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Concert Reviews:
Hometown "Idol" Gets His Moment At The Palace

Of the Oakland Press

Posted: Thursday, August 27, 2009

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AUBURN HILLS -- Adam rocked the house and Kris got arguably the loudest applause. But it was still Matt's moment when American Idols Live! dropped into town Wednesday night (Aug. 26) at the Palace.

The show marked a homecoming for Matt Giraud, the Ypsilanti-raised "Idol" finalist who finished fifth in the show's eight season. "Let me hear you scream if you love Matt Giraud!" fellow "Idol" Anoop Desai ordered the crowd shortly before the piano-playing Giraud took the stage and closed the first half with a short set that included Otis Redding's "Hard to Handle," Ray Charles' "Georgia on My Mind" and the Fray's "You Found Me."

"It's good to be home!" Giraud, who said Wednesday afternoon he had an estimated 200 guests coming to the show, necessitating a separate room for his meet-and-greet session. "A couple of years ago I used to play right down the block...I used to close my eyes and imagine you all here."

Giraud, who's currently writing songs and looking for a recording contract, also told the crowd he'd told his fellow "Idols" that "you'd be an amazing crowd, so you better make me look good."

After his set, Giraud took part in a pre-intermission medley during which he played Billy Joel's "Tell Her About It" on dueling pianos with Scott MacIntyre and joined MacIntyre, Desai and Michael Sarver on the Four Seasons' "Beggin'."

Despite the home town bonhomme, however, it was all too clear who the far-from-capacity 11,000 "Idol" devotees came to see at the show, which was overall a polished recitation of the 10 finalists' best moments on "Idol" -- kind of like a karaoke night with bland but better-than-average singers. The screams were roof-raising as runner-up Adam Lambert took the stage dressed in black and straddled his microphone stand while singing Led Zeppelin's "Whole Lotta Love." Lambert, the most poised and ready-for-prime-time -- at least on stage -- of this "Idol" crew, also ran through Muse's "Starlight" and Tears For Fears' "Mad World" before dipping back into classic rock territory for Foghat's "Slow Ride" (with the overmatched Allison Iraheta) and a medley of David Bowie hits ("Life on Mars?," "Fame" and "Let's Dance") that gave his pelvis as much of a workout as his vocal chords. If the music thing doesn't work out, there's always Chippendales.

Lambert's high-octane performance was certainly tough to follow for lower-key "Idol" champ Kris Allen. He was musically the most consistent act of the night and kept the energy up with his opening couplet of Kanye West's "Heartbeat" and the Killers' "All These Things That I've Done," but when he took the piano for Bill Withers' "Ain't No Sunshine" it was the first time of the night the crowd sat down en masse, and stayed there for matchbox twenty's "Bright Lights." Allen got 'em up again for the Beatles' "Hey Jude," but even the finale -- a cast run-through of Journey's "Don't Stop Believing" -- didn't quite recapture Lambert's level of engagement.

So far only Allen, Lambert and Iraheta are set with recording deals, though Sarver and MacIntyre claim they'll have albums out in the near future as well. The test will be whether we're still talking about them when the next group of "Idols" rolls through town in 2010.

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff


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