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American Idol 2009 Summer Tour – Portland Review

American Idols Live in Portland

American Idols Live in Portland

I had pretty realistic expectations going into the 2009 American Idols Live show on its first stop in Portland. Despite all the hype and hoopla, the reality is, these ten finalists are just at the beginnings of their careers. They’ve just crossed the threshold from semi-pro to the big leagues and this concert in Portland was their very first big arena show.

As a show I found it to be pretty choppy and extremely uneven. The staging was set up with a huge barrier between the audience and the performers. A stage which jetted out into the audience or a theater in the round set up, like they had with the Jonas Brothers, would have been a much better option. The evening was broken into two acts. The first one had performances from Michael Sarver, Megan Joy, Scott MacIntyre, Lil Rounds, Anoop Desai and Matt Giraud, followed by a group song featuring these six performers. The second act featured Allison Iraheta, Danny Gokey, Adam Lambert and Kris Allen, and then a finale song with all ten.

The only ‘coloring outside the lines’ came when Adam Lambert invited Allison Iraheta back up to do a duet of “Slowride”. Other than that, the evening was as programed as it could possibly get. Each Idol did grab the mic during their set for some banter but it was only Allison Iraheta who really connected with the audience. Others, like Danny Gokey, came off poorly and preachy. The show wasn’t about the Idols talking, it was about them singing, and for the most part each Idol represented pretty well.

Michael Sarver’s passion seemed to fill the gaps as he sang “I’m in Love with a Girl” by Gavin Degraw and “Closer” by Ne-Yo. He sported a white jacket with an enormous cross on it. His performance was fine and well within the line of an ‘opening act’.

Megan Joy came out with a much sexier look than we’ve seen for her, a bright pink dress and coiffed blond hair. Her rendition of Corrine Baily Rae’s “Put Your Records On” was pretty close to the performance she gave on the show. It didn’t win any new fans over, but it wasn’t bad. Unfortunately her rendition of Amy Winehouse’s “Tears Dry on Their Own” didn’t come off as well and you could see why she’s been branded as one of the more ‘unlikeable’ Idols.

Of all the American Idols, Scott MacIntyre was the most improved from his performances on the show. He emerged from below the stage behind a grand piano. It was clear that behind the piano is Scott’s sweet spot. His rendition of Keane’s “Bend and Break” was sharp and he breathed new life into Vanessa Carlton’s “A Thousand Miles”. I was disappointed that Scott only played two songs and would have liked to seen more from him.

Lil Rounds proved yet again that she can really sing, but something was missing from her performance. She opened with Mary J Blige’s “Be Without You” (a style she was constantly urged to sing during the show) but the audience didn’t seem to connect with it. Her rendition of Alicia Keys’s “No One” was solid, but sound alike and “Single Ladies” by Beyoncé had some great energy, but it seemed to fall apart at the end. Lil Rounds seemed mighty alone on that big stage and I think the show missed a huge opportunity to support her with some dancers. On “Single Ladies” she talked about working with a choreographer, but it ended up just being her strutting around the stage. If anything they could have brought the backup singers forward, or something so she didn’t seem so lost in the big space.

Anoop Desai was the first of the Idols to really connect with the crowd. A wave of flashbulbs fired off as he emerged from the center of the stage signing Willie Nelson’s “Always on My Mind”. Anoop was dressed in preppy/nerd chic and sported some thick rimmed glasses mid-way through the set. Anoop followed with “Mad” by Ne-Yo and then his signature “My Prerogative” by Bobby Brown. Musically Anoop isn’t the strongest of the Idols – Lil Rounds vocally eclipsed him – but Anoop has a charisma and style that fills the stage. He never looked alone up there and seems to have some of the raw goods to become a star. His set wasn’t earth shattering but it was extremely entertaining.

Matt Giraud seemed to have something to prove, and he did that with his set. With a big stardom presence he was the first Idol to really get the crowd on their feet with The Black Crows “Hard to Handle”. He then slowed it down a bit with Ray Charles’s “Georgia”, which came off fairly well, although I really didn’t like the arrangement. Surprisingly Giraurd closed with “I Found You” by The Fray, which is odd because during the show the judges specifically indicated that it wasn’t the best song for him, and I have to agree.

The medley that followed was okay. Throughout the season the group numbers were never the real strong points. This time around it felt a little choppy and Idol versus Idol. A highlight of the duet was dueling pianos with Scott MacIntyre and Matt Giraud singing Billy Joel’s “Tell Her About It”. In that match up I enjoyed Scott’s performance more. The weakest pairing of the medley was Megan and Lil who didn’t sound good together at all.

