting next to, haha. There was this group of people in bright orange shirts with the most adorable children. Also, someone hand drew Megan’s tattoo on a sleeve and wore it to the concert. It was literally almost the exact same thing, perfectly drawn. I’ll have a picture of that later too. There were probably 100 people maybe at the barricades. Doesn’t seem like a lot of people to get to, but in that cramped little area it sure was a lot of people. Anyway, I guess they were having some problems or something and the Idol’s almost didn’t make it out at all. Despite this, Michael, Matt, and Danny still managed to come out. What great guys for braving the heat to come out and sign for their fans. Not to mention, they deserve a huge kudos for coming out so much before and after the shows. Michael literally signed every single thing people wanted, took a picture if they wanted it, and managed to have a conversation. He got to everybody. Matt didn’t appear to be taking pictures as much, but still managed to sign everything and get through the line. Danny went through the line, signed things, took pictures, and interacted a ton with the fans. He was giving hugs and everything to anyone who wanted it. More on my impressions of the Idol’s toward the after party section, but major props to these guys for braving this really ridiculously hot weather to sign for their fans!

Michael signing for fans

Matt signing for fans

Danny Gokey signing for fans

Michael and I at the barricades before the show. I had to basically fight my way to the front to get this.

My friend and Michael

The girl with the KICKASS TATTOO SLEEVE OF MEGAN! So naturally, I had to take a picture. I heard she is going to make one for Megan and send it to her. Times like these I wish I could draw!

My group was basically drenched in sweat (I know, so gross) so we found a place to cool off and put on some fresh deodorant so we didn’t smell like complete butt. After we got back to some bit of normalcy, we checked for our after party passes, which had not gotten in yet, and decided to just hang out in the hotel room for a while. After we ate dinner, we went back, and the passes were there and we picked them up! Who knew that a simple slip of triangular, purple paper would be so awesome!! We then went back to the hotel room to play some games and stuff until the doors of the venue would open.

I love Megan Joy <3


So, 6:00 PM rolls around. Woot! Time to enter the arena. After we entered the arena, we really just wanted to instantly see our ridiculously fantastic seats. We were 7th row, which was fantastic. It was a perfect view and made for some great pictures. It was just so awesome being that close. We had aisle seats, so as a result of that, people who wanted to get up in our row had to pass by us, which normally is cool. But (and sorry if you guys are reading this) there were these two girls and one boy who first got there late, and must have left during the actual concert (and intermission) 6 or 7 times. It was getting ridiculous how many times they would get up and leave DURING the show! We were getting frustrated with them because not only would they kind of interrupt the concert for us, but they kept stepping on all of our stuff and kicking things. Anyway, end rant, haha.

Our awesome seats

Once 7 PM rolls around, the show starts about five after or so. It seems like they may be getting better at starting on time. Just looking at the stage made me think how do they ever set that up and take it all down in the short amount of time they have? There is SO much stuff they have to set up, it’s just amazing how they throw it all together. So, for some overall impressions of the crowd, I would say the venue was probably 90% full or so. There were definitely a ton of people, and the XL Center is HUGE! I was very impressed with the turn out and Hartford had a lot of love to give, for every Idol. It was awesome to see my home state be so appreciative of the Idol’s. I know people complain about the graphics during performances and whatnot, but I seriously thought they were awesome. They had a ton of lights in the beginning introduction video which I thought was just awesome. On the applause meter, I would give a slight edge to Adam as far as fan girl shrieks go, but Kris received almost the same level of applause. Danny also received lots of love on the applause meter beforehand. Oh, and Idol tour people, as much as I love David Cook, Carrie Underwood, and Daughtry, there are many other Idol’s that also have music videos out. Playing videos on loop just doesn’t make sense to me, but whatever! Also, there was a ridiculous amount of clothes thrown on stage. Shirts, bras, underwear, a boa. You name it, it was probably thrown up, and not during just Adam. I believe Michael, Anoop, Danny, Adam, and Kris all received some item of clothing, LOL. It was funny.

