I never watched American Idol before this season. I have watched Canadian Idol, though (online), so I was somewhat familiar with the whole Idol thing. The reason I originally bought tickets to the tour was to see Kris. But this is an amazingly likeable group, and I was looking forward to seeing them all.
I tried to keep an open mind. Mainly, I tried to keep in mind that these people are at varying levels of experience. I think a few have never performed professionally at all, prior to AI. Since there’s no substitute for experience and practice, I was curious about how some of them would do.
I got into the garden about 4:00. The heat was around 97 degrees. I walked over to the bus area a few times but no one was around. It was like equatorial Africa out there. Later someone told me it was too hot for the idols to come out, that afternoon. I had a small gift for Kris (Red Sox baseball and hat), and I ended up giving it to the guy running the meet and greet, which was near the ticket booths. I hung around myself hoping to score a pass, since you never know, but, no luck.
Then I met all these different people. They had some interesting costumes. I saw a guy, a teenager, in maroon from head to toe, with a big sign around his neck, “I <3 Allison.” Then I met three girls, and the mom of one of them. They had these bags they had decorated with “Kris Allen Is Sexy” and “Adam Lambert Is Sexy.” They had big buttons with pics of Kris or Adam. Two of the girls were Adam fans, one was a Kris fan. They were really nice. More about them later. I met two girls in green who were Kris fans, who came to the Garden just to try to meet Kris, though they weren’t going to the concert. I saw someone in a T-shirt that had a picture of Kris on the front and Paula on the back. Two women who were Adam fans were in identical outfits. There was also a woman who had written something for Adam and was trying to get it to him. Almost all the people I met were either Kris or Adam fans. It was all really nice, nobody had anything bad to say, everyone agreed the other guy was really talented, etc. Almost everyone had seen the Kradam videos, and a lot of them had looked at mj’s blog for news.
I got to my seat maybe 45 minutes before the concert. The whole place was somewhat hazy due to testing the fog machines. I found my seat, which was on the aisle, near the center, row 13. The seat was great because I could always see down the row to the stage and my view was never obstructed. (I had to go alone because I couldn’t interest anyone I knew in seeing it.)
The videos started, of Daughtry, Cook, etc., and I didn’t find them annoying because the sound wasn’t too loud. It was more like background music you tune out. I was busy, anyway, looking at my souvinir program. I caved to a brief moment of Idol madness and bought it. It was mainly to have something to take to the signing-that-never-was, but I’m glad I bought it. It’s a nice souvenir of the experience, actually..
They were also hawking 5 dollar pics of Kris and Adam, and there were 35 dollar t-shirts at the merch table.
The Ford Fusion backstage pass phone-text giveaway was confusing to me, since I don’t usually send text messages, and as soon as I got my phone out, the concert seemed to begin.
Michael was out right away and got the crowd moving. I can’t say how the performers did with other parts of the arena, but most of them connected really well with the people on the floor. He sounded great, and I was glad people were so into him. He seems like a good guy, and he has some real talent and presence. When he asked people to stand up, they did, and were clapping, swaying, dancing, etc.
Megan was not such a fave of mine on the show, but she immediately reversed that with Records On, sounding fantastic and displaying a lot of stage presence and personality. She was extremely pretty, and I didn’t think her pink dress was bad. (Her dress in the group number didn’t make it for me, though.) The crowd was very much with her, but she lost them somewhat with Tears Dry On Their Own. With her voice, or vocal style, I think she has to be careful of her choices. She’s one of the people I mentioned who I don’t think has a lot of performing experience, and I actually think that in time she could be a fantastic singer and performer.
Scott was charming and he sang well. He was not a favorite singer of mine, either, during his time on the show, but I felt he was vastly improved. His song choices were great for his voice and style. His banter with the audience got huge laughs. I was trying to figure out where he puts all the food he’s always tweeting about.
Lil was next, and I think she’s found a better groove than she had on the show. And her voice sounded really good. Again, I’m not sure how much professional experience she’s had, and I think this shows in her lack of relaxation onstage. Offstage, she seems like such a sweetheart and so much fun; she needs to bring that out more, onstage, I think, and she will, with more practice.
Anoop was my huge surprise of the evening. I totally loved Anoop. He sounded great, and he has this fun cockiness onstage he never had on AI. He’s also a way better looking guy in person. He seemed young and sort of amateurish, at times, but I can see him developing more polish and doing really well.. What I liked was the ease he had onstage, the way he connected to the audience, and the fact that he didn’t need to do a whole lot to command everyone’s attention. I liked what he wore, too. His personality comes across the footlights and he’s a very cool guy.
