Kathryn’s Review of the Baltimore Show

Hi everyone!

I am so glad that I was able to attend the concert to experience the fire of James live! As a performer, producer, director, adjudicator and observer of music for so many years I do have a wealth of experience to draw from when critiquing these performances. Here goes…

Overall the performances were good. The sets were simple, the color combinations interesting and a bit funky and the costumes were adequate. The girls spent most of the night in sequined dresses and heels. The guys were more varied in suits, casual wear and rock attire. The band was very good and never missed a beat! But the sound mix and volume were much too loud and overwhelming for most of the singers. That did not have to happen. The producers have control on the board and I am disappointed that they allowed the background instrumentals to overshadow the singers.

James was the only one that could be heard consistently above the fray. When the girls sang back up they could not be heard. I deal with this all the time with my opera orchestras. The conductor has to remind them continually that they are the background music when the singers are performing. In opera the sound is not miked in the way that the AI performances are. What you hear is what you get, and therefore cannot be controlled at a sound board. In my opinion there is no excuse for such imbalance of sound in the Idol situation! I realize that in these cavernous arenas the sound production is always a challenge because without mikes the sound drops off right in front of the singer, but better balance is certainly possible!

Lauren was sick and did not perform. It would have been in the audience’s best interest for AI to have made contingency plans ahead of times for such occurrences and rehearsed additional songs for James and others to perform in such cases! They did not and the concert was 5 spots shorter. Disappointing!! It appears that everyone was in quite a hurry to get to NYC for GMA and the focus was on the GMA performance not this one. Not filling in Lauren’s spots kept the show much shorter and got them on their way more quickly. Too bad for those of us who shelled out our $ for a full show!

The audience was enthusiastic and engaged the entire time, but as you will see only a very few really excited them!

The girls opened the show with Born This Way and it was their best group song of the night. It was one of the few times that they could actually all be heard. They all looked beautiful and were very strong vocally. The arrangement allowed them each to be featured significantly. Most of the audience sat!

“The Pia show” continued with Empire State of Mind. Her voice was powerful. She looked lovely, but her performance skills are very elementary and the audience was underwhelmed. Most sat!

Then it was – wait for it – Pia and Stefano with California King Bed. The sound mix went haywire for this song and there was a lot of feedback and sound distortion. What I could hear was good – they have a nice balance together, but they had very little fire for each other or the audience. The audience sat!

Paul appeared next to sing Maggie May. He is so comfortable on stage and knows how to get the audience involved. He actually acknowledged the audience – what a concept – and got a lot of the audience on their feet for the first time. His vocals were vintage Paul and his movements quirky and a lot of fun!

Thia sang next – Who Says. She gives a very soft, vulnerable appearance. She looked lovely and sang well, but her movement was not terribly inspired. Her sound is a lot like Pia’s – just not as powerful! The audience sat!

The girls performed Tightrope next. This was not a favorite of mine. Again they looked lovely and the harmonies that I could hear were very good and their solos sections somewhat stronger. Just not very interesting IMO. The audience sat.

Stefano appeared next to sing Grenade. He received a really good reception. His vocals were terrific and he looked great in black and white. He seemed to connect fairly well with the audience.

Stefano joined all of the girls next to sing DJ Got Us Falling In Love. Stefano really got the crowd wound up and many stood. But the vocals were completely overwhelmed. Maddening!

All of the men (except Scotty) sang Animal next. James was first to appear to thunderous applause. The audience screamed and leaped to their feet in one spontaneous movement. It was so good to see! Wow! The arrangement was good and the vocals strong periodically. Most of the time the voices were overshadowed by the background instrumentals. Only James and occasionally Jacob could be heard consistently above the fray!

Naima was next to sing On the Floor. She was fantastic. Her vocals were strong and her African dancing was phenomenal. She is a marvelous performer when her dancing is incorporated. She has a very unique niche to fill! The audience went crazy for her dancing. She had many of them on their feet by the end of her song! Terrific!!

Pia is back next to sing her new single – This Time. Her vocals were very good. The song is not a favorite for me. The melody is uninspiring and at times monotonous. Her movement so limited and she does not reach out to the audience to engage them. The audience is not terribly responsive and sits. The clapping is tepid at the finish.

