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Dec 10 04 2:47 AM
Quote:It was an amazing concert. Clay was in excellent voice all throughout and I just feel so privileged to hear him sing such beautiful Christmas classics. The MSG was all lit up and it gave me such a thrill to see "Clay Aiken in concert" on the giant screen. Right at my backyard. Woohoo!!!
Clay is a wonderful entertainer. His wit and sense of humor just add to the whole package. He said that he had expected to experience snow in Christmas in New York and said "But instead, all I got is rain." I sat all the way in the back and I will pay really big bucks to see him up close and personal next time.
Phooey to that Time article saying that Clay's fans are mostly suburban middle-aged Wallmart-buying moms (nothing wrong with that, btw). There were about one male per four women. Lots of kids and teenagers, young men, whole families complete with grandmas and grandpas, Asians, African-Americans, whites, Jewish and some non-Christians, wheel-chair bound fans. In other words, the demographics is pretty impressive. A few Marines in uniforms were enjoying the concert. The ushers were applauding loudly, too. I recognized "HotClay" from the GMA show.
Some Clay jokes: He said that the "flashers" may be "Lost" fans too, so they need to be escorted out.
When Quiana said that her New Years' resolution is to
spend more time with her cat to which Clay answered,
"I guess we'll have a new back-up singer next time, huh?"
Could you just imagine I thudded on his "Huh"?
Quiana, Jacob and Angela were fabulous. :clap
Many times during the show, I just closed my eyes and let the purity of the vox just wash all over me.
Winter Wonderland and Sleigh Ride were fun, the audience was swaying and clapping along. When Clay twirled Angela around, the young lady in front of me just melted in her seat.
HHYAMC and The Christmas Song - beautifully sung.
MCWL- one of my favorite songs. It was haunting and yet uplifitng because it sings of hope that even though the loved ones may be gone or far away, you can always find comfort in a song and find love among friends. :bluesniff
WAYDNYE- Very sensual and sexy, I was screaming in my mind. I just wanted to powervault/ sommersault to the front rows. Clay so knows the power he has over the Claymates. He slowly meanders over to the side of the stage. Every step down the stairs was greeted with muffled screams (I think the ClayDawgs are holding down the Claymates lest we all rush the stage.) He danced with this lucky lady, my friend started whimpering next to me, the lady behind me started hyperventilating, somebody else started getting so hot and bothered (oh, that was me.) Clay moved on to two other ladies, one of whom "EEEked" on the microphone. :thud
MDYK- what can I say? Poignant tribute to Jesus. Goose-bump inducing!
OHN - wow, wow, wow!!! :bow :bow
Silent Night- The choir was great, too. Clay's version is so reverent.
DSFIACD- Very dramatic, energizing, truly magnificent performance. He even did that cute "leg move" he did on last year's AI special. When he hit the glory note,a thundering applause and a Standing "O". I don't know how long it was but that note "ate Manhattan".
Good News- A great encore. The audience was so quiet as we absorbed the mesmerizing purity and the raw emotions of that voice.The song is not as beautiful as MDYK but it's equally powerful. Clay was not proselytizing but he was singing from the heart. He is what he is and he takes pride in his beliefs. I respect him for this as he delivered the good news about Christ.
What a night!!! My only complaint- it was much too short.
Clay, thank you very much for a beautiful evening. :kiss
Dec 10 04 2:48 AM
Quote: I was at MSG it was my 7th and final concert til who knows when? He was amazing! Just amazing! :thud What a wonderful young man and a fine human being! God I love him. Had my friend with me tonight her first concert and she :thud right beside me! She loved him! :rocker
OHN and DSIAFCD were outstanding! How does he do this? Keeps getting better and better. Dont worry Clay Honey next year you will beat "Lost"! :dancing Just wishing on my part. I just dont understand why the whole world doesnt love him. He is a talent far beyond anyone that America is making rich on that other show that was on Fox. Like someone said Clays Bling Bling is Bubel/Aiken Foundation and Camp Gonzo! It doesnt get any better than this! :hugs
Words can not describe the feeling of contentment and joy I had in my heart as I heard our sweet sweet Clay outdo himself! :cloud9 I wish sometimes I could express myself as well as others do but I cant.
Just let me say," I LOVE YOU CLAY!" :lubdub
Dec 10 04 9:34 AM
Quote:Well see - this is what happens when you are too drun - uh - sleepy to post your Clay-dance story...you get scooped by Californians who have three hours on you with incredible tales to tell! ...*waves* to lala52, ellenpoppy and CaliforniaClayFan*
Goood Baby Brush wrote:
HOLY MOLY! Was she the lady that kissed him?? What was said????
I think she was saying "I hope someone's getting Clack of this."
Well - I was surely thinking that!!! And lo and behold: someone did! (This looks to be the photo a nice lady in my row showed me after the song...she will be e-mailing it to me...). This was as I was getting up to dance, because I assure you I was in proper Ballroom stance for the dancing - my left hand on Clay's shoulder, his right hand on my back...but I'm getting ahead of myself.
First - as I started to say last night, I owe the entire opportunity to momtim...and also a little to fairfield2002, because if I had not bought her otherwise very decent ticket when she upgraded, momtim would not have seen me a few rows behind her when she got to her seat and decided she was not going to feel very comfortable sitting there. So the biggest possible *muah* to momtim (although I'm not sure she will ever see this, because I think I sqeezed the life out of her when I hugged her when she came over to me at intermission...).
Anyway - maybe I'd have been more nervous if I wasn't convinced Clay would be doing WAYDNYE on the other side of the stage, because my new seat was three rows from the stage, directly in front of the stairs coming down from the stage (stage left - audience right for those trying to track the pattern - although I now realize maybe there isn't one!). But even better for me - there were no seats (=no heads) in front of me, because the first two rows ended at the side of the staircase. In addition to a clear field of vision to the stage, there was also a nice clear area between me and the stage.
There were about 4 or 5 additional seats to my right, only one of which seemed to be occupied as there was a coat there (the lady was apparently held up at the merchandise table, as she came in a bit after the concert started with a bag of stuff.) The other seats in the row were occasionally occupied by Roger and Mary as the entire press corps camped out right in front of me, along with Nick, Jerome, and some more of the entourage - quite the little VIP suite we had going there!
Most of them left, though when the pro-photographers were finished a few songs into the set.
I was thoroughly enjoying myself - Clay was in good voice and good spirits and was wickedly snarky. I thought he may have looked at me once or twice as he moved about. I got quite a kick out of seeing DonnaAC swoon when Clay came and sang to her and gestured to her (was that on "we can build a snowman and pretend that he is Parson Brown"? 'Cuz I'm thinkin' it was! Hee!)
I seriously love Christmas Waltz - which is one of my absolute favorite Christmas songs - and had been sway-dancing a little in my seat and mouthing the words and was probably distracted by the staring contest I got into with the venue security guy who seemed curiously amused, because the intro strains to WAYDNYE were almost done when it finally hit me that Clay was starting the song on the other side of the stage! My sharp analytical brain immediately processed this information and led me to the conclusion that after toying with the entire front row, Clay was going to end up singing on those frickin' stairs right in front of me!!!! I will credit my acting training for all the reports of how calm I appeared, because my heart started a rather marked slow rhythmic pounding as Clay made his way across the stage...
Remarkably, the woman to my right chooses this time to get up and leave - for what purpose I can only guess - so basicly, by the time Clay got to those stairs, I was the only person for him to look at!!!
Let me back up a few seconds, because this is cute -
My heart and composure were under control by the time Clay made first eye contact with me. I had been mouthing the words a little and I gave him a big ol' grin. The rest of this is obviously just my impression, but this is the way I saw it...Clay goes to finish his eye sweep of the audience, but comes back and looks at me again, and I just smiled at him again. Clay gets to the stairs and starts that last bit before the interlude - and he sings it straight to me. I was thinking "Well - even if he heads up the aisle, at least I got sung to ::sigh:: ". At the last couple lines it was as if Clay realized he'd sort of looked too long at one person and he dropped his eyes and then looked to his left for a moment. But when Clay walked down the stairs he was looking right at me again, and he sort of held out his hand and I reached up with mine and - whoosh! - he just pulled me up to dance. It was all so very natural feeling and no I was not at all nervous... To me, it was just like being on stage - for those few moments I was just part of the act. But I gotta say, that is now probably my favorite role I've ever played!!!
To answer zillions of questions...
Clay is a foot taller than I am, so I couldn't ever really look him straight on, especially as he kept talking and then turning his head to hear me. So what I did see a lot was his profile and the fact he was sportin' stubble!
I have an extremely underdeveloped sense of smell, so the only thing I can tell you about that is he smelled "clean" - which I thought was amazing in itself as he had just been performing on stage under hot lights.
When I took my ballroom stance I sort of snarkily said "Do you know how to do this?" - referring to his constant claims that he can't dance - which obviously is a total lie! And yes, Clay led. *g*
It was a little hard to hear, as we were right next to a speaker, but Clay said something like "Well, this is a little awkward". At first I thought he meant like "awkward silence" or buzzie opined maybe he was concerned I felt awkward dancing in front of 4000 people (hah! an actor's dream!), but in retrospect, I think it was in response to my comment and what was awkward was the hand I would normally hold during a dance (his left) was holding the microphone, so I could only put my hand over his. Oh gee - what a shame...
Clay asked my name and where I was from. When I said "up from Annapolis, MD" he said "Oh! - " - like maybe he was going to say more, but it was time for him to sing again and move on, so he said "Thank you for the dance" and I said "Thank you for the dance" and started to move away - and - pleasant surprise! - Clay leaned over and did one of those cheek-to-cheek air kiss things. And I thought "Nice stubble!" and gave him a little peck on the cheek and sat back down with a big smile on my face, and maybe hockydonna was right and I was floating a little... ::sigh::.
