Monday, July 6, 2009

american idols live, moonwalking lives . . . and new talent readies for a living in the music business




We have returned from Portland after seeing the American Idols Live tour kick-off concert. There was something special about being a part of the crowd with whom the 2009 Top 10 lost their "tour-ginity."

Mike crashed when we got home with work tomorrow coming in an ungodly seven hours from now. And, no, he did not moonwalk to bed. But we did see moonwalkers in the Rose Garden lobby after the show. I figured they must have been having their own impromptu Michael Jackson salute because, contrary to the local newspaper predicting a Michael Jackson song from Adam Lambert and perhaps some from the entire group, the evening went on without a mention of the King of Pop. That was probably a good decision, as it could have seemed they were capitalizing on Jackson's name/fame in an effort to increase the star power of their tour.

The concert appeared to be sold out, what with the people standing in front of the arena before the show waving signs saying they needed tickets. The sound inside was deafening and I used my earplugs to protect not only the ear with the infection but also the one that the ear with the infection is counting on to cover for it while it's sick. After a few songs Mike yelled to me that he wished he had earplugs too, and I produced a second set from my purse for him. Even with foam plugs in my ears I had no problem hearing the show. Really, I think parents should have protected their children's fragile ears. A little boy sitting in front of me had his hands over his ears during much of the concert.

This is a 50-city tour (schedule here) and if you like AI even a little bit you will probably like the show, which is bound to improve as the group gains more and more stage experience city by city.

If you appreciate that Adam Lambert and Allison Iraheta, individually - and together - not only rock the house but also have a love affair going on with their fans, and that this is all happening at the beginning of probable stardom for both of them, you should go. Some others are definitely worth the ticket, too, namely Danny Gokey and Matt Giraud. Gokey was four days away from marking a full year since his wife died, and he had an amazing connection with the crowd in dedicating a song to the audience in her memory. It was inspirational -- not sappy -- and a real high point in the night.

Maybe as the tour moves along Kris Allen (who was the 2009 winner, after all) will gain more comfort and show more grace than he did last night (telling the crowd to "stop screaming" was weird and asking "How are you guys all doin'?" after two separate songs sounded disconnected and infantile). It's gotta be tough on the guy coming on last in what is supposed to be the grandness the whole show has been building toward but, in actuality, has just happened in the previous performance by way of Adam Lambert's brilliance.



As Matt Giraud began one of his songs at the piano the crowd erupted in applause and he told us (speaking over the first notes) how amazing this was for him because last year I was doing this in a hotel lobby........

.......It makes me wonder what might be ahead for my nephew, Noah, who aspires to a career as a musician. He writes and performs his own rock music. In this video from March 2009 the band is Opposing Lost, and the song is titled As I Lie Here Awake. Noah is the lead guitar/vocal on the left.





The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side.

-Hunter S. Thompson





Cartoon - fee paid to publish - from PoliticalCartoons.com
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17 comments:

the watercats said...

The idol thing is a strange phenomina.. I can see how it can bring unrecognised talent to the fore, but I can't help but think how blatantly commercial the whole thing is. There lies the contradiction of the world of music. We play because we love it, we love the process, we love the alchemy of creating something from nothing, we could happily do this in obscurity.. but hell, if someone offered us a million pound recording deal, we'd be the first up there.
There is a fine line between selling out (i.e, creating because of the money) and staying true.... The truelly memorable artists are the ones who manage (or at least appear to) to stay consistently true to themselves.
i can't help but wonder if this is possible any more though.....

Ande said...

I really like this band. Great blog, by the way!

Maggie May said...

My husband and 3 kids and I all watch AI together religiously, so this was a great read for me, thanks :) Adam Lambert...amazing...

Lydia said...

(HEY EVERYONE READING: now is a fine time to pop over to the watercats and listen to their music. They really shouldn't be playing in obscurity....)

@the watercats- Contradiction, I guess. There were a few on that stage that never would have, nor should have, been widely known without the phenomena you mentioned. Sure, they might cut CDs during or after the concert, but in the end it's just obvious that some will return to struggling for recognition in bars, etc. before too long. The AI machine can't even guarantee continued stardom for the winners, for heavens sake, no matter how much money it uses to promote.
The smart ones will 1) enjoy this moment in their lives to the fullest, 2) express sincere appreciation to the audiences who put them there (the ones who did so Sun. stood out), 3) work joyously at their art for the love of it, as you stressed, and 4) accept change and endings and new beginnings...

@Ande- Great to have you here at my blog! Thanks for commenting. I haven't visited your blog yet so I don't know if you're in the U.S. or another country. If you're in the U.S. I hope you have the opportunity to attend the AI concert!

