Casey James: Four songs, five guitars
The noise ratchets up another notch when Casey James takes the stage -- not just because more of the audience jumps to its feet, but because Casey kicks off his set with a blues-rocking version of the Black Keys' I Got Mine geared to let the crowd know just how much they missed on American Idol by not getting him to play guitar more.
Given the freedom of a full song -- and the solos that come with it -- Casey's more animated tonight than he ever was on the show. It's almost as if everything he couldn't do on the show is coming out at once in a flurry of notes, as Casey bends his guitar neck and tortures the strings.
Casey trades in his electric guitar for an acoustic on Shania Twain's Don't! but he switches it out for a second electric in time for the solo.
Afterwards, Casey says, "I want to invite a good friend of mine back up on the stage right now -- Mr. Mike Lynche." Mike comes back out to do Bryan Adams' Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman with the same black acoustic that he used during his set, but Casey has yet another acoustic -- that's four guitars for three songs, for those of you keeping score at home. Around the hall, the cellphones and glo-sticks begin to sway.
After Mike leaves the stage, Casey launches into a scorching version of It's All Over Now, the old R&B hit done by everybody from the Rolling Stones to The Valentinos. It's got a much sharper edge than it did on the show, especially with Casey's slide-guitar licks. And, yes, he's playing yet another guitar. He changes guitars the way Carrie Underwood changes costumes.
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