And that's one of the many reasons I love Elliott Yamin so much. He is a singer. You know what you're going to get when he grabs that mic and stands in front of you. He is going to sing. He is going to sing hard. And he is going to make you remember that singers, real singers with real voices, still exist.
Friday night's performance at 3rd and Lindsley was nothing short of amazing. It was worth the 5 year wait. From the first song to the last (which came all too soon) we were IN. The performance, the voice, everything about Elliott makes you want to cheer for him (and occasionally do body rolls). And it also makes you wonder how he came in 3rd place on Idol behind Taylor Hicks. (Seriously...how did that happen?)
There was a nice mixture of new songs and old favorites which kept the show moving. While I was hoping to hear more songs from the Elliott Yamin and Fight for Love albums, I was more than satisfied with the set list. (Although I did ask him after the show why we couldn't get "Know Better." Apparently that song is really hard on his voice.) There's something to be said about
For those of us who have been fans since Idol, it was refreshing to hear that Elliott's voice is just as amazing in real life as it was on the Idol stage. Without the help of BGVs, the man still manages to sing in an unadulterated way. But I would be remiss if I didn't mention his backing tracks as well. There is a power and rawness that can only come through in a live show. And I welcome that. But there's something to be said about the polish that only comes with a studio. Elliott's own backing vocals are nothing short of inspiring. More than once during the night I found myself trying to identify who was singing back-up. For some reason, the purity of the backing tracks would not allow for permanence. You know you can sing when people forget that the music is not live.
If you're an Elliott fan, you won't be disappointed by his live shows. But I must warn you in advance, he is going to perform. Elliott is going to go ALL in. So if you are a shoe thrower, wear boots (as I did.) If you are a shouter, sit in the back. If you're prone to swoon...well, you're just going to have to be prepared. Elliott does not play fair. He will throw in SWV's "Rain" in the middle of "Movin' On" and make you shout Church of God in Christ style. (Shout out to my former and present COGIC readers.) You will not be ready for a "sistahgirl" reference in "Downtown" and get caught all the way up. And when he tears the roof of the place with "Wait For You", you may think you're ready, but you won't be. This show is not a game. But Elliott and his band came to win. (His drummer Royce Shorter, Jr is the absolute TRUTH!)
The most endearing part of the whole experience is Elliott's love for the fans. You can see during the show and afterwards at the mini-meet and greet, the man truly appreciates and adores the people who come to his shows. He is gracious and humble and it makes you want to be on his team even more. He doesn't just push you to buy the flash drive (which you should because the live concerts on there are well worth it), he doesn't just shake your hand and thank you for coming. He's genuinely interested in whether or not you had a good time. And you can see the gratitude in his face when you say that you do.
I admire Elliott. He's a hustler. He writes songs that make you feel good and then turns around and sings them in ways that hurt you in the best way. I can't wait for the next show. And if Elliott ever moves to Nashville...well, let's just say the game will change.