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'Idol' star sings for Greensburg's benefit

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Wednesday, May 30, 2007, at 1:35 a.m.
  • Updated Thursday, Jan. 24, 2008, at 5:15 p.m.

Those who saw former Wichitan Phil Stacey on "American Idol" know he can sing.

But the 2,900 people who attended Stacey's sold-out benefit concert at Central Christian Church on Tuesday learned that singing is just one of Stacey's talents.

He also can play guitar and piano -- well. He can write music, as he proved by performing an original tribute to the American flag. And he's really pretty funny.

"I love you, Phil!" one audience member shrieked shortly after Stacey took the stage.

"I love you, too, coincidentally," Stacey replied, not missing a beat.

Stacey, a 1997 Northwest High graduate, returned to Wichita for an appearance that was part fundraising concert for Greensburg tornado relief, part surreal homecoming.

The audience was a mix of "Idol" fans and people who had known Stacey since his middle school days -- his former drama teacher, childhood friends, people who attended church with Stacey and his family.

His hour-plus set included songs Stacey performed during "Idol" competition, including "Blaze of Glory," "Missing You," and "Every Breath You Take," as well as some of the Christian music that Stacey said inspired him.

Stacey spent much of the show in the audience, high-fiving old friends and traveling to the very back of the church. At the beginning of the concert, he asked the church's head pastor to stand, thanked him for offering his church for the concert, and then offered a disclaimer:

"I'd like to apologize to you in advance for half of the songs on this set list, the first of which is up right now," Stacey said, before launching into "Tobacco Road."

Later, on a cover of "Sweet Home Alabama," Stacey self-edited a raunchy lyric and sang completely in tune, "and no, I'm not going to sing that lyric, not in front of the pastor."

At the show's end, Stacey dragged his wife, Goddard High graduate Kendra Stacey, onto the stage and sang, "I Could Not Ask For More."

At a pre-show meet-and-greet, Stacey signed an autograph for fan Erin Konecny, another Northwest High alum.

Konecny said she remembered seeing Stacey perform in "Oklahoma" when he was in high school.

"It's just kind of overwhelming, remembering him from back then and then seeing what he's doing now," she said.

Next up: Phil reports for duty with the Navy in Jacksonville, Fla., at 8:30 a.m. today. This summer, he'll be part of the "American Idol" national tour.

"My wife and I have felt so loved," he said.

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