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August 6, 2009

Concert review: American Idols Live tour 2009

idolgroup.jpg  Before we get rolling, I have a couple guilty confessions to make. First, even though I have interviewed Adam Lambert, I have never seen a complete episode of "American Idol" since it started in 2002. I've caught snippets here and there, but I've never seen a whole episode. I know, I know, shame on me.

Even worse: Due to a Baltimore Unsigned taping with Caleb Stine, I missed pretty much the entire first set of the show.

Why send me in the first place? Reality TV expert Sarah Kelber was indisposed, and editor Tim Swift was desperate, I guess. So they sent the wide-eyed pop music writer (me) instead.

All that said, the American Idols Live tour, which came to 1st Mariner Arena last night, was quite the treat, if you dig that sort of thing. The show features performances by the top 10 contestants on the 2009 season of "American Idol." It was, in a sense, a souped-up, flashy, extravagant karaoke show. And what a show it was ...

I got there in time to catch the second half of Matt Giraud singing "Georgia on My Mind." Sporting a fedora and sitting at a piano, he tore through a rendition of The Fray's "You Found Me." Then, a handful of other Idols joined him on stage to sing a medly of old school numbers like "Can't Take My Eyes Off of You" and "Tell Her About It." I liked how there was no down time between tunes. When one song ended, they just barreled right into the next one.

A 20-minute intermission came after the medly. The bottom six contestants perform during the first half of the show, and the top four sing during the second. Here's a link to a photo gallery from the show.

Looking around, I realized I was one of only a few guys in a sea of women. There were little girls, big girls, moms -- even grandmoms. My informal poll put the ratio at two or three women for every man in the arena. 

I also realized the star power of runner-up Adam Lambert (pictured). He hadn't even performed yet, but every time his picture popped up on the big screen, the crowd screamed. It was wild. I should have brought ear plugs.

During intermission, I asked my neighbor, Doris Ditzler, what I'd missed.

"You missed Megan Joy's first outfit," said Ditzler, who made the 90-minute drive from Carlisle, Pa., for the show. "Megan must have had a shoe horn to get it on. It was very tight; very short."

adam lambertAnything else I missed?

"They all sounded better than they did on the show."

Sweet. Thanks, Doris!

The first performer after the break was Allison Iraheta, a spunky singer dressed in black leather. Her hair was dyed red with purple points at the end of it. She started with Pink's "So What," and proceeded to wail her way through "Cry Baby" by Janis Joplin and "Barracuda" by Heart.

Next up was Idol No. 3, Danny Gokey. Gokey has a surprisingly soulful voice, but not much of a stage presence. He did Michael Jackson's "P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)," Santana's "Maria Maria" and closed with two Rascal Flatts tunes -- "What Hurts the Most" and "My Wish." Good stuff, good stuff.

After Gokey left, it was time to get Lambertized. Everybody knew it. Before he even came out, the screams were deafening. There was an explosion of light and sound, strobe lights and then -- BAM! -- there he was, singing Led Zeppelin's "Whole Lotta Love."

Lambert Law #1: If you've got it, flaunt it. 

Wow. I've never seen a man scream like that before. Robert Plant could hit some high notes, but Lambert launched into the stratosphere. And if you think Plant's screaming sounded feminine, wait until you hear Lambert. It was like Geddy Lee on steroids. And boy oh boy did he have a stage presence. That crowd ate out of his gloved hand. Even when he was sitting on a stool singing "Mad World" by Tears for Fears, he commanded the crowd's attention. Of all the performers, he seemed the most at ease on stage.

Lambert Law #2: Black is beautiful.

Black hair, black guyliner, black fingernails, black fingerless gloves, a black jacket (which he ripped off to still, yet more screams), black pants, a black sequined vest. His belt buckle was massive and sparkled fiercely. (In case you're wondering, this photo of him was taken during the encore, after he had changed into a new outfit.)

After "Mad World," Iraheta joined Lambert on stage to sing a duet of "Slow Ride" by Foghat. During the song, someone in the audience tossed a large hot pink bra onto the stage (someone must have been "in the mood"). Iraheta tossed it to Lambert, who tried to chuck it back into the crowd. But the bra fell short and landed on the stage instead. Hee hee.

Lambert wrapped up his set with a David Bowie medly. He definitely left the crowd wanting more.

That left one man. And that man was this year's American Idol: Kris Allen. To be honest, I wasn't bowled over by Allen. He's a good-looking dude, sure. And he's got a good voice. It's not a great voice, but it's a good voice, and he knows how to use it. I just wasn't that impressed with him. 

The high point of Allen's set was "Heartless" by Kanye West. It was refreshing to hear someone actually sing the song -- not just West's auto-tuned original. Hearing Allen sing it gave me new respect for West's songwriting. It really is a great track, and Allen sounded great on it.

Allen closed his set with the singalong to end all singalongs: "Hey Jude" by the Beatles.

For the encore, the cast regrouped and sang the '80s anthem "Don't Stop Believing" by Journey. For a few more minutes, the crowd sang along to this one last number with the contestants they'd come to know and love in the past few months. Then the house lights came on and it was time to go home.

(Baltimore Sun photos by Gene Sweeney, Jr.)


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Posted by Sam Sessa at 7:00 AM | | Comments (98)
Categories: Concert reviews
        

Comments

Thanks for the review! I particularly enjoyed what you said about Adam, and I like that he impressed you even though you weren't familiar with him (I had never watched AI before this year, so I sympathize). I do like Kris a lot more than you do, which is fine, and I love Allison, but Adam is just extraordinary.

