Monday, 8 September 2008

American Idols Tour : Bridgeport CT - My Experience

Well its all over now, I arrived back in Heathrow this morning but I have returned with some amazing memories and experiences (and a Cold too). The whole Idol tour experience was very surreal for me, I couldn't quite comprehend what was going on at times and was wondering if I was actually there doing it but it was amazing nonetheless and not something im going to forget quickly that's for sure. My first few days I spent sight-seeing round New York, I even managed to catch part of the NFL concert near Central Park where Natasha Bedingfield was performing. She was very good but the crowd were a little 'cold' to say the least, despite the soaring temperatures. She did a fairly long set actually and I enjoyed it.

Pre-ShowI woke myself up nice and early on the saturday morning and walked over to Grand Central where I was due to meet Annie and Mia from and catch the train over to Bridgeport. We talked almost the entire journey about David and Idol, it was so nice to actually get to talk to someone in person about David and with the people that just 'get it' rather than people who just tell you to shut up when you mention his name haha. We also met up Jules also from once we arrived in Bridgeport. It was really cool to meet all these people in person finally and they were all awesome to talk to and share the experience with, a definite bonus on that side. We promptly checked in to the Hotel next to the venue and then raced down to the car park to see if we could catch the buses. Unfortunately, the people at Harbor Yard had set up the barriers so you could have very few people actually being able to get autographs due to the very small area. I tried to push my way through the sea of the Cook cougars but consequently was shouted at by quite a few of them haha. My attempt to reach the front was an epic fail but I also had nothing for any of them to sign so It would have been pointless anyway.

Kristy Lee Cook was the first to come greet the crowds. She is really hot in person by the way. Cook followed a few minutes later and then afterwards, to rapturous screams from the fangirls, David made his way over to the crowd from the bus. I was quite taken aback when I first saw and I swear my heart palpitated haha. He looks more Hispanic and tanned in the flesh and I didn't realise before just how jet black his hair actually is. He is also not as short as people have said, I would put him around 5 foot 7 inches tall. It took me a fair while to actually take in the fact he was there, a few meters in front of me. People had spoken of an aura he gives off and I completely got it when I saw him. He just looks happy, always. He's always smiling and laughing and you cant help but smile and laugh with him. The bus greeting was poorly organised and so after Archie departed, so did we. We went back to the hotel room and just relaxed and ate some food, all dead excited about the imminent concert. Jules had been to many, many concerts and was showing us her amazing photo collections from each one and Annie was writing her letter to David and showed us all her fantastic gifts. The only downside was, as time went on the weather got gradually worse and worse and by the time we decided to leave, it was pouring down with rain. We made a dash for the venue but was picked up by someone working at the Holiday Inn who was shuttling people to the concert. We picked up our after party passes and then waited for go inside in the pouring rain. Fun.

The Concert

Me and Annie were seated pretty much front and Center (Thank you so much for those tickets Mia) so we couldn't have asked for a better view. The others were just a little further back. I wont talk too much about the other Idols as this is an Archie but blog but ill do a quick run-down. Chikezie was fun, Ramiele spent most of her set flat, Michael Johns was great, Kristy Lee Cook was boring, Carly was a lot better live than on the show - loved her, Brooke was pleasant, Jason has improved dramatically and Syeshas last song was fantastic. Cook and Archie were in a league of their own though. Cook is a little more like the concerts I usually go to. He sang great, pitch perfect and was lots of fun. I sang along with every song, although I was still in a daze during 'Hello' after Archie but I thought he was fantastic.

So now onto Archie. This is what I flew 4000 miles for, to finally hear him live and in person and it was an experience to remember. So of course Angels was first. I had a sudden burst of joy when he I heard those E chords ringing out from the PA. I actually think I jumped up and down haha. The first thing that hit me was how his tone is even greater live. His voice has this wonderful, big, wholesome, warm and fuzzy sound yet it resonates and cuts through with great energy. Its sort of like being attacked by a giant cushion. Its just so pleasant on the ear. His voice effortlessly fills the entire venue but never sounds too sharp (in the tone sense) or screechy, it just engulfs the area with a blanket of warm melody. I wish I could describe it better but im trying to describe the indescribable but my ultimate point is that anything you hear through the TV or your PC is a mere dilution of what David really sounds like. Angels was stunning. His lower register is actually far more satisfying live, stronger than any of the other performers as you really get a sense of his velvet tone and then he glides into those upper notes in the second verse, solo and the end which just simply soar. I had chills literally all over my body all through the song.

Next up was Apoligize. This was one that I probably watched the least from the tour videos but this was probably the sweetest of the surprises. David owns this song. Ryan Tedder hasn't got anything on it compared to David. Im sorry to say it so blunt but I feel its an utter fact. The performance is a complete masterclass in how to do an emotionally intense ballad. He had the audience in the palm of his hand as he twisting and turning the hearts with his vocals. The yearning, longing and tension is just captivating and I was glued to it the whole way through. I would go as far to say that it was probably the most musically intense experience ive ever had, certainly at a live venue. The tingles and the shivers were rampant round my body once again. The emotion was just so powerful, from the lyrics to the 'Yeahhssss', I was struggling fight back the tears but I did so, somehow. David has turned this song from a pop ballad into an all out display of intense emotion and longing. I don't know what experience, if any, David could call on to really give that song its edge, but gosh, Apoligize was as good as emotional singing gets. The biggest surprise of the night but certainly the sweetest.

