The American Idol Concert or How I fell in love with a guy named Peter and a company call Marquis Jet
*****WARNING---EXTRA SUPER DUPER CRAZY LONG POST*****
Don't Say I Didn't Warn You
It's been over a week a little over a month, and I haven't blogged about the most excellent time Braelyn and I had at the American Idol concert! Shall I recap the evening of July 22nd for you?
The plan was, since I hate to drive in Indy, for Bubba to drive Braelyn and me to the concert and then he and Jameson would go to an Indianapolis Indians baseball game. Perfect! It just so happened that there WAS an Indians game on the same night so it really was a great plan. Plus, my husband loves me and spoils me and will do whatever I beg ask him to do.
Unfortunately, I had to work that day, but I managed to get off work at 3:30, which was good so we would miss a big part of the rush hour traffic. The whole way down there I worried about my camera. Should I try to take it in? Should I stuff it down the back of my pants? What if I got caught and then couldn't go in because where would I put it because Bubba would be gone with the car at the baseball game? See, I'm one of those people who worry about 'getting in trouble.' I looked at the tickets a few times and they didn't say, "No cameras" like most of them do. But still...
When Bubba dropped me off, I made him stay at the curb until I could figure out whether I could sneak my camera in and then I would wave him off. So, Braelyn and I head in with me sweating because of the contraband in my purse. Or maybe because it was 90 and humid outside. Whatever.
As soon as we walk in to Conseco Fieldhouse we are accosted by State Farm people in red shirts wanting to take our photo which would then be displayed on the jumbo-tron. OK, my big fat face on the jumbo-tron is not something I would normally give the OK for, but, you know, I was high on Michael Johns anticipation, so I signed the waiver and let them take the picture. I don't hate my flat yet frizzy hair, lack of eyelashes or double chins in the photo too much so I'll share.
The State Farm girl hands me a little paper and tells me to send my concert photos to a certain website, blah, blah, blah. Score! I CAN take my camera in. So, I wave Bubba off and we proceed to hurry up and wait. It was approximately 5pm and the 'gates' wouldn't open until 6pm.
In line, I saw my co-worker and her daughter who had already been there for a few hours stalking and had gotten a few of the Idol's autographs. Also, some lady walking around passing out info about michaeljohns.com and a guy on a bullhorn trying to get people to play Guitar Hero. (Which I am VERY proud to say I have never played.)
Finally, it is 6:00 and they open the gates and everybody floods in. I told Braelyn that there was no need to hurry since we had an hour and we decided to buy souvenirs, go the bathroom and get something to eat before we found our seats.
We wandered in holding hands and once we reached about the center of the lobby(?) these two guys approached us. They were clean cut and good looking dressed in Dockers and Polo shirts and had some sort of passes hanging around their necks. One of the guys said, "Hey, is it just the two of you tonight?" I'm sure I gave him an odd look but I said, "Yeah, it's just us." AND HE SAYS...
"Here, I want to give you 2nd row tickets." All non-chalant-like. 2nd row tickets!!!!! SECOND ROW TICKETS!!! He handed me two tickets and I stare at them for a minute. I looked at him like, 'What's the catch?' But, what came out of my mouth was, "I think I want to kiss you." He laughed and said, "No, just take them and enjoy the show." I said, "I think I'm going to cry!" (I was seriously tearing up! Is that lame?) He said, "No, don't cry! The company I work for has a block of tickets and these are extra. I saw you and your daughter and thought I'd give them to you." I thanked him about 35 times and he said to have a great time. I asked his name, (Peter) and asked what company. He gave me his card. He works for Marquis Jet which is a private jet company. I asked if I could at least give him a hug and he obliged. Did I mention that he was very good looking, 'cause he was. Very.
And you know what else?? He gave us TWO bags full of free stuff! All Idol stuff you could buy at the souvenir stand! Well over a hundred dollars worth of stuff in each bag plus the bags themselves. Posters, programs, t-shirts, photos (autographed), key chains, buttons...Awesome!!
I stopped and called Bubba and it sounded something like this, "OHMYGOD OHMYGOD! SOMERANDOMGUYJUSTGAVEUS2NDROWTICKETS!" And he was all, "Are you serious?" And I was all, "YES! GOTTAGOBYE!"
So, long bathroom line and two $4.00 pretzels and a $3.75 Sierra Mist later, we head down to find our seats. Down. Down. Down. Floor seats! 2ND ROW SEATS!!! I asked the little usher lady to help me find our 2ND ROW SEATS and she kindly obliged. Let me tell you, our 2ND ROW SEATS were completely amazing and essentially 1st row seats. I sat in disbelief as I used my powers of mental measurement to calculate just how close I would be to MICHAEL JOHNS and how many particles of his breath I would breathe in during the course of the concert.
Behold the $4.00 pretzel. $4.50 with cheese.