A concert is quite different when you are front and center than it is at seats from afar and my daughter quoted that it was the best 3 hours of her life. The only complaint I had was that they weren't "personal" enough with their audience. even being upfront. Maybe they were too new to have any eye contact just yet. Or maybe the work load is getting to them already. Either way, not one of them look particularly happy to be there and didn't seem to be having any fun with it. It just seemed to be work to them already.

Second... you really would have needed to watch the show to get some connection with where they started and what they've become to be able to write a good, thorough review. You can't critique any concert without having some background or knowing what kind of band is performing. All their styles are very different.

Lastly, they did all sing better than they did on the show, with the exception of Adam. Adam's performance was good, but overrated, showed better on TV and simply not my style. His stage presence is a bit quarky live as well. He definitely has a huge musical range, but one that is overused and gets on your nerves long term. Kris and Matt rocked! They are of the old style, Eric Clapton type performer, where you jam your music, you rock and you belt it out... none of this flashy choreographed dance overload crap that's lip-synced to hide the fact that the performer makes live performance mistakes. However and that said, the band could have been a bit more entertaining so the stage didn't look so empty. Allison probably had the best stage presence, picked great songs and was exciting to watch, however, she needs to sing clearer, articulate most of her words better before she can compete with her musical peers. Danny came out rocking and exciting with PYT, but let the energy he created go quickly with slower songs. I enjoyed it, but it did take the wind out at a concert. The rest were musically entertaining as would be in a bar atmosphere.

Loved your review, thanks! Adam rocks!

Great review. From what I've read you didn't miss much by coming in late and for someone who has never watched the show you pretty much summed it up quite accurately. I am looking forward to seeing it when it comes to my area so I too can be Lambertized.

Adam's gorgeous, studded, spiked, long-tailed leather jacket is blue, pay attention haha! I guess you know now what all the fuss is about, don't you? And you really didn't need to go there with "feminine", did you? His vocal range is what makes his singing so amazing.

don't feel bad, neither have i.

kindof a dull review lack of research shows

Hey, Sam...glad you were recruited to brave the predominantly female hoopla, reportedly typical of AI tour audiences. Enjoyed reading your perspective. Adam can "sang" and entertain with the best of 'em, can't he! Can hardly wait for his debut album to be released in November.

Great review. I am so happy that you like Adam. He is the best idol for me. :-) Thanks!

I enjoyed this review, as it was interesting getting the perspective of someone who had not been invested in the show. After all, once these young musicians have completed this live tour in just over a month, they will be trying to enter the general music field and attract addtional fans beyond their American Idol fan bases. It is good to know that several of their performances stood out even to saomeone who hadn't really known much about them prior to last night's concert.

I can totally understand how Kris did not impress you in the concert. He didn't impress me as much as Adam did, either. But he has something special. He's presence kind of lingers and comes back to me over days later. Weird, but true.

I went to the concert in early July and was highly impressed by Adam's stage presence and singing. He seemed to be out of this world with a sexy, haunting projection of an alien from another planet. I about melted during Star Light. But after I went home the only song that kept going around in my head is Kris's All These Things That I've Done. I've been listening to that song on Youtube daily for weeks now. It doesn't surprise me this happened to me. I loved Adam on the AI show till I fell in love with Kris's Heartless, and couldn't get it out of my head. It ended with me buying all of Kris's songs on ITune. For some reason I did not buy a single Adam tune. I only love watching him, I guess.

When I'm sad, I listen to Kris's songs and always cheer up. To me Adam is the star. Kris's voice is the soul of an angel. I feel very happy AI brought both of them to me.

Sam (the poster, not the reviewer), I disagree. Often the best reviews are written by people who have no idea what to expect and have not made any prior connection with a performer, because this makes their reviews totally objective.

Your opinions on Adam are your opinions and you are entitled to them, as are the precious few who share them. However, to say that his performances translated better on stage than on television is ludicrous. Though his performances on televsion were consistently head and shoulders above most of the others, the screen and the Idol stage were not big enough for Adam. Anyway, the fact that Adam is able to command an arena size audience is yet another pointer to why so many believe, rightly or wrongly, that he is on his way to superstardom.

You say his peformances are overrated and his voice ultimately gets on your nerves. YOUR nerves.

You say he is not your style. Enough said. That in itself makes your comments subjective. You describe his stage presence as quirky (I take it that that is what you meant and not that it resembled bean curd) like that is a bad thing. He isn't my style either but I am not about to deny his outstanding talent - by any standards, not just in the small world of talent shows - or say that his exceptional and unique voice gets on my nerves, long or short term. I think the close to 90% of the audience who have appeared to be there just to see Adam at all but one show would agree seeing as they didn't seem to think 20 minutes was anywhere near enough. Overused? As Sam (the reviewer) said, if you've got it flaunt it. It's not Adam's fault that the others don't have it. Why should one contestant tone their talent down to not show the others up? Particularly the personification of ordinariness that follows him.

You describe Matt and Kris as "old style, Eric Clapton type". Matt, though probably not Eric Clapton-like at all, I would definitely say has timeless talent, didn't do himself justice on the show and was shockingly poorly received by the viewers - having to be put through to the final 13 as a wildcard and having to be saved by the judges at top 7 stage. Kris? Pass! Kris has an ordinary voice. A reasonable voice but an ordinary voice. No better than you'd hear in any bar and some karaokes. No quirkiness or individuality of any sort and no outstanding quality. Added to his non-existent stage presence and sweet but dull personality, and we are left in no doubt why he is being touted as potentially the least successful AI winner ever. What makes your comment all the more amusing is that it is Adam who is constantly being compared to legends of yesteryear. Also, if you are trying to suggest that Adam's vocals are lipsynched just because he puts in dance moves, suggesting untruths is the lowest of low ways to criticise someone.

