[Review] It's time to invest in some earplugs. I've been to some loud concerts in my time, but even the noisiest stoner rock show couldn't compare to the insane decibel level raised by the crowd gathered at the E Center for last night's American Idols Live Tour. The piercing squeals started in the parking lot around 6 p.m., shortly after a friendly attendant allowed our car to enter for a mere $3, $7 less than the going rate. I've never had to pay to park at the E Center, but then again I haven't been there for quite some time so maybe that's the new norm.
Or maybe the E Center staff is just really smart. American Idols Live tickets ranged in price from $39.50-$68.50, so clearly people are willing to shell out big bucks for the chance to see their favorite singers in the flesh (or jumbotron). After some confusion over Will Call, Dominique and I tried to get in with her camera, to no avail. Word to the wise, compact cameras without large lenses are allowed. Everything else is out.
My dreams of getting a photo with Jason Castro dashed, we set our sights on a new goal: photo op with Pop Tart Man. Pop Tarts is, quite fittingly, the official sponsor of American Idols Live. A local man dressed as one of the zanier new flavors (blueberry/strawberry sprinkles!) boogied on the main floor with the night's hype man who lead the screaming (always screaming) crowd in scream-offs and dance-offs for t-shirts. We watched all of this from up on high in one of the E Center's sweet suites. The staff was incredibly professional and accommodating. E Center marketing director Julie graciously entertained our absurd request to hang with Pop Tart Man while addressing other guests' needs for beverages, bananas foster, pens, popcorn, you know, the usual.
After a pleasant conversation with Fox 13's Big Budha and his adorable, well-behaved daughter--a huge Idols fan who apparently plastered her room in featured artists' posters--we settled in with a mountain of cheese and prepared for the main event. Nothing, however, could have prepared me for what came next. To be honest, it was all a little overwhelming. Dom and I decided to break it down with a play-by-play analysis of each of the nine Idols performances:
J: Strong set of R&B pipes. Not bad. A little on the sexy side, though, considering half the audience is under 15. This is surprisingly enjoyable. Why did this guy get kicked off?
D: I think Barry Manilow got him kicked off. He was watching Idol one night and told Simon they couldn’t have any more of his songs if this guy got to stay. He doesn’t need anyone throwing salt in his game!
J: Uh, OK. Jackson 5? She's spunky, but man is she getting a lukewarm response from the crowd. Seems like they favor performers of the male persuasion? Then again, she's pretty boring. She's got a nice voice, but she's pretty much half-assing this thing. Oh, here come the electronic wind chimes
D: Electronic wind chimes seem to cause hypnosis in the brains of children for some reason. And they gave her all those stairs on stage! Why couldn’t she climb them with some more pep? It was like watching hearing a watered down Disney version of the songs.
J: Oh no, no, no. "We Will Rock You"? Freddy Mercury is rolling in his grave. This is weak. This guy does not have a good enough voice to take on this challenging song. I mean, he's avoiding all of the high notes. Pretty flat.
How many people here know or care about Queen anyway?
What?! Now he's doing Aerosmith's "Dream On," another super challenging song. Do you think he's going to hit the high notes?
D: Oh ….THIS guy. Australian Idol right? I think Flight of The Concords should incorporate him into an episode seeing as to how they like to tease the Australians. Really, why would you pick so many high noted, well-respected songs only to bastardize them like that? There should be a law against this sort of thing--your wages garnished or something.
J: She's a girl, which the crowd doesn't seem to respond to, but she's also a little bit country, which the crowd does approve of...
There's a whole lot of gyrating going on here...
"God Bless The USA?" Oh, her father is in Iraq. OK. Now I'm the asshole.
D: I think she would have done much better with the male audience members had there been a pole in the middle of the stage. She could have been responsible for many boys thinking, “Why do I feel the sudden urge to pull all my dollar bills out of my pocket?”
J: Comes out with Evanescence? I guess she's the rocker? Oh! She's the one whose boyfriend's face is covered in tattoos.
D: I feel weird. This is someone covering a song badly that is already not that good to begin with. Yet, it almost seemed justified after damned Michal bastardizing all those songs.
J: Now she's doing Heart. This is more appropriate than Fergie's Heart impression on the Today show, but still. "Crazy On You?" Should kids really be singing along to this? Why not "Dog and Butterfly' or something less sexy?
J: Oh, the kids love her. She's purdy. At least she's playing the guitar. And I have to say that all of these singers are actually singing. That's something.
Oh shit. Feist? Too soon! Feist herself is coming to town next week. I wonder how much they got for the right to this song.
And "Yellow?" I kind of have a soft spot for Coldplay and this does not do them justice. Chris Martin, why did you agree to this?
Now the first five performers are doing a rousing rendition of U2's "In the Name of Love," against footage of poverty-stricken children from an unnamed country. Um. What exactly are we supporting here? Seems kind of vague?
D: I guess as long as you look like you are supporting something and singing U2 at the same time that is enough to motivate someone to say from now on that they are going green.
Intermission: Guitar Hero-off. Cute twin kids. Hype man makes fun of one of them for being named "Gordon." Seems a little cruel.
D: Oh the twins! You win an X-Box 360 version of the game, pending on who does better. I watched one of the children win and all of the sudden his face falls and he starts shaking his head. The hype man asks him what the matter is. He says “I don’t have an X-Box 360.” Sad!! Like giving someone car speakers with no car.
J: Yes! He's doing the Hawaiian version of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow"--way up high.
Now, "Crazy" by Gnarls Barkley? That's kind of odd.
He introduced the next song, "Daydreaming" saying, "I do a lot of that. Heh, heh."
D: My favorite was when he started to say something. And then stops. And then starts again, and then says “I always feel like I have to explain the song I am about to sing, you know, because it is, heh heh, super important to me to let you know what it means to me.”
Still, we probably would have had a crush on him in high school.
J: Totally. I'll admit it. I loved me some hippies.
J: She's one classy looking lady. Cute. Nice voice. Dead-on impression of "Umbrella." Again, seems a little too soon.
Why did she get kicked off?
D: Oh Syesha, I want you so bad. I want to get to know you better! Syesha! She totally should have sung that. She was the only girl out of them all that didn’t look hookerish. And she had good pipes.
[Julie comes in to deliver the devastating news: Pop Tart Man has left the building. We will not be able to go forward with the photo shoot. Back-up planning in effect]
D: Very devastated. Food mascots will always have a special place in my heart.
J: My GOD! The noise level in here is deafening. I can see now why everyone goes nuts over this kid. He's totally cute.
I mean, how could you possibly hate David? It's like hating kittens and puppies and fun.
It's cool to see this overwhelming hometown pride. I bet he could have sold out the Center on his own.
Does he still attend high school? He's going to get mobbed in the fall
D: He actually wept on stage. There will be passages in school textbooks that read: “And David wept.” that is how much these people love this boy.
J: The winner. The champion. Too bad he had to follow David
D: Yeah, David Cook didn’t do it for me. Maybe they should have left him in the oven longer. Bad joke. And we all know that runner ups always go on to do bigger and better things anyhow.
All in all a good night. Way better than a Britney Spears concert, I'll venture.
I can see why people get into this show. If you're not partial to the original songs, why not?
As far as Pop Tart Man is concerned, Dom and I headed to Smiths after for the next best thing.
Pop Tarts, if you're reading this and could use something to else to sponsor, I can make room in Live.
Pop Tarts are totally something I can get behind. (Jamie Gadette)