After enjoying reading recaps for months and checking out videos, I finally got to go to the AI Season 8 tour this past Saturday in St. Louis. First, let me say that I went primarily to see Kris, and he did not disappoint, but I was also interested in seeing quite a few of the others. I flew to St. Louis for the concert and was so happy to find out that the Metralink rail service took me from the airport directly to my hotel which was downtown and 2 blocks from the venue which was very cool.
The morning of the show I went to the boxoffice to see if there might be any floor tickets availble and was extremely lucky to get a first row seat in section AA to the left of the stage as you are facing it. My previous ticket was for the club section 28 rows up and in the center side section pretty far from the stage. Then along with a couple of young girls with Lambert Lady on their shirts we looked for the place where the buses were expected to arrive later in the afternoon. About 12:30 I went back to the barricades and there were already about 100 people there and more came as the afternoon wore on. I saw one girl with a Michael Sarver poster that read “Things are big in Texas, but you are big in St. Louis, too”. Very cute. There were also Matt Giraud posters, and one that said “Danny Gokey is Okey Dokey”, Kris posters, pictures, and t-shirts, and Adam Lambert shirts and pictures, along with some girls with black or blue finger nail polish.
Everyone was pretty nice before the show. I stood next to a really, really nice guy, John from Troy, Missouri who looked so much like David Archuleta it was kind of spooky. He was interested in a Megan autograph and we talked for a long time about Season 7 and Season 8 and our favorites and not so much favorites. On the other side were two girls from Illinois, also Kris fans and behind me two twin girls one of whom had a beautiful hand painted montage of Adam that she had made and hoped to have him autograph.
Just after 2:00 the buses arrived to lots of squeals and waves. We saw some very blurry hands waving at the windows but I couldn’t make out who anyone was. By 3:30 no one had come out and the hundreds of fans were getting a little restless and disappointed because we knew they had a Meet and Greet at 3:45 or 4:00 so there wasn’t much time left. When it looked like we wouldn’t get to meet any of the top 10 Michael Sarver came out. I have to say, he was the nicest guy. He posed for pictures and signed anything we asked him to sign including my Kris Allen t-shirt, and was good natured and friendly the entire time. He went first to the girl with the Michael poster. It was very sweet and she was so excited. A few minutes later Matt Giraud came out. He was kind of rushed but still was smiling and friendly to the fans. At 4:00 they closed the gates to the ramp and told us no one else would be able to come out. I have to say the security guys in St.
Louis were really pretty nice about keeping us informed.
I then went back to the hotel for a couple of hours. Just after 6:00 I went back to the arena to find my seat. Along the way I had to buy a program. They are expensive but beautifully done. It isn’t really a program in that it doesn’t say anything about who is singing what, when, but it is a really nice souvenir with great pictures and interviews with each of the top 10. I also bought a Kris Allen poster and t-shirt, so it was a little bit expensive. As others have reported before the show we saw David Cook videos (to some squeals from the audience, at least the first time his face appeared), Daughtry. and Carrie Underwood. Once in a while they played the Ford videos from Season 8 and a few people screamed when Adam or Kris’s picture came up on the screen.
Michael Sarver got the show started and the first song was full of energy with everyone on their feet. It was upbeat and fun. Unfortunately he then sang a slower more ballad type song second which brought the crowd back down a bit. I wish he had sung two really upbeat songs. He came to the edge of the stage right where I was sitting though and waived at me which was really cool.
Hard to say much about Megan. She cut her hair and it is very, very curly and short. Looks kind of like Little Orphan Annie only blonde. She strutted around the stage looking a bit like one of the Stepford wives, kind of stiff and uncomfortable. I was thinking about John from Troy and wondering if he was enjoying her performance. She may have had on a new pink outfit. It didn’t look quite like some of the previous u tube videos, but was pink satin, form fitting, and short. She has great legs!
Scott comes out of the floor of the stage, piano and all. He is really, really thin. Or at least much thinner than I was expecting. He was wearing a black jacket with sparkles on the sleeves which looked great when he played and he played piano very well, sang passibly well, but truthfully neither Megan or Scott did much for me.
Next up was Anoop looking very preppy except for huge purple high top shoes. (He too has great legs, or at least they look good in jeans.) I liked his whole set. The first two songs showed off his vocals and My Perogative showcased his personality. All three of his songs eclipsed the first three performers in my opinion. He just has a really pretty quality to his voice.
Lil was next and again I was underwhelmed. Her mom and children were standing at the end of the stage right by our section. The children were adorable and her mom was singing along with Lil. It was very sweet. Lil was good but of the first four Michael’s first song and Anoop’s set were the highlight for me and none of them were as good as last year’s first four in my opinion. I was beginning to long for Michael Johns and even Ramielle.
Last of the first half of the show was Matt Giraud. This guy can really play the piano, standing up and singing while he does it. He also stepped up the energy level and for me his was the first performance that equaled Season 7. Georgia was great. He interacted with the audience well, kept that big smile on his face the entire time and sounded very, very good.
The group number was just okay. I didn’t get some of the pairings. Lil and Megan’s voices don’t blend particularly well. It was all just a little strange. Maybe it is because there are so many very unique voices and talents this year they just don’t sound very good in groups when compared with last year, at least. I have thought this all season and last night’s live performance did nothing to change my mind.