What followed was an excruciatingly long, energy-sucking 20 minute intermission where we sat and listened to ads and music videos of past American Idol winners. The break wouldn’t have been so misplaced if they had some sort of fun or creative intermission video clips playing (like a retrospective on the show). It was an opportunity missed.

The second half started with a bang and Allison Iraheta made up for the energy suck of the intermission. She opened with an extremely energetic rendition of Pink’s “So What”. Allison played a few of the refrains on her guitar, but not well. She is so energetic and fun and I think she would have done better without the guitar. Allison continued with Janis Joplin’s “Cry Baby” which was fantastic. As she let loose, she really showed a real comfort on the stage. At one point during “Cry Baby” she did really embody Joplin. It wasn’t a mimic or impression, but something much deeper. Her talk to the audience seemed to really connect and it showed a real presence and charisma. She closed her set with a fantastic performance of Heart’s “Barracuda”. I was disappointed that she only sang three songs. It was at this point I wished the show were the top 5 and not the top 10.

Of all the performances, I was most disappointed by Danny Gokey. I really like Gokey and enjoyed his performances on the show, but what worked on the small screen didn’t quite work as well on the big stage. Danny Gokey opened with Michael Jackson’s “P.Y.T.” without any form of comment or tribute to the artist’s death. He followed on with Santana’s “Maria Maria” which had him dancing around seemingly having fun on stage, but it felt a little stiff and forced and he didn’t quite have the audience along with him. The highlight of his set was “What Hurts the Most” by Rascal Flatts; it was the only point in the set where I felt any genuine passion. Danny Gokey followed the song with an ‘inspirational’, “you can do anything, don’t let adversity get in your way” talk. It just didn’t connect, so when he went into Rascal Flatts “My Wish” I felt like I was at a bad Christian Rock concert.

Gokey was immediately forgotten after Adam Lambert’s explosive opening. The crowd went crazy as he belted out Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love”. A lot of the things that I felt didn’t work in Lambert’s performances on the small screen were the very things that made seeing him live in an arena so fantastic. His opening number was pure electricity and left absolutely no doubt that he’s a rock star. I was really shocked at just how amazing hearing Adam Lambert sing Zeppelin was. He followed with an extremely strong version of Muse’s “Starlight” and then slowed it down with “Mad World”. Although the live version of “Mad World” wasn’t as magical as on the show, it was still fantastic. He pulled the entire audience in with the song and showed how easily he could warp the tempo and tone on stage. Adam called Allison on stage and the two of them did Foghat’s “Slow Ride”. My son turned to me and said, “Isn’t that a song from Guitar Hero?!” (interesting how times have changed). Adam and Allison’s chemistry were fantastic and the song was spot on. Adam finished his set with a medley of David Bowie songs including “Life on Mars”, “Fame” and “Let’s Dance”. It was fun and playful, but I would have enjoyed more big rock like Queen or Kiss. Still, Lambert showed he’s the real deal and his performance was so strong, I’ll definitely make a point to see him when he returns on his own.

During Adam’s set it became pretty clear how limited the staging of the show was. “Whole Lotta Love” screamed for some sort of pyrotechnics and his melody of Bowie songs could have been a huge production number with dancers and effects. It was a huge opportunity lost and one of the most noticeable failings of the show as a whole.

Kris Allen emerged from the floor in the center of the stage to the screams of the fans. They dropped a curtain behind him and the rest of the band (an odd move) and he held silent with his acoustic guitar in hand, for just a little too long. What followed though was one of the highlights of the entire show. Allen performed Kanye West’s “Heartless” in a way that made it clear that he’s made it his own. The song sounded even better live and is the corner stone of Allen’s success. Kris Allen was pitch perfect with his performance of “No Boundaries”, which isn’t my favorite song, but Allen finds hooks in it to make it into something much more beautiful and strong than the source material. Allen’s emotion and connection to the audience peaked with “Ain’t No Sunshine” by Bill Withers. I think it’s Allen’s humble honesty in his performance that really wins the audience over. If Kris Allen came out with the ego of Matt Giraud I don’t think it would work nearly as well. Kris Allen went for the trifecta on Matchbox 20’s  “Bright Lights” singing, playing guitar and piano, a truly versatile performance. He closed his set with a fantastic performance of “Hey Jude”, with the other 9 Idols joining him for the end of the song.

