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Throwback Thursday: Blake Lewis 10/10/08

Headliner: Blake Lewis
Opener(s): None
Venue: Mohegan Sun
Cost: Free

Setlist: Unknown


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Throwback Thursday: American Idols 9/6/08

Headliner: American Idols
Opener(s):  Chikiezie, Ramile Maluby, Brooke White, Jason Castro, Michael Johns, Kristy Lee Cook, Carly Smithson, Syesha Mercado, David Archuleta, David Cook
Venue: Arena at Harbor Yard
Cost: $80


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Nick Fradiani at College Street Music Hall

May 13, 2015 – Nick Fradiani wins American Idol.  May 13, 2016, Nick Fradiani does a headlining set back home in Connecticut.  Which if I’m not mistaken was his first headlining show in the state – not including the Idol tour.  On the bill for the night also included some other great acts from Connecticut – Sarah Barrios, Ian Biggs and The Alternate Routes.

This was my first trip to the new College Street Music Hall in New Haven and I have to say I was very impressed with it.  I opted to get tickets for the balcony, but the floor was split GA and chairs and has several levels to stand on so I think it would be a great place to see some other shows as well and I will definitely consider returning! (It helps that there is a parking garage directly across the street as well!)

Unlike previous Idol winners, Nick’s debut album was not rushed out shortly after the season ended.  It has been a year and it is not out yet despite many of us pre-ordering it shortly after the season ended.  Nick announced that the album would be out August 5th with music starting in July – a song a week to those who preordered until the release date.  It will be called “Hurricane” and he did several songs which I assume will end up on the album.

His set was a combination of original songs and covered.  His band was made up of his Beach Avenue band and his father.  Throughout the show he was struggling with a mic that kept turning off and in ears  that didn’t seem to stay in his ear that he had to keep fixing throughout the show.  He alternated between standing behind the mic with his guitar and leaving all the music to the band and walking around the stage grabbing hands.

My only “complaint” was that he didn’t mention all the song titles.  It seems that someone else has been paying more attention than me though, since has the entire setlist with the exception of one song (You’re still breaking my heart?) but the great thing about is that if someone updates the list – the list I have posted here will update as well.

Nick also promised to come back every year to play for as long as he is playing music.

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Book Review: Go Big Or Go Home

scottySeason 10 is my favorite season of American Idol, so I was pretty excited when I saw that Scotty McCreery had written a book and that the publisher granted my wish to read and review it on NetGalley!

It was really cool to read about all the effort that went into Scotty eventually deciding to try out for Idol – how his Mom had forged his signature to sign him up for a local Idol competition (you’d think it would have been the other way around with the kid forging the parents signature!) and how he always used to sing Elvis on the bus to the kids on the way to school.  How his parents took him to Milwaukee to audition – and they didn’t even tell his sister that they went!

He recalls the reasoning behind choosing the songs that he did and talks a lot about how he still wanted to play baseball for his high school and even went back to finish his senior year after he won Idol. That was something I really admired about Scotty – not only did he go back to finish school (he said that he would never again have a graduation from high school with all his friends, but tours and everything else he could) he also went to college and scheduled his tours around that! He just seems like such a sweet, down to earth home town boy.

Scotty is also the national goodwill ambassador for the 12.14 foundation – which hit close to home for me since I am from CT and have a few connections to some of the people who lost their life that day in Newtown. I think he is a perfect fit even if he is not from CT.

I received a free e-copy of this book in order to write this review. I was not otherwise compensated.

About the Book

It was just a simple singing competition that would be fun to audition for. Who knew what kind of doors it might open for a sixteen-year-old from Garner, North Carolina.

Go Big or Go Home is the story of a kid with country songs in his soul. The special thing with Scotty McCreery, however, is that he has this God-given ability to sing those tunes the exact way they should be sung. Daring to enter the limelight at such a young age, Scotty finds himself embraced by the nation, and even overseas, as he competes on “American Idol”. This is his journey from his North Carolina roots to winning America’s most popular singing competition and launching a musical career he had always dreamt about.