After the 20 minute intermission Allison took the stage. I loved Cry Baby. She sounded great, but didn’t care much for the Beyonce song or Barracuda. She sometimes turns her head away from the microphone so that it sounds like she is skipping words or phrases in the song. She is all over the stage though with hair blowing, flipping, and streaming behind her. She has boundless energy and incredible potential.
Danny Gokey was the first performer who really sounded professional to me last night. In fact the last three were actually like attending a different concert. It was no more cruise ship (although there is nothing wrong with cruise ship performers) or amateur night. These guys are professionals. All three of the last performers showed their incredible talent and all three were miles stronger than anyone who came before them. I’ve not been a huge Danny Gokey fan, but last night he was a breath of fresh air. He didn’t appear to “preach” to me. It was all appropriate and was a good lead up to his last song. I can see why the judges liked him so much after seeing him perform live. It was perhaps a strange mix of songs in his set, but all in all he performed each one well.
Adam took the stage to the requisite screams, flashing lights, smoke, the whole thing very staged and as expected rock star-ish. As always his voice was incredible. The girls next to me from Texas were going nuts. The one next to me, probably a good foot taller than me kept throwing her hands up and out with every beat nearly knocking me in the head about fifty times and taking away a bit of my enjoyment of his set. But he sounded good. No helium at all although he sings in falsetto a lot. As you know from earlier posts, I am not a huge fan, just not my kind of music. Still not, but if you like his kind of performance he was great last night. There was no sign of a sore throat or tired vocal chords from when he was on vocal rest. I really liked Mad World for the first time and Fame, one of my favorite Bowie songs, was the best of his set. I didn’t care for Whole Lot of Love so much and Let’s Dance not at all. I can live without the blatantly
sexual innuendos, but his voice is incredible.
Kris too was met with screams and energetic applause. I did not see anyone leaving. He sounded great to me. Because he plays instruments in every number he is kind of limited in where he can be on the stage needing to stand by a microphone. For that reason he seems to be a bit less interactive with the audience. Even so he got the crowd singing along to “I’ve got soul but I’m not a soldier”. Ain’t No Sunshine was fantastic as always. There is just something about his voice that I completely love. I love his speaking voice too and also his laugh that always sounds just slightly naughty. “Bright Lights” was fantastic. Whether on the piano, acoustic guitar, or electric guitar he is one with the music. Even the Lambert fans from Texas were on their feet and dancing. When he began “Hey Jude” the crowd was with him singing along and enjoying the familiar words. I have to agree with the poster a few weeks back who said that Kris has a relationship
with the piano bench. He was certainly dancing on it as much as anyone can with both hands on the keyboards. His parents were in the audience, which was very nice and someone said they saw him talking to his mom. I guess St. Louis isn’t all that far from Conway. I can see why Kris won the competition. No gimmicks. No artifice. In fact, for the first time, I actually thought America got it exactly correct from top to bottom except Alexis Grace and Ricky Braddy that I think would have really added to the tour.
After the concert we couldn’t get out of the floor section to get to the exits for what felt like hours. There just were not enough exits and it took forever. The fans were lining up along barricades inside the arena by the main exits. It was crazy. People were pushing and shoving and the security guards were trying to control the crowd. They had the barricades divided with people six or seven or even eight rows deep on either side of the main exit where others were streaming out to leave. They struggled to keep a path open. When the arena was empty they put barricades across the center and more people ran up to be first along the rail. I was in front towards the center with people pushing and crowding. It was really awful. At one point a little chubby lady asked me quite rudely why I was pushing her son who was standing next to me, but actually I wasn’t touching him. It was the poor girl behind me who kept getting pushed into him and her
purse banging into his back.
Finally Allison and Megan came out to thunderous cheers. They each started at different ends and signed autographs which for all intensive purposes was either an “A” or a “MM”. The clearest autograph I got all night was from Scott. There were people sticking their programs and papers right in front of my face in their attempts to get to the top 10 as they went through the line. After an hour or so Adam came out. We had been told in the afternoon that he definitely wouldn’t come out, but he did. I heard that his boyfriend was there as well, but I didn’t see him or may not have recognized him if I did. The crowd was crazy and I can see why he doesn’t often come out. I’m 5’1″ and the girl behind me was about my size. She was getting completely squashed to the point that it was pretty scarey. She was shaking and there was no possible way for her to exit. Adam went up the line with a smile plastered on his face looking a little shell shocked signing
everything stuck at him. He still had on full makeup and thanked people for their exclamations of undying love and devotion. I admired his courage.
After Adam went in people started chanting, “We Want Kris”. But he never appeared either before or after the show. It might have been because his parents were there, but I was disappointed not to get a chance to meet him. After all was said and done, the only members of the top 10 who did not come out to meet the fans after the show were Lil (maybe because her family was there), Kris, Anoop, and Michael, who spent so much time with us before the show. I would love to have met Kris, but regardless I had a great time, met so many nice people (minus chubby lady), and felt so honored to have heard Kris live and in concert at the beginning of his career. I have no doubt that Danny, Adam, and Kris are going to make a mark on the music industry. Allison, Matt, and Anoop could also do well with the right backing and song choices. I really hope that Michael Sarver has success, because there is not one nicer guy in the bunch. I wish them all well.