I enjoyed the comments by Sam. Not the reviewer, but the "Sam" who posted in the comments section. I would much rather have had that Sam review the concert. He seems to know something about music and performing. Really, if the Sun can't find someone who knows a little something about the show or the contestants, it would have been better just to have a couple of fans do the reviewing.

Kris is in fact my favorite, by far -- and I also like Matt. I enjoy a singer who connects to the music and has musicality and a sense of rhythm. Kris really makes it like he's singing just to you. It's amazing.

Adam always seems like he's trying to show off what he can do with his voice. It's an amazing voice, and people are wowed by that. And by his flamboyant stage moves and costumes, make-up, etc. But I can see that getting old real fast.

Great review, thank you.

You didn't miss much detail, and your assessments were pretty much accurate for someone whose never watched the show.

Your writing style is also quite endearing.


@Sam

"Adam's performance was good, but overrated, showed better on TV and simply not my style. "

I agree that Adam is not your style. So end discussions, no need to debunk him. Reading your write-up makes me feel that you hate him as in hate him. I think this has something to do with your discomfort with him as a person vs. his music. This is about music and nothing else. Look beyond the gender bias. LOL!

Adam and the other AI talents will get their chance to be famous. You will not stop him or the others. Adam himself will soar and you can't do anything about it. ROFL!!


Hey Stranger poster...your opinion is as subjective as anyone's. If Kris is not cuppa, that doesn't mean he is not a good musician. I am a musician and all of my colleagues and I really approeciate and love Kris for his talent and musicality. Some people like subtlety in music so instead teling me that my taste is for kareoke cause I like Kris, I can just as easily say that your taste prefers crass and sleaze but instead I am gonna say that music is in the ear and eye of the beholder.

Sam, I am curious to hear your opinion of Kris Allen's guitar solo on Bright Lights.

Lol at Franky, sure what Sam said is his opinion, but just so is yours, just saying =)

Adam is SO far and away the best performer/singer American Idol has ever had. I still can't get over how good he sounded live, he's bowling them over in every single city and NO, he's not over rated - jealous, anyone?

Agat, I actually was trying to say what you just did. :-) I voted for Kris due to my appreciation of his musicality. As much as I loved Adam's stage presence and singing, when it comes to purchase, I only bought Kris songs. Kris's songs starts haunting me days after the concert. I can't control it. :-)

Funny how as soon as there is a post against Sam's post "someone else" with another name appears backing up Sam's post. Of all the comments on here, "someone else" posted just eight minutes after Franky just to defend Sam's post.

Transparent as a pane of glass.

Anyway, great review, Sam, and it is ridiculous for anyone to say that someone who has not seen an artist cannot review them. What about festivals and other multi-artists events? Are the reviewers supposed to have seen and be familiar with ALL the performers?

If Adam stood out to someone who has never seen the show, it is for a reason and for the same reason as Adam is as popular as he is, is getting all the plaudits that he is getting from the industry and there are so many big players wanting to work with him. He is a stand out talent, the like of which not seen before on a TALENT show.

Michael - enthusiastic
Megan - as poor as expected
Scott - entertaining
Anoop - my favourite on the show so I'm biased
Lil - better than on the show
Matt - much better than on the show
Allison - good for any age, great for 17
Danny - more endearing than on the show
Adam - outstanding
Kris - who?


"And if you think Plant's screaming sounded feminine, wait until you hear Lambert." - Is that really necessary? It would have been much more interesting if you had actually described what his voice sounded like, instead of throwing out gender stereotypes. How exactly does a voice sound feminine? Do you simply mean high?

But, yeah, I saw the show and Lambert is obviously in a league of his own. You can't really get the fuss about his until you've seen him live.

I speak as someone who watched the show overseas and is watching the performances on YT as well as reading the reviews and I have to say that Kris has as much potential of being a big artist worldwide as has my [expletive, i think].

I can't begin to imagine how embarrassed AI must be to have him as a winner. You have to laugh.

too bad you missed lil rounds. She was so much better in person than she was while being judged.

There is only one American Idol and his name is Chris Sligh. This concert is only full of posers and people who wish they were Chris Sligh.

I watch American Idol this season for one reason, Adam Lambert. My four daughters, (18 to 25), and I went to see him in Georgia and he did not disappoint. On stage, he is completely in control of the audience; he is mesmerizing, intoxicating brillent, seductive and hypnotic. I danced with my girls and felt younger then my 44 years. As usual, you cannot praise Adam without the snakes coming out from under the rocks, as if some unintelligent disparagement could diminish him! Not only does he outshine everyone on tour his vocal range is unmatched, covering 3 octaves like the late Freddie Mercury, and he can hold any register in between without his voice cracking which is very hard for a singer to do. As a professional piano player I know. Besides being able to sing any genre, he is sexy smoking hot. His unchoreographed dance moves are playfully and seriously provocative. Adam has proven why those in the industry like “Rolling Stone” came out for him early. I am an Adam fan for life and cannot wait for his CD in November.

I AM 50 YEARS OLD AND ONLY AGREED TO TAKE MY 13 YEAR OLD AND A FRIEND TO SEE ADAM BECAUSE I WANTED TO SEE ADAM. ADAM RULES. KRIS IS A NICE GUY AND EVEN HE THOUGHT ADAM SHOULD HAVE WON. THEY ARE LIKE APPLES AND POMENGRANATES, AND I LIKE A CRAZY ROCKER, SO GIVE ME THE POM, PLEASE.

Adam just sitting on a stool singing Mad World has more "musicality" than anyone I have ever heard on American Idol. He can sing any genre. It's not just about the "flash" It's about an amazing voice.

Lets not get too defensive here.

I liked the objective review from someone who was not so familiar with the show.

Sam's (poster) comments were his review and opinion, and it was not hurtful or mean.

