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Full Disclosure = I went to this show 85% to see Adam, about 10% to see Allison and Kris, and about 5% to see everyone else. As you can tell, I’m a bit of an Adam fan. And I must admit I was disappointed with his set.
Now that I’ve gotten your attention (hopefully) I’ll get on with the recount of my very eventful day going to see the AI concert in Washington D.C.
This is my third AI show. I saw Season 5 (die-hard Chris Daughtry fan), Season 7 (hardcore David Cook fan), and this season (insane, uh, what’s his name fan).
I went to the venue around 12pm with a coworker and die-hard Danny/Michael fan, who decided to buy a ticket on a last minute whim. She got to the ticket counter, and was offered her choice of 1st or 4th row Floor Seats. She took the 4th row. I couldn’t believe the luck. I was insanely jealous! Then, we waited around the venue to meet any of the idols who happened to come by. A pretty large group formed, though we were some of the first at about 12:45, and had a good position on the barricades. The buses finally came a little after 1:30 or so. Kris (it appeared) poked his head out of a bus, loud cheers ensued. The crowd waiting was about 99% women of all ages, and 1% little boys being dragged by their mothers. The majority were decked out in cutely elaborate Adam-ized shirts, or all green and plaid for Kris (a good mix of fans for both) ‘ though someone was wearing a fedora, which, from the distance had me thinking that Matt was lurking in the crowd the whole time.
Finally, both Michael Sarver and Matt made their way out, walked down the line, stopping for everyone to sign autographs, pose for pictures, chat a bit. They were very nice and appreciative. We showed them lots of love ‘ never mentioning Adam or Kris (though I was half tempted to ask Matt to deliver something to Adam for me, just to mess with him a little.) Michael seemed to start to walk into a bar door randomly before signing for fans, which caused my friend to shout out to him ‘Hey, Michael, buy us a beer!’ He turned around, beaming, and gave a thumbs up. Very cool dude. Unfortunately, no one else came out, but I was so happy just to have them take the time for fans.
Oh, yeah ‘ and there was still a show to go to. I got to my seat (1st full section in front of the stage, lower level, not bad, but not 4th row Floor either!) I hardly noticed the repetitive pre-show idol vids, but I did notice the rather hilarious screams whenever Adam’s face (or parts of it) appeared anywhere on the monitors. VERY noticeable. I’d heard about it before, didn’t really believe it was true. But, oh, it is.
Ok, this is where I turn my snark monster on a bit (believe it or not, I have a bit of one!) All of the idols sounded great, much better than on the show. Especially impressive were Megan, Anoop, Michael, and Scott, none of whom impressed me as much with great or reliable voices on the show. However, I don’t think they really are that good. The TV show, in my opinion, is much more representative of how they actually sound. The songs on TV are often stripped down, especially songs like Scott’s on the show, and that means there’s nothing to hide behind, every weakness, every pitch problem, every screechy falsetto is on full display. On the AI tour, a mega-ton of band coverage and extreme amplification on all the mics hides all of those flaws, and makes these singers sound pretty incredible. The snark monster in me says, eh, they’re really not ALL that good. But the audience is much happier for the new and improved top 10, and they can walk away feeling they didn’t waste too much money (except for that $25 program and $4 water).
I’ll also admit that, while I enjoyed all the performances, I felt more and more in the first half that I was really just there for Adam (and a little bit for Kris and Allison). The bottom 6 were all strong, with good voices (see above), very laidback, relaxed stage presence, and a good rapport with the audience, but none of them could really build up much excitement, beyond some good ol’ toe-tapping and light swaying, which may have been partly induced by alcohol consumption (as in my case). People around me finally stood up for Anoop’s ‘My Prerogative’ , and Matt’s ‘Hard to Handle’ . The rest of Matt’s set was strong, too, even the Fray song, but he definitely should have ended the set on ‘Hard to Handle’ ‘ way bigger crowd pleaser, and everyone near me was sitting for the Fray song. I will say I LOVED the dueling pianos in the group medley ‘ very fun and exciting to watch Scott and Matt go at it, and the ‘Beggin” closer was also awesome, with Anoop and Lil’s rapping stealing the show in those final moments!
Then intermission (beeline to the bathroom, got in and out in 5 minutes ‘ woot!) and I had a serendipitous meeting with my friend in the floor seats. Turns out, there was another free seat near her, and so for the second half of the show, I actually sat 4th row Floor which was ABSOLUTELY AMAZING! After that experience, and being 10 feet away from the idols on stage, I’ve decided I can’t do any less than that for future concerts, I don’t care how much I have to pay!
Allison was a little spitfire ‘ full of energy, lots of movement, and a great BIG voice. She has amazing stage presence. Though, a few people around me seemed to be a little startled and perplexed by her spastic movements. I would say she is just a tad TOO out of control, she needs to reign it in a bit, but otherwise, I’d rather she veer toward too much energy than not enough. And she certainly isn’t lacking in the energy department.