Go Big or Go Home narrates Scotty’s journey from a kid imitating Elvis on the school bus to 30 million across America tuning in to see him win Season 10 of “American Idol”. Now as he completes his ground-breaking fourth album, Scotty shares a glimpse of where he came from and the impact his faith, family and friends have had on a humbled guy who keeps asking “why me?”

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Throwback Thursday: Elliott Yamin 11/21/07


Headliner: Elliott Yamin
Opener(s): Josh Hoge, The Last Goodnight
Venue: The Webster Theatre
Cost: $24


Find a Way
Take My Breath Away
I’m In Love With You Forever
Sharing The Night Together
Train Wreck
Little Ghetto Boy
Wait For You
One Word
Movin’ On

Recap:  This show was just before Thanksgiving and I had gotten my Mom tickets and she was not happy that she had to go out and miss prepping for our meal! Elliott put on a great show.  The Last Goodnight was the opener and they were from Connecticut. I don’t think they are making music anymore.

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Kris Allen at Cafe 939

Saturday I was supposed to head to Boston with a friend for another night of Kris, but unfortunately my friend had to back out of the trip.  I wasn’t sure I could get to Boston alone and got a refund on our VIP passes and kept trying to sell or give away the tickets but had no one interested.  A friend of mine from MA ended up agreeing to meet me at the T stop by the venue and I decided to try and be adventurous and ride the T into Boston on my own.  I had done it before with friends and never remembered it being a problem, but it had been 3 years since I last was in Boston so I was hoping that my memory didn’t fail me.  I drove the 2 hours to the train stop, took the T in which took about 45 minutes and then ended up walking from the T to the venue on my own since it was just around the corner and was quite pleased with my accomplishment.  I’m usually very focused on what I “can’t” do, or rather what I *think* I can’t do, so I was happy that I tried it and it worked out.

Everything for this show seemed to be delayed.  VIP was supposed to be at 5 but was pushed to 5:30 (I bought a new pass that morning) but it was much later by the time we got let inside.  Once again, Kris was waiting for us.  And as I approached he said “there she is again! Hello, Katie. How are you?”  He had remembered me from the night before!  He did Way Up High and then took photos and chatted with everyone.  I opted to stay seated while he went through the line and then he was ready to leave before taking a picture with me! He apologized, I told him about how I wasn’t sure I could go but my friend Jon had offered to help – and if he could please play Jon’s song request I’d really appreciate it.  He told me he had already planned on playing it.  Then I told him about how last night I was way in the back and tonight I pointed out where they were sitting me and he said “we can get you a chair closer. I think we can make that happen” and sure enough he was able to get me a chair right in the front row so I could see everything 🙂  (The venue had said next time to let them know ahead of time so they could make accommodations for me – when their website said to either call OR talk to them when you get there. I didn’t call because I didn’t know until that morning I was going and by the time I did know I had to start driving there. Plus I didn’t think grabbing a chair was something that was difficult and required such advanced notice. Silly me.)

For the most part the setlist was the same as the night before. He didn’t add in Alright With Me, but instead did I Remember You as the first song of the encore.  He also had fans come up on stage and dance during Everybody Just Wants To Dance.  He again talked a bit about the Idol finale and how Nigel kept saying to him, “Kris, get your fans off my back!” because they were not happy he was not included in the show on Tuesday night that was a retrospective on the season.  He teased we should all tweet him now 😉

Before playing Jon’s request he had everyone in the audience say Hi to him since he was in the front row and Kris wanted everyone to know he was not a plant! It was another great show and Jon went again to NH but unfortunately I have this thing called work on Monday morning and couldn’t do a 3rd show in a row! (Which had 4 tickets left when I got home after the show but was sold out by the time show time came around! Yeah Kris!)

The ride home on the T was just about as uneventful as the ride there – with the exception of the guy using crutches who had to yell “MISS! MISS!” at me until I said hi to him… ooook.  I don’t know if he thought he knew me or if he just felt a bond because I had my cane… but it was certainly interesting.

