Carey's Idol and Viper Room Recap

I went with three friends to the concert at the Staples Center.  We had to get there early to stake out the front row of the box we were in.  The box seats are pretty high up, and this one is just to the side of the stage.  I had read so many other reviews of the shows, I tried not to form expectations.  Of course, I read in GC’s review of the Albany show that there was fried dough at the concessions stand.  Apparently, fried dough had laryngitis last night.  There was no press release about it, which I thought was very strange and a little suspicious.  (Dodger Dogs have much better pr people here.)  There were lots of sad dough fans crying on the curb when they found out.  Well, one.  But you know what, we had ham and Gruyere sandwiches on pretzel rolls and by the end of the concert, I really think we had forgotten all about fried dough.

Mandisa sang.

Ace sang.  He told us, “It good to be back home!” which confused the audience a little.  He explained that he had been living in Los Angeles for the past 4 years, and since that’s about how long most of the L.A. population has lived here, we welcomed him back home enthusiastically.

Lisa:  Lots of cheering for Lisa and a whole section in front of us stood up with signs.  She seemed very appreciative.

Paris:  When the duet started, I thought, “Oh no!  All those reviews are right!  Paris really isn’t that good in the show!”  But she told us to get up for Midnight Train to Georgia and we obeyed.  She started her Beyonce song and it felt like an electric current zapped the whole arena.  Maybe it was her song choices, but Paris was our favorite of the first half.

Bucky:  I just love Bucky.  I love when he sings southern rock songs.  I love wondering if he’s speaking English, or if I’m having a TIA, and then waiting for my left arm to go numb or some other sign that it’s me.  I have to admit, the one night I was shocked by American Idol was the week Bucky was voted off.  Not that I thought he should win, but there were far more irritating contestants who could have gone before him in order that we could enjoy a little more time with Bucky.  At one point during the night, I’m pretty sure he said, “Blabibitty-blabitty-blah.”  And if that wasn’t it, well, we wouldn’t have known the difference - we loved him all the same.

Kellie:  She sang.  Bless her heart.

Chris:  The roar of the crowd for Chris was deafening and the strobe lights were blinding.  It was a sensory assault.  He did a great job on every song.

Elliott was my bathroom break.  I took as long as I possibly could, but Moody’s Mood for Love was STILL playing when I got back. He’s not my type of singer and he doesn’t sing the type of songs that I enjoy listening to.  Just one less person to fight over him.

Kat:    Katherine was the biggest surprise of the night for me.  Her voice was very strong, she looked beautiful and she was completely confident on the stage.  She seemed distracted a few times during Think, maybe by an earpiece or her positioning or the potential for a wardrobe malfunction, but it was fun.  She did a beautiful job with SOTR.  For the first time, I understood why she went as far in the competition as she did.  When she is on, she is really, really on, and when, against all odds she is bad, she is horrid.  From where I sat last night, she seemed really on.  Lots of applause for Katherine – not as much as for Chris, but the crowd was definitely loud and appreciative.  On the other hand, she mentioned that it was her hometown at least 3 times and it sounded awkward to me every time.  She said something along the lines of, “Look at all the orange thingies!  Awww, thanks guys.”  Ace sounded far more natural when he said it was good to be home!

Taylor:  Taylor came out and there was a smattering of applause.  Most of the fans had left already to beat the traffic.  (Just checking to see if you were still with me.)  I thought I would enjoy the opening more.  You think he’s started singing and you are looking around to figure out where the heck he is, the song is hard to hear and it doesn’t look like he will ever make it to the stage. He was halfway through Hollywood Nights before I even felt oriented to his performance.  I enjoyed Living for the City, but I was actually glad to hear DIMYP.  Coming after Katherine’s powerhouse set, Jailhouse Rock seemed a little weak, and it was nice to listen to have something in there to show Taylor can belt it out if he wants to.  Of course, he came back to sing TI2TS, which was phenomenal.  He’s a whirling dervish.  And then zip – his part was over!  The whole thing felt like I had accidentally pressed fast-forward on my TiVo again.  After the group numbers ended, one of my friends turned to me and said, “It’s a good thing you got those Viper Room tickets - that was not enough Taylor!”  All in all, the AI concert felt just like the show, which was all I wanted from it, except that Taylor’s set was just a tease and somewhat unfulfilling.  I can imagine that it would have been a different experience from a floor seat.

We took our time getting to the Viper Room, which you can picture as the size of someone’s living room with a stage jammed in the corner, if you happen to know anyone whose living room has fat, black posts randomly blocking the sight lines.  I must have been a few people behind Dana on the right side of the stage.  When LMBO started, we had a great view and we were instantly absorbed in the music.  I momentarily forgot Taylor was coming, we were having such a good time.  No sooner did Taylor hop on stage, but a group of very tall women pushed their way in front of me.  End of view.  The woman in front of me didn’t even twitch to prove that she could hear the music.  A guy joined them, they didn’t seem to be speaking English, and then they were doing some unfortunate grinding and bumping into me.  I was relieved to read Jane Reaction’s posts about the Venice hostel group, because that finally explains these people.  During the break, they left and all was good again.

Despite the distractions, I had a fantastically good time.  Taylor was just incredible and the band was amazing.  I don’t have any sufficient means to express it, so I shouldn’t even try.  I’ll just say that it was better than I could have even hoped.  When Elliott joined them on the stage, he was terrific - I enjoyed every song he sang AND the way he sang it.  When Bucky appeared, my heart lifted even higher than it was already, if that was possible, even if his role was limited to backup dancer and window dressing.  By the way, Bucky spoke so clearly into the microphone at one point, he proved that his mic was on and he can enunciate if he wants to.  I just wanted to note the contrast between seeing Taylor and Elliott in the arena setting and seeing them with just 250 other people from six feet away.  I was left with such a different impression, and was far more satisfied, than I would have been from the arena concert alone.  Many thanks to MJ and the folks who posted about the Viper Room show here and on the Boogie Board, because I never would have known of it otherwise and it was an incredible experience.  I thought I would recognize some MJ regulars at the Viper Room based on everyone’s descriptions and pictures, but I had no luck.  Next time.