Hi all! I’ve watched all episodes of American Idol since the start of Season 2, but this was the first tour I’ve felt compelled to see in person. Over the years, I’ve been a casual fan of many of the Idols, but my interest in the show was limited to the nights it aired on TV. I had never voted and never sought out information about the show itself or any of the contestants. The first clue that I would eventually become a semi-obsessed fan was when I found myself sort of bashfully Googling Adam Lambert immediately following his ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ audition (I don’t usually do the fan girl thing, so I was kind of embarrassed to be a grown woman checking out stats on this young guy), but my inevitable transformation became quite apparent when I unabashedly began researching ALL THINGS Adam following the group round audition.
I remember watching that show awaiting two performers: Danny Gokey (for some reason, his name stuck with me right away) and ‘the cool-looking guy with the wild black hair.’ When Adam’s group performed ‘Some Kind of Wonderful, ‘ I recall being completely blown away with how he stood out from his group with his visual showmanship and amazing vocals. Then, when he kind of cocked his head to the side during the line, ” ¦I’ve got more than I could ask for, ‘ I remember calling out to my husband that I had just seen the winner of Season 8. There was just something about the way he delivered that line that captured me. It was at that moment that I became completely infatuated, kicking off literally months of article, blog and You-Tube ‘research’ and ultimately resulting in my casting numerous votes on his behalf throughout the season and purchasing tickets for my first American Idols Live! concert.
A suburban Chicago resident, I ordered two tickets for the Rosemont show and invited my 16-year-old son to join me. While he appreciated the talents of both Adam and Kris, his favorite on the show was Allison. After picking my son up from school, we immediately trekked about 45 minutes to the Allstate Arena, arriving a couple hours before the start of the concert. I had planned to eat dinner at one of the fast food places in a nearby strip mall before finding a place in line at the arena, but my son suggested we take the food carry-out so we could join the handful of people already lining up at the venue doors. That time in line turned out to be a really festive start to our fabulous night. It was so much fun people watching and chatting with other Idol fans in our mutual pre-concert excitement.
As it turned out, all of our enthusiasm was warranted. The concert was great fun!
Michael was a great start to the show, as his enthusiasm was infectious. Both my son and I found his vocals to be just average, though.
Megan was a mixed bag for us. I actually really liked her on the show because she had such an unusual voice and quirky personality. On her first number, ‘Put Your Records On, ‘ she was great. My son leaned over to me at this point and exclaimed that he thought she was ” ¦really, really good.’ Once she kicked off ‘Tears Dry on their Own, ‘ though, he just said, ‘Oh, wow, ‘ and not in a good way. It was really, really rough for us.
Scott had a much prettier voice in person than he did on TV, I thought. I actually only heard his first song because I took this opportunity to visit the washroom without the long line that was present pre-show, but my son said he was good on the second song, too. He doesn’t really do anything for either my son or me, but he does have a nice voice. My son also commented that, just a couple days after the concert, he really doesn’t remember a thing he did other than the fact that he was an above average singer.
Lil got the party started–for some of the audience, anyway. Although no one was dancing yet where we were sitting, we could see people in the floor seats start bopping around. Lil’s voice is really great, but she still lacks something that I can’t put my finger on. My son was irritated by the karaoke sing-along words that appeared behind part of her set. He thought, and I agreed, that it really cheesed up an otherwise professional performance.
Anoop was never my favorite on the show. I thought he was good vocally but lacked stage presence, often coming across as awkward. He still wasn’t my favorite, but we were both pleasantly surprised at how much richer his voice was in person than it came across on TV, particularly on ‘Always on My Mind.’ The tour experience has also helped to improve his stage persona. He was still a little awkward at times, but much improved.
Matt needs to be signed. Now. Both my son and I liked him on the show, but, either he’s improved a lot during the tour, or his stage presence just wasn’t captured on TV. In person, he was such a great entertainer and had an awesome voice. ‘Georgia, ‘ in particular, was just fabulous, and the way he connected with the audience was amazing. I didn’t feel like I was a speck in a big arena; I felt like I was sitting at a barstool in a small club, and he was singing just to me.
The group numbers that wrapped up the first half are honestly just a blur to me now. They were nice, but I think I was just getting so excited that the second half ‘ and both of our favorites ‘ was just minutes away. I do remember thinking that ‘Tell Her About It, ‘ featuring Matt and Scott, was really nice and that the duet with Megan and Lil, ‘Can’t Take my Eyes off of You, ‘ was atrocious. What were they thinking when they put those two voices together? YIKES!