The finale of the night was Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing”, probably the best group effort I’ve seen. For one reason or another the song just ‘fits’ this group. There have been a lot of reports on how close the top 10 American Idol group is, but musically they really haven’t meshed well as a group, except for this song. It was a fantastic close to the show and a real highlight of the night.

As a complete show the 2009 American Idol’s Live Tour isn’t as strong as some of its parts. There are some serious shortcomings with how the show was staged. It was too formatted, overly programmed and lacking in some of the staging magic that could have transformed it into a much better show. The addition of a few dancers, some pyrotechnics and a little more stage pizazz would have gone a long way. I also think they could have dropped the twenty minute intermission in favor of a few more duets or sets which colored outside the lines. Also noticeably missing were any fun video clips or anything from the judges. It’s a clear opportunity missed not to have anything from any of the judges or even Ryan Seacrest on video saying “This is American Idol”.

Despite the production shortcomings the show was very enjoyable. Between Allison Iraheta’s energetic set, Adam Lambert’s jaw dropping Zeppelin and Kris Allen’s pitch perfect performance, there’s more than enough here to justifying seeing the show.

For more information about American Idol Live see:

Also be sure to read: Miley Cyrus Live in Concert – Tour Review

  1. Irene
    July 6, 2009 11:24 am | #1

    Great review! I can't wait for Kradison!

  2. Clarissa
    July 6, 2009 12:25 pm | #2

    Ah, Kradison = love.

    I'm delighted to hear that Adam proved to you that he's the "real deal"! Expectations for him are really high, but based on this concert, he seems to be meeting them.

    It's so lovely that Adam, Kris, and Allison–who seem to be clearly the most talented and the truest artists in the group–are all making albums.

  3. db
    July 6, 2009 1:37 pm | #3

    1. You've never been to an AI concert before. Dancers?

    2. Shouldn't have an Intermission? Ever heard of a BATHROOM?

  4. ravengirl
    July 6, 2009 2:47 pm | #4

    The best, most thorough review I've seen so far. Spot on, largely because these were also my thoughts :), especially the glowing words on Adam Lambert, who I believe stole the show.

  5. July 6, 2009 3:01 pm | #5

    @db this was my first American Idol concert. Don't know how it compared to the last, but YES they needed more production values. Also I have heard of a bathroom, but the break was oddly placed and overly long.

  6. July 6, 2009 3:01 pm | #6

    @ravengirl & @Irene

    Thanks for the kudos. I try my best to capture these things. Glad you enjoyed it.

  7. jennilee
    July 6, 2009 3:13 pm | #7

    Excellent review! Kradison stole the show, as usual; those three are always amazing and they really stepped it up quite a bit for the live show. It's obvious why they got record contracts right away, no matter where they placed in the competition.

    I can't wait to see the show on Wednesday in Vancouver!

  8. k13
    July 6, 2009 3:24 pm | #8

    Wow this is one of the best reviews i have seen so far! You were respectful to every contestant (which i haven't seen much of)and you were spot on! I cant wait to see the show! GO KRADISON!

  9. July 6, 2009 3:30 pm | #9

    Great review, and you confirmed what we concluded on Danny. He is very much a fake and it will be a waste of money for him to come out with an album. The others are really in different stages of learning, but he is passed that. Thanks for a great review

  10. yeahcapes
    July 6, 2009 3:43 pm | #10

    Excellent review! It's good to see Kradison getting some love.

  11. Ben
    July 6, 2009 3:57 pm | #11

    this is a great and unbiased review unlike some other reviewers just do a review to bash and/or praise a particular idol.

  12. Sara
    July 6, 2009 4:01 pm | #12

    Excellent review! I was at the show last night and you pretty much captured exactly what I was thinking. It's a shame Danny Gokey robbed us of a PERFECT Top 3 because Allison, Kris and Adam are clearly where it's at. Allison was so fun with the audience and truly seemed to be enjoying herself. Adam was SUCH a showman and really made you want to see more from him (definitely gonna see him solo) and Kris was so sincere and such a talented musician you felt really happy that he won. I'm an Adam girl myself but those three are the only ones I'd shell out money to see on their own.

    And Danny Gokey is just a disaster. Obviously there is a reason the other three (you guys call them Kradison, cute!) have a record deal and he doesn't. He was schmaltzy, preachy and with outdated vocals. I really didn't enjoy his set and would have liked to have seen an extra song from Allison or Adam (since they kind of split one on Slow Ride).

    Overall, fun concert and if I go again to another show this summer I might just wait to show up until after the Intermission.