I’ll give you my overall impressions of the Idol’s performance. I’m not critiquing every song since that has been done a ton before, but I will try to give an unbiased look at the show. But seriously, they were all FANTASTIC, so I’ll just let that be known now. For the show, I will only tell about them on stage and performing, and later on when I get to the after party, I’ll talk about them as people from what I could see.

Michael is seriously the perfect person to start off the show. He really gets the crowd going, and picked some great songs for him. I could have done with a different song other then ‘Closer’  but he still sounded great. He loves every minute of this, and he should be proud of how far he has come. I wasn’t a huge Michael fan on the show but after hearing how great he is live and meeting him, I’m a Michael supporter. The crowd was up on their feet for Michael!


Next up, in all pink as we know, Megan Joy hit the stage. I’m a huge Megan fan, so obviously I thought she was fantastic. She has really improved, in both her vocals and her stage presence, since Idol and she seems MUCH more comfortable. And to me, she sounded fantastic. I loved her songs so I had an awesome time with her. The crowd stayed on their feet and showed Megan a lot of love also. Go Hartford! What was not fantastic though, was the afro. As much as I love Megan to death, and think she is beautiful, I don’t dig the afro. Not many people can pull it off, and unfortunately Megan is not one of them. She is still beautiful, but I would suggest losing the afro! I’m going to post all my Megan pictures because this is the Megan forum and WE LOVE US SOME MEGAN JOY!


Scott came up through the stage on the piano, and I have to say, like many on here, I was pleasantly surprised about Scott. I loved his take on both songs, and his voice sounded really strong. TV just didn’t do him justice. He hit a few bum notes, but who really cares at this point. I’ve heard his jokes before, but still laughed at them again. Scott’s a funny kid, and to do what he does every night, with his disability is just mind blowing. He doesn’t let his blindness define him and just keeps on moving along. I really do admire him for that. I’ll admit, I was never a big Scott fan on the show but I was totally into him tonight.


Next up was Lil Rounds, who came out looking fierce and ready to prove a point. She did just that. I was Lil’s biggest critic on the show. She annoyed the crap out of me toward the end of her journey and I was not sad to see her go at all. Tonight though, was a different Lil. It was a Lil who was not judged and just looking to perform. I was definitely on the Lil bandwagon after her audition and stuff but fell off. After tonight, I’m glad to be back on the Lil train. Her voice was strong, she gave it her all, she got the crowd dancing’ ¦it was all just perfect. I was so impressed with her and glad she found her comfort. Having said that, I don’t think she showed her artisty by covering a bunch of R&B divas but that would be the music that Lil puts out. I still would have loved to see Lil totally rearrange a song we wouldn’t expect her to sing, but nonetheless, Lil worked it out in a big way tonight and it was definitely one of the better sets for me. PS, she can DANCE! I was almost more impressed because she had to dance and sing at the same time and still managed to do both fantastically.


Anoop Desai came on through the stage. I enjoyed Anoop on the show, and still enjoyed him tonight. I kind of wish they either rearranged the order of his songs differently, or drop ‘Always On My Mind.’  Don’t get me wrong, he sounded fantastic, but it’s just not a song that excites people. It seemed like the exciting part of Anoop’s set was all the way at the end. I did love his take on ‘Mad’  though. People seemed to sit down since Anoop’s first two songs were slow but he got them all up with the third. He also threw in his signature pelvis movements, haha. I enjoyed his set, but did feel slightly underwhelmed by it. He is definitely a great singer though.


Matt Giraud did probably receive most applause in the first half. He knows how to work a crowd. His piano playing on ‘Hard To Handle’  was flawless. Everyone was definitely enjoying himself. ‘Georgia, ‘  while he sang it great, I just had a hard time getting into it. I’m glad he did it though because that was his first defining moment on Idol. And his third song was my favorite studio recording of his so I loved that. He had a really strong set and the crowd loved Matt. Who knew someone so talented would be the only contestant ever to be eliminated three times!