Some responses to Sam's comments were more defensive than warranted - IMHO.

Kris, Adam, and the others each have their style and musical abilities. We get to choose which style we relate to, and support our favorite. We don't need to tear down the others to praise our champion.

I like Adam. I think he is a level above all the others in talent, vocal ability, performance, and entertainment. But that is my opinion. I also enjoyed most of the others on the tour, but Adam is my favorite.

Based on the reviews and the concert I attended in Atlanta, their are a lots of Adam fans that make themselves known, but maybe Kris fans are more like Kris - quiet and unassuming. (That is not a bad thing.) I guess the record sales will ultimately decide who is successful. I hope they all find their dream.

I can picutre Sam in my mind without ever having to see him!
What a funny little guy/with a warped musical background!
Thank Goodness, Adam has enough fans and star power where posters like you don't make a diference at all..Adam was just awesome and I have seent them all from Elvis and Beatles all the way till 2009...he's one of a kind! and it's the great talent/showman kind!

Well said Susan~!

Seriously, if you are a "musician" and proclaim that Kris has anything above ordinary talent, as a singer or musician I suggest that you get some ear training. I would not want to hear you play either.

Big LOL @ Fred's "Adam always seems like he's trying to show off what he can do with his voice. It's an amazing voice, and people are wowed by that. But I can see that getting old real fast."

You go to a concert and yet don't want the performers to show off their singing voices? Okey dokey! What's he supposed to do with his, in your words, "amazing voice"? Hide it? Make it worse? Tone it down so that it's as mediocre as all the other Idolettes'? LMAO.

I suppose i can say the same thing about Kris' "showing off" his musical instruments-playing skills. Jeez. We know you can play multiple instruments, Kris!

Adam is the only reason I attended the Idol concert. His beautiful amazing voice just blows me away; his hot sexiness is just icing on the cake. I can't even remember what the rest of them sang. Adam is definitely on his way straight to the top and I'm happy to be along for the ride.

I have to object to comparing Adam to any other singer - it isn't possible. Adam is in a league of his own - his voice is unique. It may not be to everyones liking and that's fine. To me and millions of others, it's the most beautiful, powerful and versatile on the planet. Feminine? Not a chance. Having been to many concerts over the past few years and seeing every top band/performer in the world - I can say that without a doubt Adam has the most stage presence of anyone I have ever seen. I will be front and centre for many of his solo concerts

Paula - she was asleep season's 1-7. Adam breathed life into her and the show.
She actually made sense this year.
Plain and simple, I love Adam..

Paula - she was asleep season's 1-7. Adam breathed life into her and the show.
She actually made sense this year.
Plain and simple, I love Adam..

scary stuff

The show last night was awesome. The top 4 clearly ruled the show although the others did very well. Adam was definitely hot. Can't wait for his CD release.

I Love Kris Allen. He is so cute and I love his beautiful wife Katy Allen too. I do see the Bitter berts here trying to control the spin for Madam but Remember America voted for Kris Allen not Madam. Kris is a great role model for America not some over glamerized club kid with died hair and too much make up. This is outrageous to have some 27 year old man looking like a woman screaming a whole lot of love YUCK!

I've noticed that the Kris fans who don't like Adam tend to insult him in a very personal way. What's up with that? Seems unnecessary and makes me wonder what motivates it.

I know we all are entitled to our opinion
and the freedom of speech but i couldn't
stop laughing when I read the following
statements about Adam: OVERRATED
AND ESPECIALLY "SHOW OFF WHAT HE CAN DO WITH HIS VOICE." The
point of being a great singer/performer
is to SHOW OFF YOUR TALENTS.
I absolutely Love Adam Lambert because he is so gifted musically and
just to put the icing on the cake he can
entertain. Whenever I read comments
such as Sams and Freds, I always
wonder if we are speaking about the
same person.

By the way, Fred, Adam is not getting
"old real fast" he leaves me wanting
more,more,more,more,more and
everything I have read thousands of
people domestic and international feel
the same.

Maybe you two need to make sure
you are commenting on the right person/

After watching all season and being upset with who won in the end I knew who actually would steal the show, as he did on the tv

ADAM!!!!! HE ROCKED THE ROOF OFF LAST NIGHT AND PROVED AMERICA GOT IT WRONG!!!!

Awesome write up. I love how you lay it out. Yes I agree with you that Adam is the STAR of the Show... If it's not for Adam this group is dead as it can be. Every reviewed I've read about the Tour Adam is THE HighLIght of the Show. The crowd never get enough of him. Adam is extremely talented and the enlightment of every concerts and the people want to see, including me. :)
Even on Kris Allen homeTown Adam drew fans and has the Loudest Applaud of them All!. Fans go crazy over Adam, and even little girl still Wondering Why Adam did not get the Title and he should have. For me and the rest of the WORLD Adam is the TRUE Winner of the Season 8. Everyones predict that Adam will have a career for the LONGEST time and he is an International SuperStar already.
More power to you Adam.... so is the rest of the contestants on the Tour. Adam is the BOMB!! I can't wait to see him tomorrow on Today's show with David Cook!

Its obvious that Adam is our new superstar. The other idols are good in their own ways but just because someone plays an instrument doesn't mean that they are a musician. Adam's instrument is his glorious wonderful voice which is unique and beautiful - you can go into a shop an buy a guitar, piano whatever but you couldn't buy Adam's voice. For me a musician is someone who makes you love music and you don't need to play an instrument to do that. I am in Adam's thrall now forever....

Miranda, I enjoyed your comments. Adam is still a work in progress. It's almost as if he has so much talent, he doesn't quite know what to do with all of it. He doesn't want to be placed in a specific niche because he can sing everything. Adam's style will evolve and change. His work on AI by his own admission was strategic, and I'm fairly certain AI also controls in large part what the performers do on their tour.