Firework is not sung as Lauren is sick. No announcement is made that she is sick until intermission.

Casey sings Smooth next. The crowd receives him enthusiastically and some stand. He plays the bass masterfully and his vocals are very creative – great scat! He plays very well to the audience and they are very appreciative. A lot of fun!! Some stand!

Haley joins Casey next for Moanin. A lot of distortion in the sound of this duet! It is a shame because Haley and Casey are an evenly matched pair vocally. Their scatting was very good and the ending terrific! Many stand by the end.

Next Casey sings Harder to Breathe. He is at ease once again, but very difficult to hear until the very end. His movement is very creative. And the background visuals are very effective – a kaleidoscope of white smoke signals. The audience is up and down.

Everyone (except Scotty) comes out to end the first half and sings Forget You. The bright pink outfits are a bit much on the men. But the arrangement is good and so are the vocals. Everyone but James is featured several times vocally and moves back and forth to center stage. He sings only once and stays stage left. I will address this later.

Intermission – An announcement is made that Lauren is ill. I speak to a lot of people at intermission. This is strong country music “country” in MD and PA and there are a lot of Scotty and Lauren fans attending. But everyone I spoke to loved James and wanted him at least in the final and a most thought he would win. Many complained about the push for Pia and felt she was like ice. When I asked who was on fire without hesitation it was James. All were hoping James would sing extra numbers in the 2nd half to replace Lauren’s – as everyone else, except James, Paul and Scotty, were heavily featured in the first half! It did not happen and there was a lot of grumbling after the show that it did not happen and that Pia dominated the stage.

Lauren’ 2 solos are gone as is the girls’ quartet, If I Die Young.

The lights go down for the second half and suddenly the guitar begins the music for Sweet Child o’ Mine. Everyone leaps to their feet spontaneously once again screaming and shouting for James. Many are on their chairs straining to get a glimpse of him and taking pictures. I am surprised that anyone got a video of James. They were very strict about not letting us record! He is everything that any of us have imagined. His entrance gave me chills! The energy from the crowd was so uplifting and the volume was ear splitting – and it never let up! James is the only one, including Scotty, who maintained this level of audience participation and energy level the entire time he was on stage. It has to be experienced to be believed. He was never still. His vocals were strong and matched the band’s sound note for note. His movement was mesmerizing! And he connects emotionally to the audience in a way the others cannot. He is so gifted, I cannot express this enough!

Next James sang Uprising. I was most interested in hearing this for pitch reasons. The tube videos of this have shown pitch discrepancies all tour long and pitch is one of James’ strengths. The audience continued its fevered pitch and he was magnificent. He put so much energy into this piece and his pitch was just PERFECT (when I returned home I found a video of Uprising on the Tube from Baltimore and again those pitch discrepancies appear on the recorded version even tough he was pitch perfect live). The mystery was solved for me – the sound distortion continues to be a problem in the piece as it records! As I have said many times, Uprising is very operatic in nature and is the most difficult piece anyone sings on the tour. (James has stated that he did not choose to sing the 2 songs he was given. He would had chosen differently had he been given the chance. He would never have chosen to sing “Uprising” 45 times voluntarily. And when he was so sick he should have been allowed to sing something else much less taxing). Both performances this night just confirmed everything I have thought about James’ capabilities. Experiencing him live just adds an extra dimension to an already outstanding, “one of a kind” performer.

Next dear Jacob comes out to sing Never Too Much. Well, apparently James’ performances are too much for Jacob’s performances. The audience disengages as soon as James leaves the stage. Jacob has very strong vocals and his movement on stage has greatly improved; but Jacob just cannot get them back! James has “left the building” and the audience has left with him and tunes Jacob out for the most part. I felt for Jacob. But it certainly emphasizes James’ power over an audience.

The girls join Jacob for You’re All I Need To Get By. The audience is still disengaged. Jacob has strong vocals and lots of energy, but the girls cannot be heard AT ALL. Bummer!