There isn’t much else to add about the group numbers. I love ‘Beggin’  and I loved the Idol’s take on it. I was very impressed how Scott was able to keep up with the dance moves. I’m proud of all that Scott has accomplished.



The usual 20 minute intermission was over before you know it. Without any real warning, Allison Iraheta comes out to a warm welcome and really turns it up. I knew that the second half of the show was going to be awesome, and it was. Only thing about ‘So What’  is that I wished she dropped the guitar. It seemed like it distracted her from the performance and I don’t think she is totally comfortable on the guitar just yet. Let me say, this girl is a firecracker on stage. She doesn’t stop moving at all. My friend had a hard time taking pictures of her because she wouldn’t stay still! She is extremely entertaining, and her voice in general is flawless, but at 17, she is just incredible. How she ever got eliminated on ‘Cry Baby’  will always remain a mystery to me. I absolutely loved her set overall. She is going places and is a total rock star.


Next was Danny Gokey to a loud response. Now, like Lil, I started off with Danny as my favorite guy but kind of was turned off to him throughout the show and post-show. After tonight though, I take all of that back. Danny sang his set flawlessly. He had everyone entertained, whether it is by his awesome take on P.Y.T. or his suave Latin moves. He was really a big surprise to me. Probably my favorite thing about his set, and one of my favorite things about the evening overall, was ‘What Hurts The Most.’  Rumor has it that today was his wife’s birthday and I’m pretty positive he started crying in the middle of the song. He took his glasses off and wiped his face. This was the only performance that actually made me feel something. He almost had me in tears. I did feel bad for him, but all of his emotions just poured out into the song. I also appreciated his ‘preaching’  although I wouldn’t necessarily call it that. Let me just say, after meeting Danny and hearing him live, I feel like an idiot for all that I said about him. Danny may not know what style of music he wants to do, but there is, and SHOULD be a definite spot for Danny Gokey in the industry.


Adam Lambert came out to a ton of screams. At this point, everybody in the arena was on their feet. Let me just say, this kid not only has an incredible voice, but he is a PERFORMER. He puts on a fantastic show and he sounded fantastic, despite being on vocal rest. I loved the effects of the stars during ‘Starlight.’  Oh, and for those keeping score, it was ‘baby’  tonight. He just brought a ton of energy on stage. ‘Slow Ride’  was AWESOME! The chemistry between the two is just amazing. They have so much fun together and that song just fits them perfectly. Someone threw a blue boa at Adam during the Bowie Medley and he played with it for a little and then threw it back, LOL. It was funny. Having said this about Adam, I definitely think his place is Broadway, which is a compliment. While I think he will probably make good music, I think with his ability to perform, and just the way his voice has been shaped by theatre, he would be FANTASTIC on Broadway. Who knows, he could be the next rock star. However, I think being on Broadway would just be utilizing all parts of his talent.



Of course, I was excited for Kris Allen. Someone on here has said that while Adam excited you, Kris calms you down, which I totally agree with. I was hesitant how Kris’ voice would come across in the arena but he had no problem filling it and Hartford loved Kris. While I said Adam was a performer, Kris is definitely a musician. I think it is awesome that he plays all those instruments. ‘All These Things That I’ve Done’  was probably my favorite song of his set. I definitely think this is the type of music that he needs to do on his album, and from what I hear, is what we should expect. I’m really proud of Kris, being this small town boy gone famous. He’s got a great gift and I’m happy he can share it with everyone now.


While I love ‘Don’t Stop Believing’  and the Idol’s version, I wish they ended the show with a more energetic song. To me, the personalities of the Idol’s came out in the ‘Goodbye’  part when they were dancing with each other. But anyway, it was a great finale. The show itself was fantastic, probably the best Idol tour I have seen (and I’ve been going since Season 3). They all know how to perform and entertain. Also, there was just such variety that there truly was something for everyone.