Matt. He was really entertaining, did all kinds of little things, talked really easily, was funny, and played the piano really well. He worked the crowd like a pro. His act was a little too corny to totally be my taste, it was kind of like a pub act, but I really liked the Fray cover. People have said that’s the weakest thing he does in his set, but I liked it the best. You Found Me somehow plays to this other quality he has, a sort of melancholy thing aside from his class clown stuff. Hard To Handle was of course an awesome number, too.
I really had no issues with the group number, being a fan of group numbers generally. I enjoyed it a lot, and the five guys in tuxes at the mikes was an awesome moment. The songs were upbeat and the audience was engaged.
I got a bottle of water at intermission that cost 4 dollars. Debated buying a Kris t-shirt but decided to wait until later.
Allison: She had me with So What, but then she lost me again. I think Allison has a fantastic voice and a saucy-sweet way about her, as well as lots of star quality. But something in me tends to tune her out, and I found my mind wandering during her set. I think it’s hard to get the experienced emotion into certain tunes when you’re that young, or maybe I don’t see thought behind her singing. She doesn’t seem to live the song. I think this will definitely come in time. I think she has huge radio potential, no matter what.
Danny. I remember people saying they were going to take their bathroom breaks during Danny’s set. Well, I actually had to, so I missed PYT. I liked Maria Maria, I thought his mic moves were smoothly done and he seemed more smooth in general in this number than usual. I didn’t really feel the Danny love during the season, but he’s a charismatic performer in person and has a kind of natural stage presence to make up for his lack of vast stage experience. I could sort of appreciate his talent without really digging him a lot.
Adam does get the most incredibly deafening roar of screaming and applause. It is so unexpected even though I’ve heard it on the cellcasts. No one around me on the floor was screaming as much as the people in the balcony. But a lot of people were going down the aisles trying to take pictures.
I have to say I was sort of worried, from reports I’ve read here, that Adam would be so spectacular I would actually leave during Kris’s set, myself, to try to get to the barricades to get a moment of his Light.
This did not quite happen. I like Adam a lot, he has made this an incredible season in many ways, and it’s hard to imagine it without him. And I think he’s a very polished professional with a phenomenal voice and great looks. Anyone who could come out of nowhere, to only a year later getting the kind of crowd response he got last night, I have nothing but respect for. But where I hoped for inspired and brilliant, I often got theatrical and campy. It just disappointed me a little after the build up. He’s a great Vegas or Broadway style performer, but I don’t think there’s the emotional depth there that usually you get with the really great stars.
My favorite songs of his were WLL, Starlight, and Mad World. Overall, he puts on a great show, he’s a fantastic entertainer, and his voice, live, is to die for. He’s a great guy, besides.
He got a huge, beige bra, onstage. he flung it back.
I saw really clearly and easily why Kris stands out, last night. Stands out from that group, I mean. And he does, so totally. Everyone’s segment had a theatricality that was entertaining, but somehow a little bit false or maybe corny.
And then Kris came on, and he was the only one who was not ever corny or cheesy. I think he has a few things to learn and grow into, I suppose, but he’s so real and honest. The rest are a different sort of performer. Fantastic though they are. They put on an act. Kris just is. It’s cool to watch. I don’t even know how to describe it. Does this make him better? To me it does, but mainly it just makes him genuine.
Beyond that, he has a gorgeous voice that is wonderful to hear, live, a marvellous sense of rhythm, great phrasing, and a really compelling quality as a singer and performer.. He draws you in, makes you feel, tells you his story. He’s also stylistically the most consistent person in the concert.
Kris got a huge, appreciative roar from the audience when he was introduced, but as everyone says, after that, his individual songs don’t get Adam-sized ovations.
He sang three songs I would categorize as regretful, longing songs, all different. I love Kanye’s version of Heartless and I’ve never gotten tired of Kris’s various versions. Heartless is a sort of masochistic number about a guy going through love-hate, and it’s sung with conviction and a kind of cool bravado. Ain’t No Sunshine is very heartfelt and soulful. Bright Lights is more brash, and the guitar solo that ends it is awesome. All These Things I’ve Done was a song that showed Kris at his most confident. Everyone sang along loudly to Hey, Jude, Kris got a Red Sox t-shirt thrown on stage, which he wore in the encore, the encore was fantastic, and then it was over and I hoped to meet these guys.
I also hoped to get a Kris t-shirt, but they were sold out.
I met up with several of the people I spoke to earlier, but the signings never happened, and security never really gave us any info one way or the other. We just waited around for an hour or more. The three girls I mentioned earlier eventually happened to get to see some of the guys. As the bus went by, the girls were standing by themselves, and suddenly Matt and Sarver put the window down and waved to them. Then they brought Kris to the window and he blew a kiss at them.