OK, so moving on...we people-watched a little and I realized that the people from Marquis Jet in the seats around us were of a slightly higher station than us. Not that I cared, but I just noticed is all. Screw that, I was in the 2ND ROW! And I was armed with a camera, yes I was. Rock on!
Next we were treated to a dancing Pop-Tart. Yawn. Gimme some Michael effing Johns and no one will get hurt!
At one point before the concert started I said, "Now, Braelyn, Mommy might faint when Michael Johns comes out. All you have to do is pour the pop in my face and I will wake up." She cracked up. I was serious.
FINALLY, the concert started! As the 1st of the Top 10 to be eliminated, Chickezie was up first. Let me tell you, Chikezie was AWESOME! I am not kidding. Even if you didn't like him on the show, you would have liked him at the concert. He sang "I Believe To My Soul" which I never thought I would like anyone else doing that song after Elliott Yamin, but oh mah gah! It was so stinkin' good! He also sang "Caught Up" and I thought to myself, 'Chikezie could so totally put on a concert by himself.' I was not even kidding. His other song was slow and I didn't know it and I can't remember the name of it right now. Trust me, it was good.
9th was Ramiele Malubay. I can't say I thought she was the best of the night, but she held her own. Girl is TINY, though. She sang "I Want You Back," some song I didn't know, and "If I Never See Your Face Again" which she did a really good job singing.
So, yeah, did I mention that I was in the SECOND ROW? 'Cause I totally was. OK, OK, so do the math here. 10...9...8 Who was number 8 on the show? My palms were sweaty, (or maybe that was from the drink cup) my heart was racing, I was feeling flush. Dang it Rami-freakin-ele, finish your song and chit chat already! OMGMICHAELJOHNS!!!
The one. The only. Michael Johns. Mere feet from where I was standing! I am not even sure I could ever accurately explain just how damn good MJ was. Seriously outstandingly, amazingly, stupendously, awesome.
Why, yes. That IS my "WOOOOO" toward the end. Thanks for asking.
OK, let me take a minute to explain to you why I have only a teeny tiny snippet of the awesome aussie. See, I went to the concert thinking we were going to watch from section 14, NOT the SECOND ROW! I figured I'd come away with multiple shots of a far away stage with little blurbs of color hardly visible to the naked eye. But, you know, second row. So, I was VERY afraid that I would run out of room on the only memory card I had with me!
Michael appeared at the top of the stairs on the stage wearing jeans and a jacket looking mighty scrumptious. He sang "We Are the Champions"...."We Will Rock You"... the knee-weakening "It's All Wrong But It's All Right." I managed to stay conscious and alert throughout. AND, I took pictures. Most of my Michael pictures are blurry because the man hardly stopped moving. Last was "Dream On." Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. Why was Michael Johns not Top 5? Top 4?? Boy could headline a concert for sure.
At one point, I sent a text to Bubba that said, "I'm leaving with Michael Johns." His answer? "Cool. I get the kids." A few minutes later I sent another. "Nevermind...doesn't do laundry."
The following two photos are from later in the show during a group song.
Oh, yeah, so there was a little more to the concert, but you know, my brain holds on to that number 8 position. Mmmm...Michael Johns...
Sadly, Michael left the stage and I was forced to endure Kristy Lee Cook. Ha ha. I'm joking. Kinda. I managed to get a decent butt shot of KLC for my boy, Slim.
But mostly, KLC did this...
You might remember 'the stance' from the show.
I wanted to like KLC, I really did. I just found myself bored and also dreading, "God Bless the USA." I survived the forced patriotism (jaded much? Me: "No. Just over KLC.") She threw out shirts and she may have mentioned Luke Menard because a few of them did as he was in the audience and is from Indiana, I don't really remember. Then she was done and introduced Carly.
Carly came out singing, "Bring Me to Life" and she rocked the house! Wow, she was great! One more of this year's idols who could headline a show. She was wearing some strange fingers-only black leather gloves which were odd, but otherwise, she looked great.
Carly also sang, "I Drove All Night" and "Crazy On You." She was pretty dang awesome. (Let it be known that as I age, my vocabulary has dwindled to "awesome" "great" and "that sucked.")
Up next was sweet little Brooke. There was the sound of "Let It Be" on the piano and slowly, she rose from the stage playing a baby grand. Way cool! Brooke sounded, dare I say, awesome! It's amazing how much better she even was than on the show. She left the piano, barefoot, and donned her guitar for "1,2,3,4" then went back to the piano for a pretty cool rendition of "Yellow." Brooke was a great way to slow the show down for a few minutes.
It was nearly impossible for me, even with 2nd row seats, to get a good photo of Brooke, but I managed to get a couple.
After Brooke was done, everyone who had already performed, 10-6, came out for a group song. Now, you know how much I normally loathe the group songs on the show, but this was U2's "Pride (In the Name of Love) which was pretty much awesome. Especially when Michael Johns sang!
Intermission was next. Time for a little breather. Peter (the guy who gave us the 2nd row seats ) showed up and asked how the show was going and if we were enjoying it. Then I attacked him and tongue kissed him until the intermission was over.