I look forward to hearing all the performers when their albums drop.

I also don't watch the show. I just went with a friend and I was blown away by Adam's performance. He is one of the best live singers I've ever seen. And I've worked as a sound technician, so I've heard a lot of live singers. I'd heard clips of him singing "Mad World" on the news, but he sounds about a million times better live.

Like I said, I didn't follow the competition, so I don't know why he didn't win, but there is no question that he was by far the best act to set foot on that stage.

I didn't dislike Kris, who won and performed last, but he sounded exactly like guys who play in coffee shops and on college campuses across America. To be perfectly honest, he alone would not be worth the price of admission (when my friend told me what she paid, my eyes nearly popped out of my head!). He's nowhere near the level of a $100/ticket performer.

So, go for Adam. A lot of the others are enjoyable, but he'll make it worth your while.

Sort of sad you didnt get to see the whole show being as you ARE reviewing it! I found the review a tad lacklustre. But you do at least acknowledge Adam's wonderful vocals. (Feminine?) I saw him in Tacoma and that isnt what came to my mind.. ;)

Queenrosered, simply put you are a complete idiot!

I sure hope Allen has fans who arent as braindead as the idiot above me

The nasty remarks made by Kris fans against Adam are pathetic. Everyone knows that Kris won because of Arkansas, even Kris. Rather then be happy that your guy got an undeserved win that gave him a contract, you guys want to attack the guy with more talent and more fans whose win was stolen.
Do you realize that Kris is the one hurt by your behavior? Adam's fans will end up turning on Kris.

I think that everyone's musical taste is their own, obviously, but it doesn't make sense that some people think that Adam is inferior because he's a more visual performer as well as a great singer. Is David Bowie inherently inferior to Bob Dylan just because the former is a lot more visual than the latter? No--there are just different performance styles.

I love watching Adam perform, but it's his voice and musicality that truly capture me (which is probably why I love his studio versions so much--it's just his voice): how emotional it is, how rich and beautiful--his musicality is amazing (as is Kris's)--his phrasing, his tone, his timing, everything, is just so technically astonishing as well as intensely creative and true to the song. I mean, listen to his studio version of Feeling Good--it's mind-blowing, what he can do. He's my favorite, followed by Allison, then Kris, and I hope that all three go on to extremely successful careers. (I'm a college student, FWIW).

Love the review.

"trying to control the spin for Madam but Remember America voted for Kris Allen not Madam"

Wow, how pathetically homophobic. I thought that homophobia went out of fashion with segregation, but apparently not. Adam's not a role model because he sleeps with men? I think that his kindness, his creativity, and the fact that he is always true to himself make him an excellent role model. And as a Christian, I find Kris to be a great model of what a Christian should be: someone who truly loves people for who they are rather than subscribing to centuries-old prejudices. You would do well to emulate him if you like him so much.

It's a good thing that most Kris fans aren't like you. Everyone has their crazies, I suppose.

This AI 50 city tour just proves America got it WRONG!!! That is a fact in the real world.

Interesting review. I'm not a huge fan of AI either mainly because the show is no so popular from where I came from. But before the finale of this season I heard Adam's voice and I loved it. I was so impressed that I had to watch the finale. Kris is OK, he's a good musician, his voice is nice and he plays the guitar very good, but I'm really not that into him.

In the near future a lot of the contestants will have their own records, but the truth is that US is a very big country with a lot of diversity of people so that's why there's a lot of famous artist of different genres but maybe some of them like Kris, Matt or Danny are not gonna be so famous outside the country. Like the Rascat Flatts, they're great(I really love their songs) but outside US they're not that popular and that happens with a lot of great musicians all along the world.

On the other hand Adam and Allison have worldwide success material. They have the talent, amazing vocals and stage present, specially Adam because he has a theater background and in the case of Allison, she's so great and mature for a girl of her age. I know that a lot of woman (Including me) see Adam as this Hot sexy guy(not from this world), but above all that I see him as what he really is, one of the voices that has really impressed me, he's just great, maybe one of the big surprises I've received after Arnel Pineda (The new lead singer of Journey). I don't have a particular fave music but sometimes you can see me as a metal girl but I love music in general and I even love music and artists that you guys wouldn't even listen to and that's why I can state that Adam will be a huge superstar.

Fran: your homophobia is ignorant and disgusting. It could have just as easily been you that was born different. It's too bad Kris fans have to hit below the belt to bring their "role model who can't sing" up a notch. I won't watch AI ever again because it is no longer a singing competition. What do I care about a hometown southern christian role model becoming the next american idol who disappears into obscurity because he has no talent.

It is the ultimate irony that girls shriek for Adam and throw their bras at him, yet he has no interest there whatsoever. I wish the girls would do that for me as I would surely reciprocate.

Adam seems like a very nice, gracious person (he was always very engaging in his interviews--well spoken, selfless and always a good sport). He clearly has stage presence and enjoys the spotlight, but the high voice shrieking thing just isn't for me. His version of "Whole Lotta Love" was phenomenal last night, but the rest of his set was a little over the top for my tastes (save for the Bowie medley--Bowie is great).

For my money, Matt and Allison both have unlimited potential as vocalists and performers (and musicians in Matt's case--what a great piano player!). Allison was smoking on "Barracuda" and her duet with Adam on "Slow Ride."

Kris is definitely understated, but he really delivered last night. He also let loose a great electric guitar solo on his Gibson Les Paul.

Danny was very inspirational. He has great potential singing Motown, ballads and some country.

Michael was very entertaining and rock solid (he was also great with the fans outside afterward). Lil Rounds was also much better live than on the show (her version of Beyonce's "All The Single Ladies" was great), although she was out of sync a couple time, singing either too fast or too slow for the accompanying band.

