After the tragic and sudden death of one of our dogs just two days before, we really didn't feel like going to the American Idol concert in Charlotte -- but we'd bought tickets and they were expensive -- and we figured it was probably a good thing for us to get out of town and go. Not to mention I'd been waiting to see Adam Lambert in the flesh for months.
I'd made plans to meet an internet friend, Liz, who lives in Charlotte -- she and her husband made dinner reservations for us -- we were planning to dine early so that we'd have plenty of time to get to the concert. Let me just say here, I've been privileged to meet a few of my internet friends over the years and it's always a pleasure when you find that they are truly nice, normal people like Liz! I have met a couple of doozies -- anybody who's reading this that I have met, of course, it's not you!!
Well, you know what they say about the best laid plans...
Between Augusta and Columbia, SC, we had a flat tire -- all I can say is thank God for GPS and Firestone -- Mark called the Firestone store we use here in Augusta and they provided us with the number and address of one in Columbia. There was no way we were getting to Charlotte by 4:30 -- so we aimed for 5. Hopefully by 5. Definitely by 7.
We did get to Charlotte around 5 PM -- then couldn't find a place to park at the Marriott where we were staying -- finally, Mark told Carrie and me to go on to the restaurant -- Shannon and Greg were waiting for us there at the hotel so the four of us headed in the direction of the City Tavern -- guided by Liz's husband, Mike, on the cellphone. Long story short, Mark finally was able to find a parking place and then made his way to the restaurant -- with my guidance, this time, over the cellphone. That bit of drama over, we had a great meal and good conversation -- but no time to get back to the hotel -- where we hadn't even checked in -- to freshen up. Well, I decided I was there to see, not be seen -- so we walked the short distance to the Time-Warner Arena -- good thing we did -- the line just to get inside was huge.
But even that didn't even go smoothly -- they were checking women's purses and were scanning some people -- Mark was scanned and, oops, he was carrying his ever-present pocket knife -- which they would not allow inside -- if it had been in my purse, they wouldn't have even known because my purse was only given a cursory check. Anyway, he decided to go back to the hotel to leave the knife in the car -- because he didn't want to just "hide" it somewhere outside the arena -- as the security people told him to do -- fortunately, it wasn't a far walk and he was actually back by the time we got out of the always-popular women's restroom.
We sat down about 7:15 -- the show hadn't started yet. Our seats were not bad -- I had hoped for better ones but when I had initially ordered the tickets (on Ticketmaster), the blasted thing kept saying I needed a password -- I had no earthly idea what password or how to get it. Fortunately, Shannon had instant messaged me while I was trying to order and figured out what the password was -- and, voila, I had the tickets. Anyway, we were on the lower level, toward the back of the arena but could still see pretty well -- especially with the aid of binoculars and the big screens -- but even watching with the naked eye was not bad.
We'd been to one other American Idol concert (with Clay Aiken) so I sort of knew what to expect -- although I don't think this group performed together as much as they did in the other one. Each of the top ten contestants sang two or three solos -- I have to say I was impressed with all of them except Megan Joy -- maybe she had a cold or didn't feel well -- have no idea but I found myself thinking, "woman, please stop singing". She seemed rather lackluster, too -- like she really wasn't enjoying herself at all. Anyway, the two other (besides you-know-who) standouts for me were Anoop Desai -- who got a bit emotional -- he is from North Carolina so this was a "homecoming" of sorts for him -- he received a prolonged standing ovation -- amid shouts of A-n-nooop!! The funny thing is, North Carolina is Clay Aiken's home state as well -- and he'd gone to school in Charlotte -- so both of the AI concerts I've seen contained poignant homeboy moments. I was also impressed with Scott MacIntyre -- for those who didn't watch AI, Scott is blind -- so, in any group performance, he had to be positioned -- it all went very smoothly -- and I remembered how, on TV, you would often see the other contestants guiding him. Anyway, he sang wonderfully and played the hell out of the piano -- at one point, Scott and Matt Giraud played dueling pianos, which was fabulous. The other performers --who I haven't mentioned already above or below -- Michael Sarver, Lil Rounds and Danny Gokey -- were all impressive.
But now to Adam...
As we waited for the show to begin, they were showing AI stuff on the big screens -- and anytime Adam's face was shown, the audience screamed. Loudly. This, I have to admit, included me. There was no getting around the fact that Adam was the main performer people had come to see. I'm still trying to figure out the AI vote -- I really just can't comprehend how it turned out like it did but, oh, well, water under the bridge -- and Adam is going to go on to a huge career. I'm going to help him to the best of my ability.
The performers were presented in the order they were voted off the show -- so it was a long wait to get to "number 2" -- but when we did -- wow! Adam started off with Led Zepplin's Whole Lotta Love -- and just rocked the house! The whole arena stayed on their feet during Adam's entire solo performance -- this did not happen for anyone else -- we stood up when a performer asked us to (you know, the usual, stand up and put your hands together...) and, as mentioned, we gave Anoop a standing ovation after his first song. But, for Adam, the audience was up all the time.
Adam sang his three solo songs -- and one song (Slow Ride) with Alison Iraheta who rocked out during her own set. I'm betting when Adam does his CD, she'll be singing on a track, maybe two. As one might expect, someone threw a couple of bras on stage while Adam was performing -- I suppose this is a rite of passage but I think a jock strap might have been more appropriate.
I suppose I should say something about Kris Allen. He won American Idol. He's talented -- and he sounded much better in person than he did on TV. But he's rather -- how can I say it -- bland. He didn't interact with the audience as much as some of the others -- or move around the stage -- it will be interesting to see where his career will take him -- and how it will be in comparison to Adam's. I shouldn't really compare them, though -- they are apples and oranges, salt and pepper, hot and cold, mild and spicy.
After the show, armed with a program, two t-shirts (one for me, one for Carrie) and one pair of Idol shorts (don't worry, those were Carrie's, too), we headed back to the hotel -- along with a lot of other people who'd also been at the concert. As we were waiting for the elevator, a little girl -- maybe about 8 or 9, was holding a poster she'd made which said "Adam Rocks" (or something similar). I told her I liked her poster -- and that I agreed with it. Someone else in the elevator said, "Me, too!". Nothing like being packed like sardines in an elevator with sweaty, concert-going, Adam-loving people. And Mark.
The next morning, our hearing mercifully restored, we met a good friend (from our Sunday School class who was there for the concert with her sister) for breakfast. Parting from them, we headed briefly to Clarks at the mall, then headed home. I mean what's a trip, anywhere, without buying shoes?
So, there you have it.
I've seen Adam in person.
I've been in the same room with him.
I've had his live-and-in-person voice directly in my ear.
I've breathed the same air.
Bestill my ol' cougar heart...
(For some of our concert photos, go here)
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When you are offended at any man's fault, turn to yourself and study your own failings. Then you will forget your anger...Epictetus