I did watch Clay as he finished the song out...the next person he sang to was a younger gal (maybe late teens/early 20s) who - I kid you not - chewed her gum the whole time, and he finished up with another woman whose face I could not see, and he kissed her hand. Someone told me Jerome ripped Clay right on out of there when he was done, but by that time the ladies sitting to my left were all congraatulating me and the woman who took the picture showed it to me quickly, but of course the set was not over and we turned our attention to Jacob (who got a haircut and looks very good) at the piano.
At intermission and again at the end I was a 15-minute celebrity (but at least it was A-list!), and I just want to hug all of you that came over and congratulated me and said all the kind things...I may not scream and EEE! and get all fangirly much, but it was a very special and lovely moment, and although a lot of you won't believe this, I think any one of you would have been just as "classy and pretty" (*waves to Nova*), because that is just how Clay treats you!
There may not be much more of a NYC recap than this for me, so let me take this opportunity to thank cinder10025 for setting up a fabulous preparty, and to buzztechie for putting me up (or is that putting up with me?) for the night!
It was great seeing so many old friends, and to finally meet 43dudleyvillas, Good Baby Brush, webweaver, and my personal hero, Cesario!
Dec 10 04 9:40 AM
Quote:I started to read some of the previous pages before I posted, but I stopped. I want to just write about my reflections about last night's MSG concert while they are still fresh.
It was wonderful.
Although I have listened to many of the cellcerts, read many of the recaps, and seen some of the photos of the previous concerts, I have not downloaded many of the concert videos, so in many ways, I was unspoiled for much of what I saw last night. My hubby came with me to the concert and we sat next to beauzzartz and mrbeauzzartz.
We weren't able to attend the preconcert buffet and I was sorry to miss seeing many of the CHers that I have met at other concerts who were at the buffet. Cinder, Cesario, KrispyKreme....I don't think you guys are going to CT and I wish I could have seen you at MSG to say hello and share a hug!
I was delighted to be able to see Solitaire30, Hockeydonna, CynicalOne and Valeda before and during the concert. And I literally jumped with glee when I saw Fountaindawg, the Keeper of the Nametags, after the concert.
So, here come the random thoughts:
It was a thrill to walk up to the theater last night and see Clay Aiken's name in lights on the MSG marquee!
Clay sang magnificently last night. It was incredible. He was incredible. He looked gorgeous. Every outfit was gorgeous. I loved seeing the McDonalds sweater and shirt combination and the baggy-ass jeans, too! When he walked out in the black pants of GAH, I gasped! He looked absolutely breathtaking last night. He looked relaxed and happy. He radiated joy!
I always love his banter and last night was no exception. He is so quick-witted. He is such a natural on stage, not just in singing but in his speaking.
They didn't even check our bags when we went in.
His voice was the best that I have heard it live. So clear and pure. The low notes just did me in.
OHN was worth the price of admission alone.
He nailed the note on DSIAFCD.
Good News? I have to admit, when I first heard this on the cellcert, I had mixed feelings about it. But, with Clay, seeing him perform is everything! He was absolutely stunning in this song. He isn't just singing, he is telling a story and he does so beautifully with such emotion and radiance. I was mesmerized.
QUIANA! OMG! She was phenomenal! As I watched her, she reminded me of a young Aretha Franklin. No wonder Clay keeps singing her praises. I was so glad that I got to hear her sing SB with Clay because I love the way they sound together (Loved WY from the IT concerts). Clay has always raved about her talent...and rightly so. If no other company gives Quiana a recording contract, I wouldn't be surprised if Mr. Executive Producer Clay Aiken created his own production company simply so he could enable Quiana to record a cd. She's that good and he believes in her. I am so happy that he showcased her talent on his Christmas special.
Looking around the audience, I did not just see the "grannies and groupies" that the NY Post reporter saw. I saw people of all ages...children, teens, adults, and lots of Y's. I thought it was a really mixed audience which I was happy to see.
Sitting next to beauzzartz with her expertise in theater and set design made for interesting conversation.
Me: Wow! Those are some baggy-ass jeans!
Beauzz: Wow! The curtains add such texture to the set!
Me: OMG! Those are the Sewall Pants of GAH!
Beauzz: OMG! Those are the snowflake gobos!
Me: OMG! Look! He is rubbing his finger on his thigh!
Beauzz: OMG! Look! His name is stenciled on the equipment boxes!
Hehehe. I also learned about raking. I thought it had to do with leaves. Apparently it has to do with the slope of the seats in the theater. So, I am here to report that the raking in the 200 section at MSG is EXCELLENT! Very good raking which makes for wonderful sight lines. I also understand that the raking at the Oakdale Theater is very good.
I also learned a very good concert going tip from peppernumbertwo back during the IT. Always carry a plastic bag with you to concerts. It came in handy last night. Beauzzartz and I had decided that we would purchase our merchandise tonight in CT since it was raining and we both had to travel home via train. However, as soon as we walked into the MSG venue and saw the stand selling the tour book, we just looked at each other, smiled, and said, "Well, let's just get the tour book now!" I couldn't stand the thought of waiting another day for it. So, 2 seconds and $40.00 later, we had our tour books. The floor was sticky underneath our seats at MSG and I whipped out my trusty little plastic bag and safely stored the tour book inside. It kept it protected from rain as well. *g*
Hubby and I took the train back to upstate NY after the concert and didn't get home til 2 a.m. It was a delightful day in the city. Got to see the tree at Rockerfeller Center. Walked past Bryant Park and thought of Clay's wonderful performance there for the CBS Summer Concert Series. Times Square was electrifying with all of its color and light! We had dinner at a lovely Italian restaurant in mid-town and were even able to eat a fabulous cannoli for dessert.
MSG was a dream come true for me! Clay's NYC debut at MSG at Christmastime and friends and hubby to share it with. Now, I'm off to pack and plan for CT tonight. Can't wait!
Dec 10 04 10:30 AM
Quote:Hi, this is FearofH2O posting from Playbiller's house.
Loved, loved, loved the JNT at MSG. I thought it was a beautifully staged, and lighted production. I was concerned about the performance, because I felt that the fun and patter of the other tours was an integral part of Clay's appeal in addition, of course, to his beautiful voice. I was wrong to be concerned. It was just as good as any other of his performances.
I enjoyed both sections of the show equally. I assume this tour is no different than the others where Clay and everyone else involved in the show keeps getting better. So those whose concerts were postponed might actually be fortunate.
I sat far back enough that I could take in the whole stage without having to move my head around. It was fascinating to see the choreography of the lights and the curtains. The high school choir was fabulous, as professional as any choir I have seen before. The elementary school kids were also quite good. Anytime children are in a production you can expect little flubs. I regard them as aw moments not an inferior production.
Clay's voice was top notch last night. I hope we can get mp3's of each song to make a cd, if possible. A,Q & J were all great last night. I guess we got an extra song too as all three backup singers soloed. I absolutely loved the first song. Clay rocked on it. Sound was perfect. Good news was to me an acting performance. Don't really like the song, but he sold me on it.
Now to the gossip. Saw Roger schmoozing near me. Handing out tickets to people, shaking hands, hugging women. He is a good looking man in person. Not as photogenic as Clay.
Some young actor from "One Life to Live"??? was attracting a lot of attention. Photos with all the youngsters.
Playbiller sat next to Ms. Licking County from Ohio. PB will probably post about it in the den.
Man next to me was mocking Clay at the start of the concert. His wife kept shushing him. He kept saying is that Clay as the little kids were coming out. By the end of the show he was applauding. I don't know if he changed his mind or not. I did talk to his wife at intermission. She is a nonactive Clay fan. Never on the internets.*g* But she and her two daughters love him. She thought something was off on the Christmas Special so didn't really enjoy it. She asked me if Clay had a girlfriend as her daughter would be perfect for him. Anyway she loved the concert, applauded before he sang MDYK as it is her favorite song. She asked me if he was going to sing it and I was able to reassure her that he would.
I am really looking forward to Raleigh now. I know my nonfan husband will enjoy it.
I also enjoyed meeting several of you at the preconcert dinner. Such great people. I didn' t get around much because our 18 year old niece was with us. She had never heard of Clay. I don't think a clayversion occurred. We did give her a MCWL cd. This was the first concert she had ever gone to so I don't think she knew what to expect.
Dec 10 04 10:47 AM
Quote:I was at the MSG concert last night with my 19 year old daughter, her two best friends and their mothers. This was definitely the best concert I have ever been to. The pre-concert party was terrific (Thanks Molly for setting this up!) Thanks also to the fans at the party who donated Clay items to be raffled off. We were especially lucky as two of our daughters won prizes.
The theater was beautiful and Clay was amazing. I wish he would release a LIVE album because while his studio performances are terrific they don't hold a candle to his live performances (IMHO). I hope that there will be a DVD of his JNT tour. I predict that they would be a major hot seller (Please put me down for 25 copies.)
Clay, in case you read this, you truly are an amazing human being. You are the champion for individuals with disabilities and you are an affirmation for all people everywhere. What you are doing is so overdue. You have earned fame and support through your work as a performer and you have the financial backing of your foundation to really be heard and make a difference. When I grew up in NYC children with special needs were often taught in classrooms that were located in the basement next to the boiler room or some other area of the building where they were generally kept out of view and not too involved with the rest of the school. This education prepared them for a life after graduation where they were generally kept out of view and not too involved with the rest of the world. The General Ed kids usually only saw the kids from the "Health" classes during assembly where they were seated in the back of the auditorium. There was no mixing at all, we just saw. I believe we are witnessing the beginning of a revolution and you are our leader. I feel honored to be in the same theater as you. I applaude you.
Back to the concert. The audience was well behaved and I felt like I was sitting with family. I wish there was a solution to the flash problem though. Does Kodak market a film that's "great for concerts?" Super fast ASA with no flash? Maybe they could be sold at concerts in the lobby or given to each member of the audience as they come in. Raise the ticket price by a few dollars if necessary. I believe that people take flash pictures because they don't have a non-flash option available.