Anyway, now the after party was about to begin! We stuck on our passes, waited a half hour or so in a random section, waiting to be called in. I would say there were 30-40 people in the after party, which isn’t a bad sized group. I guess some people had a different color pass which allowed them to go in fifteen minutes early. How’d they land those?! Oh well, it was awesome just being able to be there. We were brought in a room that looked like the Season 7 after party room (I went to that also last year): a garage. It isn’t a very nice area, but who cares when you have the Idol’s just walking around! It’s very surreal walking in and seeing them all just hanging around.

Instantly when I walked in, I saw Megan and Lil in the back chatting. You could spot Megan’s hair right away so we literally SPRINTED up to her. God, she is so pretty up close. She is also very tiny. I would say TV doesn’t do her justice, but it does because she really is that beautiful. We told her how awesome she was, and gave her a card from IdolForums with a bunch of messages. She was one of the nicest Idols and sweetest people. She genuinely appreciated everything we had to say and responded very enthusiastically. We also thanked her for allowing us to get backstage (we were her guests). We chit-chatted just about some random things, and of course, my mind completely went blank and I forgot to tell her a bunch of things but that’s okay because I still had an awesome time with her. I told her how awesome her family is, and her cousin Angie, and she said how sweet she is. She is so loud up close, but in a fun and cute way! When we walked up, she enthusiastically said, ‘HI!!’  to which I said, ‘Hi! We are yours!’  She hugged us (me twice ï Å ) and just seemed so appreciative. She signed her tour picture saying ‘I LOVE YOU ‘ Megan Joy <3 which was very sweet of her. We didn’t want to keep her too long because she had a bunch of other people waiting so we thanked her again and then went to Lil. Later on, when Megan left the after party, we saw her from a distance reading some of the messages on the card which we thought was awesome. But yes, overall, it is safe to say that I am in love with Megan Joy.


Lil Rounds and Megan were talking before we all got to the after party, so Lil was right next to Megan. She is absolutely beautiful and also really small. Her hair looked great tonight and she just looked downright sexy. I was very pleased with Lil, she was really sweet to us. She thanked us when we complimented her and she was just acting all silly with the other Idol’s also. Her mannerisms and the way she says things are so funny. I love her laugh, it’s so infectious and you can tell that she is by nature a fun person. As with Megan, I get a strong maternal vibe from Lil and I think they both are great moms. I was so close to getting a Lilegan picture, and Lil was totally up for it. She actually laughed at Lilegan and said ‘Oh, I know about that!!’  However, she and Megan got mobbed quickly after so it just never happened, but I love those two so much. After meeting Lil, I will support her in whatever she does. She put on a great show and was incredibly sweet and gracious.


Next up was Allison. Now, I don’t know if this is just me, but I think the TV makes her face look big. But up close, she is so tiny, as is her face. It was funny meeting someone who was actually younger than me now. I have to say, I was disappointed at my Allison experience, but not surprised because of other stories I have heard. She wasn’t rude, and I wouldn’t even call it cold, but it just wasn’t what I would expect from her. On stage, she is this ball of energy and you would expect a teenager to just be bubbly and that isn’t how Allison is. I asked her if she is working on her album, to which she just said, ‘Yeah Man.’  And my friend was saying how awesome it was to finally meet an Idol who was our age and she was like ‘Cool.’  It just seemed as if everything was a one word answer. She just didn’t really seem to want to be there. I mean, in her defense, she is only 17. She is not completely mature yet, and I imagine she must be overwhelmed. I couldn’t even imagine doing what she does every night, and I’m 18. She won’t get to graduate with her class and do normal teenage things so maybe she is just overwhelmed, but it wasn’t a fantastic experience with her.


After that, we went back to Michael. I met him quickly at the barricades (I don’t really classify that as meeting just because it is so rushed) and Michael is just such a great guy. He actually made conversation with us and just made us feel very comfortable. He talked about how he was sick the week that he got eliminated but nobody ever knew. We told him how awesome he is with the fans and how much we appreciate all the efforts he makes to come out and really help the fans. He said how much he likes doing it and feels that they all should, to which I totally agree. Without the fans, they wouldn’t be there. Michael has this thing down. I kind of get the feeling he knows he probably won’t get to do this again, and is enjoying it while we can. We said how nice of a guy he seemed for all he does and he said, ‘Isn’t it funny that it’s now classified as nice to do that, ‘  basically saying it should just be assumed they should do that. He’s a real gentleman and I think a great Dad. My opinion on him has totally changed. I used to think he seemed like a jerk, but I don’t think that anymore.


