The American Idol tour rolled into Mountain View, CA over the weekend. The entertaining show at the Shoreline Ampitheatre included favorite songs from the past season, as well as some unexpected song choices.
Didi Benami kicked off the show with The Rescues’ “Lay It On Me.” Benami’s vocal was fantastic, but starting off the show with a song that the crowd isn’t familiar with makes it hard to hype up the show. Benami closed her two-song set with the Kara DioGuardi-penned, “Terrified.”
Andrew Garcia was up next performing Paula Abdul’s, “Straight Up.” This new live version has a bit of a reggae feel to it, makes it just that more fun to hear live. For his second song, Garcia performed the Maroon 5 hit, “Sunday Morning.”
He had the crowd up during the song, however it would have made more of an impact if he had chosen to perform the song sans guitar. Garcia has a strong and fun stage presence; it would have been nice to see him utilize the stage just a bit more.
Katie Stevens followed by opening her set with Demi Lovato’s “Here We Go Again.” Pop music definitely seems to be Steven’s niche. Disney would be smart to snatch her up, she could definitely build quite the fan base with the teen set.
Steven’s closed her set with Christina Aguilera’s “Fighter.” She definitely has the chops to perform the song, however she came off like she was trying to sound more like Aguilera’s original vocal, other than letting her own voice take the spotlight.
The moment that the perfectly coiffed Tim Urban hit the stage, the girls went wild. Their piercing screams were present through both of his songs, Goo Goo Dolls’ “Better Days” and Coldplay’s “Viva La Vida.” Both songs seemed to be arranged to fit his voice, and his performances definitely benefited from that.
Urban has a certain swagger to him onstage, as he did well when it came to working not only the stage, but interacting with the crowd. Plus, his trademark smile never faded once throughout his set.
Siobhan Magnus was up next, and opened her set with her popular take on The Rolling Stones’ “Paint It Black.” With this one song, she pretty much confirmed in my mind why the Idol judges this past season should have waited to use the save to give Magnus a second life in the competition.
Her vocal on “Paint It Black,” was nothing less than phenomenal. The final glory note, which she held for a good 15 to 20 seconds, was perfectly on pitch, and also earned her a standing ovation from the crowd.
Her second song, No Doubt’s “Spiderwebs,” seemed to be kind of a throw away. It didn’t show off her voice at all. However, her closing song, Muse’s “Stockholm Syndrome,” was a whole new side to Magnus that I wish we could have gotten to see on the show. To see her legitly rock out and have an amazing vocal was just a fantastic moment.
High school student Aaron Kelly followed, and without even trying had the crowd up singing-a-long and dancing during his three song set of Keith Urban’s “Somebody Like You,” Marc Cohn’s “Walking In Memphis,” and Rascal Flatt’s “Fast Cars and Freedom.”
There is pretty much no doubt in my mind that Kelly will probably wind up being the most successful Idol contestant from season nine. Live, his voice is incredible. Going the country route is definitely the right move for him.
What definitely could not go unnoticed was Kelly’s stage presence. He worked the stage like an absolute pro, having the confidence of a well-established singer. The audience just completely ate him up.
After Kelly’s set, the first six Idols to perform that night, returned to the stage together to perform Miley Cyrus’ “The Climb.” On paper, one might assume that this would be quite the hot mess, but in actuality, it was a pretty good performance. Stevens, Magnus and Kelly were definitely the stand outs during the performance.
Following the intermission Michael “Big Mike” Lynche hit the stage opening with Kate Bush’s “This Woman’s Work.” Once again the show had opened up on a slow note.
Big Mike continued his set with India.arie’s “Ready For Love.” He sat down on a stool for this number to play guitar. This was completely unnecessary, since he hardly strummed it.
The thing with his voice is that it’s good, but it is very much generic. Nothing about his voice sets him apart from other R&B artists on the charts today.
For his last song, Big Mike performed Justin Timberlake’s huge hit, “My Love.” First off, he should have opened his set with this song. Also, he should have thought about not performing it in his falsetto the entire song. GrantedTimberlake performs it in his falsetto, but he’s also Justin Timberlake, he can pull it off. Big Mike on the other hand, cannot. The one good thing about this performance, is that it finally got the crowd back on their feet.
Next up was newly signed Sony Nashville artist, Casey James. He opened his set with The Black Keys’ “I Got Mine,” and showed why he’s probably the most talented guitar player to ever hit the Idol stage.
His second song, Shania Twain’s “Don’t” proved why James will probably do very well as a country artist. A bit of twang could be detected in his voice throughout the song. It was probably the best vocal of the night from James’ set.
Big Mike was brought back out on stage to perform their duet from Idol, Bryan Adam’s “Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman.” I didn’t think that the duet was as vocally strong as it was initially on Idol, but it was still fun to see performed live.
James closed his set with The Rolling Stones’ “It’s All Over Now.” He was absolutely fantastic, from the guitar playing to the singing. James had finally got the second half of the show started.
Season runner-up, Crystal Bowersox hit the stage next opening her set with 4 Non Blondes’ “What’s Up.” Definitely a great choice for Bowersox to sing on tour. However with both her first and second song, which was Melissa Etheridge’s “Come To My Window,” Bowersox came off as a sound-a-like.
It wasn’t until her third song, Patty Griffin’s “Up To The Mountain,” that the crowd finally got a taste of Bowersox’s actual talent. Her soulful voice that we got to know well during her run on Idol was goosebump inducing.
Bowersox closed her set with Janis Joplin’s “Piece of My Heart.” The song had the crowd dancing and singing-a-long. She definitely left the crowd wanting more.
Just when you thought that Bowersox had received the biggest audience response of the night, it got even louder when season nine American Idol winner, Lee DeWyze’s name was flashed on the screen before he took the stage.
DeWyze opened his set with his re-arranged version of U2’s “Beautiful Day.” The crowd was really responsive, on their feet, cheering throughout the entire song.
His second song was Elton John’s “Rocket Man,” which seemed like an odd song choice, however it got a huge response from the audience. His take on Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” was definitely a highlight of DeWyze’s set. The song seemed to be re-arranged to fit his voice much better for the tour.
It was DeWyze’s performance of Cornelius Brothers and Sister Rose’s “Treat Her Like A Lady” that really got the crowd going. The Idol winner seemed to feed off the crowd’s energy right into his final song of his set, Kings of Leon’s “Use Somebody.” It was then that you could tell that rumors of DeWyze not feeling well earlier in the day were probably true, as his voice started to sound rough and shouty at parts.
DeWyze’s energy did not fade at all throughout his five-song set. He seemed so grateful to be on the stage, thanking the crowd for coming out and supporting the tour and all of the top 10. He ended his set by telling the crowd, “Love you guys, you’re the best!”
The finale followed Dewyze’s energetic set. The guys hit the stage first singing Bon Jovi’s huge hit, “It’s My Life.” They sounded pretty decent altogether, but it was the girls’ performance of Kelly Clarkson’s “My Life Would Suck Without You” that definitely left something to be desired. It’s definitely one thing to pay tribute to the original American Idol, but they could have picked a song that would have worked well with all of their voices.
The finale aside, the season nine Idol tour is actually a pretty good show. The first half has somewhat of a festival feel to it, and by the time Casey James hits the stage in the second half, it’s like a rock show had emerged.
The Idol tour definitely gives the fans a chance to see their favorite contestant from the show at their best. If you were a fan of season nine, their live show is not to be missed.
For more information on the American Idol summer tour, please visit their website.
Check out Lee DeWyze’s performance of “Beautiful Day” in Mountain View, CA below.