Scott (who I wasn't a big fan of on the show) was very engaging and sounded great.

Megan is georgeous, sported some great outfits and found a place for her unique voice. She is a natural to sing old jazz standards. I thought she did very well last night.

Anoop is a really nice guy and also did fine.

Bottom line--everyone delivered last night with an entertaining variety of strong performances! This was my fourth consecutive year attending the American Idols Live! tour following the show, and the best yet by far!

Hey QUEENROSE Why do you have to be so insulting. I don't see Adam fans insulting Kris. Grow up and learn tolerance. Not everyone is like you, TG!

Some people need to go back on their anti-depressants. Its not good to stop taking your medication. It can make you angry and unsociable. Anyone who can't see that Adam Lambert is the most talented ,gorgeous hunk of man who is the world idol , needs medical intervention.

Sorry Fran: got the wrong name. It was Queenrosered I meant to address.

Dang Sessa, you shur stirred up a suburban hornet's nest! You should start an American Idiot...Idol blog

To set the record straight, America did not vote Kris as the AI winner, Arkansas did. The voting controversy is the reason I will not be watching AI again. Adam is the epitome of what an entertainer should be. I believe he is "holding back" while on the AI Tour so I can't wait to attend his upcoming solo concerts. WOO HOO!!! I understand Adam is not everyone's "cup of tea" but that doesn't give you the right to attack his personal life, which has absolutely nothing to do with his singing voice. Rock on, Adam Lambert!!

ADAM LAMBERT IS A MASTERPIECE! A WORLD WIDE STAR! AS PAULA ABDUL SAID, " ICONIC!" I can not wait til his November release. I am a crazy fan and will be for a long time. I just dont get so crazy like this. Adam gets a hold of you and you are hooked. His voice and his stage presence are unsupassed.

"And the young'uns all turned to karaoke,

hanging all their wishes upon disregarded stars"

- Self Destructive Zones by Drive By Truckers

Good review. I was at the show in Dallas and I had pretty much the same opinion as you did.

And people, I don't see the "feminine" comment as an insult. If anything, by using Plant as a comparison, the author is complimenting Lambert. He's got one heck of a rock voice. Going in to the Texas show I wasn't much of a fan. But going out I definitely was! Lambert is impressive.

Sam Sessa - This was a lame review. What would it take for you to get there on time and sit through the whole show? Isn't this your JOB!!!????

Wait a second! Is this the same blog I stopped reading months ago because of the obnoxious hipsterism? Getting more posts than anything else that you've written about? Wasn't there a show at the 8x10 attended by 4 people that you needed to write about? Oh wait, you did manage to get in a few 'i'm too cool for something popular' comments. In a day of dwindling readership, I'd hate for you to realize that things in the mainstream can be covered by the mainstream. Hopefully tomorrow will bring a story about a jazz metal hiphop band playing at the ottobar!!

To Bill: You liked Adam's Whole Lotta Love, Bowie and Slow Ride, but you found the rest of his set OTT and "shrieky"? LOL! The only two other songs he sang were Mad World and Starlight. Mad World is slow and haunting and Adam sat on a stool. And Starlight is ethereal (with no high notes other than the occasional falsetto) and Adam stood behind a mic without moving around much. Your mini review fails.

I was at the concert last night also. Adam's set was mesmerizing and way too short. There was however, a problem with the sound after "Whole Lotta Love" . Was my section the only ones who noticed? I believe the sound guys tried to adjust for the audience screaming and totally screwed Adam's mike. His beautiful vocals were really distorted on "Starlight" (did you see him fiddle with his earpiece ?). Even later, Kris's voice and Scott's during the final number had some distortion. For being professionals at the sound board they could have done a much better job!

Allison is my favorite. But after seeing Adam in concert I now get what people have been saying about his voice. It's really amazing live!

Particularly, I liked Allison, Adam, Matt and Anoop. Megan and Lil were horrible, Danny was okay and Kris bored me to tears.

So according to Sam the poster, you can't judge a singer unless you know their background? That is what is wrong with American Idol. People are voted on based on their backstory rather than talent. These Idols have to gain fans OUTSIDE of Idol in order to make it in the music business. That is why you have mediocre singers winning over more talented people. It's a popularity contestbased on the mostly sob stories. But I think the AI concerts are definitely revealing who the real winner of AI should have been.

Great review. It's not surprising that the usual "comment war" follows. Whenever Lambert is talked up it is taken by Allen fans to cast a shadow on the limelight that should be shining on the winner of Season 8 Idol. Allen himself, however, says that when Lambert is praised sky high he AGREES with what is being said. He doesn't view Lambert as a competitor in the fame stakes but as a fellow artist, one who - like himself - is unique in his talent and artistry. Give Kris Allen a break folks. He doesn't need defending. He's a serious musician and songsmith who is set to make his own mark in the entertainment world. Comparing him to Adam Lambert does the guy a serious injustice. If reviews talk up Lambert it's only because right now, on the Idol Tour concert stages, Lambert is a standout for arena type "rock concert" performances. Once the tour finishes both of these artists will be able to forge ahead in their careers, each in the limelight produced by their individual talents, and each on stages that are dedicated to their kind of music, performance styles and audiences. There will no longer be any need for Allen fans to attack Lambert in order to defend Allen. Those talented guys will finally be free of all this nonsense!

Good article. I think a lot of people approach AI with the same "ya right" perspective you did. I am glad to hear that you "got" Adam though. He is simply spectacularly talented. There is no denying it. I like to listen to Kris as well though. Don't like watching him perform, but like his mellow musicality. Adam I will pay big money to see perform and buy his CDs. He is one talented dude.