Kris Allen Setlist Cafe 939, Boston, MA, USA 2016

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Idol Thoughts: Finale Week


Overall, I thought that Idol did a pretty good job giving the series a sendoff this past week.  Although, I think the show(s) really should have been a bit longer.  Ideally, I’d have liked to see at least 13-14 weeks of Top __ episodes with past winners coming back to mentor or guest judge like they had Kelly do and maybe feature some of the other contestants more in a “where are they now?” type thing rather than have them just on stage for a minute when I couldn’t even make out who was who. (and apparently all of them weren’t even invited for that)

I also felt like this years crew got screwed a bit – there was no fun finale of them singing with other stars or anything like that since everything was so focused on the past contestants. And they don’t even get to tour either. Poor season 15.

Finale definitely needed more from the winners – I mean, the white guys with guitars medley of Bowie songs was cool – but these guys WON and you have Constantine singing more than them? I mean, cmon.  And Colton Dixon gets to sing his latest single?  (Kris was teasing in his show on Saturday that he should have kicked Carrie Underwood off the stage and said it was his time to promote HIS album and HIS tour lol)

I was bummed Dalton came in 3rd – but was also pretty much expecting it since LaPorsha and Trent were the front-runners from the get go. I was happy to see that Trent won, of the two, he was my pick.  I just hope that their careers take off… I don’t like Big Machine being in charge – Nick Fradiani STILL hasnt released an album and its been almost a year now.  Hopefully it’ll kick ass and get a ton of promo once it is actually released? For both Nick and Trent…

And of course… Ryan ending with “for now” was a nice touch to get people to keep talking about the show.  Will it be back in a new format? I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.


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Kris Allen at Daryl’s House

Friday night I decided to make the trip to Pawling NY (just over an hour away) to see Kris Allen’s Letting You In Tour at “Daryl’s House”.  Daryl’s House is owned Daryl Hall of Hall and Oates.  Since I knew I would have to head there right after work, I opted to get myself a single ticket to the 7:30 dinner seating and a VIP package to meet Kris before the show.  We were told to get there at 5:45 to meet Kris starting at 6, I ended up getting there about 5:30.

When I entered the venue, Kris and his band were doing sound check.  I was told that the VIP had been pushed back to 7 and I could be seated at 6, but to head to the bar area until they began seating.  At 6 when sound check was over, an announcement was made that anyone with VIP should head to the back door. We were checked in and headed through a series of doors to a backstage room where Kris was waiting for us.  We chatted with him a bit about the Idol finale the night before and he talked about the gold jacket he was wearing and the Bowie medley that he did with the other guys.  Everyone seemed to agree that they thought the show needed more Kris!  Then Kris played a couple of songs for us – Way Up High and Alright With Me and had us sing along with him.  Then we did photos and autographs and some more chatting.

When I headed back out front, I asked if I could sit at any table or if they were assigned and was told that they were assigned and that the 3 people who had “single” tickets were all going to be sitting together.  That was fine with me, since I kind of figured that was going to happen.  What I didn’t think was going to happen was that it would be the table all the way in the back corner!  There were 3 of us, 2 of which had VIP which should signify we are pretty big fans of Kris… and wished to be up a lot closer.  Now, don’t get me wrong, it’s not the same as being in the back row at an arena by any means, but it just seemed kind of crappy that the singles were stuck in the corner and not in the front section.

As more people filled in I began to realize that the people who were standing in the section between the lower area and the upper were certainly going to ruin my view.  I spent most of the night in strange contortions in order to be able to see Kris.  Another “fun” part of this venue is that the only cameras they allow are cell phones and you can only record short snippets of the songs, not full songs, which was apparently at the artists request.

