St. Paul concert recap/review.
Warning: this is a pretty dry and boring recap, no witty quips or amusing side notes, it’s pretty straightforward so that I can hit the sack, but it has the listing of all the songs and who sang them and in what order etc. (And it's long...hey...I recapped the whole darn two hours...so feel free to only read the summary at the top, fellow AI geeks can read more detail below).
I just got back from the St. Paul concert and someone asked me to share the experience, so here it is (and hey, typing all this up will help me remember it longer). Other concert-goers can add everything I may have forgotten (and I posted this in the tour thread too, because I'm not sure where this should go, John can delete it too).
This recap is in two parts. First, a summary with highlights and a quick run down of the numbers, then a more in depth play by play of the show (and I was too lazy to bold anything, sorry).
The Stage was set up just like the American Idol TV show, with two ramps curling down to the stage from the giant AI video screen in the center/back. The big, center, AI video screen is set higher up than it is on the show, so the ramps are steeper. The band sits in the middle of the two ramps, on the main stage level.
There were four dancers that really rocked, they were incredibly energetic and limber, complete with gymnastics training. These people knew how to move. There was also a live band with five members, one of which (a guitar player) played with Ruben for his band in Alabama. They were an excellent band, two guitar players, two keyboard players (one official keyboard player and another who was introduced as the music producer), and a drummer.
They went in order of first eliminated to winner of AI. Each performer introduced the one after them, and after they introduced the performer, a short AI clip would air on the big screen. Since Charles was first, a video clip of Randy Jackson talked about him and introduced him.
There is definitely something here for fans of every performer, because they all get ample stage time.
Every one of the performers looked like they were in love with performing. They had natural smiles on their faces the whole time. They were all extremely comfortable on stage.
They sang a lot of “new” stuff at this show, including some major new releases that are currently playing in the Top 40 charts.
Most of them complimented St. Paul and it’s hospitality because they’ve been here rehearsing the tour for a week or two. Most of them found ways to insert this stuff during the songs.
Clay was extremely chatty, definitely the most chatty of the group, or I should say he was THE chatter of the group, most everyone else made a few quips and then sang, but he really took time to wander the stage and chat to people. He took time out to make little jokes during introductions and to tease some of the other people, and in general had fun with the audience. He was just beaming throughout most of the show. The man was born to be on stage. He looked amazingly comfortable.
Tons of choreography during the show. And the truth should get out: Clay can really dance (and so can everyone else). He snapped his head and body perfectly to different beats of each song, and even improvised some moves. He’s a natural. (Seriously, I dance and was part of a dance troupe, and he does not look stiff or thrown together, he’s got natural rhythm.) Ruben can move too. Just because the guy’s big, doesn’t mean he’s gonna suffer on stage, or that he can’t move. Even though it was hot up there on that stage, the boy really got involved in each song. He also spent a lot of time motivating the crowd and making sure he paid attention to every section of the auditorium.
FIRST HALF OF THE SHOW:
Charles Grigsby – upbeat song I didn’t recognize.
Julia Demato – “Beautiful” by Christina Aguilara
Rickey Smith – “The Way You Make me Feel” by Michael Jackson
Kimberly Caldwell – “Stuck on You” by Staci Orico (sp?)
Carmen Rasmussen – “Up” by Shania Twain
Trenyce – “Proud Mary” by Tina Turner (and CCR)
Kimberly Locke – “Band of Gold” by Freda Payne (and later redone by Belinda Carlisle)
Clay – “This is the Night”
Ruben – “Superstar”
Ruben – “Never Too Much” by Luther Vandross
20 minute intermission
2ND HALF OF THE SHOW:
All the boys in white – “the Lady is a Tramp”
The women in black – “Bootylicious” by Destiny’s Child
All the boys and all the women – a “fight” between “Bootylicious” and “The Lady is a Tramp”
Clay and Ruben – “The Girl is Mine” by Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson
Kim L. – “Inseparable”
The whole group – Bee Gees medley, with some starring roles
Ruben – new song, “Pretty Toes” or something like that
Rickey – “Crazy” by Prince. I think Charles joined in on this one too.
Carmen – “Let’s Hear it for the Boy” – from the Footloose soundtrack
Clay – “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” by Elton John
Kimberly Locke – “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”
Kimberly Caldwell – “Feel Good Time” by Pink
Rickey Smith and Julia Demato – beautiful ballad I can’t think of the title of, with the lyrics, “If I never knew”
Trenyce – “I have nothing without you” by Whitney
Trenyce in the lead with all the girls – “Every Woman” by Chaka Khan
Kim L. and Ruben – something about “the best things in life are free”
Clay starts and then the whole group sings, “Time of my Life” from the Dirty Dancing soundtrack
Clay – new single, “Invisible”
Ruben starts, Clay and Kim L. join in – “Imagine”
Last number – “God Bless the U.S.A.” – the whole group sings this one.
NOW FOR THE DETAILED PLAY BY PLAY.