  13. starbucksbaby
    July 6, 2009 4:04 pm | #13

    Interesting review. I don't get the ego of Matt Giraud comment though. Matt is the Idol comedian, the guy who gets along with everyone and has no ego. The name of the song he sang is "You Found Me" not "I Found God."
    It actually is a lot different than what he sang on TV. On the show, he was on a keyboard and rushed his performance in the crowd. In Portland, it was on the piano and not rushed. FYI, "You Found Me" was one of his best-selling songs on Idol. "Hard to Handle" was incredible on the cellcast of it; can't wait to see live.

  14. savgal
    July 6, 2009 4:13 pm | #14

    Thanks for the review! Just want to say that, from the three previous concerts I've attended, the break is not only for bathroom, but selling merchandise! Also, after screaming and dancing for an hour, it is a nice break. The anticipation for the top four is fun. During other breaks, there were text messages from fans and pictures of fans on the big screen; guess that was changed this year.
    Appreciate the kind words about Kris's set; cannot wait to see it.

  15. dav9244
    July 6, 2009 4:22 pm | #15

    @Ben
    Hi Ben,

    You just won't get over it will you..someone other than your favorite gets more attention…suck it up…let it go…

  16. ddm
    July 6, 2009 4:48 pm | #16

    Awesome review! I'm seeing the show in Tacoma, but it's been amazing reading about (and seeing clips of) the Portland show. Glad to read about how great Kris, Adam, and Allison are — those three are my favorites.

  17. Annette
    July 6, 2009 4:56 pm | #17

    I was really disappointed with Kris's performance. Not with him but with the whole setting of it and some arrangements. Shame.

  18. Penny
    July 6, 2009 5:02 pm | #18

    BEN, is it not a biased piece? I think it is extremely biased towards Kris who I thought was dreadful. In fact some people around me who were fans were extremely disappointed (some weren't, some would be impressed if their favourite parped through a performance) and some who weren't fans either laughed or felt sorry for him. Yet the writer eulogises as if he had been far better than the average that he was.

  19. Penny
    July 6, 2009 5:03 pm | #19

    By the way, I should add that I travelled from the UK to see this and generally (Adam, Allison, Anoop, Matt) it was worth it.

  20. prncssleia
    July 6, 2009 5:32 pm | #20

    Great review! Kradison are all amazing, but I'm primarily a Kris fan. He just hits you where the heart lives, IDEK how to explain it. All three of them have amazing potential and I'm glad you gave them all their due!

  21. media watcher
    July 6, 2009 5:48 pm | #21

    Poor AI so broke. Even with ATT promoting free phones and free power voting etc. They can't spring for dancers, pyro, and how about LIGHTING? The damn show appeared to be in a factory or warehouse. Why was I watching some drummer in a plexiglass cubicle behind The Gifted Adam Lambert? What the heck was that and why would I be interested in seeing the freaking BAND up there…right next to him… What a dump that place seems to be. Loved the chintzy "movies" of pyro or whatever they through up there though…NOT.

  22. kellyb
    July 6, 2009 6:59 pm | #22

    Your review was spot on. I thought Scott MacIntyre was the best of the night and quite surprising. He left me wanting more. Great vocals and piano.

  23. Stella Frahm
    July 6, 2009 6:59 pm | #23

    I attended the Portland show last night. ADAM was AH-mazing. He had the crowd on their feet from start to finish. I loved his voice and his dancing and everything about his performance. It gave me chills.
    I saw Elvis twice and NO performer has touched me like him.. until now. I believe that, yes, Adam it THAT good! He is actually a better singer than Elvis but no one yet can perform to the audience like Elvis. It remains to be seen how Adam will do over time. I sure plan to buy his music and want to see him in a solo concert.
    Adam should have CLOSED the show as the winner of IDOL.
    As it is, Kris only looks very average. It would be difficult to follow Adam. I kinda felt sorry for Kris.
    Allison was terrific, awesome!
    Third? I give to Anoop. He was charming and sang beautifully.
    I loved "You were always on my mind".. just beautiful!
    I was disappointed that he didn't mention Michael Jackson or that the whole show made no mention of him.
    So, yes, the show was not perfect. We are reminded that these are all people starting their music careers now in the BIG leagues.
    I can't wait to see how much better Adam will get.
    He is so amazing already. Did I already say that?

  24. July 6, 2009 7:45 pm | #24

    @media watcher It wouldn't have taken a lot to up the production values. Lil Rounds dancing to the Beyonce song was painful to watch, she so very much needed a couple of women dancing along side her.