Having just gotten a Galaxy S7 which was supposed to be good for photos in low light I at least felt a little better about things, but wished I was closer.  We were “allowed” to move up closer to take photos – but that also involved going down 2 steps without a railing or maneuvering myself down and around the ramp (where the SRO people were standing) so needless to say, I didn’t opt to do that.

The show was a lot of fun and featured many of the songs off of the new album, Letting You In. He also had a lot of fun bantering back and forth with some people in the crowd and at the bar and at one point sang “we can heaarrr you” to the bar after they made a comment lol

The other girl that was VIP at my table was from Dublin (yes, Ireland) and during the last song, Kris mentioned she was there.  When he asked where she was and he realized she was in the back he commented on how they couldn’t find a better seat for her? Really? And had her come up on stage with him as well as another fan that had traveled from France! You can see the video I took below.

Kris Allen Setlist Daryl's House, Pawling, NY, USA 2016

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Idol Thoughts: Top 3


Last week I predicted that it might be MacKenzie who went home, and that as just what happened this week – after he did one of the most over done songs ever, Hallelujah. I didn’t get to watch this week live once again, since I was at the Parachute concert (more on that tomorrow).  When I finally sat down to watch it on Saturday I found myself bored, so I think I am ok with the fact that it will be the finale this week.  While I think that both Trent and LaPorsha are great singers, it is kind of boring to have them come out and do the same thing week after week.  It’s also no secret that Dalton has me hypnotized, but at least he changes things up from week to week too.

While I would love for Dalton to make it to the Top 2, I think that he will be finishing with 3rd place, though I am happy to be wrong on this one.

I am looking forward to seeing many of the past Idols coming back for the finale to hopefully give the show a proper send off.

Also a bummer, it was announced that there would be no tour this summer with any of the finalists.  Here I was ready to shell out all sorts of cash to meet Dalton. Oh well, hopefully he will come by on his own tour in the not so distant future.

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Idol Top 4



This season has flown by. Finale in 2 weeks!? (It’s also a shortened season) Sad.  Last week I said I expected for Sonika to go home, and that is just who went home this week.  Now that we are down to a Top 4 of Trent, LaPorsha, MacKenzie and Dalton, it is getting tougher and tougher to decide who will be going home next week.  3/4 of my favorites are still in the competition and I think I’ve finally turned a corner and will admit that I do like MacKenzie and have gotten over the fact that he was on The Voice.

Each of the Top 4 had 2 songs to sing – a classic rock song and a Sia song.  I ended up watching this episode twice because my reactions seemed to be so different from the judges after the first pass, but I have to say that I think Dalton absolutely KILLED IT this week and I will be absolutely devastated if he is going home.  I’ve been saying that I think there will be a shocking LaPorsha elimination and this is probably the week for that.  I read an article with Kris Allen that said that he didn’t think LaPorsha would win and that those who are consistently good don’t win but the ones who have grown the most do.  If not a shocking LaPorsha elimination, it may be MacKenzie’s time to go.

Classic Rock Songs

LaPorsha – Wanted Dead or Alive – I like that this was a completely unexpected choice for her (suck it, Borchetta) And she still killed it

MacKenzie – I Want You To Want Me – I actually really liked this and didn’t think I was going to. (he’s no Zac Hanson tho)

Trent – Sharp Dressed Man – This one fell flat for me. I’m like the opposite of everyone else tonight

Dalton – God Only Knows – Loved this. Kind of weird to hear it as 1 person and not harmonies though!

Sia Songs

LaPorsha  – Elastic Heart – Good. But I think next week will be her shocking elimination. another one bites the dust, its hard to lose the chosen one. (Did she predict her own fate with the song? I used to have a theory that whoever sang about going home went home, which actually seemed to be accurate more often than not)

MacKenzie – Titanium – Not really a fan of that version of the song.

Trent – Chandelier – I’m not sure I like this slowed down version. It’s almost a lullaby.

Dalton – Bird Set Free – I haven’t heard this song before but I loved it! Perfect song for Dalton. So freaking good. I just want to listen to it over and over again! (Why isn’t it on iTunes!?)



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