Idol Live!

The American Idol LIVE stage on Sunday night. | Photo: Chris White

The American Idol Live! Tour made a stop in Durham on Sunday night, where the top five finalists from the season performed.

The tour has criss-crossed the country for the past 13 summers – now 14 including this one – following the singing competition’s finale. The tour offers fans the chance to see some of their favorites from the season and enjoy some great music. This year’s tour was like none before as only the top five finalists were in the show. In the previous 13 tours, the top 10 or 12 were included. I actually liked this as it gave concertgoers a more up close and personal look at the finalists. The show featured a nice mix of both group and solo numbers during its little more than two-hour runtime. A nice touch to this year’s show was time worked in for the finalists to tell stories of how they got to this point in their lives. Each finalist had a unique story to tell.

I’ve attended four of the 14 tours, the first being all the way back at season two of the show. The tour came to Raleigh and that was the first of several times I saw Clay Aiken live in concert. It didn’t disappoint. You know, it’s funny, I was just thinking about this concert last night and how it was sponsored by Pop Tarts. As we exited the building that night, we were given free Pop Tarts! That doesn’t happen anymore. Man, how times have changed haha! Fast forward to 2010 and the 10th season of the show. The tour returned to Raleigh as “Idol” champ, Scotty McCreery, was the main event that year. I had an awesome time meeting the “Idol” finalists and getting a seat right at the stage. You can check out more about my experience at that show here. The last time I attended a show on this tour was when it came to Charlotte in 2013 – having the opportunity to meet the finalists from that season and attend the pre-show soundcheck.

Since I am, in part, reviewing this tour, I will give just one point of critique. There were some instances of dead time during the show when the stage was being prepared for the next song. There was nothing the finalists could do about it – nor was it their responsibility to. Tour officials opted to not use pre-produced video packages this year and I think those would have been useful in these situations. Not a huge deal but something I noticed.

Now on to some highlights:

1) Clark Beckham.

Gracious. I thought he was incredible on the show, but his performances were even better live, if that’s possible since his performances were brilliant on “Idol.” My favorite being a rendition of Tracy Chapman’s “Give Me One Reason” – which was the best of the night, in my opinion. I definitely had the “stank face” going for this performance and was one of several in the crowd to give Beckham a standing ovation. While I watched him perform this tune, I could clearly see that Beckham loves what he does. That put a smile on my face.

Photo: Chris White

2) Family Time!

It was cool to have some of the finalists’ family members in the audience. Nick Fradiani mentioned some of his fellow Connecticut peeps were in the house, including his cousin, sitting right in the front row. Rayvon Owen had quite the turnout as well. Former teachers, great aunts and even his mother – who was sitting near me. And we all became apart of Tyanna Jones’ family after she asked us if we wanted to. Perhaps the most touching moment came when Jax mentioned her father while telling her story. Jax said that her father was a first responder during 9/11, helping with rescue and recovery in the aftermath. Jax went on to say that her father became ill with lung problems and was forced into retirement which, as she described, hurt him because his mission in life is to help others. A pen drop could have been heard and this was a tender moment that I’ll never forget.

3) The Group Numbers Were Spot On.

This group of five blended and harmonized so well together – as if the group had been touring for decades. Yea, it was that good! The show began and ended with group numbers and there were several others as well as finalists singing backup. Each and every time, the blend was impeccable. It was something great to watch from a musical standpoint.

Photo: Chris White

Bottom line, this show was easily the best of the American Idol Live! shows I’ve seen and one of the best concerts I’ve been to in quite a while. I went to the show with my 88-year-old grandmother and she said the exact same thing. If you can catch this tour, it’s a must see.

Thanks to Nick, Clark, Tyanna, Rayvon and Jax for an awesome show!

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