Lambert and Idols rock Sports Arena

By Jessica Fryman

As the Sports Arena crowd shrieked at every glimpse of Adam Lambert on pre-show music videos and in merch commercials, it was clear the “American Idols Live” tour stop in San Diego on Saturday would be all about the glam rocker who attended Mt. Carmel High.

And for many in the near-sellout audience, it was.

Several fans sported gray T-shirts emblazoned with Lambert’s face.

Some hoisted “I love you Adam” signs and others shouted his name.

Nearly everyone screamed when he threw off his black studded and spiked jacket to reveal a sleeveless vest while he rocked his hips and swung a blue feather boa during his David Bowie medley.

Lambert, wearing his signature black eyeliner and nail polish, also sang Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love,” “Starlight” by Muse and Tears for Fears’ “Mad World.”

Although the predominantly female fans went crazy for Lambert, their cheering for “American Idol” winner Kris Allen, who sang Kanye West’s “Heartless” and Bill Withers’ “Ain’t No Sunshine,” was just as loud.

The upbeat three-hour concert, which was divided into halves, also starred the other eight finalists from “American Idol’s” Season 8. With a format that counted down to the season’s winner, the show’s two favorites didn’t take the stage until the end of the second half. The audience didn’t seem to mind – they sang along and danced to performances by all the contestants (Michael Sarver, Megan Joy Corkrey, Scott MacIntyre, Lil Rounds, Anoop Desai, Matt Giraud, Allison Iraheta, Danny Gokey, Lambert and Allen). The music ranged from hip-hop to R&B to alternative.

The night flowed quickly from one Idol’s solo set to the next. Among the highlights: Lil Rounds’ rendition of Beyoncé’s “Single Ladies” had some singing along and dancing in the aisles. Desai had the crowd howling “Anooooooop” between songs that included Bobby Brown’s “My Prerogative.” Matt Giraud’s piano and vocals on “Georgia on my Mind,” complete with a hat and theatrical wipe of his brow, also garnered heavy applause.

A group medley with the top six finalists featured dueling pianos by MacIntyre and Giraud on Billy Joel’s “Tell Her About It.”

Iraheta, the 17-year-old little girl with a big voice, rocked Pink’s “So What” to start the second half of the show, and fired up fans for the top three who were to follow. She finished off her solos with Janis Joplin’s “Cry Baby” and Heart’s “Barracuda.” She returned later to duet with Lambert on Foghat’s “Slow Ride.”

Although it didn’t elicit quite as many cheers as Lambert’s dancing, which would follow, Gokey swung his hips to Santana’s “Maria Maria” in his second number and finished his set with two Rascal Flatts hits.

The show closed with a choreographed finale featuring the entire crew doing Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” with the crowd singing along – and not a judge in sight.

The Idols have more than 40 stops left on their tour, which ends in mid-September in New England.

This story was originally published in The San Diego Union-Tribune
on July 20, 2009.
Original story on The San Diego Union-Tribune website.