Stand By Me is David's fun song and he did a really great job of it. This is his chance to go around and have some fun with the crowd and his little dance routine made me giggle. He had changed the lyric from 'You got met suicidal' to 'You got me in denial' which I previously knew about but only thought it had been changed for one show. David ends this song with great vigour and passion and he held that high note for a very long time which was certainly a crowd pleaser also demonstrating his fantastic vocal technique. One thing I would like to point out here is David's diction. For some of the other singers performing, it is fairly difficult at times to make out the words but with David, you can hear and understand every word he says and that's very important especially in a live setting. The screams for the 'And all you beautiful girls' was beyond deafening but that was to be expected.

When You Say You Love Me is probably my favourite song David has ever sung so I was looking forward to this song the most and it lived up to all expectations. Like Angels, he caresses those low notes and then reaches up and soars into the glory notes once again filling the venue and piercing into everyone's heart. The feeling of love and emotion is so charged in this performance that I was once again struggling to fight back the tears. This song proves me how natural singing and music come to David. Music is instinct to him. Communication through music is intertwined into his being and oozes out with immense passion during this song. It is a tour de force of touching soft moments and highly tense emotional sustained notes. I was always baffled when people said David seemed to not make a connection to his lyrics and seeing him live heightened that lack of understanding if critics who said that. David was the only performer who could really say something with his music, express its meaning to its maximum potential and I was feeling every single word in this performance. I don't know what experience David could call upon but the thing I realised David doesn't need these experiences to give the performances that extra edge. That is how truly gifted he is. He pours his heart into every song he sings and it comes across stronger when he is a few feet away from you. An astounding performance. My only complaint would be these 3 Cook fans in front me talking non-stop but it was not enough to divert my attention. I was still dazed by it all going into Cooks set.

The After Party

After the concert had finished, we were lead to the backstage area where we could meet the stars of the show. After a short wait we all piled into the room. David was fairly close to the entrance and he was inundated with people when I entered so I decided Im going to need some practise in approaching these people so I headed over towards David Cook who was a lot less busy. Cook was probably the one I talked to the most and I have to say he came across as a really friendly, down to earth guy. I was so impressed by him. I had a question I wanted to ask him which he answered courteously and we continued to chat for a few more minutes and then he asked my name, shook my hand and said it was a pleasure to meet me. I got a picture with him too. I was actually shaking when I had the picture taken but I cant remember if it was because I was cold or just nervous haha. Really great guy.

I then walked back over towards David and Annie and Mia pointed out Jeff to me. I had actually planned to ask Jeff if he knew who I was from IDF, expecting him to possibly remember me after a few reminders as I knew he lurked over there. I was certainly not expecting what happened. I walked over to him and said 'Hey Jeff! I don't know if you know.....' he cut me off saying 'Oh hey Chris! You came all the way over from the UK that's awesome! I saw your name on the list and was going to come and find you. You have been an amazing supporter of David and your posts are awesome'. I was completely stunned by that. He knew who I was before I even introduced myself. He told me he saw my picture in the 'What Do the Arch-Angels look like?' thread and had read my posts. To this moment, I still cant get over that but I am so glad that I have managed to have a positive impact. We continued to chat for a fair few minutes and I told him that I sold my first guitar amplifier to come but then he had take an important call but I must say, he is the nicest man. He was kind, courteous, warm and very easy to talk to. It was an absolute pleasure to meet him. Thank you Jeff, if you do ever read this.

I looked over to David and saw the crowd and decreased considerably. I was waiting behind a crowd of fan girls and I noticed that David kept glancing up at me (I was kind of the odd one out haha). I think it must have been nice for him to see someone of roughly his age approaching him for an autograph. I was watching him for quite a while and his kid just radiates happiness. You cant help but smile when your around him, simply because he is always smiling. He treats his fans with dignity and respect and spends as much time with each of them as possible. That attitude is commendable. The wait was finally over and I approached him with my program and asked him to sign it. My memory of this meeting is actually quite hazy (in fact it almost doesn't seem real haha) but I remember telling him I'm from near London and I came over especially to see him and he said that was awesome and he really wanted to go to London. I then told him I was a musician and that he has inspired me a lot and he looked really flattered by that. I shook his hand and said probably the most sincere 'Thank You' ive ever said. David makes constant eye contact too (with his deep green eyes). Im usually good with eye contact but he is just too significant for me to gaze back all the time. For me that is just a clear representation of his self-confidence and looks at you with complete interest and attention. He was so welcoming and friendly, its a shame that I could not have spoken to him for longer. I got my picture with him and then retreated back. The kid is as charming and kind with his fans as he comes across on TV. It was a true pleasure and blessing to get to meet him. David also started randomly singing and it was very interesting to hear him sing really close to him.

I went around and got some pics with other the Idols. Michael Johns was really cool. We talked about his 'Its all wrong but its alright' song as I love it and I got a picture with him. Brooke was really friendly and welcoming and so was Carly, we talked about England for a bit haha. Syesha i found to be very cold and she kept cutting me off too. She comes across as quite self-righteous and self important. David approached me and Annie again on his way out and we asked him if he would ever come to Europe and he said he really wants to. I also told him that I would come back to see him even if he didn't tour in Europe.

This whole experience was very surreal. It still hasn't really sunk in yet and there are still things that are returning to my memory. The rest of the pictures will be posted on Planet Idol in the coming days. There was point not that long ago where I thought going to the concert was simply not going to happen but I was blessed with an opportunity to go to the concert and Im so glad I did. It was awesome to meet all the people there and thank you for letting me stay in your room afterwards. I owe you one. David lives up the hype both on stage an in person. He really is an amazingly gifted singer and musician and just a generally special person. Warm, friendly, Kind, Compassionate and just a pleasure to be around. The 4 song set was the most intense, emotional and probably the most enjoyable experience ive had at a concert and Ive been to a lot of concerts and seen a lot of great musicians. He has confirmed everything I thought and more and the scariest part about it all, is hes only 17 years old.


Theres still some stuff that has yet to come back to me but if it does, ill be adding it here.

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