Tuesday, July 22

IDOLS LIVE - AI7 Tour Recap

I attended the Indianapolis show Tuesday, July 22nd, at Conseco Fieldhouse. For those who haven't gone (or heard about it), the format was quite a bit different this year. Instead of a lot of duets and mixed numbers, each performer is given a 3-song set (more for the Davids) as a solo artist. There were only 2 group numbers, one closing the first half and one to close the show.

I will say that everyone besides Ramiele was very capable of holding the stage by themselves, though a few should just sing and not try to chat with the audience (Archuleta & Rami were the worst, and even Carly was worse than Jason, who was ok). I really wish there were more group numbers though; a gospel song with Chikieze & Syesha would have rocked, for instance. Or some soft duet with Brooke & Archie. Alas, most sounded very good live, and I don't think I cringed once!

Pre-show music was the usual: Carrie, Daughtry, and Jordin with a little Blake and the Davids' Guitar Hero commercials thrown in. Oh and SYTYCD ads (yay)! Carrie's actual video was shown but the others mostly had blank screens (or some advertising) while the audio played.

The show was supposed to start at 7:00. Around 5 after we heard a voice, looked around and saw a guy standing in the audience with a spotlight on him and a giant Pop-Tart walking toward him (hey, it wouldn't be an Idol concert without the giant Pop-Tart!) who introduced himself as Corey (as in Corey the Idol audience warm-up guy!)! Cool! Kind-of. He had a few people come up & dance w/the Pop-Tart and then the show started.

Most sets were fast song - slow song - fast song. Oh, also the stage had walkways extending out to each side, further than I've ever seen, so that the performer could actually touch a couple of people in the audience in the 'pie slice' seating area right at the corner of the stage! I was actually in the front row of the first full side section down from that, so I had pretty good seats.

Each singer had stage lights showing their finishing spot as audio announced their name...

#10 - Chikieze

Audience response:
Some noise, though everybody was just excited it was starting!
Look: As expected, casual w/a bit of bling (and still not thin, but dude has some moves!)
Set list: I Believe to My Soul, Caught Up, So High (John Legend)
Comments: Great start to the show! He had a blast, connected well w/the audience, and sounded great (as usual). He said that Luke Menard (semifinalist from nearby Crawfordsville, Indiana) was in the audience.

#9 - Ramiele Malubay

Audience response: Minimal
Look: sparkly (tight tank top & pants)
Set list: I Want You Back; Love Will Lead You Back; If I Never See Your Face Again (Maroon 5/Rihanna)
Comments: Miss 'I don't like to move while I sing' actually danced w/the backup singers and moved around the stage quite well! Was not confident when not singing though and overall was definitely out of her element. (I wish David Hernandez could've had her spot instead!!) Vocals were decent I guess but overall my least favorite set.

#8 - Michael Johns

Audience response: on their feet & loud! Couple of signs.
Look: scarf instead of ascot (yay), jeans
Set list: We Will Rock You/We Are the Champions; It's All Wrong, But It's Alright; Dream On (dedicated to Luke Menard)
Comments: Sounds good live; handles the stage like a rock star (in a good way). Goofball during the group numbers - did some funky dance moves with one of the guitarists and later joked around with David Cook.

#7 - Kristy Lee Cook

Audience response: Minimal
Look: Sparkly! Dressed in all white, & hair was straight.
Set list: Squeezin' the Love Outta You; God Bless the USA; Cowgirls
Comments: I was really hoping she'd do "Anyway," but God Bless the USA is a good song to do live (I'll admit even I got a little teary; it wasn't cheesy at all like the group version of it a few years ago) so I understand why she didn't. At one point asked for house lights & commented at how big the arena is, hee. Overall sounded good and if Kellie Pickler can get a contract & radio play, I don't see why Kristy Lee can't!

#6 - Carly Smithson

Audience response:
Loud & up (but no signs).
Look: One of those tops that could be a maternity top but isn't, lowcut. Fortunately stage lights wash out most of the arm tattoo!
Set list: Bring Me to Life (complete with top-of-stage rockstar pose and windblown hair!); Crazy on You (1st verse soft, rest rockin'); Drove All Night
Comments: Hmm. She kind-of seemed like she's taking this chance to do everything she's always wanted to on stage, playing the big Rocker with lots of big, yelly vocals. They came off ok (better than on the show) but weren't necessarily enjoyable (for me, anyway). I respect her talent but she's no Amy Lee (or Heart). 2nd least fave set.

#5 - Brooke White

Audience response: Medium
Look: Bohemian Brooke! still barefoot.
Set list: Let It Be (on Grand Piano which rose from below the floor as she started playing); 1 2 3 4 (Feist); Yellow (Coldplay)
Comments: Great set! 1 2 3 4 really fits her bouncy, carefree personality (and she had the audience snap along), and Yellow was a surprisingly awesome fit. Complete with almost-cheesy yellow lighting, probably one of my favorites of the night.

After her set Brooke gave a short Idol Gives Back plug and everyone who'd performed so far sang Pride (In the Name of Love) while IGB footage played on the screen. Most had one-line solos but Michael's was a bit longer and the audio announced his name before he started, which was weird (because he was the only one who got that). He & Carly dueted for a bit & then the rest joined in.