It’s Haley’s turn to sing House of the Rising Sun. Her vocals that I could hear were outstanding and the audience began to engage once again by the end. But her stage movement was very limited on this piece, and her vocals were very overshadowed.

Bennie and the Jets was Haley’s best vocal and best performance. Her movement was fairly creative and she got the crowd back on its feet by the end! Great job!

There was a big build up to Scotty and this country crowd was on its feet shouting and cheering until he finally appeared and the volume went through the roof, just as it had for James. He sang Your Man first. The crowd remained fairly engaged, but Scotty has very elementary performance skills and had trouble keeping them on their feet for his entire set the way that James did.

Next Scotty sang Are You Going to Kiss Me Or Not. This song is a better crowd pleaser. Scotty’s vocals are strong. He plays the guitar and most of the crowd is back up.

Scotty loses the audience with his single, I Love You This Big. Most of them sit. IMO the melody is monotonous and very uninteresting. The crowd apparently agrees, because they were not terribly engaged.

Lauren’s duet with Scotty is out and so the next song Scotty sings is Gone. This is Scotty’s best performance and the audience is the most engaged with him for it! A lot of energy for this final solo.

The show ends with a medley. I only saw James sing Here I Go Again alone as I was hurrying out the to find a place to meet James. Please watch this video

and especially look for the expression on the faces of the band members as James descends the stairs to the floor and really opens it up vocally. Their reaction to him says it all. It says this young man is just the best! He never ceases to amaze. This is a short but amazing vocal from James and his energy and use of the stage for even this brief moment is totally engaging. Audiences will flock to his performances for years to come.

Finally, I have to say that I was very glad that I went to experience all the singers but most especially James. He is a phenomenon. A very rare organic and naturally gifted performer who excels in all 3 areas: vocal technique, emotional interpretation and impact, and creative performance skills. This is why for the life of me I cannot understand why Idol so under used him in this production. They did and it is deliberate. It was very obvious to all attending. For his position in the final standings he has the fewest solos, duets, and absolutely no outstanding exposure in the group numbers. There is absolutely no excuse for it unless there was a falling out with someone who wanted to put James in his place. Well, they have only made James stronger in the eyes of his fans and audience members and made themselves look smaller. Shame on them for deliberately trying to silence such talent. It is small and childish. Perhaps James is a challenge at times to deal with. I don’t know. But if every performer who ever had a difficult moment was cast aside the stage would be a mighty empty place. I just want to shout from the mountain top to all who will hear:

James is such a blessing to the world of music and performance and such a wonderful example to all who struggle to rise above and for all of us who strive to be the best that we can be. Let his light shine and his voice soar! We will all be the better for it!

\,,/ Kathryn McCarney \,,/

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James Durbin proving he’s born to be on stage

“American Idol” season 10’s resident metalhead, James Durbin, is sitting with the rest of the Top 11 Idols in USAirways Center’s Toyota Club in downtown Phoenix watching the women’s soccer team lose to Japan.

When he swaggers by for an interview at a table away from the action, you know that he’s still connected, living vicariously through his friends’ screams of near-missed goals.

But Durbin, who famously was eliminated from the show prematurely, landing in fourth place, turns his focus to the reporter when asked about the American Idol Live! Tour 2011, which comes to Joe Louis Arena on Sunday.

“I try and bring everything that I am going to bring to my tour and to my album to this,” Durbin said intently. “This is kind of like the pre-show for my show. It really shows what I can do on a big stage. Every single city that we go to, my whole goal is to show everyone in attendance that I belong on that stage.”

He has several supporters who already believe that.

Stars tweeted their disappointment when Durbin was kicked off after singing Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin'” and the Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller-penned “Love Potion No. 9.” One such backer is fellow rocker Chris Jericho, a former WWE wrestler who fronts the metal band Fozzy. Durbin’s love of wrestling was evident when legendary grappler Hulk Hogan made a guest appearance on the show.

“That was really cool,” Durbin said with a wide grin. “We exchanged numbers. I’m trying to get him to come out to the Orlando show. I’m going to see if he’s not too busy. It was intense.”

While wrestling is an important part of his character, the loves of his life are his fiancée and son, about whom he was depressed because he’s separated from them due to the tour.