  25. July 6, 2009 7:47 pm | #25

    @starbucksbaby
    I met Matt and he didn't have as much of a "Wow Look at Me" attitude as he did on stage. I really think it's inexperience. He'll continue to grow as a musician and could really impress… it just didn't happen at this show.

  26. Lisa
    July 6, 2009 9:02 pm | #26

    @Stella Frahm
    SPOT ON girlfriend!!!

  27. broddybounce
    July 6, 2009 9:02 pm | #27

    I didn't go to the show, but watched all the videos and read all the reviews and I agree with some of the others that this is definitely the best written and most objective review out there. Nice work, Geoff!

    Let me first say a few comments on performances:

    Adam is ELECTRIFYING! Pure showmanship, and cannot wait to see him in concert. A few of the other Idols were enjoyable, but the only other performer who gave me a rise was Allison, who I think is a Rock Goddess in the making — "Cry Baby" was unbelievable! Similar to what you're saying, Geoff, I would be first in line for tickets to an Adam concert with Allison as the opener!

    But now, ok, some big negatives, and I'm not talking about any of the performers. This is about production value, and I REALLY appreciate your talking about this aspect of the show, Geoff — no other reviewer has.

    I don't get it — the #1 show on television and one of the most popular seasons of the series ever — and, with the exception of what looks like great video, no set pieces whatsoever. HUH? Not even those simple long steps they've used before that the Idols can walk down to make grand entrances. C'mon, you can't get those on one of the trucks, fellas?

    And, again, same as you added in your comment #24, where are the dancers..?? I know they had them for the Season 2 concert and maybe others. What, they couldn't afford a few more people to add some eye candy to the stage? I mean, right, Lil doing "Single Ladies" ALONE? And this is after the guy who choreographed Lil is the same one who choreographed Beyonce? Who the heck is funding this tour that they don't have a few extra dollars to give the stage a little bit more of a magical feel? I remember seeing the tour a couple of years ago and they had already taken the dancers away and the stage felt empty. It just doesn't make sense.

    And I hope this lack of production value WAS strictly about money (as ridiculous as that would be, given all the merchandising revenue) and not because the director, Raj Kapoor, has no vision — because if this is his vision, there IS no vision.

    But the biggest crime: not having Adam's entrance on the elevator platform, rising through the fog. I mean, wha…? This is the most unique performer Idol has ever had, he's all drama and glamour, and this is one of the most anticipated entrances ever, with one of the most famous introductions to a song ("Whole Lotta Love") and you just have him walk up from the back like he's some hack in some nightclub somewhere? How about giving a true star an entrance befitting his talent? Now that I DO blame on Kapoor because the elevator platform is already there and there is nothing financial about it, and I don't see how it can conflict with anything else in the show, because Adam EXITS that way — what gives, man?

    An Idol fan who drags their non-Idol-loving husband, girlfriend, father, etc. to the concert just so that they have someone to go with, and that person doesn't really want to go because they think it's going to be a cheesy production because it's Idol — well their expectations were clearly met. Had they made this concert look like a CONCERT — and you're right, Geoff, it ain't that difficult — they could have won over a lot more converts. I'm in the biz and it is a major pet peeve when producers and/or directors don't strive for the very best possible show they can make. But Idol just did the barest they could get away with, still takes all our money because we'll see anything Idol — and they should be ashamed of themselves.

    One final note:

    Regarding Michael Jackson: last week it was reported that the director and/or producers were trying to work out a short tribute song to MJ for the end of the show, but Anoop "tweeted" that it didn't work out logistically. Excuse me? I'm not criticizing Anoop — he's just the messenger — I'm criticizing the director. What is so hard logistically? Adding an arrangement? Changing some light cues? This didn't need to be some big production number, just a couple minutes of one of his nice songs, sung together. Tributing Jackson, and the timing would have been PERFECT, would have made for an amazing moment of poignancy, not the least of which comes with the knowledge that he himself was THE Idol for many in the Top 10. Maybe it wouldn't have been so perfect for the first few concerts — Portland, Tacoma, Vancouver — but I don't think any of the fans would have minded, they would have been treated to a magical moment.

    But, also, I had assumed that, well, Danny is doing "PYT," ok, so he must have said something, so at least there was that — and now you're telling me, Geoff, that he didn't. That just adds insult to injury.

  28. July 6, 2009 9:11 pm | #28

    @broddybounce
    Thanks for your extremely well reasoned and thoughtful response. I was in shock that Danny didn't even refer to Michael Jackson either before or after PYT. It was amazingly absent, especially when you consider that they promoted the re-run of Idol doing Michael Jackson songs RIGHT after his death.