Intermission - more Corey in the audience and a Guitar Hero contest on stage (2 local guys; it was mildly entertaining).

#4 - Jason Castro

Audience response: They love him!
Look: Dreads were back, and he was wearing bright red ('ruby,' get it?) shoes!! Fun.
Set list: Somewhere over the Rainbow (that one line that doesn't rhyme always throws me, but I know that's how the original was!); Crazy (heh, I typed "Craxy" 3 times before I could make my fingers hit the right keys!!); What a Day for a Daydream
Comments: Sounded great on Daydream. Introduced it by saying he wanted to leave us "with a thought and a challenge" - which segued into the song with a 'Follow your dreams' type line.

#3 - Syesha Mercado

Audience response: Medium to loud
Look: Hmm... very tall hair and a very... Haley-esce dress (definitely highlighted her cleavage)
Set list: Umbrella; If I Ain't Got You; Listen
Comments: Diva wannabe to Carly's rawker wannabe - she takes on Rihanna, Alicia, and Beyonce!! And pretty much pulled it off - the house was definitely enraptured by the end of Listen. Good for her (like Carly, she may know she needs to enjoy it while she has the chance!).

#2 - David Archuleta

Audience response: Deafening, as expected! (signs, homemade t-shirts, etc.)
Look: Grey suit with bling around the edges, and red & white casual shoes (umm, I'm old, they don't call them tennis shoes anymore, but you know what I mean, right?)
Set list: Angels (on piano, rising like for Brooke but David got dry ice too); Apologize (I *LOVE* this song!!); Stand By Me/Beautiful Girl; When You Say You Love Me
Comments: Okay, boy. can. sang!! He sounds really, really good live. Apologize was fantastic. Plenty of stage presence & confidence while singing, but back to his giggling, uncertain self when not. Granted he got *lots* of crowd appreciation, but some of the others did too & just walked off at the end of their sets whereas he paused to (awkwardly) thank the crowd 2 or 3 times. He also seemed out of breath after his songs (understandable but perhaps a sign he's oversinging?). If his stage dad doesn't get in the way he could have a very long and successful career.

And the main attraction, "Your American Idol" - David Cook!!

Audience response: Crazy loud, signs, etc.
Look: Rocker (no faux about it); scarf hanging from waist & jeans laced up sides of his leg - and came unlaced, prompting him to take a break at one point to sit & re-tie them (after instructing us to "talk among yourselves"!)
Set list: Hello (rose from below stage playing elec. guitar, w/ dry ice); Time of My Life; Don't Wanna Miss a Thing; My Hero (which he dedicated to his brother Adam)
Comments: Worth the wait, but makes me want a whole concert of just him! He has such a great voice, really enjoyable no matter what style he's singing (normally during screamy rock songs I don't find myself thinking, "He really does have a great voice!"), and a wonderful stage presence (confident but not cocky, casual interaction w/crowd, but can get them going too). He talked a lot about his family since several of them live in Indiana - his Dad & some others were in the audience. He said his Dad bought him the white guitar (with big AC) around 5 years ago at a store here in Indy. He had one bit where he got out a camcorder & said he's been doing this at each show, asking the crowd to scream ("Reggie Miller loud," after saying he used to watch Pacers games during Reggie's era) and he walked across the stage taping the crowd, so he can have it to remind him "10 years down the road when nobody believes I got to do this"! He also thanked us (as several others did), saying he appreciated our "letting 10 strangers come to our town & play for us" and how bizarre it still seems that they get to do this all because we voted. He has such the great (appreciative & humble but not annoyingly so) attitude.

David Cook doing Billie Jean, which was probably my favorite of his and the one where I was marveling his vocals. I liked it ok on the show but I really, really enjoyed it live!

Then the whole group came out and did Please Don't Stop the Music to wrap it up.

I have photos (& a couple vids with audio) that I'll try to post in the next few days. If you get a chance to see the show, it's worth it! I still hope they bring back more group & combo numbers next year, but I really did enjoy the solo sets that they did with this group. Everyone sounds great live and they're having a blast! Which is always a joy to watch.

Thanks for reading! Please leave comments and check back for the photos.

(edited to remove implication that Jason flubbed his words! and to add this disclaimer that there are a few inside jokes; if you don't get it, sorry, just ignore it!)


Anonymous said...

Really enjoyed the detailed recap! Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Great recap! Actually makes me wish I were going to see the show now, I didn't think I was interested before.

Anonymous said...

I do "like" David Cook, but absolutely "LOVE" David Archuleta. It's all a matter of preference. We'll see who survives the long haul. Hope they BOTH do!

Thanks for the recap!

Anonymous said...

Enjoyed your review... I'm living vicariously through all the reviewers getting to see DAVID COOK! Thanks for writing!

Am said...

Great recap, thanks for taking the time to share all the details. Looking forward to the show now!

Anonymous said...

Great recap, Pez! Glad you had a good time. Thanks for posting!

L said...

anxiously awaiting those pics!!!