Clay looks so great when he is dressed in his Sunday best. As a special treat for his fans he should dress this way more often. He may still see himself as a dorky nerd, but here's a newsflash: he looks like a model and his fans see him as one of the sexiest men alive. When he is dressed nicely in clothes that don't clash he is eye candy. It's part of making yourself the best you can be which everyone should do.
The Marines were collecting Toys for Tots and the bins were overflowing. This was also an opportunity to speak with other mothers sons who are in the armed forces to express gratitude for the work they do to help keep our country safe.
I can't wait until the next concert tour!
Dec 10 04 10:48 AM
Quote:A Claydawg's review and observations of the MSG JNT concert: It was awesome! Clay was magnificent!New York Really Loves Clay.First of all the weather did not cooperate.It was cold and rainy(Clay stated he wanted snow)The house was packed to the rafters.The few empty seats near our row were sold seats that belonged to our group,2 families who caught the Flu and were unable to go.The ushers were not strict at all.Lots of camera and video.Clay really is enormously popular in New york City.The audience were not mostly females this time.There were lots and lots of male fans.I would guess 60/40(f/m)The male fans were of varying age groups,from children,preteens,teens,young males,middle age and geriatrics.I was so proud of the NY male fans especially hearing them talk raves about Clay.The audience was also a typical theater going well dressed bunch,really felt classy and formal.The lobby was really crowded.You will not believe the lines waiting to buy Clay mercahandise and there were several booths scattered around the lobby.I will not dwell too much on the concert as it has been posted above.Clay really gave a magnificent performance.A NY paper critic was near our group and was quite impressed.Clay let his 3 back-up singers do solos(is this the usual?) and were also great especially Quianna.Clay got a standing O for DSIAFCD but OHN was also really awesome.The audience (except for a few who kept screaming) were well behaved and applauded appropriately after each performance.The choir and young children all did a great job.I was grinning from ear to ear feeling very proud of our Clay especially going out of the concert with thousands of fans and hearing them talk awesome things about Clay.The crowed was huge and it was elbow to elbow and it took quite a while to exit the place.What a great and awesome concert! Only in New York.
Dec 10 04 10:49 AM
Quote:Not much to add to the previous reviews...
I thought the sound system was better than Sewell,
but I enjoyed both concerts. Clay was in great voice
for both of them. The weather was much better at
Sewell; although I froze my butt off waiting at the buses,
I was not about to consider looking for the buses last night
in the driving rain.
Podsoda and crew: Where did they put the buses anyway?
Just curious...It is downtown Manhattan, after all.
I thought the banter was great last night; some of the things
were the same as Sewell but some were different.
When Clay asked the crowd "So who watched "Lost" last night?" everyone roared. He then said those were the same
people who don't know how to turn off their flash.
As was stated earlier, he then said "How would you like it
if I came down there and took a flash in your face?" or
words to that effect. He said it cute, though, not nasty, of
He said he heard there was a good show on NBC at the
same time as "Lost". What a great sense of humor our
The new addition was the piano solo by Jacob. I didn't
recognize the song. It was good but it's tough for me to
evaluate songs that I hear for the first time.
I was about 7 rows behind the first section, way off to the
right. I'll tell you, it didn't seem that anybody was policing
cameras or video. When Clay sang Good News, I swear there
were a thousand flashes that went off. It was embarassing.
After all the banter where he referred to not liking it...go figure.
I saw lots of little blue screens, which means there should
be lots of Clack. We weren't "wanded" or anything when we
went in and there was only one time near my section where security told someone to put the flash camera away. Once. That's it.
The crowd was MUCH louder and more raucous than Sewell,
but then again it was twice the size. There were a few
empty seats, but I'd say it was 90-95% sold out.
I thought these choir kids were a tad better than Sewell; Sewell was good; these kids were great.
We got an awesome, perfect version of the new glory note
in DSIAFCD. Wow. I made sure I put up my binoculars to
watch Clay up close when I knew it was coming...it was
amazing to see! He has it perfected now.
I still don't know how Angela and Quiana stand up in those
shoes. Beautiful skimpy little sandals, but looked dangerous
I hope there's Clack of the banter, because it was really
great last night, as was everything else except the weather.
As you've read, three ladies were graced with Clay's charms
during WAYDNYE. First one danced, next two got kisses on
hand and cheek. Jerome was lurking right there, and hustled
Clay through the side door immediately after the song, as is
the usual routine.
A great review in the New York Post, too.
The pre party was very nice, although we got there very late and missed the raffle. Saw Dazaccent, Claytogold, Bobbispecial, Strolly and Steph.
Can't wait to see all the Clack! It was a wonderful night.
Dec 10 04 7:53 PM
Quote:MSG Recap, Part 1 (eep):
First, I know that you must all be anxious to know Cesarios thoughts after having seen last nights JNT concert at Madison Square Garden. After the concert, she had the following to say, You know, before tonight, I had never realized what a perfect tush Clay has. *g*
Cesarios crazy-busy schedule (which includes a final exam today!) may not allow for an immediate recap. But her smile during and after the concert mirrored the one that I had from the joy it was to take in the MSG show alongside finyanga and her. Cesario seemed particularly delighted over Clays inclusion of the elementary and high school choirs in the show. She noted that their presence at the beginning and the end (encore) of the show really tied the show together nicely, bringing it full circle.
Its that point that Id like to use as a springboard for my concert recap. I went into the show relatively unspoiled, having only a vague memory of the set list, and having watched only Scarletts cap of San Jose TFN. And I have to say that I am so impressed with Clay and with the show. Overall, I think the show exhibited a nicely coherent vision, that is appropriate to the theater venues in which it is being performed, and that the vision and execution reflect much thought on the part of everyone who has worked on it. I suppose the staging, particularly that in the first set, can be considered relatively simple, but I appreciated that there wasnt much going on to distract from Clay and his singing (as if anything couldIm just glad that no one tried *g*).
I think that Clay and his crew have succeeded in creating a warm, intimate & friendly feel to the first set. Clays demeanor and singing approach seemed very relaxed, and he chose to engage the audience with the cutest little gestures, rather than grander arm sweeps. And while he was very cute, he avoided being cutesy and ingratiating. All this was utterly appropriate to the mood of the first set. We got a charming little hop la Rockefeller Center Tree Lighting as he sang the higher when in WWs When it snows/aint it thrillin? We got an adorable gesture towards his cheek when he sang Our cheeks are nice and rosy and comfy-cozy are we during SR. The studied, deliberate manner in which he slew the first row, one-by-one, during WAYDNYE was apparent even from our seats (the front of the 202 section, which was right-centerfabulous from an acoustic and visual standpoint). Overwhelmingly, the impression I had, especially during the first set, was that this is a man and a performer assured in his control of his audience.
Well, maybe except for those who used flashes, although the flash photography really did taper off after he pointed in the direction of some of the flashes and informed the audience that those were the people who had watched Lost the night before (hee!). It seems that Clay prefers to incorporate his request not to use camera flashes into his on-stage banter, at the cost, perhaps, of not communicating exactly how serious an issue this may be for him. There did seem to be a decided edge to his voice when he asked those in attendance not to use flashes, and most of the audience cheered heartily when he requested that everyone avoid them. Oh, and Clay didnt control the screamers, either, who were in sizable evidence last night. As annoying as they were (mostly during the second set), though, it was easy to understand their enthusiasmClay gave us an absolutely kick-ass show. In other words, the screaming didnt seem disproportionate to the moment, even if there were times that I wished that the screamers would wait til songs end.
The atmosphere last night was electric. It started before the show. I had to gaze up at the MSG marquee with Clay's name on it for a few extra seconds of smiles and awe. I was born in NYC, and my particular love for the city made me feel especial pride that Clay was totally bringing it to this, his first ever show in New York City. I grinned to hear him say that NYC is the best city to be in for Christmas, and cheered enthusiastically after he noted that this show was his first in the city. It was so easy to feel that there was something special going on that night, so the energy throughout the show was fantastic. It was just so good to see Clay feeling at home in this place that I love so much. He sang as if he were among friends and family in that first set. Really well done.
I remember reading some reports that the headset mic made it difficult to hear Clay on Music of Christmas in previous shows that wasnt at all an issue last night. It was great to see the elementary and high school choirs on stage from the get-go, I thought it set the mood for the show very well. Clay walked among the kids with such easethe staging here worked really well for an opening number, because it conveyed this feeling of people coming together (yeah, yeah, smutters have at it *g*) in celebration. The song itself isnt particularly compelling, but Clays voice and the staging really sell it, I think.
As far as the first set goes, my favorites were SR (which, while faster than Clays studio version, didnt seem too fast to me, and he had such fun with it), HYaMLC (Im still riding the love train for this song, after his command performance of it on the Today Show), WW (the Aiken Random Lyric Generator made an appearance! He sang Well have lots of fun with Mr. Snowman/Until the other kiddies knock him down in both verses), TCW and WADYNYE. He sounded beautiful on TCS, but it directly followed HYaMLC, and the two songs sounded far too similar. SB was very good, and I loved seeing Clay and Quiana sing to each other, but Quiana sounded a bit affectedly breathy yesterday, whereas she was brilliant on SB during ACAC. As for MCWL, it is my least favorite track on MCWLits a pretty, feeling-ful song, but it grates somewhat to hear Clay sing seeeeeeeng, and its the only song in the first set where I thought he displayed obvious vocal tightness. He had a noticeable bobble on a climactic note in the song last night, but thats OKit was his only one of the first set. Otherwise, he was nothing short of masterful. Ive mentioned before that he was absolutely lethal on WAYDNYE. It was that song that yielded the one instance when I lost all control of myself and started squealing with abandonthis was when we saw that Clay was dancing with newland21. finyanga, Cesario and I all broke out into an unfettered sequence of squeals, OMGs and applause. OrI did enough of that for all 3 of us. *g* newland21 looked so graceful and composedshe and Clay make a lovely dancing couple.