We hopped into Matt’s line next. I will say, I was a little disappointed about Matt. He was very nice to us and seemed like a gentleman also, but I guess I just pictured Matt as this really hysterical, funny guy. He didn’t come across as he does in bubble tweets and on twitter. He was nice enough, I guess I just got vibes that he didn’t want to be there as much, like Allison. I do think he is a good guy still and incredibly talented, just disappointed with my experience with him.


It was then time to hop in line for Pocket Idol, Kris Allen! He had the most people (obviously) so the tour manager was taking everyone’s pictures, handing them to Kris, and then if you wanted a picture you could go up to him. While waiting, we could hear Megan cawing (LOL) for a video. Let me just say, Kris is the true definition of just a good guy. You can tell, even in that brief moment, that he is a genuine good guy who really cares about his fans. After Kris signed my picture, he shook my hand which I thought was cool because it seemed just very respectful. I asked for a picture and we were about to take a picture and he was still holding the picture of himself that he signed, so he held it up for the picture LOL, instead of just giving it back to me. He had a ton of people so there wasn’t really much room for interaction with him, but I think he is just a fantastic person and I’m glad I did get to meet him. He looks like a little boy up close. He is so tiny and has such a boyish face.


We then got in Danny’s line, and we watched him interact with the fans. I was probably most impressed with Danny in terms of fan interaction. I was annoyed by some of Danny’s comments earlier on and was really his biggest critic, but that has COMPLETELY changed after last night. He does anything for his fans. The girl in front of us wanted a funny picture so he did a ghetto pose with her and that’s going to be a really great picture. He was another Idol that made conversation with us which is cool because sometimes you never know what to talk about with these people and when they make conversation, it makes it less awkward. He talked to us a little bit about his foundation and we talked about his set a little bit. He just seemed really interested in the fans and I can say now that Danny is a genuine guy. He takes a lot of crap for a lot of things (I am guilty) but he is just simply amazing with his fans.


Unfortunately, I did not meet Adam, Anoop, or Scott. Anoop was at the after party, but to be honest I didn’t even see him. He left fairly quickly but I know he was there. He received a ‘Megan is my girlfriend’  shirt which Megan found to be the funniest thing. Scott was also there with Todd but left soon also. I’m not disappointed, because I know Scott seems awesome. I give him a ton of credit for what he does. Adam was apparently still on vocal rest and didn’t come. You know, there’s a lot of debate about how Adam is with his fans, and let me just point out, I do truly think he is a good guy with a good sense of humor. While I do think he may have a slight diva side to him, I do think he seems like an all around good person. I think he is very overwhelmed by everything. I mean, he is the most polarizing contestant and he has an ‘over the top’  appearance. As a result, I feel like his fans think they need to be ‘over the top’  also because maybe they feel that Adam will feel more comfortable with them, which I don’t think is the truth. I truly think that the fans sometimes are just too overwhelming with Adam and maybe that is why he doesn’t come out as much. I can understand how he may feel like this, just based on what I saw last night. I genuinely think that if fans can tone it down a little bit, Adam would feel more comfortable coming out and meeting people.

So, that was my concert and after party experience. The show itself was my favorite out of every Idol concert, and I can honestly say that the Idol’s that I met were really sweet people and most of them genuinely appreciated their fans. THANKS FOR READING!!

And a big thank you to MEGAN JOY and her awesome family for making all of this happen for us.

About mj santilli 35048 Articles
Founder and editor of mjsbigblog.com, home of the awesomest fan community on the net. I love cheesy singing shows of all kinds, whether reality or scripted. I adore American Idol, but also love The Voice, Glee, X Factor and more!