@Maggie May- I'm happy you enjoyed the post. Last night was remarkable for the composition in of the crowd, which ran the gamut from children to older boomers, from those dancing by their seats to a group in wheelchairs, from large families to couples, from members of the press with huge gear to kids waving cell phones in the dark...
Since you are a fan I will expand to a few more comments:
*There was a large fan contingency for Anoop and he performed with a lot of self-confidence. He was the best-dressed. He did a good job and I think if he has the right handlers/agents he could have staying-power. With Bollywood films so hot he might even have an acting career, who knows...
*Lil Rounds actually could have been in my post noted as "definitely worth the ticket" if she'd just had more warmth toward the crowd. She has real talent.
*Accommodating for Scott McIntyre's blindness was shared and was seamless. His duet at two pianos with Matt Giraud highlighted the strength of Giraud's playing...
*Meagan Joy is out of her element with that group. Her lesser talent was pronounced.
*Michael Sarver didn't impress or otherwise. As #10 he began the show.

the watercats said...

:-D... You are of course, very correct! The beauty of music is the ride, in every form it takes! The joy it brings to others, the memories, the moment..... We cats could learn some lessons in not being quite so cynical :-).. about EVERYTHING!, lol, it's a bad tendency of ours..

Owen said...

Love your Hunter Thompson quote, that about sums it up I guess. And you are so right about earplugs. It's the sort of thing I tend to forget, then remember when it's too late. At a Jackson Browne show in Paris several weeks ago, the acoustic parts were fine, but the electric set was way too loud, no doubt lost some hearing cells that night, irreplacable. shit...

Totally agree with you about the Watercats, they are a wonderfully well kept secret...

Lydia said...

@the watercats- Well, you might be cynical in funny ways, never sour ways...

@Owen- We started out so young and strong
only to surrender...

I don't think Jackson Browne meant ... only to surrender our hearing! He's a good one; haven't seen that he's toured this area for ages.

Buddha said...

Love the Hunter Thompson quote!
After more than 25 years in Hollywood I reach a similar conclusion: "Hollywood is the wall between talent and film making"
Sadly its all about money not about the talent :(

Lydia said...

@Buddha- Yup, that Hunter S. Thompson quote is a prize.
You have a more personal look at all this living near the hub. No wonder you take the family out of town for getaways!

JonathanAquino said...

Isn't it a truism in American showbiz that you should get a good agent to launch a career? That's what Noah needs, don't you agree? Also, it might help if he doesn't get too focused on himself, like Jason Mraz, but be more open to innovation, like John Mayer. Of course, these are just suggestions.

the watercats said...

Hey.. in all the deep thinking, forgot to say your nephew and his band sound great!.. Long may they continue along the path of musictude!

M Riyadh Sharif said...

Hunter S. Thompson is so right. But there is some good outcome obviously. So is this one! :)
Same company that produces American Idol also produces Indian Idol. It's pretty popular in this continent. But I would not say it could always select the most eligible one.
Even in our country there are so many programs who do talents hunts. I like them because they are discovering talents who might not ever get the light of media without them. But what happens next is not so sweet. Most of the time they fail to keep the pace.
Btw, Daughtry was also discovered by American Idol.. Am I right? I like his song a lot.

Melinda said...

Hi Lydia,

We've talked about AI before--and so you know I am a fan of the show.

Your nephew is in for a tough, tough road (speaking as a former actor and musician). It's an industry that will chew a person up and spit them out if that person doesn't have a strong sense of self (and either has no genetic link to addiction or never uses drugs).

More than acting even, the music industry is so full of people who don't give a damn about your except sucking everything they can from a person and leaving them with nothing in the end.

But at the same time--if people don't TRY -- and really try to make it in that industry--when they feel compelled to do so--then I believe they will regret it for the remainder of their lives.

I hope your nephew doesn't share our addictive personalities, Lydia--becaue the music industry is not for anyone who likes to drink or drug. It's a disaster waiting to happen.

Melinda

p.s. I liked Kris but I really wanted Lambert to win--he just blew me away as a total performer.

Lydia said...

@Jonathan- You are such a devoted Michael Jackson fan, so I sure hope his memorial service today was broadcast there. Interesting that you would highlight John Mayer in your comments...his performance was remarkable today at the Staples Center.
I've gotta email Noah so he will be able to read comments here about him and the band. Thanks. :)

@the watercats- I think he/they sound great too. They are across the country so I'm really happy to have the YouTube vids to follow him along the way!

@Riyadh- I'm going to have to do some reading to see if/how Hunter S. Thompson had a personal connection with the music industry.
I've not heard of Indian Idol. Wish there would be a special that would feature the best of all the Idol competitions worldwide.
Yes, Daughtry was discovered by being on AI. Isn't he great?!

@Melinda- First, I wanted Lambert to win also and seeing him the other night only made it clearer to me that he should have...
Your comments here are proof positive that your memoir soon to be published will have universal appeal and importance. You have first-hand experience as a member of a San Francisco Punk Rock band, and as an accomplished stage actress, as an addict, and prostitute before finding sobriety, higher education, good marriage, and a successful life. No one is more qualified than you to speak to/write about the pitfalls of the music biz-addictive personality combo. Thank you for your valuable input.

M Riyadh Sharif said...

Yes he is. His "Home" & "Crashed" sings are great. The acoustic ones. I used to listen to "Home" every time I make my way to my home. :)

M Riyadh Sharif said...

*Songs.

Lydia said...

@Riyadh- I understood what you meant! I think Daughtry is not only gifted but he seems to have a strong internal compass, and a clear focus on his goals.

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