“I’ve never been away from my fiancée before ‘Idol’ or my son,” Durbin said. “Literally, the longest I’ve been away from her is 12 hours. So it’s been tough, you know. I don’t get to see them for two months now. I just saw them and there are no other opportunities. She may fly out once or twice, I hope. We’ll see. It’s hard with the baby.”

Durbin dodged questions about a forthcoming album, other than to say he’s hoping to have “something out by Thanksgiving.” He was under orders not to discuss the collection, although he did let a bit slip out.

“I’m trying to do an album,” he said. “I’m trying to get everything together. The stars are aligning and everything is falling perfectly into place. For a little bit, it seemed like things weren’t going so great. Now things are looking really bright.”

He didn’t elaborate but he did say that believing in himself and “knowing that this won’t all go to waste” helped him through that time.

“I proved a lot and made a pretty big staple for myself on the show and that hopefully people will talk about for a long time,” he said.”It wasn’t just to get on the show. It wasn’t just to sing. It was to make my mark. I’m looking to be a big player in the game. (For my album, I’m) looking to go kind of a My Chemical Romance sort of feel, 30 Seconds to Mars, heavy and very heavy, dramatic. I think I showed some drama on the show. So I’m really excited. It’s a whole ‘nother path of the journey.”

Ironically, he called his performance of 30 Seconds to Mars’ “Closer to the Edge” one of his weaker moments on “American Idol.”

“As soon as I stopped believing in myself, I kind of flopped,” said Durbin, who suffers from Tourette and Asberger syndromes. “That’s the week I did ‘Closer to the Edge’ by 30 Seconds to Mars. The whole performance was pitchy and I totally messed up the last part. I did ‘Without You,’ which was extremely emotional. I kind of lost sight of the goal that week.

“But I brought it back the next week with ‘Don’t Stop Believin” and ‘Love Potion No. 9,’ which I think were both two of my best performances on the show. I’m my own biggest critic and I had absolutely nothing to say about those two performances. I thought that they went perfect. They showed great sides of me as a performer. I was surprised at the kick off. But if I was going to get sent off, what a better way to get sent off than with two kick-ass performances.”

His performances on the “American Idol Live! Tour 2011” aren’t too shabby as well. Besides the group numbers, Durbin is given the chance to shine during covers of Guns N’ Roses’ “Sweet Child O’ Mine” and Muse’s “Uprising.”

But he had one simple message for fans attending the show at Detroit’s Joe Louis Arena, home to the Detroit Red Wings:

“I’ll be sure to wear my (San Jose) Sharks jersey,” the Santa Cruz, Calif., native said with a sly grin.

Source: http://www.mlive.com/entertainment/flint/index.ssf/2011/08/durbin_proving_hes_born_to_be.html

JUDAS PRIEST: We Owe JAMES DURBIN A Debt Of Gratitude For Bringing Heavy Metal To Mass Media – July 27, 2011

MetalTalk.net recently conducted an interview with bassist Ian Hill of British heavy metal legends JUDAS PRIEST. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.

MetalTalk.net: Before I start asking about the [forthcoming album, can you tell us what you thought about your surprise appearance to 30 million unsuspecting Americans on “American Idol”?

Ian Hill: It was a whirlwind! The lad James [Durbin] — we owe him a debt of gratitude for bringing heavy metal to the mass media. For that reason it was something we couldn’t turn down. We weren’t just representing JUDAS PRIEST but the whole heavy metal family, if you like. Because we’d had a couple of hits in the ’80s in the states, people know the band name well. We’re a well-known brand. They may not necessarily associate it directly with the music, but everyone knew the name, so it wasn’t a cold audience. It was fun; we had a great reception!

MetalTalk.net: Moving onto the new album, you have already publicly stated that it’s due next year and will be classic PRIEST. Who will produce the album?

Ian Hill: It’s still at a very early stage, but it will probably be mainly the band. Glenn [Tipton, guitar] will do a lot of the work. We produced “Nostradamus” ourselves with the help of a great engineer in Attie [Bauw].