    I also agree about Adam Lambert's entrance, but thought it was too much of a nit to mention it. What really bothered me was that during his opening number there were punctuations where pyrotechnics were more than called for. I've seen much 'smaller' productions do much much more with lights, backup singers, dancers and pyrotechnics.

    It was VERY sad to see Lil Rounds dancing alone to "All The Single Girls", she so needed backup.

    But thanks for the kudos, I'm glad you enjoyed the review.

  29. @broddybounce
    July 6, 2009 9:47 pm | #29

    They couldn't have dancers and pyro because they were overbudget after giving Simon Cowell 144million dollars to come back next season. LOL

    Adam rocked the house!! That was the Adam Lambert concert and his 9 opening acts!!

  30. terie D.
    July 6, 2009 10:07 pm | #30

    Given the Energy that Adam generates & the soft mellow vibes of Kris Allen (and I AGREE that No Boundaries should be his final number, not stuck in the middle of his set) would it be unheard of for the order to be reversed, therefore letting Kris entertain in his own style & then Adam could step it up after Kris. That way the adrenaline would flow for BOTH performers!! That way, the FINAL group number would just carry on the ENERGY created by ADAM & everyone would emerge from the concert SATISFIED!!! JMO

  31. Tiffini
    July 6, 2009 10:18 pm | #31

    I'm wondering if you were at the same show as I was..? All the performers were GREAT – better than on the show. They were happy and energetic and pooring their hearts out on stage for this first performance. Although you gave decent reviews to Adam Lambert, you did not convey accurately the love in the house that was CLEARLY for Adam, and you give the impression the audience was more closely connected to Kris Allen. I observed the audience on their feet the entire duration of Adam's performance with deafening screams throughout, then transition to serious enthusiasm for Heartless by Kris Allen, only to have the audience become relatively subdued halfway through and then sitting around for the remainder and lacking serious enthusiasm. Kris of course is a great singer, but felt bad he had to follow Adam, honestly. Danny was excellent! I was thoroughly impressed with his connection to the audience, and his dance moves that he's obviously been working on! Who cares about background dancers or pyrotechnics….watching these Idols and how far they've come was fantastic!

  32. Janie
    July 6, 2009 10:21 pm | #32

    Great review! This makes me so happy to hear, that my favorite musicians from the show preformed as well as I thought they would.

  33. dan
    July 6, 2009 11:15 pm | #33

    I was there and Kris was brilliant!

    You people never tire of trying to boost Adam at Kris's expense.

    Yes, the audience was "on its feet during Adam's set, with deafening screams throughout," because he did a mini ROCK concert. That's how people act with that type of singer and performance.

    The audience was subdued for part of Kris's set because they were listening. Get it? LISTENING. And he was mesmerizing. He's that type of artist. They were not "sitting around lacking enthusiasm, you ignorant person. You don't expect people to jump up and down and scream when someone is pouring his heart out in a ballad you're supposed to be listening to, do you? It's called artistry. Subtlety. You probably didn't understand it because he wasn't shoving his crotch in your face.

    If you go to an Adam concert in the future, you can be on your feet screaming all you want to, and I hope you enjoy yourself. Meanwhile, I will be at a Kris concert enjoying myself in a very different way watching an amazing performer who puts his heart into his music, and touches and moves all his fans with his commitment and soul.

  34. July 6, 2009 11:16 pm | #34

    Thank you Geoff for a very fair review!! Are you musical , as you seem to "get" Kris's affect on people ? I get transfixed listening to his singing- a bit like Ben Folds!!
    One thing about the staging- maybe it had to be simpler because of Scott & his blindness- that's why there's no steps as it may have been an OH&S issue!!That doesn't account for the lighting but might explain the simplicity!!

    Some people use the tired arguement now that just because someone is energetic on the stage means that they are better!! Each to their own but as a musician myself I find its actually much harder to sing slower songs & do them well!! That's why i think your review of Kris was spot on!!

    Obviously some people are still bitter about Kris winning , well he did & that's why he finished the show. I thought Hey Jude was a great lead in to the group song with all the idols coming back on!!

    I look forward to see the progression over the tour & how more at ease the performers will be with the crowd by the end of the tour- as that's what happened in other years!!

  35. dan
    July 6, 2009 11:33 pm | #35

    People are indeed still bitter, and they'll lie, and say things like the audience was laughing at Kris. Honestly, give it a rest, he won, he has millions of fans in the US, and all over the world in the 150 countries where Idol is seen. For instance, he joined twitter only about 10 days ago, and he already has almost 48,000 followers. Kris's fans will always outnumbner the "bitterberts." Kris is going to have a very bright future.
    If you don't like him, nobody cares. Move on.