Sam you review was interesting because you walked in the the typical "ya right" attitude that many have of AI artist including me. But you ended where I did as well. Adam is phenomenal and there is no denying it. He is truly a one of a kind and mega talent. I never get why people want to bash him (like the queenrose closet person) because personally I don't care who is in his bed, I care about this truly spectacular talent that just stepped onto the world stage. You go Adam!!

Loved the Geddy Lee reference (being a huge Rush fan)!.
Adam Lambert lost because narrow-minded conservative America wouldn't allow a gay idol. Period. Who cares now? Adam is clearly the star here.

Wow, seems like there's a lot of hate going on here! Can't we just like who we like without getting upset over it? We are allowed to choose who we like, right? Adam fans - don't tear down Kris just to "support " Adam; and Kris fans - don't tear down Adam just to "support" Kris. They're certainly both very, very talented and would say the same about each other. If they aren't bitter over it, why should we be?

And let's not forget that everyone we are talking about - whether Kris, Adam, the other idol contestants, folks who have posted on this article, or the writer of this review - are all real people with real feelings. So let's stop tearing them down, okay? That's just rude.

(hello site owner,I hope you'll approve me)Hello everyone,I know we are individuals entitled to have our opinion........simple truth:AI aired on many places on this planet...........guess who is the favorite worldwide?Your guess is good as mine;Adam Lambert.......well let's enjoy him and let's understand he live for the fans,entertaining is his life.I'm sure he is gonna do everything to stay in the business as long as he can.How long before we got bored of him?Can he reinvent himself like Madonna?I for one very interested to find out how fast is he learn to adopt!!!(golden rule in life--strong?---smart?-----meh,meh.....if you adopt you can survive)So I stay tuned like many of his fans !!!Luv you Adam!!!

nice review, witty and actually funny, thanks! I was there too and perceived it the exact same way. What you missed? Well, Michael started out in full force had everyone standing, Megan was both good and bad, got pissy bc people were not clapping "thanks to you five people that were doing it" (classic!), Scott brought down the house!!, Lil blasted in full diva mode, Anoop was particularly amazing, and you missed Matt's first song and piano murdering! Srsly, Matt needs to get a contract pronto, he Adam and Allison I would pay to see, Kris and to a lesser degree Danny prolly too, Kris' guitar duet was full of win last night. Adam..... I MUST GET FRONT SEATS. Went to Verizon Center and came back for more at Baltimore :)

To crt:

Why are people like you so sensitive when Adam gets criticized. I could care less than he is gay. He seems like a very nice guy. However, I personally think his shtick is overrated, and the pig-in-the-slaughterhouse shrieking isn't for all of us. Also, I find his version of "Mad World" as creepy as it is haunting. I wish him the best, but personally think that Matt and Allison have more to offer...

Sessa, can you do a Jon and Kate Plus 8 entry next to see if you can stir up as much inane chatter as this post? I put my money on J&K+8!

Adam is the ICON for this century. Amazingly talented, charismatic, commands the audience and the stage, gorgeous, magnetic, sexy, smart, sweet, he's got the whole package! Can't wait to see/hear what he does next. And for the naysayers, just you wait and see!

To: The Who
Mad World.."creepy"?? "Slaughterhouse shreiking" Oh dear...time for you to investigate hearing aids because there is definately something wrong with your ears. Adam's vocal range is awesome and, once you have your aids, you will be able to enjoy what the majority of the world is enjoying already.

@QUEENROSERED, btw it is DYED hair not DIED hair. if you want to go against a pack of adam's fans, then at least get your spelling/grammar right so they won't have another weapon against you.

and on kris being a good role model, btw how long has he been doing business school? oooohhhh he has so much focus, that's for sure.

It is refreshing to get a review from someone who did not watch AI and therefore does not have a bias towards any of the 10 Idols

Adam Lambert is in a league of his own, a brilliant vocalist with an amazing stage presence. I was reminded today at the GMA concert about the comment Simon Cowell made about Adam being a world superstar..and Adam is well on his way to being that and so much more. This young artist is going to be iconic.

The other nine are talented, all deserving of success and I think each of them will have it albeit on different levels. The music industry is a tough one, a dog eat dog world. I particularly hope that both Matt and Anoop get a recording contract. Fingers crossed.

Can't wait for Adam's RCA album!

...and I thought this crowd only found American Idol something to sharpen their snarky nails on.

I saw the American Idols 2009 on August 8th in New Jersey and I do have to admit that the number 2 and number 1 spots seemed to be mixed up. Although Kris Allen has a nice voice and is indeed a talented young man, he pales in comparison to the undeniably polished performances turned in by Adam Lambert. While Danny Gokey happened to be my favorite on the show, his presence on stage was also diminished by the sheer star quality of Mr. Lambert. The rest of the idols all performed extremely well (except for Meghan and Lil). Lil has a brilliant voice but makes bad choices with both the way she puts a song over and the choices of songs. Meghan is just an oddball with some talent I guess, but not nearly as much as everyone else. Scott proved himself quite the showman, and sounds like he has a great recording voice . Anoop, Allison, Matt, all did well too. Matt seems like he may make it big with his soulful style and great vocal. And finally Michael also seemed to be much better live than on the show. He really impressed me with his vocal range and presence on stage. All in all well put together AI show. I have been every year and this one was the best put together. I loved the screenbackdrops, and the show moved along nicely. Adam Lambert will most likely be a huge international star, and I think a few of the others will also have a nice comfortable life making their living singing in various venues and making cd's.

