In an earlier post, I discussed how Denver was where this phase of Casey's life began, this post is just about the show itself. And from what I've seen and read, he was on fire, appropriate for the place where his career was ignited.
American Idol fan Carolyn posted a review on MJsBigBlog. Here are her observations on Casey's performance last night.
Boom. Ba Ba Boom. Boom….. a tall, lanky guy walks right into the spotlight and the audience erupts. This is why live is always ten times better than watching on video. I could FEEL the energy explode. Amazing stuff. Everyone on their feet. Lots of screams and yells. Casey James‘ “I Got Mine” is a song I never heard of before he started the tour. It takes some guts to start your AI set with a song you never sang on the show and which most people don’t know. He rocked it. I’ve seen his guitar work on video – but in person? Incredible. His voice is perfect for this kind of music – a bit rough around the edges, whiskey-soaked. Halfway through the song, I manage to glance away from the blonde and look at my friend. Her eyes are wide, she’s a little slack-jawed. “Wow,” she manages. My gaze goes back to the star on stage. Lights are flashing, guitar is blazing, band is INTO IT. And I definitely had a moment. Actually, several moments. After this tour de force, Casey very simply starts “Don’t”. Now I own this Shania Twain CD. Play it all the time. Casey’s version is like a different song. Completely compelling, completely beautiful. His voice is pitch on. At one point, Shawty says “he’s beautiful.” I look at her and she’s looking at the big video screen. Interesting. I look back at the live guy. Definitely good-looking. I look at the screen. There are some people the camera loves. Every picture, every video makes them look like gods or goddesses. Mr. James is one of these people. In person, gorgeous. On screen, luminous. If Casey put his guitar down and decided to be an actor, he’d have people lined up to see his movies. I’m rather glad he’s not planning on doing that. Next, Big Mike comes back out for “Have You Ever Loved a Woman”. ”Oh,” my friend says. “This is exactly what I wanted – both of them at the same time.” She loves the whole thing. So do I. And finally, darn it, Casey ends with “It’s All Over Now.” I have this Rolling Stones CD also. Hard to say it, but I like Casey’s version over the great Stones’. I didn’t think I’d ever say that about any Stones song.
Shawty and I make our way back to the car. “What happened?” she said. “What do you mean?” She waves her hands in the air. “Why did Lee win? He’s not any better…” Pause. “Casey is better actually.” I explained about the fact he couldn’t really play his guitar much. “But his singing is better,” she protested. I told her about the eye candy/cougar thing. “He can’t help it if he’s beautiful,” she said. We keep walking, past the souvenir stand where a girl is asking why there aren’t any Casey James’ t-shirts. “Lee is forgettable,” my friend says. “But Casey? He’s going to take off. He’s going to be a big star.”
Did I mention she’s also my friend because she has excellent taste?
I Got Mine
Embedding disabled for Casey and Mike's duet of HYERLAW, but here's the YouTube link to the video.
It's All Over Now
Casey's become so much more relaxed on stage and more engaged with the audience. When the tour started, he seemed so thrilled to be able to play, but it was mostly internalized. He was almost alone up there, blissfully cranking it out. But now he seems more outwardly focused, more playful, more comfortable sharing this moment with the audience. The smile on his face is so big, so joyous. Maybe I'm reading too much into this, but more than ever he seems to exude star quality.
The Appeal-Democrat interviewed some of the Idols before the concert. Here's the part of the interview with Casey:
How has the tour been going?
Casey: It's going great. ... I'm happy to be out here meeting fans and getting to play music in front of so many people.While Casey may be indebted to American Idol for what it has done for his career, I bet he will be happy when he no longer has to answer American Idol questions!
What are you doing after the tour?
Casey: I get to do an album. I'm working with Sony Nashville, and I'm super excited. ... I'm from the country, so it's going to have that vibe. Kind of edgy rocky blues country.
What made you want to audition for "American Idol"?
Casey: It was a combination of me seeing I wasn't making a lot of headway where I wanted to be musically ... and my mom pressing me to try out. ... I literally went straight from a gig, wearing the clothes I wore to the gig, to try out.
What did you think of Ellen DeGeneres as a judge?
Casey: I liked her as a judge and as a person.
What will happen to "Idol" with the changes to the judging panel?
Casey: I have no idea what will happen. ... As massive as "American Idol" is, it will be interesting to see what happens.
From Jackie on MJsBigBlog:
Casey was the first really big taste of a really defined style and it was great to see his guitar skills in action. Even though the crowd was really into his first song I thought the highlight was “Don’t” and I actually prefer the more tender performances from him. The guitar change during one of the songs felt a little clunky but overall Casey really delivered a tight and cohesive set. It was great to see Casey in the town where he auditioned and he was able to thank some family in the audience for helping him out during the process.