    Bright Lights alone was fabulous in last night's concert. I agree with the Ben Folds comparison.

  36. bebe
    July 7, 2009 12:43 am | #36

    I saw the show and had a similar reaction to Danny. I cringe whenever he starts talking because he doesn't know when to shut up. His remarks regarding the audience were insincere and condescending, and the inspirational sounded contrived and preachy to me.

  37. juno
    July 7, 2009 5:35 am | #37

    It is like you're reviewing the American Idol performance and afraid of making somebody's fans upset. I think no votes related anymore here .. it's already the real life and those somebody's fans must accept the true star quality emerged from one of those idols, which proves them wrong. It's hard living in denial.

  38. nicole
    July 7, 2009 6:00 am | #38

    Yes, BrightLights was amazing. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9FpckWfYVyo

  39. KRIS IS BORING!!!!!
    July 7, 2009 6:39 am | #39

    THAT'S IS ALL I CAN SAY! ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

  40. Jade
    July 7, 2009 7:17 am | #40

    I'm still mesmerized by Kris! I think my mouth was hanging open the whole time. I don't know why he makes me feel so many things when he's singin', like he's singing to me alone. I love him so much.

  41. Kay
    July 7, 2009 7:37 am | #41

    I really do like Kris and his style but Adam is "in a league of his own" and I just love his talent and personality.
    dan- check into the official websites of these two and you'll actually see who the fans are talking about.

  42. Elecchem
    July 7, 2009 8:36 am | #42

    Great review, I wish I had been at the concert. I don’t get why they don’t make more of a production out of it either. Isn’t that was going to a concert is about – lights, pyro, great music, dancing and high energy? I have never been an AI viewer. I have always found the show and it contestants boring and karaoke to say the least. This year changed all that – I was searching for Susan Boyle, and instead found Adam's AI performance of WLL. Wow, I have been a fan girl since.
    I find it interesting that every review I have read from this last AI concert gets tons of negative comments from everyone’s fan base except Adam’s. People claim that the reviews are biased and unfair. First of all, reviews are opinions based on the author’s professional experience and understanding of the field they are critiquing. I really do not understand how people can claim a review is biased when it is just simply someone’s professional opinion. Think about movie reviews – how many times does a critic give a movie 2 stars and then you go and see it and end up loving it? Does it become a box office smash – sometimes yes, but basically no. Again, it is just an opinion that helps you, as a consumer, decide if it is worthy of spending your money on. You make the ultimate decision.
    Adam is going to continue to get rave reviews because he is so completely in his element right now. The problem with the rest of the contestants is that they are still getting their feet underneath them. Adam is on a completely different level here- love them both but Kris appears to be boring and karaoke after following Adam’s mini rock concert. Kris is a great musician and will do great as a CD artist, and furthermore may get better at this whole concert thing – they have 51 more to go right? However, at the moment, I am not convinced that he is a concert type musician. There is nothing wrong with my saying that – It doesn't mean that I or anyone else for that matter hates on Kris. Come on, how can anyone hate Kris? He just appears to be out of his element and is completely upstaged by Adam. I think it is safe to say, that some of the most talented proven artists out there today would be upstaged by Adam. Doesn't mean we don't enjoy their music and performances – it just means that energy and vibrancy are very addictive elements in any entertainer, and Adam has it in spades.
    The bottom line on the entire AI thing is that it is a competition, and will continue to be so throughout the concert and into the album sales. Kris and Adam are constantly going to be pitted up against each other. Isn’t that what the entire AI platform is about? However, I disagree that these reviews are biased and people are hating on Kris or any of the other performers. It just is what it is – Adam Rocks!
    Back to the concert – someone said Adam’s entrance was lame and I completely agree. It would be cool if they lowered him from the ceiling with a little pyro on each side– what a crowd pleaser – people would go crazy – I mean crazier…lol.

  43. Muzic2luv
    July 7, 2009 10:35 am | #43

    I was directed from another site/post to read your review – Excellent and informative! I particularly enjoyed your comments about the staging and need for a couple of dancers, especially to help out Lil and to enhance Adam's disco medley. Those moves he made were reminiscent of his "Kiss and Tell" performance – only had two backup dancers and that was enough. Would love to have seen more of that type of choreography (with some redirection of the pelvic thrusts… lol). Also liked your take on Kris' set. Curtain was obviously used to give it a more intimate, smaller type venue feel. Even from the video I saw, that was too long of a wait. Again, thanks for a terrific review!