Or I told him what a great time were having and thanked him yet again. Whatever.
But Peter did tell me something I thought was cool. He said that he had those extra tickets and wanted to give them away and he saw me and Braelyn walk in. He said that Braelyn looked like she was just in awe and was looking around in amazement with wide eyes and he said to himself, "THAT is who I'm giving these tickets to." Braelyn is my favorite child, did I ever tell you that?
My co-worker, Tammy and her daughter, Sarah came up for a visit from the 9th row and showed us the pictures they got with Luke Menard who was sitting near them. Then Braelyn started the pee-pee dance and insisted I take her to the restroom. The nerve! Didn't she know Jason Castro would be next?? So, I lugged all our (free) stuff up off the floor and up the stairs we traipsed only to see the LONGEST. LINE. EVER. to the restrooms. I came thisclose to barging into the men's restroom and pushing her into one of their line-free stalls. But we waited and she danced and about halfway in, we heard music and noise from inside and I resigned myself to the fact that I would miss getting to swoon over Jason Castro. A lady behind us promptly got on her cell phone and screamed, "IS JASON ON NOW???" to which came the reply, "No, it's lame half-time entertainment." Whew. Crisis averted!
Braelyn peed and we sprinted back down the stairs as quickly as I could sprint with lotion-slippery feet on sandals. (You KNOW what I'm talking about, ladies.) We were just in time to see the end of some air-guitar contest or some such thing and FINALLY the ever swoonalicious JASON CASTRO came out with ukelele in hand! Woo Hoo!! And if you ever thought Jason was cute on tv, he is about 100 times so in real life!
Check out those red shoes!
Of course, have ukelele, sing "Somewhere Over the Rainbow." Enjoy this 2nd small snippet I captured as all the while I worried that I wouldn't have enough memory card space!
Jason also sang Gnarls Barkley's "Crazy" (AWESOME!) and "Daydream" which I loved on the show and loved it even more live!
Unfortunately, Jason's time ended and it was time for Syesha. Her hair didn't match the way she was dressed. Her body/dress was all "Sex Kitten!" and her hair was all, "Let's go to Wal-Mart!" She sang the song that won't go away, "Umbahrella" by Rhianna and then two songs I didn't know. She was very Beyonce-like but as with KLC, I was bored and ready for the Davids.
They used the same 'trick' as with Brooke and Archie rose from the stage playing the piano. Only with Smoke! And blue lights! He started his set with "Angels" which was pretty dang fantastic. Let me tell you, this boy has amazing talent! I could tell how much they'd worked with him and WOW! He could hit some crazy high notes he just sounded incredible.
Archie was really funny, though, when he would stop to talk to the audience. He was all tongue-tied and stammering, kind of like he was on the show. He's a really cute kid. Peter, you know, my new best friend? He got to meet them all (damn him!) and said Archie really impressed him and said 'That kid will go places!'
Besides "Angels" Archie also sang, "Apologize" which I love, love, loved! and "Stand By Me" (awesome!) and a really pretty song that I don't know the name of which was a Josh Groban song. Excellent Archie set!
Finally, we had reached YOUR NEXT AMERICAN IDOL! (who I didn't vote for, but you know, it didn't much matter after Michael, Jason and Brooke were gone.) For the third time of the night, they used the "raise out of the stage" trick, but this time there was no piano. I think he started with "Hello" followed by the magic rainbow song, "My Hero" (I could have lived without that one. I can't stand that song.) then "Billie Jean" and "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing." The order may have been different, but those were the songs.
His pants came untied and he was retying them.
Cookie was good and puts on a decent show, but I found myself getting a tad bored. Don't get me wrong, I think he was pretty well 'deserving' of the win, but I was just sort of tuning it out by the 5th song. Perhaps it was because I knew Michael would be back out on the stage soon. I don't know. Maybe it was the stupid V neck t-shirt he had on. (HATE that trend, let me tell ya)
Anyway, Cookie was finally done and it was time for the grand finale group song! Yay! More Michael Johns goodness!! They came out and sang "Please Don't Stop the Music." Another gagalicious song made a little less so by the kids from AI. There was goofiness all around as they all tried to dance and sing and cover the span of the stage.
Now, at the risk of sounding like a silly teenager, it was during this finale song that Michael. Johns. Made. Eye. Contact. With. ME. I am not even kidding! I won't go into detail, but it happened. And then I died.
Epilogue: There is slightly more to the story which includes not very exciting or important details which I shall leave out of this novel. In a nutshell, concert ended, fought the crowd, was going to go outside and try to get an autograph, realized WAY too many people out there waiting, Bubba picked us up, late night dinner at Steak & Shake, home. At least now you know why I fell in love with a man named Peter.
PS You can see ALL of my Idol concert photos over at my flickr set. If you look at the all sizes tab for each photo you can see them all big and detailed. Some of them are good enough but so many of them are super blurry.