MetalTalk.net: You did have outside influence on the “Defenders Of The Faith” and “Screaming For Vengeance” albums, via songwriter Bob Halligan Jr. Why was that?

Ian Hill: We’d already done a couple of non-PRIEST tracks in “Diamonds And Rust” and “The Green Manalishi”, which had worked well. It’s really something the record company pushed us to do, to get a commercial track on the radio. It’s funny because by the time we’d finish with the track it’s too heavy to release and we ended up going with one of our own! Bob Halligan‘s a good songwriter but our versions were just too heavy metal to release!

MetalTalk.net: And is your son still in the band HOSTILE?

Ian Hill: Yep, my son’s still in HOSTILE. It’s so difficult to get on now — it’s practically impossible unless you’re on “X-Factor” or “American Idol”. The infrastructure’s not there. It took us ten years to make any money, although we did build our name. Even when we started to earn money it all went back into the band — better equipment, better van… The infrastructure’s not there anymore. Record companies aren’t spending money on new acts. It’s as simple as that. Not unless you’re already famous. My lad’s band’s a great band and twenty years ago they’d have got on. But record companies aren’t investing money they won’t get back. As soon as a record goes on a shelf some idiot is giving it away for nothing online! That’s the problem with the Internet. Because potentially it’s a marvelous channel — totally global — anyone with a computer can access it and release their music to a wide audience. But with no record company money, bands can’t make high-quality recordings. They’re reduced to making records in their garage or bedroom! And even if a band gets on a tour the record company won’t put money into it because they still traditionally get money from record sales.

MetalTalk.net: What does Sony Music get out of JUDAS PRIEST these days?

Ian Hill: Well, as I mentioned, we are a global brand. We do still sell. But now all over the world, so now if we sell as many records globally as we used to do in America alone, that’s working for us. In the past though you went on tour and could break even or make a small loss — because record sales covered it. Now you make a record in order to promote your tour. This why everybody’s coming out of the woodwork! People we haven’t heard of for years are out on the road as their back catalogue’s drying up! It’s ok for us because this is what we’ve always done.

MetalTalk.net: Was breaking the U.S. critical in making PRIEST a global brand then?

Ian Hill: “We did concentrate on America — we admit it. Management and the record company wanted us to do this. But it worked. We’re a band that can tour worldwide. But we started doing what RIVAL SONS are doing now, (opening the show on the night the interview was conducted) supporting — possibly REO SPEEDWAGON, if I remember correctly. And some shows with LED ZEPPELIN.

MetalTalk.net: On which albums do you feel you had most influence?

Ian Hill: Hmmm… let me think… Probably the first two albums — they have lots of bass work on them. And “Jugulator”, that’s got some busy bass! Because we have two lead guitarists with distorted sounds, the bass has to remain clear so I don’t use any effects. I use a pick to help me play quicker and heavier but it remains a foundation. I haven’t changed my style much over the years. The basic JUDAS PRIEST sound is just a good foundation of bass and drums and we build on top of that.

Read the entire interview from MetalTalk.net.

Source: http://www.roadrunnerrecords.com/blabbermouth.net/news.aspx?mode=Article&newsitemID=161197

Anouncement: Questions For Kathryn

Durbinators:

Within the next week or so I will be doing an exclusive interview with Kathryn McCarney, DurbNet’s resident vocal expert. Topics for the interview will include:

  • James’ voice and range
  • His pre idol performances
  • Those comparisons to Adam Lambert
  • The “James can’t sing on pitch” nonsense
  • And more

Kathryn has stated in her profile that she is willing to answer any questions about James from the public.

So Durbinators here’s your chance to ask Kathryn about anything “James Durbin”.

Post your questions in the comments below!

Alexia (Durbinator #380)

‘American Idol Live’ Tour: Scotty McCreery Impresses, Lauren Alaina Limps (Literally)

Even with sprained ankles and inconsistent stage times, “Idol’s” summer trek entertains.

As the 2011 “American Idol Live” tour blasts its way through 47 stages across the continent this summer, the Top 11 are sure to make lots of memories along the way. But Friday’s concert at Los Angeles’ Nokia Theater brought plenty back, as the season 10 finalists returned to the spot where the May 25 finale took place.

