First of all, a big thanks to Shack (EEEEEEEEE!) for taking a pass on this assignment. Or, as he put it, "I have no intention of attending a performance of the American Idol tour any more than I intend to chop off my toes and swallow them whole." (If you are arriving after intermission, read his, because he's like Sean Connery, and I'm sort of the equivalent of George Lazenby.)
So Baby Jebus got to go to Lawn Guyland for the Missed-New-York-City-by-about-forty-miles stop of the American Idol Live! Tour. Several weeks of phoning and faxing for press credentials finally brought the response: "We are unable to accomodate [sic] wire/Internet service requests." So I shelled out approximately $460 dollars ($35 for ticket, $300 Ticketmonster handling charge, $24 facilities fee, $18 West Nile virus prevention tax, $47 snarkage, $6.84 Star Wars defense system surtax, $16 flu shot, and $13.20 lacrosse tax) for a floor seat at Nassau Coliseum to see in person ten people I'd seen for free on the cool fire all summer. About 18,000 other people joined me.
Long lines stretched from metal barriers all around the arena; the crowd seemed heavy on the under-sixteen girls, frequently in packs, either with their moms or dropped off by their moms. There were a few dads. Bless them. I had a dad like that.
Inside, the concourse was lined with souvenir stands and wandering vendors, offering everything from American Idol glowsticks ($5), to glossies of all the finalists, to color programs ($20) in which a printed enclosure explained that A.J. was really EJay, regardless of the names under their pictures. There were teddy bears and posters, keychains, and other tchotchkes (but I already have my Idol Tubey coffee cup, so I'm good to go). There were many different shirts, with Kelly, or Justin, or all their headshots in orbit around the blue neon AI logo.
Lots more of the faithful had made their own shirts. About three rows ahead of me was a posse of about eight girls, all in shades, each of whom wore a glitter AMERICAN IDOL HARDCORE FAN shirt, with their favorite's name on the back (three Justins, four Kellys, one Tamyra). The floor seats were rows of folding chairs on the cement floor of the arena. The boards separating the rink area from the in-the-round seating showed the scars of a lot of hockey contact. Many flags commemorating famous NY Islanders hung in the rafters. Also one for Billy Joel.
Just ahead of me, one under-ten who'd hung two glowsticks in her hair recounted to her father the virtues of the various Js. Dad seemed glad they were selling alcohol. Her older sibling was too cool for school with what looked liked Kool-Aid blue streaks in his hair. The number of little boys in attendance surprised me.