Charles Grigsby – entered from behind the video screen, sang a fast uptempo song I didn’t recognize, and he sang it well, this boy can really dance, he moved well with the dancers, was very cheery, sounded much better in person than he did on the show
Julia Demato – Rose from underneath the stage on a platform, on top of a white reclining couch, sang “Beautiful” by Christina Aguilara, sounded excellent, wore black I think, but I was distracted by the white couch and her voice, which was excellent, she looked bigger in person too, but still very good, her hair is much longer and looks like it has some highlights/streaks in it, her voice was very pure and clear, and her tone was wonderful, I was highly impressed, she really could hold her own with Christina
Ricky Smith – Entered from video screen (I think) – sang the Michael Jackson song, “The Way you make me feel” and had a female dancer accompany him just like the woman in the video, he wore a jeans ensemble, he really can sing in that upper register
Kimberly Caldwell – “Stuck on You”, by Staci Orico, entered from a platform, wore a red see-through top, belly exposed, belly button ring, jean capris, curly hair, she looked bigger in person also, but still great, this song was perfect for her, I’m surprised they gave her copyright permission to sing a song that is currently being played on top 40 radio stations, but it was perfect for her, she did a great job with it
Carmen Rasmussen – Sang “Up” by Shania Twain, entered from the side?, she can dance, and this is definitely her genre, she did a good job with it, she was all over the stage, made heavy use of it, was wearing a pink top and black silk capris and extremely high heels
Trenyce – Sang “Proud Mary”, there were heavy pyrotechnics (big jets of fire shooting upwards during different crescendos in the song), white 70’s top and short jean mini skirt, entered from the side, this girl was born to perform, she was all over the stage, she looked like she was raised there, she held her own with the dancers, never got breathless, and sang beautifully and powerfully. She was charming, knew how to work the crowd, (she could easily handle her own tour), said she “loved it here” (in St. Paul) and said she had to “make sure” she worked that comment into the night
Kimberly Locke – sang “Band of Gold”, entered from video screen, wore a really long jacket, black, looked great in person, looked smaller and more trim to me in person, introduced Clay as “I love him. You know what’s going on here. I love him and you love him too.” Her hair was in a pony tail. She looked so good. She sounded so crystal clear and perfect. That girl can saaaannng.
Clay Aiken – entered from a raised platform wearing a suit, sang “This is the Night”, total performer, standing ovation, said “MN nice” is true, I believe he said that he heard all these rumors about Minnesota nice, and he wondered how a state could be nicer than another state, but found out it’s true. Clay’s hair was excellently spiked. It looked as good as it did on the disco night, very uniform and good. He was very chatty and just owned the stage before introducing Ruben. The man looked like he could be Anthony Robbins, just relaxing on stage as if he regularly hung out with thousands of people all staring at him on a day to day basis.
Ruben Studdard – entered from the side, sang “Superstar”, and then sang “Never Too Much” by Luther Vandross, jean suit, looked smaller, had a smooth voice, sounded great live, he definitely deserved to be up there. When I heard him sing I knew why so many people voted him through to the top 2. He really was excellent. I was so impressed with his voice in person, it is just so smooth, and he’s so creative with his styling. Really stellar performer and so charming. He paid attention to every last inch of that auditorium. You know why people love him and why his fellow AI contestants love him. He’s a sweetie.
20 minute intermission
Second Half of Concert
A bar complete with stools rose up from the stage with Charles Grigsby sitting at it, then Rickey was there, and Clay and Ruben were there, and they sang “The Lady is A Tramp”. They were all in white outfits, all different from each other. Ruben, Charles and Rickey were in similar type polo-esque shirts from what I can remember, but Clay had this sleek, very cool zipper front jacket with no collar. It looked very good on him.
Then the women entered from the video screen at the top of the stage, all dressed in black, and sang “Bootylicious” by Destiny’s Child. They really had some major choreography here. And they looked great, i.e. their dance moves were awesome.
After/during the Bootylicious number, the men in their white competed with the women in their black in kind of a dance off/sing off in which the men tried to sing their song, “Lady is a Tramp” and then the women tried to “steal” the show by singing “Bootylicious”.
Then Clay and Ruben were the only ones on the stage, and they sang “The Girl is Mine” by Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson. Clay had the surging part of the song with the lyrics, “But I love her anywhere,” and then the high pitched Michael part of the song where he really sings it, “But we both cannot have her, so it’s one or the other, and one day you’ll discover, that she’s my girl forever and ever”. They both sounded absolutely excellent. Ruben really is the velvet teddy bear, and Clay is just as gorgeous (IMHO) in person as he is on TV. Also noteworthy: these boys can act. The way they “played” with the song was great, acting as if there was a real girl they were fighting over. Ruben at one point lifted Clay off the stage, but in a gentle way.
Then Kim L. comes on the stage, from up top and sings “Inseparable” – the song she sang on her last night on the show. The crowd goes nuts. She sounds like she’s been in the business for 40 years.