“I have a lot of good memories from this stage,” Idol’s reigning winner Scotty McCreery said after his first song. “Right here is where my life changed forever.”

One of the elements that made this year such a strong season — musical diversity in that not one of the Top 6 was what you’d call a pop singer — also created a consistently engaging show. From Jacob Lusk’s impressive range with ’60s soul number “You’re All I Need To Get By” to Haley Reinhart’s effortlessly sultry and jazzy take on “Bennie and the Jets” (or “Jetsssss” as she sings in her trademark style) to Lauren Alaina’s powerful country ballads, the two-hour show oozed variety and talent.

Still, throughout the concert, one can’t help but wonder which of its stars are getting their first taste a performer’s life, destined to dazzle audiences around the world, and which ones should be savoring every moment of their summer before they disappear into the “where are they now” category.

If Thia Megia doesn’t make it, she could easily find an alternate career path as a Disney princess, and not just because she performed “Colors of the Wind” on American Idol. Her cover of Selena Gomez’s “Who Says” seemed to be sung right at the scores of young girls in the room as she pointed at the audience and swayed with wavy arms and palms outstretched.

Pia Toscano and Alaina both showed they’re ahead of the game with their own singles — Toscano in particular as she poured more passion into her own “This Time” than any other song on the tour.

But it was the high energy James Durbin who showed he’s most ready for show business. The first chords of his cover of Guns N Roses’s “Sweet Child O’ Mine” immediately got people on their feet. Where for the most part, the audience sat during most of the show, as if they were watching it on their own living room TV, and only reluctantly stood when commanded to by the performers, not when Durbin was onstage.

 

The 22-year-old rocker livened up the show, leaping off the upper riser, running across the lower stage and leaning against the show’s guitar player while demonstrating his own air guitar prowess. Durbin of course then performed his biggest hit from the season, his cover of Muse’s “Uprising.” No marching-band drum section for the live show, but there were still plenty of crowd-pleasers during the number, like the smoke machines shooting toward the ceiling of the stage that framed Durbin as he held the mic stand like a scepter casting a spell over the audience.

 

James Durbin–Sweet Child o’ Mine by Guns n’ Roses

 

James Durbin–Uprising by Muse

 

Naima Adedapo was featured in two other stand-out songs. Her cover of Janelle Monáe’s “Tightrope,” sung along with Toscano, Reinhart and Megia was the one of the most theatrically pleasing numbers of the night. The screens around the stage displayed fast-moving graphics of black and yellow lines and arrows that seemed to be straight out of an early James Bond opening credits sequence. That paired with the ladies’ Supremes-like synchronized dance moves as they alternated lead singers with the other three expertly backing made for a lively number that felt like it was right out of the Summer of Love.

Adedapo rivaled Shakira with her hip-shaking as she covered Jennifer Lopez’ “On The Floor.” After she sang the lyrics “Straight to L.A., New York, Vegas to Africa” the Milwaukee native wowed the crowd with an interlude of traditional African dancing to African drumming, finishing off with a one-hand cartwheel and split.

McCreery didn’t make his first appearance until part-way through the second half, when he delivered the Josh Turner line that made him an instant national sensation: “Baby lock the door and turn the lights down low.” Though it would have been nice to see him perform more with the others, the crowd went crazy as the 17-year-old country crooner first took to the stage, with mothers and teenagers alike screaming their lungs out. With his line-up of ballads and boot-kickers, McCreery impressively showed that, not only does he have the chops, he knows how to connect with an audience without giving the cameras a constant come-hither look. 

Alaina’s sprained ankle made for some limited movement during songs that could have had more complex choreography, like Katy Perry’s “Firework,” but the Season 10 runner-up gave it her all, and that bejeweled cast boot actually made for some sweet moments as her fellow singers held her hand to help her up and down the stage stairs.