Danny was a big surprise to me. I really got into ‘PYT’ (sounded good, fun movement, catchy song) and ‘Maria Maria’ had some excellent, smooth dance moves from Mr. Gokey (including his ‘not-at-all-as-awkward-as-it-could-have-been’ duet with the mic stand.) I also enjoyed ‘What Hurts the Most’ more than I expected I would, and thought the subsequent sermon was ‘syrupy sweet’ – yet not as corny as I half expected. ‘My Wish’ was just a’ight. Just like Matt, he should change the set order and ditch this as his closer. Not to mention, Danny’s final song tends to disappear behind a wall of chants in your head that start screaming ‘He’s coming, OMG OMG OMG, Adam’s next, oh, lordy lordy lordy, calm down! Get ready to scream in 3-2-1′ ¦’
Then he came. I actually think Adam had a bigger, more bombastic, and more momentous intro than even Kris. It was like waiting for a space shuttle launch or something. The anticipation was absolutely insane, and the screams were, well, probably audible in neighboring Virginia and Maryland (and I did my part to contribute, that’s for sure!)
I was a little surprised at what I loved so much about Adam’s set. It was not simply the voice, though that was amazing: strong, rich, primal, sweet, ethereal, surreal, a little bit of everything all at once. The voice didn’t stand out QUITE as much as it did on the show, because, as I mentioned before, everyone else sounded much better than they did on TV, so Adam wasn’t quite as obviously in a league of his own (though to be fair, the top four on the show all had amazingly good voices without the need for much tour amplification).
‘Whole Lotta Love’ was sexy, raw and dirty (not as intense as some versions, but he did give the mic stand a little attention). ‘Starlight’ may have been one of my favorite moments. I was nervous for him going into this song, due to the level of difficulty involved, but he absolutely nailed it. Not only was his voice soaring and sweet, but the way he invokes the dreamlike quality of the song, with his gestures and emotions, just completely pulls you in. ‘Mad World’ was absolutely beautiful as well, though the smoke machine threatened to eat him up at one point toward the end of the song. ‘Slow Ride’ was awesome fun, though I couldn’t take my eyes off Adam during the entire song (sorry, Allison!) She worked it, but he is just so charismatic to watch ‘ even when he’s not singing, he’s so connected to her and the music. The ‘Bowie Medley’ was another highlight for me. ‘Fame’ literally will not get out of my head now ‘ I just love the sexy beat, his snake-like body wriggling around to it, and that fan-favorite moment when he strips off the coat! And ‘Let’s Dance’ was a perfect way to close out the set. When he disappeared under the stage, all I could think of was just wanting more.
Ok, Kris disclosure: I was not the biggest Kris fan by a long shot all season. Granted, no one, with the possible exception of Allison, came a close second to Adam. However, I love Kris as a person, love his relationship with Adam, and totally respect him as an artist and musician. I must say, I really enjoyed his set. His voice is strong (again, though, I think he may have been helped a little bit by the sound system), and he completely grabs hold of the music and hugs it close to his little cutey-patootey body during the entire set, whether he’s jamming behind the piano or behind a guitar. He doesn’t engage the audience as much, but you can feel his love and appreciation for the music, and that can mean just as much, if not more. You almost feel that you’re watching a private Kris Allen moment in his basement, as he just sings his heart out in his own little world. It’s quite a unique and lovely thing to watch. And the dude can rock out, too! It’s no ‘Whole Lotta Love’ sex on a stick, but, then, he’s not singing that kind of music, and the energy he brings completely works for ‘All These Things That I’ve Done’ and ‘Bright Lights’ . ‘Ain’t No Sunshine’ was done beautifully, starting soft and sweet, and building perfectly in the middle to ignite the arena crowd. ‘Hey Jude’ was the only number I wasn’t feeling as much, though the crowd-participation/sing-a-long nature of it was a lot of fun, and I had a blast singing along and waving my hands!
The finale was fun, especially the Kradam interactions thrown in throughout (yeah, chicken dance ‘ so ridiculous, yet so right) ‘ they are just adorable to watch together on stage. And I even spotted some Danny/Adam love at the end, as they were exiting and Danny put his arm on Adam’s back.
Ok, random final observations on the night:
- The only background screen that actually bothered me was Megan’s traffic sign/ Hello Kitty inspired backdrop for her second song. That was a huge distraction. Anoop’s flying head in clouds? Oddly not so much.
- Someone behind me randomly booed Kris’s picture at the beginning of the show ‘ then was told by their father that ‘That’s not nice.’ Just a random incident though. Other than that, there was a lot of love and support for Kris in DC. And no walkouts that I could see.
- A 6 yr old boy also booed Anoop rather loudly (and it was a boo, not an ‘Anoooop’ ). He really seemed to dislike Anoop rather passionately, which was kind of disturbing.
- I was actually wondering how Adam would come across with his sexy dance moves throughout his set. Despite being a huge fan, I couldn’t help but think they sometimes veered too OTT/borderline ridiculous at times. Well, I have to say, in a live setting, those moves are perfectly, smolderingly hot and sexy. Nothing OTT about them. He just knows how to grab the audience in his hand and never let go till after the final note has sounded.
- The JACKET up close = Absolutely made of WIN! It is hot, I wanted to take pictures just of it (which is saying something since Adam is wearing it), and I can completely see why Adam would be so excited about it.
Oh, and as to why I was disappointed with Adam’s set? It was way too short.