After that, Kim L. announces that the American Idols all really wanted to sing one of their favorite numbers, and that was the Bee Gee’s medley, with old (from the show) and new (not sung on the show) songs. Clay sang his “to love somebody” song, and everybody sang a bunch of the numbers, including, “Jive Talking,” and Ricky with “Stayin’ alive” and everybody had a little part in one or another song, but they mostly sang together with hits like “Dancin’”.
A lot of choreography with that one.
Then Clay introduced Ruben, saying that his album was coming out soon and it’s really good. Again, he was incredibly chatty and comfortable with the audience. He said that Ruben would be singing the new single off his upcoming album, soon to be released. It was something like “Pretty Toes”, and it was really, really, really, good. Based on that song alone, I’m buying his album. If you like r&b and hip hop, you’ll love this. He has that Mary J. Blige quality where he free-styles over a really exciting beat. This song was cool, and it had the same kind of mellow but up-tempo speed as Whitney’s “One of those Days” or Ashanti’s “Rock with U (aww baby)” song. There was a strong beat underneath the song, I found myself rockin’ in my shoes. Also, there were cute lyrics in the song, like, “But you think Rube’s kind of cute now”. Made the whole audience laugh and smile.
Rickey then sang and air-guitared to “Crazy” by Prince. I don’t know if that was in the show because of the Minnesota connection, or if it will be in all the shows. Charles joined in for some of it I think.
Carmen then sang “Let’s Hear it for the Boys” and did a bunch of dance steps on a bench, similar to the dance steps in the movie, “Footloose”, where this song is from. She did an excellent job, she sounded really good, and proved that she can do more than country.
Then Clay sang, “Can you feel the love tonight”. The crowd went absolutely insane. Standing ovation etc. Pretty much whenever Clay came on stage the crowd went bananas and rose to their feet. At one point he took out his ear piece to try and hear what some of the crowd was saying, but they deafened him. You could tell Clay absolutely adored being up on that stage, because he literally beamed his way through every single number.
Kim Locke then sang, “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” It was a different version, more uptempo, but really good. I don’t care how sick people are of hearing the song, when you see it in person, you almost come to tears because her voice is so pure and beautiful, it just takes your breath away. Standing ovation for her.
Then Kimberly Caldwell rose up from the stage on a motorcycle with Carmen and Julia, and she sang the new Pink song, “Feel good time”. It was absolutely perfect for her voice, she did such a great job, and her and the girls all really, really “got down” with some really cool choreography. You could tell they really worked hard to move like the hired AI dancers. The moves were really fun to watch, and Kimberly sounded sooo good.
Rickey Smith then sang a beautiful ballad, the title I can’t remember, but a lot of people would probably know it, it was a popular song. Sort of Brian McKnight-ish, although I’m not sure this was a Brian McKnight song. He sounded beautiful and powerful on this song. Midway through the song, Julia DeMato joins in and makes it a duet and it’s just amazing. They sound so clear, so beautiful, bringing their own styling to the notes. No over-singing. Some of the lyrics are, “If I never knew”
Every time you hear any of the top 12 sing, you wonder why they don’t all have record deals, and then you also understand how they made it to the top 12.
Trenyce then sings “I have nothing without you” She blows it out of the stadium. The crowd goes insane for her.
Trenyce is then joined by all the girls and they ask the women in the audience if they’re independent women, and all the women sing “Every Woman” by Chaka Khan. Trenyce leads the song while the others join in.
Kim L. and Ruben then pair up to sing “the best things in life are free”. They sound amazing.
Clay then starts one of the last few songs of the night by singing, “I’ve had the time of my life,” and then the rest of the AI’s join in.
Then the lights shut off. You’re waiting a minute, and then you hear Clay from somewhere say, “You didn’t think it was over yet, did you?” and he rises up on a platform in a “Minnesota Wild” hockey jersey to introduce himself. He makes jokes about how he’ll be cheering for the Wild….pause for comic effect…and then really fast, “unless they’re playing the Ravens.” He says he’s going to sing the new single off his upcoming record, the single is called, “Invisible.” It is sooo, sooo, good. It’s uptempo, and he has a couple of parts in the song where his voice goes ‘techno” ala Cher in her song, “Believe”. But he only does that twice, and the other 3.5 minutes of the song are spent showcasing his incredible range, with big crescendos, long-held notes, and …dance moves! The boy can dance. He really can.
Then Clay introduces “your american Idol” Ruben Studdard. He sings “Flying without Wings”. It’s excellent, of course, and though I’ve never been big fan of the song, I start to like it when I hear his smooth voice in person.
Then Ruben starts singing “Imagine, “ and eventually Clay and Kim L. join in.
The last number of the whole show is “God Bless the U.S.A.” complete with pyrotechnics, and dancers running with the flag, and fireworks.
Overall, it was a great show. It started at 7:10, and finished up at 9:40. I really wanted more. I had such a good time that it felt too fast.
We all think there’s going to be an encore, but instead we cheer and cheer and they turn on the house lights and immediately start back with the intermission music and the stage crew starts tearing down the stage and they push us out of our folding chairs (for the floor seats). Those people are on the MOVE to their next concert stop.