Guess who got tickets to the American Idols Live! 2009 tour? After much last minute scrambling I got the good word from Kimu, “we’re going to Idols!” GM Place was pretty packed when we got there. The upper bowl was sparsely populated but the rest of the room looked pretty close to capacity. We were in section 106, row one which put us practically on the floor with a handy shelf in the back of the hockey boards to hold our burgers and Cokes. We had a clear view of the stage sitting or standing, and perhaps best of all, we paid waaay less than the $92 price tag.
The Vancouver stop on this year’s American Idols Live! tour was my first time at an Idol concert. I’ve heard that the production values were much improved this year, and from what I saw I’d agree. I wasn’t really sure what to expect. Truthfully, I was just there to see Adam but I have to say that all of the idols did a great job and put on a very entertaining show.
Just before the opening the faces of the top 10 quickly flashed up on screen and when Adam’s pic was met with a deafening roar I had a pretty good idea what we were in for. (Adam, by far my fave, gets his own blog post here.)
The show opened, 15 minutes late, with Michael Sarver. At first I felt kind bad for him being in the opening slot (dangerously close to “opening act”) but he really surprised me. He exploded on to the stage with a smile the size of Texas, clearly thrilled to be there. He got the show of to a great start, got people on their feet and set the tone for the evening. Well done Michael. Next up was Megan wearing what has to be the tightest dress I have ever seen. She looked some kind of superhero Barbie, but you have to hand it to the girl – she pulled it off and she looked stunning. I thought she picked perfect songs and she sounded much better in person than she did on the show. (And the “caw caw” as the lights when down was hilarious.)
Next up was Scott. He has scruff now and I caught myself spending more time wondering how he maintains it than actually listening. He sounded pretty much the same as on the show but was clearly having a great time. Surely there is an AM AC radio station in his future. (I thought the high collar shirt he came out in later was a great choice.)
Following Scott was Lil. Lil should find whoever picked her set and send them the best roses on the planet. I always felt that Lil just wilted during the competition but in person last night I saw what I had hoped to see on the show. Her confidence came back and it showed. Her shinning moment was a rousing sing-a-long version of “Single Ladies”. Whoever chose that song, in this format, is a genius. With the words on the screen behind her karaoke-style she was the first to really get the crowd on their feet. Everyone was singing and dancing.
Anoop followed and I found my mind wandering a little during his set. For his second song he put on this HUGE pair of glasses and I can only hope that there is some subtle nerd/ southern BBQ inside joke that I’m missing and the real Anoop fans understood what was going on. As others have said “My Perogative” should probably be locked back in the vault, but he did it justice and he was having so much fun you just got swept up in it.
In the First Act pimp spot was the lovely Matt Giraud. He really surprised me. I had heard that he was doing “Georgia” and was looking forward to it. I had no idea just how good it was going to be. Matt took his time with it and it felt like a perfect date with someone you’re really comfortable with – smooth and soft and sexy. For the very first (and probably last) time in my life, I found myself wishing I’d been hangin around hotel lobbies in Kalamazoo a year ago. I could have listened to him play for a long, long time. There were two other songs in his set but I kind of missed them. I still had “Georgia” on my mind.
Just before intermission were two group numbers featuring the top 6 which I skipped in favor of beating the intermission line at the ladies’. There was no way I was going to miss Adam and sacrifices had to be made. After listening to the same two videos all through intermission (Carrie Underwood does have more than ONE song, right?) it was back on with the show. Allison Iraheta kinda came out of nowhere. One minute it was intermission, then the lights went down for a split second and suddenly there she was on stage. She got the loudest cheers of the night up to that point. She sang the heck out of Pink’s “So What” and got the crowd back up on their feet. She looked so comfortable up on stage. Her hair is wavy now, and longer and in addition to the red there’s pink and blue. I don’t know if Adam’s hairstylist was behind this makeover too but it totally worked for her. Allison looked like she had been doing stadium shows her whole life. Her set was over far too quickly but I took heart knowing she’d been coming back for “Slow Ride”. After Allison came Danny Gokey, at which point my brain kindof shorted out thinking “four songs, just four songs til Adam”. I am not a Gokey fan, at all, so it’s really hard for me to comment on his set. He did get huge cheers from the crowd and a lot of people started dancing again during “P.Y.T.” He took his jacket off part way through “Maria, Maria”. I’m really not sure why. Between “What Hurts the Most” – a song that is impossible to listen to without thinking of his wife – and “My Wish” he launched into some banter that skated pretty close to Saturday-night-church-retreat preaching territory. I had to look around to see if there was a cross or a dove I missed on the way in. But before too long, he was done and it was time for Adam. Church was over.
As the light’s faded on Danny Gokey you could almost hear the room take a collective breath as we all thought the same thing, “Adam’s coming”. The screaming for Adam started even before the screens lit up and it just got louder and louder. It far surpassed anything else we’d hear that night.
And then, there he was, leather tails swinging on his custom-studded jacket. The roars found a new decibel level but he wasn’t done us yet. Adam reached out a hand to the audience, waggled his fingers and mouthed the word “more”. At this point the screaming was so loud it started to sound like rushing wind in my ears. Adam hooked a finger behind his ear, an open request that surely he could have a just little more. We gave him all we had and with the satisfied smile of a man who just got exactly what he wanted, Adam opened his mouth and started to sing. I have to agree with Anastacia, the man really is a human slinky. The videos do not do it justice. He moves in ways I’m not sure I’m supposed to know about. Whichever way he was sliding, he took the room with him. The entire crowd was in its feet and stayed there for the whole set. No one got a response like Adam.
He brought Allison out for “Slow Ride” – “here’s Allison Iraheta in a wardrobe change!” and clearly, they are still having fun singing that song together. When the pink bra landed on stage, Adam took it in stride. Mid-song he reached down for it, displayed it to the audience on one finger, whipped it around a couple of times and launched it into the crowd. He never broke stride, never missed a beat, just kept right on singing. It was just all part of the show. Shortly after another item of intimate apparel landed on stage, Adam sang the lyric “slow down” and seemed to pointedly aim his “slow down” gesture at a certain section of the front row. I have to hope the underwear thing doesn’t take off. Who would have expected us nice, polite Canadians to throw the first bra? The rest of his set was magnificent. To borrow a word from Mia Michaels, it was “gourgeois”.
After Adam left us all breathless, Kris came on stage and it must be said people cheered really loudly for him too. They dropped a curtain in behind him to shrink the stage a bit and he did a fantastic job on “Heartless”, the much maligned “No Boundaries” and the rest of his set. I almost felt bad for Kris closing out the show. I think Kris is incredibly talented but no matter how good you are, Adam is the definition of a tough act to follow. But you have to give Kris credit. His set was completely different and totally him. It was as if he got up there and said, “Yeah, Adam does his thing really well. But I do this.” The crowd loved him. Far too soon the Idols were joining Kris on stage for the na-na-nas and rounding out the evening with “Don’t Stop Believing” (and world peace!) waving to the crowd as Scott and Matt dueled on pianos. (Sidenote, oh please. Matt could (and did) play circles around Scott.) It was an awesome show and I am so glad that I went. Definitely worth the price of admission. (And even worth the price of this admission – that the people I work with now know what a fan I am. Let your freak flag fly.) I can’t wait for the albums to start coming out this Fall.