ALL DAY AND ALL OF THE NIGHT AT AMERICAN IDOLS LIVE 2009

Spent the day in and around Staples Center where the American Idols Live Tour lit up the night. However, for the Idols, it was a full day of work. They started with a press event at 2:30 which I attended with Fred Bronson, who was gathering quotes for a possible radio special. There were journalists and interviewers from radio, TV and print. Each participant got a minute or two with each Idol. Kris Allen had just returned from Arkansas and immediately joined the lineup.

Next up for the Idols was a meet and greet with fans, who got their shirts and programs signed and also got to take photos with their favorites. Meanwhile, I went to Starbucks, followed by dinner at Wolfgang Puck. The service was a little slow but we still made it back across the street in time for the show.

While I didn’t feel this was the best of the “American Idol” concerts I’ve seen over the years (I’ve previously attended the Los Angeles concerts for Season 3, 4, 5 and 7), it was still an entertaining show. Some of the highlights included Scott MacIntyre’s take on Vanessa Carlton’s “A Thousand Miles,” every one of Matt Giraud’s three songs (he brought such passion and showmanship to his set, he seemed like a totally different artist than the one who competed on “Idol”), and Allison Iraheta’s “Cry Baby” and especially her version of Heart’s “Barracuda,” which had all the power and intensity of the original. Of course, the Top Three shined. I enjoyed the variety that Danny Gokey brought to his set, mixing the R&B pop of Michael Jackson’s “PYT” with the Latin spark of “Maria Maria” by Santana, then showing his heart on two Rascall Flatts songs, “What Hurts The Most” and “My Wish.” And I have to admit, after reading a bit about Danny’s interlude where he does a bit of preaching, I was worried it might spoil my enjoyment of his set but the opposite happened. Rather than making the moment about him, he makes it about the audience, encouraging everyone to follow their dreams and not to let anything stop them.

Next up was the performer the audience had been waiting for, yet it was a performer they had never seen. That’s because we were about to witness Adam Lambert unleashed. Adam showed off not just his great voice and rocking spirit, but also a gallery of rock star poses and quite a bit of hip action. The audience ate it up, and the excitement went even higher when Allison joined Adam for “Slow Ride.”

Of course, Kris Allen was the night’s final solo performer and in addition to his emotional take on “American Idol” favorites “Heartless” and “Ain’t No Sunshine,” Kris let out his inner rock star on Matchbox 20’s “Bright Lights.” Then Kris was joined by the rest of the Top Five for “Hey Jude.” Kris got the lyric on the first verse wrong (I asked him about it later and he just hung his head in shame), but at the time, I actually thought that maybe they had edited the song for time. Still, the sing-along chorus was perfect for the event, as was the final song, Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’.” The song started with Scott and Matt playing piano and trading off lines and believe me, they both have that famous Steve Perry falsetto perfected!

After the show, we headed upstairs onto an outdoor balcony for the after-party. For a while, we were worried that a better party for VIP’s was taking place somewhere else in the building, but eventually the Idols started showing up, so we were definitely at the right place. There was plenty of time to get a chance to talk to your favorites. I got to congratulate both Matt and Danny on their triumphs, and also got to meet the families of Allison and Scott, all of whom were super nice. Also in attendance was Debra Byrd, the “Idol” vocal coach and a longtime background vocalist for one of my favorite artists, Barry Manilow. Whenever I see Byrd, I always like to bring up a concert memory I have from the many times I’ve seen Manilow in concert This time, I talked about the night in Reading, PA when the sound went on the fritz and Barry entertained the crowd by beginning a strip tease until the problem was fixed a few minutes later!

All in all, a fun concert, so if you get the chance to see the Idols on tour, by all means check them out! All you can lose is your voice (from screaming of course!)…

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