What I love about the first-set songs is that, by and large, there isnt much frying pan to them (with the exception of MCWL). We got smoothly integrated Lower! Register! Clay!, and he sounded gorgeoushis voice was rich and seductive, and he maintained a sense of fun and warmth throughout the first set while sustaining the persona of a mature performer. Songs like SR and TCW could have easily degenerated into slam-you-with-happiness, flailing, grinning wonders, but they were far more effective as Clay performed themhe found the right mix of feeling and restraint. The first set had a bit of a throwback feel (with the exception of the start and end), and Clay totally sold it. And did I mention that he sounded incredible? His voice sounded controlled, yet natural and effortless throughout. By and large, I really liked the interpretive choices he made, and loved hearing him ease comfortably off notes that he might have chosen to power through before. He is really beginning to make great use of the different shades of his voice, and its truly something to hear. That last note of HYaMLC, for example. GAH.
All in all, I was struck by how much it seemed that Clay and his people were learning from having had to construct and perform various set lists through the 3 different tours this year. I was struck by the coherence and flow of the set. I was struck by how well Clay had managed to set a mood. I was struck by how gorgeous Clay sounded (and looked). And, of course, I was struck by how incredibly lucky I was to be there. And there was so much more of that to come, with the second set awaiting. Ill recap that in a separate post.
Dec 10 04 7:56 PM
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MSG Recap, Part 2, or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying, and Post My Recap in the Appropriate Thread. *g*
I had pretty high expectations for the second set of Clays JNT concert. I knew going in of Clays integration of children reading short Bible passages to transition between and introduce songs. The idea seemed great on a theoretical level, so I was interested to see how it played out in practice. And I also knew from recaps that many fans had preferred the second set to the first. Certainly, the second set featured more of the obviously show-stopping songs in Clays Christmas repertoire. In the recorded versions of songs like OHN, SN and MDYK, I felt like I could hear the effort and concentration Clay was devoting to the songs in an effort to get them right, and I was interested to see how Clay maintained that effort and concentration at the same time that he was attempting to put on a concert.
So, he started off with OHN, and, gosh, was it ever beautiful! I thought the instrumental introduction (with key change) worked well to ease the audience into the proper mood after the intermission. Clay sounded gorgeous, hitting all his notes, maintaining tonal consistency within phrases, and selling the song with an evident reverence. The crowds screaming during this song was an unfortunate distraction, as was the occasional appearance of a rather ghoulish green stage lighting at a couple of points during the song, but, for the most part, I was lucky to be able to focus on Clay and his voice, and OHN was a beautiful experience indeed. Im not entirely sold on the change-ups on the end, but I liked that Clay was experimentingit was unfortunate that we could not make out what the child reader was recounting before the song ended (he may have been undermiked), but that was the only time that I didnt feel that the use of a child Bible reader didnt work so well. Each reading that followed worked brilliantly as a transition between songs, offering a narration that both resolved the story/mood of the previous song, and that set up the story/mood of the next song extremely well. The child readers were excellentthey made me think of A Charlie Brown Christmas (when Charlie Brown & friends are trying to put together the play, and read from the Bible). This worked for me not only because it evoked a memory of a show that I have enjoyed and watched every year for as long as I can remember, but also because I feel something special in a childs celebration of a babys birththere is a purity and uncomplicatedness in the celebration, that helped me to share and join in it.
Clay followed with a lovely rendition of SNI really like the album version, but I think I may like his live version even more. Next, while HtHAS/OCAYF has always been a favorite track on MCWL, I was blown away by how well Clay sang this live. Here again, I thought he exhibited admirable control of his vocal power, and I thought that he integrated the quieter, tender moments of the song with the bombast of the end very well. TFN followedfor reasons that I cant articulate, this has always been a favorite Christmas song of mineits gentle, even lullaby-esque, with a hint of melancholyit actually anticipates MDYK in the set well. Clay sang this beautifully, although he did seem to exhibit the occasional tonal inconsistency within a phraseonce or twice, the lowest notes of a phrase were sung in a different tone than the higher notes, and it was temporarily distracting. Still, the way he sings the last 30 seconds of this song is what made me re-discover my love for it, and this day, at MSG, the end just soared. It was incredible, it was resonant, it drew me from my seat. There were ways in which that end could have gone wrong, vocal tics of Clays that might have reappeared, but they didnt. It was perfect.
Next up was MDYK, which Clay had sung so masterfully on The View earlier in the day. He sang it beautifully again at MSG, although I do kind of wish that he wouldnt power through the know in Did you know, that your baby boy, since he is so tender at the beginning of the phrase. I still dont think the live arrangement of the song is idealthe orchestra sounds far too muffled, and doesnt carry the song the way it is supposed toinstead, the burden falls disproportionately to Clays voice. I would prefer the guitar/piano/drums arrangement that they used in The Viewor, the use of one well-mic-ed violin to accompany the aforementioned. It was during MDYK that I felt that the mic-ing of the vocals had been amped up a bit. It was fine for MDYK, and the glory note was especially piercing, but the problem became evident during Angela and Quianas solos. As has been reported, Angelas Jesus, Born on this Day sounded shrill, and she hit some bad notes that were amplified. Quiana offered a very powerful version of My Grown-Up Christmas List, with a moving introduction from Clay, but I was a bit overwhelmed by the volume. I actually turned, a bit worriedly, to finyanga, and asked, How many frying pan songs are there left? because I was concerned that the over-mic-ing would next affect Clay.
Clay followed Quiana with introductions of the crew and of those on stage. In noting the abundance of talent involved in the show, including the school choirs that were participating, Clay emphasized the importance of supporting arts education, which drew enthusiastic applause and supportive yells from me, as well as many others in attendance. He named everyone but Svon, when someone in the front row pointed out that he had skipped Svon. Clay was all mock-offended that she thought he might have forgotten Svon, and snarked, Is this your show or mine? It was very funny. He had, of course, intended to intro Svon as the one who would play the piano during IBHfC, which was coming up next (or so he would have us believe *g*). Anyway, he went through his I was going to learn to play the piano, but Im lazy, I had tried it when I was younger, because my grandmother always wanted me to play so that we could sing together at Christmas, but I only lasted 1 hours, its OK, because the rest of my family is tone-deaf, anyway spiel, which was delivered with excellent comic timing.
And then, he moved into a wonderfully lingering reading of IBHfC. He found just the right vocal tone for the song, and I adored the way that he drew out the phrases just right, not too long, but just right. There was a bit of frying pan Clay at the end, which I wasnt sure fit with the mood that he had set for the first half of the song. But I was sold on it by the end, because of the vocal control that Clay displayed as he went off on his riff, because he managed to avoid seeming like he was showboating by diving into a hyperactive melismatic routine, and because he reined it all in beautifully at the end, with the quiet, melancholy If only in my dreams. I wish that I had been able to hear Svon a bit betterthis song illustrated vividly to me how much I prefer songs in which Clays voice and the instrumentation share equal duties in moving a song along. Maybe it was a mic thing, that, when he poured on the power, Clay seemed to overwhelm the piano? I certainly didnt mind hearing him so well, because he sounded so amazing, but I wanted to be able to hear his supporting cast better.
Well, if it was a mic thing, it was about to become very evident on the next song, DSIAfCD. I braced myself for what might become a very loud, chest-thumping, arm-flailing experience. And, as ever, Clay surprised me with a command, controlled performance of the song. I was, once again, incredibly impressed. Where I had expected some very Dramatic Hand Motions to convey the How many people are crying and How many people in this world verses, but Clay just walked among everyone on the stage, and let the drama be told by his voice and the musicit was great! The tightness I heard in the recorded version of the song was reduced in the live version, I thought, which was fantastic. And what a moment of showmanship the song yielded! It was time for the glory note, and he sang, Let them know love, with the held-out love. But then, he dropped what turned out to be an intermediary note, with Angela, Quiana and Jacob singing that. In that moment, there was suspense, What was happening? Would he return for the key change? Was he going to make it? How would he sound? Sure enough, the lighting changed to an orangish-red just as he upped the ante on the highest love, all on his own, signaling the key change. It was thrilling to seethrilling to know that I had fallen, hook, line and sinker, for a little drama, and gotten the payoff. Well done.
The crowd seemed to feel just as I did, as many were just unable to contain their excitement any longer, and stood up in a spontaneous standing ovation when the key change took place. We were all standing and cheering by songs end. And we remained that way for a few minutes, before Clay returned for his encore.
I didnt know much about GN, but had read that some felt that the melody of the song was incredibly dreary, and that several who had seen it live wound up sold on it. Well, my reaction very much falls in the latter category. While Im not convinced that JTTW wouldnt have worked better, I think that GN works extremely well. The melody is fine, in my bookit is distinctive enough. More than that, though, I absolutely love what this song brings out in Clays voice, and I love the staging of the song. The lighting people, who seemed to have been a second or two late on a few cues earlier that night, did a fantastic job with GN. From a vocal standpoint, GN may have been Clays most complete interpretive performance of the night, though WAYDNYE was also brilliant in that respect (among others). Here again, the tone he sustained and the control he displayed were just so good. The encore brought together the various elements of the show really well, and its for that reason that it worked so fantastically well as an encore.
What I take out of the second set is, foremost, how incredibly well Clay handled some very vocally challenging material, and actually built a story from one song to the next, ensuring that they didnt all sound the same. Whereas the first set could have degenerated into an excess of grinning cutesy-ness, the second set could have degenerated into an excess of vocal acrobatics. But Clay didnt allow that to happenhe again managed to achieve just the right tone of reverence, joy and celebration, through his demeanor and through his readings of the songs. Like I said in part one of the recap, I am just so impressed with how much he has developed as an artist and as a performer. Even as I reminded myself that I should be careful what I wish for, I hoped that a reviewer from the NYT was in attendance that night, because I felt that this was a show that could withstand the scrutiny that the NYT was sure to give it. And, lo, by and large, the show did just that.
MSG was my only JNT concert, but gosh, I am just so satisfied with it. It was an amazing experience...far closer to perfect than I could have imagined and hoped it would be.