August 2, Greensboro, NC

Michael - not much fun, he tried though!
Megan - love her, so pretty & quirky, sang wonderfully
Scott - nice guy, not a great singer, but a great pianist
Lil - tons of fun, such a sweet person, great voice
Anoop - not my style
Matt - great singer and pianist, nice guy
Allison - 2nd best of the night, absolutely amazing, and a really nice girl
Danny - not my style either!
Adam - my absolute favorite! he ROCKED!
Kris - great cover of "Heartless"

I felt like after Adam, Kris was a huge letdown! No one was sitting during Allison or Adam's performances, but lots left just after Adam went off. I have to say, they were all better vocally live than on the show. I don't get Gokey or Anoop, so I sat down and saved my screaming voice for Adam! As soon as Gokey left the stage, everyone went wild because we knew the amazing Adam was next! He was clearly the most popular performer and did a great job. My only complaint was that he didn't sign autographs afterward! Oh well, I saw him live!

Michelle,

“Big LOL @ Fred's "Adam always seems like he's trying to show off what he can do with his voice. It's an amazing voice, and people are wowed by that. But I can see that getting old real fast."
You go to a concert and yet don't want the performers to show off their singing voices? Okey dokey! What's he supposed to do with his, in your words, "amazing voice"? Hide it? “

What you want is someone who can and does put over the song without it serving merely as a vehicle to show off how well he sings and how he can hit the high notes. Singing to show off as opposed to using your voice in service of the song isn’t really that entertaining in the long run.

I’ve listened to records of songs where the person’s performance was so effective that it took awhile to realize that they missed hitting some of the high notes spot on and/or the occasional note. On a few occasions they weren't evening sing in English but effectively communicated the feeling of the lyrics. I’ve heard people with great voices who sang technically and impressively perfect, hitting every note including all the high ones, but sounded like their clueless to what the song’s about, which DOES get old. I’ll take the former every time.

Kris Allen is and always will be Season 8's winner. He earned the AI title and deserves it and anyone who does not see that does not appreciate real talent. Not to mention what a really super nice person he is and does not deserve the hate dished out by the bitterberts.

Kris Allen - American Idol
Adam Lambert - WORLD IDOL!

What a biassed review. You "didn't see any AI episode" but you already knew what write.
Why you didn't attempt to ask other idols fan not just Adam's fans?
You didn't ask them because you didn't want to listen to.
The result: A biassed and mediocre review.
And yes I agree with you: Shame on you!

i dont understand why people are saying that kris only won because of Arkansas. Adam had just the same opportunity to win...he is from california right? it was a fair vote! and kris deserved to win in my opinon!
cant wait for the concert!!!

I thought that everyone was pretty good.

I came into the show when Lil' Rounds was singing, and although she sounded like a karoke singer, she was fun to watch. I thought Scott is gorgeous - he sings so well, and no one notices him. I thought Matt's energy was great. But honestly, the real highlights were the top 4 - all of them! Alison is such a great performer for such a young age. As much as I DON'T like Danny, I was happy he chose a Michael song, and he sang really well. I also thought what he said about "don't let tragedies crush your dreams" was really nice. Adam stole the show, easily. I mean, not only is his show really hyped up with effects, smoke, fog, lights, etc. but he jumped out and was just "Adam" and gave this heck of an awesome performance. I thought Kris was second best... honestly, I can see why the guy's the winner. He's very modern and contemporary, and although he doesn't have the range of Adam, he puts some emotion and expressions into his songs. I thought his highlight was "All These Things That I've Done". Most people agreed that that was one of the best songs of the night. I thought Kris and Adam were easily the best and you could see why they were the top two. The best songs of the night were Adam's David Bowie Medley and Kris's "All These Things That I've Done". Both got the crowd really excited. I also saw that the crowd was just as excited for Kris as they were for Adam, after hearing that Kris might look pale in comparison to Adam. But no, he rocked the stage just as well. I also, would like to comment that Adam and Kris are both very attractive and I wish I could've saw more of them :)

Okay I've read all the posts and to tell you the truth people you all have some valid points ... however ADAM already has an RCA contract, has won two awards, has recorded a song for the movie 2012 and his song MAD WORLD is the background music for the fall program FLASH FORWARD ... so that makes a lot of these posts IRRELEVANT IMO.

Joanna Pacitti, who was originally selected as a semi-finalist, created controversy due to her being previously signed to A&M and Geffen Records. Later, she was found to have been having a "private relationship" with 19 Management. She was later disqualified, and replaced by Felicia Barton.

I love Adam because he is so transparent and emotional as a singer. Spine-chilling, unique. He can make it his own even without American Idol. So what he's gay? Art know no boundaries. I love you Adam! Keep rocking!!!!

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About Erik Maza
Erik Maza is a features reporter at the Baltimore Sun. He writes for several sections of the Sun paper and contributes weekly columns on music and nightlife. He also writes and edits the Midnight Sun blog. He often covers entertainment, business, and the business of entertainment. Occasionally, he writes about Four Loko, The Block, the liquor board, and those who practice "simulated sex with a potted palm tree." Before The Sun, he was a reporter at the Miami New Times. He's also written for Miami magazine, the Orlando Sentinel, the Sarasota Herald Tribune and the Gainesville Sun. Got tips? Gripes? Pitches? He's reachable at erik.maza@baltsun.com. Click here to keep up with the dumb music he's listening to.

Midnight Sun covers Baltimore music, live entertainment, and nightlife news. On the blog, you'll find, among other things, concert announcements, breaking news, bars closings and openings, up-to-date coverage of crime in nightlife, new music, round-the-clock coverage of Virgin Mobile FreeFest, handy guides on bars staying open past 2 a.m. on New Year's Eve and those that carry Natty Boh on draft. Recurring features include seven-day nightlife guides, Concert News, guest reviews of bars and concerts, Wednesday Corkboard, and photo galleries, as well as reader-submitted photos. Thanks for reading.
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