Ultimately, what made the concert a fun night out was seeing the Top 11 talent enjoy themselves throughout. For proof, look no further than their final bow, a Journey-Whitesnake-Aerosmith medley, which featured a free-spirit moment when the whole group was just running and jumping around the stage. It ended with Durbin and Casey Abrams striking a Charlie’s Angels pose. As is the nature of American Idol, this group of hopefuls shot to fame in an outrageously short time, but it’s those moments when you realize: with these kids having such a good time, it’s OK to jump out of your seat, too. And that’s a memory worth keeping. 

Check out the full set list here

Source: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/idol-worship/american-idol-live-tour-scotty-212273

‘American Idol’ tour comes to San Jose

Durbin Fever, a highly contagious viral infection that raged throughout the U.S. last spring – Santa Cruz County was particularly hard-hit – is expected to spike again locally this week.

That’s right, folks. “American Idol” is back – at least for one evening when the “American Idols Live” tour, featuring Santa Cruz’s own insta-celebrity James Durbin, rolls into the HP Pavilion in San Jose on Wednesday.

“It’s been really good,” Durbin said of the tour so far. “Every single city has been receptive and fun. As soon as I go out – in classic James fashion, from a surprise area in the arena – everybody gets really excited and gets on their feet.”

Durbin, 22, shares the stage with the 10 other top finalists from the recently completed 10th season of Fox’s monster-hit show. The San Jose date will be the sixth concert in a national tour of 45 cities that will stretch into mid-September. It will also be the closest one to Santa Cruz and, as a result, functions as Durbin’s hometown show.

The concert is designed as a showcase for all 11 “Idol” contestants, so “Idol” fans predominantly focused on Durbin will have to wait for the show’s second half to see his solo performance.

Durbin will sing two songs – the Guns N’ Roses classic “Sweet Child o’ Mine” and Muse’s “Uprising” – and will participate in a duo with “Idol” runner-up Lauren Alaina (“Here I Go Again” by Whitesnake), and in group performances of Cee-Lo’s “Forget You” and Neon Trees’

“Animal.”

“We have to do the same exact songs every night with no surprises or changes,” Durbin said Monday by phone from Sacramento. “That part really sucks. By the end of the tour, I will never want to hear or sing those songs ever again.”

During his unlikely rise from unknown amateur to America’s hard-rock standard bearer, Durbin established a reputation as a rebel in what is fundamentally a conservative show, bringing a fiery heavy-metal sound to a show historically associated with mainstream pop and country. Durbin is credited to bringing new audiences who otherwise would avoid “Idol.”

In that fashion, he talked of rebelling against the tight stricture of the “Idol” concert during his “hometown” date in San Jose. He said he’ll probably take some time between his two songs to address his Santa Cruz County fans.

“That’s what’s really missing from this,” said Durbin of the show’s structure. “That’s what I love to do. I love to see how the crowd is doing. I like to get them really riled up and excited about everything. But there isn’t room for that because it’s such a long show.”

Even though “Idol” ended more than six weeks ago, with North Carolina country crooner Scotty McCreery finishing on top, Durbin’s life is expected to be frenetic through the end of the year. He and his fiance Heidi are planning their wedding, to take place later this year, while he’s on tour. Plus, there’s the post-“Idol” career plans to work out.

After the San Jose show, the “Idol” tour moves to Los Angeles where Durbin will meet with longtime Aerosmith producer Martin Frederiksen and producer/performer James Michael of the band Sixx A.M., which features Motley Crue frontman Nikki Sixx.

In the meantime, an “Idol” produced five-song recording of Durbin’s best “Idol” performances entered the Billboard 200 charts this week at number 31.

He said he isn’t ready to make any announcements about a new recording deal, but he is looking at songs, as well as writing some material and talking with potential collaborators.

“The stars are aligning,” he said. “Everything is falling into place.”

Source: http://www.mercurynews.com/central-coast/ci_18457986?source=rss

American Idol Tour – Salt Lake City

For the record I’m not happy about the amount of stage time James is getting for this year’s Ameirican Idol tour. He did amazingly on the tour’s opening night, though he complained about the high altitude on twitter when he arrived in Seattle. Here are the videos of his two solo performances in HD:

Sweet Child O Mine:

Uprising:

Note the effect of the high altitude in the above performance, how he’s struggling for breath. One needs incredible lung power and breath control to sing this song the way he does.