And that had a lot to do with Clay, but it also had a great deal to do with the wonderful CH-ers with whom I got to share the experience. Cesario and finyanga are, quite simply, joys. It was fantastic to finally meet and spend some quality time with GBB and Nova. Having done so, I understand why it is they never sleepif I had them for company all the time, I would just want to stay up all the time talking to them. Which is more or less what happened from Wednesday to Friday. *g* Im still recoveringand I miss them already. It was great to hang out with cinder10025 againnot only is she a great party planner, shes a wonderful conversationalist, and just great to be around. Aurorabee!! I finally met her, and she was, impossibly, cuter, smarter and more fun than reports from others had suggested. hockeydonna I felt I knew well already because of that whole brain-sharing thing, but it was awesome finally meeting her, and getting to geek around in person.
It was wonderful to see familiar faces like those of buzztechie, daisybumble, DonnaAC, all of whom were having gorgeous hair days, and looked fantastic; playbiller, WinkyDink and RunningFree, whose smiling eyes are beautiful; and CLAYLOVER and krispykreme, who looked great, and whose demeanors are so warm and engaging. guitargrl and kiermar I had the good fortune of seeing at GBB and Novas ACAC viewing partyit was so good to chat with them there, and to see their lovely smiles and laughs as we took in the show. Oh! And the wonderful elzicord was obscenely patient with me as I yammered on about numbers, because I apparently cant help myself. And it was so cool to talk tennis with Agassi-interviewer-extraordinaire Vickilyn. I wish there had been more time to talk with kmh135 and DolcePienza, who were also looking fabulous, and have resolved to make sure I track down deborah760 and walkiki the next time we have a concert in common.
It was wonderful, too, to encounter new faces, including those of Valeda, FearofH20, Beagle2 (who was probably the first, but not the last, to hear me talk about how I hadnt eaten yet, when the constructive course of action would probably have been to eat *g*), auntdementia (who, I suspect, is no longer afraid of me ::wonders if that is a good thing:: ), as well as several others whose usernames are escaping me right now. I was glad for the chance to meet and chat with momtim, PodSoda and paradox prior to the concert, as wellsuch lively, interesting, cool peopleI was almost resentful when an announcement about flash photography, presaging the start of the concert, made me stop our conversation and return to my seat.
Oh, and it was great to finally meet Fountaindawg, who did such a wonderful job with the nametags, and got some hilarious, personalized snark inI have my nametag on my desk, and still smile when I look at it. Speaking of new items on my desk that make me smile, Solitaire30 is responsible for another onea trouts head, with a huge open mouth. BWAH! So fitting, given the length of this recap, and of most of my other tomes. Anyway, it was great chatting with Solitaire30 (who is gorgeous, by the way) during the pre-concert party, and dreaming up ways that I was going to explain the presence of trout in my bag to concert security.
Whew! Im going to post this, only to realize in horror that there are people and details that Ive left out, Im sure. But, to everyone I had the great fortune of meeting in NYC, thank you so much for making the experience so wonderful and fulfilling. I look forward to sharing it with you again, next time!
Quote:How can I possibly follow dudley's recap? Everyone has done such a beautiful job recapping the MSG concert, so just let me share some impressions.
The good: It was wonderful meeting up with new and old board friends at the dinner cinder10025 arranged. Thanks so much for taking the reins when my efforts were for naught.
The bad: I didn't get to meet everyone.
The ugly: The traffic in heavy rain that made me late for the dinner.
The good: The Theatre at MSG is a magnificent venue.
The bad: The line for the lady's room was a mile long.
The ugly: I saw only one inappropriately dressed person, who was wearing CLAY deely boppers on her head.
The good: The concert started on time.
The bad: People who hadn't taken their seats yet blocked our views.
The ugly: The flashes started immediately.
The good: Clay looked gorgeous and was in stunningly good voice. The acoustics were glorious.
The bad: Clay had to request several times that flashes be turned off and the f***king idjits should have been tossed out on their asses.
The ugly: Not only that, but the screamers were out in force last night.
The good: EEEEEEE!!! for newland . She and Clay made a beautiful dancing couple.
The bad: ::pouts:: I am very jellus.
The ugly: Now it's Jacob's turn to sing.
The good: Jacob started out his solo very nicely.
The bad: But then he ruined it when he went into melismatic overkill.
The ugly: designing1 overheard Jacob's teenie fans complaining during intermission because OMG, like, what's wrong with these people by not giving Jacob, like, his props, by giving him a standing ovation. Like, don't they know he's as good as JT? (That would be Justin Timberlake.)
The good: Jacob's solo was over and Clay sang again.
The bad: The first half was over much too soon.
The ugly: The line for the rest room was even longer than before the concert.
The good: The flashes died down a little in the second set.
The bad: But they still continued.
The ugly: Why do people pay all this money to go to a concert and then talk through it? Do they think they're in their own living rooms?
The good: The second half was an otherworldly experience. Clay looked magnificent. Words cannot convey how his voice sounded.
The bad: I really would have loved to have had better seats.
The ugly: When you are sitting in the first row of a tier (in our case, 300 section), your vision of the lovely visage of Mr. Aiken is obscured by the ushers walking back and forth in front of you.
The good: I really love the solo that Angela sang. I don't know the name, but it is the "Jesus" one. (Duh. Aren't they all "Jesus" songs?)
The bad: But that meant Clay was not singing. ::whines::
The ugly. Ouch! Again, a beautiful rendition of a lovely song was ruined by melismatic screeching.
The good: Quiana did a chill-inducing, hair-raising, glorious rendering of "My Grown Up Christmas List."
The bad: Why does this lady not have a contract!?!?
The ugly: Ugh, I mean, the Ashlee Simpsons of this world are superstars? And Quiana Parler isn't?
The good: My two favorite songs were in the second half, MDYK, and DSIAFCD. Amazing. Simply amazing. Clay got a standing ovation starting with "The Note" in DSIAFCD.
The bad: The two dingbats sitting behind designing1 and me complained audibly because we were standing.
The ugly: These same two dingbats talked during "Good News." Let me repeat that. They. talked. during. Good. News. That is, until designing1 and I turned around in unison "like Rockettes" (TM designing1) and shushed them.
The good: Good News was amazing. Clay is amazing. The whole concert was amazing.
The bad: I was sad when it was over because I don't know when I will see him in concert again. ::sniff::
The ugly: Ugh. It was still raining out.
Dec 10 04 11:50 PM
MUSIC REVIEW | CLAY AIKEN
The Big Voice of 'Idol' Gets Christmas Spirit
By KELEFA SANNEH
Published: December 11, 2004
Clay Aiken glided into the Theater at Madison Square Garden on Thursday night to give voice to a Christmas wish that we can all relate to: a world without flash photography.
"Gimme a camera and I'll flash it at you," Mr. Aiken purred, smiling wide so no one could mistake his offer for a petulant threat. This was a night when theater ushers, too often hidden behind a drab facade of jacketed professionalism, got a chance to perform backup vocals for the guy onstage. As Mr. Aiken crooned "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas," the ushers contributed a gruff basso ostinato. "No flashes, please," they barked. "No flashes."
Mr. Aiken, beloved by distinctly prepubescent and exceedingly postpubescent listeners across the country, earned his fame in 2003, when viewers declined to vote him America's Idol. (Like Senator John Kerry, the St. Louis Cardinals and, while we're at it, the Confederate Army, he finished a strong second - to the singer Ruben Studdard.) Since then, he has emerged as a brazenly anachronistic pop star, a titillation-averse singer with a warm vibrato and an affinity for big, mushy ballads.
Of course, he's not so old fashioned that he can't interrupt a Christmas concert to plug a television special. "Who watched 'Lost' on ABC last night?" he asked, and those who applauded got a snack-size helping of scorn: they should have been watching NBC's "Clay Aiken Christmas," instead. Soon, Mr. Aiken drifted back to a favorite topic. "I imagine the people who watched 'Lost' last night are the same people who can't find the off button to the flashes on their cameras," he said, but the flashers bravely pressed on.
"American Idol" fans usually love their notes long, loud and high; that's how you can tell a singer is really good. Yet the concert's brief first half didn't give fans much to cheer about: Mr. Aiken waltzed through a nimble "Sleigh Ride," and a woozy, post-eggnog-ish version of "The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)," one of the few Christmas songs that sound a bit sheepish about their own Christmasiness: "Although it's been said many times, many ways/ Merry Christmas to you."
Mr. Aiken had been onstage for about 40 minutes when it came time for a 25-minute intermission. When he returned, the show became a lot more energetic and more interesting. The preamble was over, and now it was time for everyone to discover the True Meaning of Christmas.
Don't worry: this second act wasn't some vague celebration of friends and family and fun. Since Thursday was the third night of Hanukkah, Mr. Aiken turned his second act into a celebration of Jews. Well, one Jew: Jesus. Whereas other seasonal gatherings evoked a secular or multifaith "holiday spirit," Mr. Aiken's concert was one party where the birthday boy got all the attention.
This spirit of evangelism made the music more exciting: the gospel-inflected second act used two youth choirs (one from a high school, one from an elementary school) more effectively, and there were more long, loud, high notes for the Idol-aters.
The songs grew more intriguing, too. Mr. Aiken sang "Mary, Did You Know" as if he were a kind but ruthless police investigator, asking for information he already had. "Did you know that your baby boy has walked where angels trod?/ When you kiss your little baby, you kissed the face of God." His voice was low and spooky, evoking not just a true believer's shivery faith but also a new mother's bewilderment.
By the time the show was over, Mr. Aiken had held forth on the importance of "keeping the Christmas spirit throughout the year" (does that mean we have to stick to the Christmas playlist, too?), sung a tender "I'll Be Home for Christmas" (de-emphasizing the unsettling last line: "If only in my dreams") and reappeared for a lovely encore, "Good News." As he sang the incantatory lyrics, a choir joined him, half-hidden by a gauze scrim and illuminated by bright, pulsating lights.