  44. Karen Murphy
    July 7, 2009 11:50 am | #44

    Very good writer and the review was a big help to know what to expect. I hope that you forward your review to American Idol, which would be helpful for them next year. Thanks!

  45. Pat
    July 7, 2009 1:06 pm | #45

    Geoff, this was a very balanced and thorough review. I admit to only watching Adam's performances via YouTube, as I am not really fans of anyone else (other than Allison) but your comments have intrigued me. I may well watch Anoop, Scott, Lil and Kris now to satisfy my curiosity.

    I agree about having Adam just walk out from the back of the stage as being a bit of a letdown, after the build up of all the lights and explosions. Through the floor (the way he left) makes far more sense. But you then mentioned that Kris came up through the floor. Perhaps that is the intention –> to have Adam, as the last of the "also-rans" depart that way and have Kris rise as the Reigning Idol. If that's the intent, it falls a little flat. It is far more suited to Kris's style for him to walk out onto the stage rather than be raised from a lift.

    I can only imagine how tough it is for the "Idols" to have to perform before (and after) the star attraction. Because as many people as may love Kris, it's undeniable that the majority of these concerts will sell out to see Adam. And clear that if the other 9 were to be confined to the buses with flu…Adam could carry the entire tour solo. Can't wait for his album and the amazing career he is going to have as an international star.

  46. calli
    July 7, 2009 3:56 pm | #46

    Good review, I enjoyed reading your thoughts on the show. It could have used a little more proofreading, but pretty solid. In fact, your last paragraph is the one that finally convinced me to cave in and buy tickets to see the Idol tour. I'm really looking forward to seeing Allison, Adam, and Kris. Thanks!

  47. calli
    July 7, 2009 4:04 pm | #47

    @Geoff Kleinman

    Last year, during intermission, they had someone roaming the floor to provide "entertainment". They had a couple of little boys do an air guitar contest, etc. Nothing at all like that this year, eh?

  48. evanjane
    July 7, 2009 5:10 pm | #48

    I, too, was directed here and I'm glad I took to the time to read your review. Well done! I'll be at the concert in August and I'm looking forward to Kris's performance. I'm a rocker from way back, but love a variety of genres. His take on MB20s Bright Lights was terrific and I was thrilled to see he played both piano and guitar. The vocals on Heartless was brilliant, and I have to say Kris has gotten me to appreciate Kayne West's writing abilities. Ain't No Sunshine, also a favorite of mine.

    Once, the opening night jitters are overcome and they get into the groove of performing, it can only get better. Last year was a very stripped down venue, just the kids and the music, which is fine with me. I just saw a TV commerical promoting Britney Spear's Circus Concert and she's got all the bells and whistles. Overcompensating, I'd say or trying to distract from subpar vocals. One thing these kids on IDOL can do is sing live, having had to deliver vocally week after week.

    Kris is my favorite, Adam and Allison a close second. All three deliver different performances and I look forward to each of them.

    Adam, of course, will have more command of the stage, being a seasoned performer all ready; eight years in Hollywood honing his skills, as well as, his childhood theatrical background. I would be shocked if he didn't. The others are most certainly learning and growing, a truck driver/music director, oil rigger, single mother/mother of three, high school student, college students, and a bar/hotel piano player, doesn't quite offer the same skill sets, even though they all have performed on a smaller scale at one time or another. Of course, this includes our American Idol, Kris Allen, as well.

    I'm amazed by one comment left here stating coming all the way from the UK just to see the show. Now that's a fantard! And then to take the time to laud all, but Kris Allen. Me thinks there's a hidden agenda here. You pretty much know what the performers will be like from watching Idol over the weeks. I loved Kris Allen then, I will love him in concert. The jury is still out for me on Gokey, Lil, Matt, Scott, Sarver and Meghan. I heard a cellcast of Allison and Cry Baby was as spot-on as I remembered from the show. Barracuda, not my fav Heart song, but I'm sure Allison's vocals will get me through it.

    Again, great review and, of course, thanks for the Kris love.

  49. Starry Eyed
    July 8, 2009 12:47 am | #49

    @dan
    Dan #33 You truly sound like an old stick-in-the-mud. I'm not that much into the old-fogey bore me to sleep sounds. I want to be blown away by a hard driving, sexy, edgy, out of this world handsome and talented performer like-no-other Adam Lambroughni. Go ahead and snail around in your Saturn, I like something more exciting for my buck. If you snooze, you lose. Adam is a ROCK GOD!

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