Allison just blew us both away. My son loved her on the show, and I liked her, but kind of thought everything she sang sounded the same and that she needed to work on her visual performance. I appreciated her fabulously raspy, Tina Turner-like voice, and was in awe that it came out of such a young girl, but she just wasn’t my personal favorite. Well, by the end of her set, I had to hand it to my son for his great talent scouting. While I wasn’t crazy about ‘So What’ (I thought it was weird how the background vocals sang most of the chorus with Allison just chiming in here or there. Honestly, the acoustics on that song were just really poor where we were sitting, so it was difficult to like it), she won me over with both ‘Cry Baby’ and ‘Barracuda.’ She owned the stage and emoted such fun attitude. Plus, she’s just amazing to look at. What a cutie! My son loved her and took great pleasure in giving me the ‘I told you so’ looks.
Danny stopped appealing to me after about the first quarter of the season because he came across as being full of himself. I cringed at his corny little heart hand gestures and was appalled that he seemed to try to mimic everything Adam did on stage. I always thought he had a very deeply soulful voice, though, and I wound up enjoying his set more than I thought I would, although I really could have done without the motivational speech. I’ve listened to most of the cell casts of the concert, so I knew it was coming and tried bracing myself, but it still irritated me. I’m glad he got a contract, though, and I think country will be a good fit.
Adam was every bit as amazing as I had heard and imagined. I don’t know where to even start. His charisma, beautiful vocal range, stunning theatricality and slinky, sexy dancing skills all combined to make him among the best ‘ if not THE best ‘ of all the performers I’ve ever seen, and I’ve seen quite a few pros in my 40+ years. David Bowie’s ‘Changes One’ was the first vinyl I ever purchased as a child, so I was beyond thrilled when I had heard Adam was doing the Bowie medley. That was my favorite of his set, followed closely by WLL, and then ‘Starlight’ and ‘Mad World’ pretty much tied. We did experience the ‘helium effect’ on Starlight (we were in the elevated seats just behind the floor seats about smack in the middle of the arena), but I enjoyed it anyway. I simply can’t wait for his album and 2012 single to come out. Even my son, who much prefers Allison overall, agreed that Adam will become a star. He was really that good.
Kris was also pretty much as I had expected following all the fan and critical reviews I’ve been reading. In person, I thought he had a surprisingly strong yet mellow voice. It’s really rich and restful, and I truly enjoyed ‘Heartless.’ His greatest weakness, I believe, is that he really kind of disappears on the stage, and I really don’t think it has anything to do with his size. I mean, Danny DeVito is a little guy, but he’d stand out in any crowd because he has a certain ‘something’ that I feel Kris, at this point in his career, lacks. The people in the floor seats might have had a different impression because he was closer to them, but from where we were sitting, I just felt zero connection. He seemed to kind of look out into the crowd but not to really look at us.
DSB was a fun song to wrap up the concert, which seemed to just fly by! Right after it was over, we headed out to the barricades. I’m not really into autographs, so I didn’t get any, but I did want to get an up-close glimpse of Adam to see if he’s really as beautiful in person as everyone has been saying. Anticipating that Adam could one day be a mega-star, my son purchased his own copy of Rolling Stone and did want that signed. I had warned him that Adam’s appearances at the barricades are sporadic, but he thought it would just be fun to hang out with all the crazed fans. He was so right! We had a blast experiencing the excited energy as everyone’s favorites came out one-by-one.
My son collected nearly everyone’s autograph on his printed ticket, and we were both in awe of how beautiful Allison is in person. She stopped and chatted a minute with one of the girls in front of us (we were three people back, which obstructed my view somewhat, but at over six feet tall, my son had no problems seeing everything), and it was cool seeing her up so close. The only signature my son did not obtain was Danny’s, and it wasn’t that he didn’t want it; Just when Danny came over by us, Adam began walking out. To protect his mint-condition, never-even-been-opened Rolling Stone, my son had wrapped it between sheets of cardboard and had to quickly, yet gingerly, unwrap it before Adam got to us.
When Adam came our way, I felt the heart-racing everyone’s been talking about. He was stunning and looked like an absolute star! He was also very calm, sweet and smiley as he did all the signatures around us, including my son’s magazine. I tried getting pictures, but every time I got a clear shot, someone would shift a little and obstruct the view. My wonderful, handily tall son, seeing my frustration, asked for the camera and captured a cute but blurry picture of Adam as he turned to acknowledge the homecoming invitation a girl in front of us extended. My son then just took off with the camera, following along down the line of people awaiting a break in the crowd where he might get a little closer for a better shot. After being gone about 10 minutes, he reappeared with a smile. Not only did he get close, he actually got to exchange a couple words with Adam when my son thanked him for allowing him to photograph him. Adam told him it was no problem and thanked him in return. What an awesome night from start to finish!