And so Mr. Aiken had his revenge at last: it was just like staring at a giant flash camera
Dec 11 04 12:35 PM
New York City, December 9, 2004
Clay Aiken at The Theater at Madison Square Garden
New York City is like a second home to me. I commuted to the city for seven years during my career as a publication sales representative. I travel there to enjoy shows of all types of artistic disciplines and of course to shop. I love Zabars, The Chrysler Building and the smell of pralines fresh from the street vendors. 9-11 shook me to the core. I Love New York.
I have been proud of Clay for his many accomplishments. I was touched, when in York, PA this summer, he stated how he feels most at home when performing at small country towns like York. I live in the country and I understand the ease one feels among folksy gentility. But the city challenges your grit and imagination and accepts only the best. Like the song line in New York, New York states If you can make it there, youll make it anywhere. Clays first full concert in the city that never sleeps was a classy quintessential New York experience.
Before the show I acclimated myself to the Madison Square Garden entertainment complex. The complex lobby features wallpaper photos of the great performers, sports stars and personalities that have graced both the arena and theater. There was Elvis, John Lennon at his last American performance, Judy Garland at her last performance, Frank Sinatra, Pope John Paul II. The kid that lost on a talent show was now to take the stage and join this impressive ensemble of alumni. My heart swelled for Clay. His voice is a miracle of nature. A gift. An instrument of joy. I was so proud for him. I dont know why. Perhaps I deceive myself into believing I helped, in some small way to get him to this stage, in this city. The reasons do not matter. I felt pride.
I joined my cozy quad, DonnaAC, daisybumble, and my lurker buddy near the stage. I had the opportunity to personally thank the guitarist Andy Abad. He graciously accepted my compliments. House lights go down and the most cherubic African American boy (who Im sure had a frog, sling shot and chewing gum in his back pocket) enters from our side, (left) and he sings the opening strains of Hark the Harold Angels Sing. He sets the tone for the evening. This show includes an ensemble of all ages, races and musical talents, coming together to celebrate and share with us, the reason for the season. Hope, tradition, giving and love.
We then hear Clays voice but dont see him. The song changes to Music of Christmas and as he burst forth on stage from our side, you feel the energy of the crowd increase by 100 newtons. The screams spontaneously erupt. Hes here! Its as if light physically enters the room. Because of my proximity, as the song progressed, the childrens choir took to the edge of the stage. I was so happy for those kids. They did a fantastic job! How proud this must have made their folks. It was a joyful way to begin the program and Clay delivered this song in animated (and rock stah) fashion with his signature kicks and dips and sweeping arm motions. There was plenty of weaving through the children and it all flowed so seamlessly.
Sleigh Ride starts at runaway train speed and daisybumble and I do nothing to suppress our exuberance. It was great fun to see the concert with her beside me. She unleashed her inner 12 year old fangirl and it was so easy to be persuaded to do the same. Throughout the night we grabbed each others thighs as the notes soared to the heavens. I think I inadvertently groped her and I hope the experience was as good for her as it was for me. This was cause for celebration! (The notes soaring to the heavens, not the groping of another meer).
Because I decided that the camera situation was more risk than it was worth I kept my beautiful Canon SI at home. I am glad I did. As the show progressed it did seem that if you were taking non flash photos, the ushers really didnt mind. However without a camera in my hand (which at this particular style of concert would have felt invasive from my position in front row) I did see more nuances of Clays performance. One example I noticed was that when Clay sings, the two sides of his neck quiver. When I watch trumpeters their whole necks fill with air and this is what it reminded me of. Clay also very slyly observes the conductor by dipping his head and averting his eyes ever so quickly to the right. I eat this type of stuff up with a spoon. He is such a pro.
WW was mirthful and besides DonnaAC having her lovely connection, he really focused in on a little boy in the front row. As Clay sang until the other kiddies knock him down he teased the little guy with a fake snowball and an impish knowing crooked smile which said, That be me and you little buddy! The tot was overjoyed! WAYDNYE was greatly anticipated by those of us who knew the routine. He started on our side, so we knew the lucky Belle of the Ball would be chosen from the right. His eye debacling routine killed the front row dead and his languid tease on the steps of sexiness is gahworthy. I wouldnt be surprised if there were burn marks on the risers. We were thrilled when we saw newland rise from her seat and gracefully dance with Clay. I was surprised at how natural it flowed, like it had been rehearsed. Shes one classy dame.
During intermission a true 12 year old came up to the front stage, grasping an origami dove she had made in school that day. On it she had wrote a note to Clay. She was grinning from ear to ear and she asked me if I thought one of the ushers would give her gift to Clay. I said Sure honey, theyve been doing it all night for everyone else. Theyll see that Clay gets it. She delivered her gift and then described how all her teachers love Clay, and that her whole school loved Clay. I will never forget that kids face. How this man moves people.
The second set had me transfixed. Words fail me to describe the immediacy of the beauty. I was slayed. There is no question that this young mans voice is gift. It is not perfectly refined like Josh Grobans. It has quirks and blips and a truth. His sincerity of delivery, the way he uses this instrument as a brush to create a masterpieceOh lord, it makes me cry. I look down the aisle and I see people in tears with tissues (Aurorabee, I'm looking at you *g*), eyes gazing up. The second set gave me the feeling that daisybumble so aptly described as Midnight Mass. I see all my buddies sitting in line, friends I goof with, friends who posses brilliant insight, absorbing this moment. This perfect awe of the moment. I feel like I am part of a family. My heart swells so much it causes pain in my chest. My lurker friend, who has never sat in front row says to me ILoveYou. I pat her hand. I am thrilled that I could give this experience to somebody, for so much has been given to me.
Can you tell I liked the second set?
What Clay wears is never a concern to me. I love it all. I suppose I tend to appreciate the more conservative classic outfits, for that is my style of dress. The slim long suit coat gave him an elegant line. I was mesmerized by the black pants of gah cuppage. He has a beautiful svelte body and I am so thrilled he wore those pants for shady on Thursday!
The note on DSIAFCD was classic Clay. I love when he has to deep knee bend to force every molecule of air from his lungs. Its oddly sexy. I wonder how long he could do a Tarzan yell?
Good News was the most artistic presentation of a song I have ever seen Clay perform. It felt very avant-garde with the floaty gossamer drapery and ever changing spectrum of light, from chilly blues to neon greens complimenting Clays low and deliberate delivery. It was his presentation from the side of the stage that had me thinking; perhaps he wanted me to know there was something greater taking center stage. The good news is that there is something more important driving the ship. You can check your ego at the door. What a relief. And isnt that what he espouses? I leave it in Gods hands.
On a final note, I appreciated how Clay combined the secular and religious aspects of the season in his show. Including the children was brilliant and Im sure it can be stressful pulling this show together in different cities every other night. This man is the real deal. He is a talent to be recognized. At his admission, he is using his gift for a noble, higher purpose. How great the gift. Well done Clay.
Dec 11 04 8:54 PM
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This is going to be abbreviated. Sorry. Im packing for a two and a half week vacation and have little time to compose something wholly comprehensive. I was given a very stern look from the statuesque Solitaire30 when I said there will be no review from me due to time constraints. Her response? No, it must be done. No excuses. *g*
But my priorities are really wacked anyway. Im leaving tomorrow night. My husband is gathering stuff at our city apartment. I am cleaning up our house in the burbs because I cant stand to come back to a messy home. Ive spent a majority of my day uploading music into our ipodsIm even taking requests from my husband via cellphone to add the new U2Im frantically looking for my Patty Loveless and my mother, all the while, thinks were incredibly nuts and anal about our music for its only two weeks of travel. Now... instead of packing, Im typing this up on the fly.......wee!
First off. Thanks to cinder for the party arrangements. You are a dear. Thanks to my lovely concert companions, finyanga and dudley, for making the night so enjoyable. I hope I met everybody although Im not sure I did accomplish that. It was a bit of a whirlwind. DonnaAC has this fabulous new hair color. And the amiable buzztechie coined my reaction to seeing Clays vocal cords a voicefuck. Oh my...how we laughed. Thanks to Fdawg for the fabulous nametag (I understand, though, that the vocal cords photo would not have settled nicely with everyones appetite.) Loved meeting Nova and her trout and loved GBBs enthusiasm. auntdementia is infectious, Winky and Yalcteef sparkled. I adore krispykreme and claylover. They have an adorable camaraderie with each other. Claylover and I had a very enthusiastic conversation about operatic baritonesactually I think we squealed over baritones. It was great to meet momtim and seymoursgal. They are lovely....as is daisybumble. Mwah! The wonderful aurorabee is such a loving fanI couldnt think of a more beautiful oneshe, like institches radiate this kind of joy from him and his music. yamyam and snowdrop are just dolls. To sum up, the CH bunch are some of the nicest people. At one point I said that Ive now seen some CH members more times than Ive seen my relatives. At which point the effervescent hockeydonna chimed in how true that was and shes from Colorado. Hee.
I was so happy to see Clay perform in New York City for the first time. It was an important gig for New York is the most artistically rich city of them all; it is the pillar of musical society and the apex of musics conflicting struggle in integrating the innovative and the traditional. This is most exemplified in the warring worlds between the Uptown music and the Downtown music poked in the sides by the emerging communities of Zankel Hall, Miller Theatre and the Brooklyn Academy of Music. Its represented by all sides in the diversity of the bargemusic and the East Village where the off beat dominates. The texture and complexity is so penetrating that even a lifetimes absorption of its cultural life would not plumb all its depths-- not to mention the fact that many of musics corporate and administrative world reside in the heart of the city. It was so gratifying to see his name in bright lights right there. Cool!
I thought the concert was well-paced, ensuring what might have been a hodge-podge of musical styles into a neatly connected and effective sequence that bridged the divide between traditional, non-secular and religious music. Including the school choir was great! What a way to advocate the importance of arts in education. And the awe and joy contained on those faces was worth the price of admission. For the first set, bringing songs like Sleigh Ride and Winter Wonderland to a modern audience ( yes, even the primitivic flashing kind) requires a certain degree of faith in the material. These works are about glossy surface and fond remembrances. The slightest hint of parody and the sincerity in the music is lost. Clay succeeded in maintaining the silken-clutch of his contemporary sound while making subtle changes in mood to achieve the various stylistic shifts. All of this was done without compromising the unashamedly sentimentality inherent in the songs.
To be honest, I have been a little concerned with recent developments in his vocal production. I am the tiniest bit perplexed with this new approachthere is unnecessary tension in the jaw, the face, the neckI would hear things, reach for finyangas binoculars and watch it happen. It was frustrating to watch while he sang The Christmas Song and especially Merry Christmas with Love. I cant go into it for it would take pages, but they are 2nd and 3rd tier problems arising from overcompensating when the voice is not fully healed. Its almost psychological. He was in good voice despite the hyperkinetic muscle tension and misdirected energy. And then he ends The First Noel with the resonance of an operatic tenor. He really is a force against nature. It was with some admiration and relief to see him sing Good News with freedom. He used hand and arm motions to mimic the rising and falling notes throughout the song. This really helped him to redirect the energy in his singing from the shoulders on up so he sang in a flowing arc. It was wonderful to see.
On the plus side, his musicality has improved so much. He broadly paced the music unhurriedly without being inert. He was vast in dynamic range, always considerate to his fellow musicians, unerring in his preparation and clinching of climaxes. I think his timbre is such a natural gift; its both brilliant but there is this beautiful rich mellow centerits just fashioned together in a realm of pure sensuality. Really stellar.
What are You Doing New Years Eve was such a stand out. First of all, it was refreshing to hear a vocal strip tease from Clay. A sexual charge veiled under pure melodic tone; he handled this juxtaposition with a knife-edged poise. I actually felt women in heat. Hysterical. And yes, dudley, fin and I were uproariously delighted to see him dance with the very dear newland.
In the second half, the engineers favored high frequency sounds and only the mid and lower ranges reverberated with resonance. This may have favored Clay and Jacob but did no favors for Angelas and Qiannas solosfor their louder passages came off sounding relatively jangly and monochromenot really a pleasing sound and tiring on the ear. And, unfortunately, they tended to press too hard on the higher passages and marred the tone every time. I was very surprised Qianna did not opt for a more balanced tone but prepared so many phrases with too heavy an admixture of breath. Angela does add the more dynamic stage presence to the mix. In contrast, it was a relief to hear Clay perform Ill be Home for Christmas for there was no paucity of rich tones and the dynamic variety he utilized really shaped the following songs beautifully.
I think the performance of the night, for me, was Good News. The structure of the song is limited, but his expression of it was unlimited. It has a hallucinogenic quality and his voice is the decorative filigree that ornaments the songs stark structure. His lyrical and genuine love for the melody come to the fore. Weaving in and out of the polyphonic strands, Clay turns the song into a tactile exercise of soaring vocal lines that topple over into cascade runs counterpointing the mantra-like choruses. He gives speaking eloquence to narrative, discursive music. Its interesting because aside from I Survived You and other songs from MOAM ( which always felt characterized) this is the first live performance I have seen where he gives such a personalized point of view in the first person directly to the audience. He finished the concert with a dream-like serenity; a hushed gesture like the snuffing out of a candle. I thought it was lovely.
What interests me is that there is the idea that the best religious music aims to transport the listener through the gates of heaven. I have argued before to colleagues that that is a very evangelical philosophy. Im not sure if the listener is transported in the same way that the performer or the composer is through the ecstacy of inspiration. I think what happens more often than not is that the power of live music demands that you exist in the presentits more zen-like in its spirituality for the enraptured spontaneity it affords redresses the past and erases the worries of the future. It takes lifes energies and suspends it into the now. Its very Buddhist, in a way. I felt this way throughout the concerts second half. It was a welcome reprieve from worrying about my career altering exam the next morning. However, I cant say the same for the two girls next to me who repeatedly cried out Oh my god! Oh my god! Oh my god! omg!omg!omg!omg! in rapture. I had my doubts about my predisposed thoughts on the evangelical nature of religious music... momentarily. But then I heard, Oh my god! Hes so cute! omg! omg! and I knew that the cosmic axis on which the world turned righted itself; the mesmerization was rooted in lovea carnal one.
Big smoochies and thanks for everything.
Dec 11 04 8:57 PM
Quote:My MSG recap, written in the throes of a blinding headache, so bear with me.
- There was an announcement made about 10 minutes before curtain that, I'm pretty sure, prohibited the use of all recording devices. They didn't mention flash specifically, but since folks shouldn't have been using their cameras to begin with, well, a mention of flash would have (should have) been redundant. Also, there were small (8 1/2 x 11 -- too small to be read by crowds, MSG people!) signs at the entrance prohibiting cameras. From my vantage point in the first row of the balcony, the flashes were out of control, especially in the first half. It actually looked like a lightning storm in there. I have serious problems with my eyes adjusting to extremes of light and dark; there have been times travelling late at night when the contrast between the darkness and the brightness of oncoming headlights has been horribly painful. If Clay's sensitivity to light is anything like mine -- well, something really needs to be done. The jokes won't do it; people just think, "awww...he's so cute and so funny...I want to take his picture!" I really think he needs to address it in a serious manner as early as possible in each concert.
- It was unlikely that the camera rules in place were going to be enforced by the ushers dragging people out, as the Theatre at MSG seems to be part of some "Hire a WWI Veteran" program.
- Funniest sight of the evening: Four teenage girls walking to their seats -- each wearing a different color Coach hat.
- I was happy to see so many men in the audience. I was even happier to see lots of teenage boys wearing Clay t-shirts. All in all, lots of kids, lots of teens, lots of over-30's -- but only a smattering of people in Clay's age group (at least from where I was sitting). Not much in the way of ethnic diversity in the crowd, either, especially considering the diversity of the city itself.
- Speaking of men in the audience, at some point during the second act, Clay finished up a song, and a guy seated behind me let out with an awestruck "Man!" Next song finishes, same guy: "That was incredible!"
- The concert itself? Beautiful. The music was beautiful. The staging was beautiful. The voice was beautiful. The man himself? Beautiful. Joyful and professional and totally in control. Such serious stubble that I could see the red cast on his face and throat from the balcony without using my el-cheapo binoculars. The perfect pants of ass cuppage, however, called out for closer inspection. Those binoculars? Best 15 bucks I've ever spent. Whoever tailored those pants, and whoever talked him into ditching the basketball shorts and wearing those pants, deserves an award.
- The audience rose en masse during the DSIAFCD glory note, and screamed and clapped non-stop for the remainder of the song. The acoustics -- and the vox -- were both so wonderful, you could still hear the music above the screaming. And yes, the two gabby beyotches to whom kiermar and I were forced to give the synchronized stinkeye on more than one occasion immediately grumbled because people were standing for a friggin' unreal performance.
- After Clay finished the mass murder (but in a good way) that is WAYDNYE, he was right by a side door to exit, with Jerome right next to him. When the final note ended, Clay was practically wearing Jerome as a blanket as Jerome hustled him through the door. No way anyone was getting near Clay. I was glad to see it.
- Jacob? Starts out OK -- typical boy-band voice -- then melismas the hell out of it and reaches for notes that he just can't hit. (As kiermar mentioned earlier, a couple of the teenies were so impressed that they wanted to scream for him, and thought everyone else was jus' jellus, because we weren't inclined to stand and scream. It says something about my advancing age that when they compared him to "JT", I wondered how in the hell Jacob was like James Taylor -- until I realized they were talking about Justin Timberlake.) Angela? Starts out OK, then devolves into screeching. Quiana? As dudley mentioned, she was uncharacteristically breathy during SB, so much so that the binoculars came into play again, because I thought for a moment he'd foisted KLo on us. Her solo, on the other hand, was fabulous. Why does she not have a recording contract?
All in all, this concert was really special for me. The only other times I've seen Clay live were at the Broadway event (one song) and the IT Nassau show where I was treated to Sick!Helium!Clay! It was so wonderful to hear him in perfect voice and in a venue designed for music. I can't pick a highlight, because the whole thing was just.that.good. I will say that OHN, my favorite carol, was wonderful, if slightly spoiled by the kiddus interruptus. SN was ethereal in its beauty (I think that's the song that prompted the "Man!" comment from the guy behind me); I don't think I've ever heard a more transcendent version of this song. The mesmerizing GN proves beyond a doubt that Clay was born to do this -- that he's a star. Few performers could hold the stage -- and hold an audience still that had just been on it's feet screaming after the no holds barred performance of DSIAFCD -- with such quiet control.
Just absolutely awesome.
Dec 12 04 8:16 PM
Dec 12 04 11:58 PM
Quote:Clay is blessed to have Nick for a friend. I had the good fortune of having a brief but nice conversation with him while in MSG. What a total doll baby! First off, let me just say that he looked pretty spiffy in his suit with a gorgeous purple shirt and tie combo.:thumbup Ok, I admit, Im a tie whore; I lurve me some mens ties. I love to look at them, dissect them, and browse for hours for them in stores, getting obsessive over picking out just the right one for the right guy. Yes, strange but true. Well, the bottom line is that his tie was making me drool:drool I later said to my friend that I wanted to take a picture with him because I thought the green I had on would go remarkably well with the purple tie he had on and make for a nice color coordinated picture. Well, it did! I didnt get my picture till later on in the frigid NY night air while waiting by the busses but as I predicted they would, the colors just popped and snapped right out of the photo!:tyty
So, ok, back to the conversation: I started it off introducing myself as Lee, Briannas mommy. He looked a might perplexed and I quickly said You know, the little Raleigh girl who sang with him on the last night of his previous tour. Ohhh, right, of course! He said and then goes on to say something like she was just adorable, we loved her and still talk about her often (Boy did that make me smile from ear to ear to hear, I mean, I knew Clay would never forget her but to hear it just made me feel all kinds of tingly inside!!!) :inlove
Ok, so then I explained to him that I had been contacted by someone here on the boards about reminding Clay about Raleigh's autograph Brianna had asked for and that I was a might uncomfortable about the whole thing. I explained to him how I specifically told the woman NOT to mention Brianna at all that if she truly had a connection (as she claimed she did) that I wanted it used for making Clay aware of little John Martins recent difficulty with his seizures becoming increasingly worse and about his familys struggle with their unfortunate house situation. He said that indeed they did get a message from this lady and that quote on quote Clay is working on that.:stud
I asked if she in fact did say something about Brianna and in fact, she did!:rolleyes I told Nick that I feel it makes me look like a pest about getting it and explained to him that Brianna has pretty much forgotten about it anyway. I told him the story about how Brianna came up with the idea for a sign when she said to me mommy if peoples want peoples autographs wouldnt doggies want another doggies autographs?:laugh He chuckled and said something like Ha-ha, yeah, I can see how that makes sense; I am going to have to tell Clay about that, thats too cute. :yow
I thanked him for taking the time to talk with me and asked for a picture but just as I did the lights went down! He said hed come back later and he did!!! (but I wasnt there as I was making the rounds saying hi to everyone I knew there):smack Well, as I said above, it worked out in the end when I got a pic later outside with him (and my friend Tamara):dancing
Well, now that I finally got to speak with him, I can say first hand that (at least in my opinion), he is one heck of a guy and I think Clay is very blessed to have him.:hug3
And Nick, If you are reading this: I just want to say number one Im sorry for accidentally calling you John at first! (I was distracted with thoughts of little John Martin on my mind, honest) and number two, THANK YOU again for allowing me to take up some of your time! I always feel awkward about doing that and you made me feel ok about it, you were so sweet and easy going and I truly appreciate that! And, oh my gosh, thanks for the picture too!
Just for the record, Clay didnt stop when he exited the building he just did quick walk by hand shakes on one side of the partition separating us (almost similar to sideways slap me fives) and he thanked us for coming but told us he couldnt stop because he was on a tight schedule! He also proceeded to wave from the bus window and sign the words I love you and Thanks and of course lots of waving! Awww! What a sweetie! He such a gracious human being, I just love that about him.
Oh, btwClay was brilliant in MSG, he was divine, superb, totally ON fire vocally and personality-wise. Jacob was terrific, Angela was great and Quiannas solo brought me to tears! The acoustics in that place were unbelievably crisp. The set and lighting design added the perfect ambience to every song and the little kids just were precious beyond words. I LOOOVVVEED the whole concert and guess what? My AWESOME friends were like the cherry on top of an already perfect night:cloud9
I LOVE MY FRIENDS SOOOO MUCH and cant think of anyone Id want to share the freezing cold-standing out in the rain waiting for the if you blink you miss the wink and hand-shake experience with more than them!!!:hugs
I miss them terribly already!!! :sadeyes :sadeyes :sadeyes
Well, thanks for letting me share my story about Nick and fun-filled night in MSG
Dec 16 04 4:23 PM
Dec 16 04 11:36 PM
He almost succeeded in killing me! AAAAAHHHH!!!!!!!
A few days ago I got another ticket for the New York concert ticket on Ticketmaster...section 102, row L, seat 19. When I got there, I was a tad disappointed because, although it was close to the front, it was the very last seat all the way to the right.:bluesniff
However, a lady a few rows back told us that Jerome was going in and out of the door along that wall so we started getting hopeful that our aisle would be where Clay would enter the audience to serenade audience members. I joked that , if he did, I would trip him so he would have to stop by me. :lol
As it came closer to the time in the concert to sing What Are You Doing New Years? I got so nervous I took my hand sanitizer (thanks, Nina) and made sure to use it ...just in case OMC held my hand even for the briefest of moments.Nick glanced my way probably wondering what this old lady was up to (nothing, young man, just getting ready for a prayed for close encounter with my fantasy man. ):lubdub
The song starts and I noticed Clay glanced along our aisle and my heart skipped a beat.
Then he began to give eye boinks to the entire first row while walking the length of the stage and I was melting in my seat in empathy with them. *sigh*
He returned to our side of the stage and with his eyes riveted on a lady toward the front, he oh so slowly came down the stairs (yes, we like it s-l-o-w!). She sprang up with a wonderful smile on her face and they looked so wonderful dancing I was screaming my support. He ever so gently lowers her to her seat and then goes up our row and stops at a cute teenager a couple rows in front of me, gets down on his knee and while holding her hand, serenades her, He then kisses her hand and I moaned and was getting hot flashes.:drool
He straightens up and continues down the aisle and I think at this point I was shivering. As he drew closer his face was facing the audience and my heart sank some thinking he was passing me by and then he stops right beside me still singing to the audience. His cute little jeans were right next to my right ear...if you get my drift...and I did not dare turn my head cause I was afraid I'd lose it.:laugh
The next thing I knew Clay was leaning over me...my head snapped back and when I realized he was singing to me I immediately dropped my head into my hands , shaking it back and forth and saying, "Oh my God!":yow
Then I collected myself and willed myself to look at his beautiful face which was just inches from mine as he was now on his knees beside me (first time I ever brought a man to his knees!...Hehe!):laugh
The first thing I noticed was those beautiful long eyelashes on his lid lowered eyes. I looked deeply into his gorgeous green eyes which were riveted on mine. GGGGGAAAAHHHHHH!!!!!
He really does make you feel as if he is only focusing on you (forget those couple thousand other people...it's just you and I, baby!):lubdub
His face was so animated and sexy (some ultra lucky female is gonna wake up to that every morning!!!!). This deliciousness seemed to go on forever and yet it seemed to be so fleeting...know what I mean?
As he was finishing the last line of the song he slowly stood up and ever so slowly bent over to kiss me. For a millisecond I thought about giving him a peck back but I did not want to drool on him!:tasty So, I just tilted my cheek up for him (great sacrifice but someone has to do it!)
OH MY WORD!!!!! Such soft lips and...ladies...I got STUBBLE!!!!
Softly prickly, yet soft stubble on my cheek! AAAAAAHHHHH!!!! I was toast. He slipped through the door and I collapsed my face into my hands. Claylily slipped out of her seat to come give me a hug and congratulate me. After she left, I tried to compose myself but found myself crying as Clay finished up the first half.
At intermission, my dear Clayboard friends and strangers came up to hug me and help me to revel in this most wonderful experience. Emily (claymateinnepa ), Paula at Measure of a Fan, and Tigercat from RHT have pics for me. I am so grateful.
I will cherish this memory always. I just had to share with my beloved Clayboard who helped make it possible.
I LOVE that man!!!!!!!:cloud9
Dec 21 04 9:28 AM
EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE! I just had my first JNT concert and it was fantastic!
The venue was wonderful, the sound was rich and gorgeous....and Clay wasn't too bad himself. *g* He sounded glorious. When he first came out on stage his energy and good mood seemed palpable. He bounced on his toes -- and I could hear the words through the hands-free mic just fine -- and repeatedly opened his arms wide, angling his body back as though he could just embrace the whole universe. I think....he seemed joyous.
It was a very good start. (The little singing boy, not so much, but he was cute.)
The concert was wonderful. Sure, he came at a couple of notes from an odd direction, but that was inconsequential, because the passion and emotion were evident all the way through. It fit my definition of perfection.
Clay asked the audience how many watched Lost on ABC and a TON of people cheered. Way to listen, people.... He snarked to Jerome that those people needed to be escorted from the building right away. The only downside was hearing him repeat at least 3 times that he didn't want you using a flash, He made fun of the photographers who probably 'also couldn't figure out not to watch ABC' the one who snapped a flash photo WHILE he was talking about it, and he mentioned it gave him headaches, etc. There was a joking quality to his comments, but you could tell he was dead serious in his message. I wonder why he can't be more direct -- maybe folks would listen if he made a personal request, but then again, maybe they'd beat up the next person with a flash camera.... Well, the only time I saw a ton of flashes was in Good News, for which he closed his eyes and gave himself to the moment. That was another performance that just leaves me speechless.
Quiana, also, gave me chills and she got a standing ovation from a good part of the audience. She deserved it.
The 'band interaction' was extremely funny -- they all sat on the stools -- Clay, Quiana, Jacob and Angela in that order -- to talk about resolutions. He asked Quiana to give him her resolution and she said "I'm going to spend more time....with my cat," Everyone laughed a bit as Clay made an 'ick' face, then she slanted a look at him and added "at YOUR house." and he recoiled. Heh.
You know how there was all this talk about the 'pants of Gah' and everyone sees stuff...er, in his pants *g*...that I totally miss? I often feel like I'm staring at one of those weird paintings that seem to be wavy lines but everyone else squints and sees a castle....okay, for once I absolutely have to say... NICE PANTS. Oy. I found myself oddly distracted for a moment...which might be the only time you'll hear me saying that (well, depends what he wears tomorrow night...). Actually, it depends whetyher jojoct was kidding when she said I expressed that thought while she was recording.
Of course, I totally blame the Clayboard members next to me, who as soon as he came out said 'those are the pants!' They made me look. And, you know, if he would have just stopped prowling back and forth and back and forth across the stage, then they might not have been so distracting...but then, I suppose the world would have been a poorer place. *g*
newland21 was fabulous when she got her dance. She was classy and pretty and it looks like they chatted each others ears of during the musical interlude. Let's hope she shares details. *g*
I can't express, really, how awesome it was to hear him sing in a venue like this one. HYAMLC was beautiful, IBHFC was mesmerizing, and MDYK brought me to tears. OHN is fantastic, but I think the climax is lost (shut up Brandi) because of the sudden switch to narration. The crowd was electrified and holding its breath and then...time for a reading. Good News was a moment out of time, it was that beautiful and meaningful to Clay, and just...so amazingly expressive.
I'm so sleepy that I'm literally nodding off writing this recap. Y'all can go giggle over my babbling...I hold a faint hope it isn't on tape. *g*
Now off to CT!
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