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Sep 22 04 10:37 PM
Aiken wows his 'Claymates' at York Fair performance
By Jade Kelly Solovey , Special to the Chronicle         09/23/2004
Reality television did not make Clay Aiken a singer, but it sure did make him a star. Unlike some of his American Idol finalist counter parts, he has the talent to back it up.
The flawless, sweet sounds of Clay carried through the balmy air when Aiken performed for a near-capacity crowd of 8,755 at the York Fair last Thursday night.
Even the singer's mom, Faye Parker, was on-hand for the show. Parker was put to work when, prior to the show, she selected a lucky, talented young lady to sing on stage with Aiken.
The evening started with a nod to the singer's sponsors via a video sneak peak at the new song Aiken has lent his voice to. The soon-to-be released Disney's Aladdin Special Edition DVD features a resurrected song from the infamous "vault" titled "Proud of Your Boy."
Aiken emerged from beneath a staircase met with the roar of the predominantly middle-aged and female crowd of Claymates. He broke into "Where the Streets Have No Name" by U2, then transitioned into his own bouncy "Perfect Day."
The singer greeted his audience with a mix of humor and Southern charm.
"You look good, you sound good, York Pennsylvania," Aiken said. "I gotta be honest with ya ...you got 'em all whooped right here."
He then offered the crowd an opportunity to prove it, inviting two fans to dance onstage during "When You Say You Love Me," and to earn a Hawaiian lei now coveted by Claymates everywhere.
"You've got some people who can move," Aiken said, "some people who had a little too much sugar at the fair."
As the evening progressed, it was evident that Parker's boy has grown during the past several months on the road. Aiken is starting to overcome his reputation for being clumsy, tripping and occasionally dropping the microphone - certainly part of his Southern, boyish charm that keeps the ladies reeling. This powerful performance was even more solid and confident than some previous ones, and it was seriously rocking at times.
The evening's highlights included a video montage of Aiken's television appearances, accomplishments and experiences since the end of season two of American Idol. The crowd roared with approval at the sight of the Rolling Stone cover featuring Aiken - particularly a panning shot of the WWJD bracelet that he refused to remove for the photo shoot.
His show of faith did not stop there, as Aiken, adorned in choirboy white covered "You Were There," a spiritual ballad recognizing God's omnipresence. He received a resounding "amen" from the crowd upon singing the lyrics "You would rather die than leave us in the dark." It was a very poignant, powerfully-moving point in his performance.
Aiken and his band filled the show with covers like "Kyrie" by Mr. Mister, a rocking rendition of Stevie Wonder's "Signed Sealed Delivered," and a mesmerizing version of Toto's "Rosanna" that, in the words of Paula Abdul, Aiken "took and made his own."
The evening's performance also included a salute to James Taylor featuring back-up singers Angela Fisher, Quiana Parler and Jacob Litrell on lead for "Sweet Baby James," "How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)," "Yesterday Morning," and "You Got a Friend."
Aiken and company have taken to vocally challenging each other by seeing who can hold a note the longest. (It was Aiken, by the way.) The singer's talent, confidence and experienced showmanship emerged each time he stepped out of his comfort zone with a howl or a growl integrated into his phenomenal, standard performance.
Aiken also wowed 'em with his current single, "I Will Carry You," a particular favorite with the audience; "Measure of a Man"; "I Survived You"; and his first hit, "This Is The Night."
"That song means a lot for obvious reasons. It was a pivotal point in my life," he said.
"If you had asked me two years ago where I would be tonight, I would not have said York, Pennsylvania. [I'm] glad I'm here. I feel blessed to have the opportunity."
The singer dedicated "Invisible" to the crowd and sang the words "I am nothing without you" with particular emphasis as he pointed to his fans. He then disappeared under the stair, only to emerge atop the stage for an encore that featured "Solitaire."
Aiken provides a night of outstanding vocals and powerful simplicity - no lasers or five-second delays required.
Sep 24 04 11:48 PM
Quote:Okay, full recap ahead...
granan got to my place about 3:00 PM on Wednesday. She brought all her stuff in, including her "mowing hat", which is an enormous straw hat that is about the size of Cuba. She looks totally adorable in it!
granan came bearing gifts. She brought in two bottles of upstate-New York-bottled wines and two enormous bunches of wildflowers from her acreage. One bunch was black-eyed Susans, and the other bunch was goldenrod and purple asters. The goldenrods smelled absolutely divine. Together, the bouquets were almost as big as the mowing hat.
We chatted in the kitchen while I started the sauce. I made baked ziti with homemade sauce, meatballs, sweet Italian sausage, garlic bread, and a salad. It's about the only meal I can cook really well. I am not a cook. I suck at cooking. But it came out okay, I guess, as granan is still alive after consuming my cooking.
I had forgotten that I had to go pay a speeding ticket. (I got a $130 ticket for going a lousy twelve miles over the speed limit. 47 in a 35 mph zone! Bite me, Ephrata Township police!) I had to pay it by the 15th, which was Wednesday, or they would have hauled my ass off to jail. They don't double fines in Pennsylvania for lateness, they actually haul your sorry ass to jail. So I had to go pay the ticket, and I left poor granan alone with my hubby for half an hour. I can only imagine what hubby said about me. *praying it was nothing too embarrassing*
My mother had been really depressed on Tuesday when I stopped by to see her at work, so stupid me invited her and my dad over for dinner. After I said "So come by for dinner tomorrow", I was like NOOOOOO! What did I just do? But I couldn't exactly take back the words without looking like a total ass, so poor granan had to suffer a meal with my parents. At least she completely understands now where my foul mouth comes from. ;)
My parents showed up at 5:45 and we sat down to eat. Eating with my family is, well, it's an experience. My father is loud, crass, and tasteless. (which is where I get it from!) The actual meal was okay, as nobody ran screaming from the table clasping a hand to their mouth, but the table conversation? Oy. It essentially centered around who my Dad told to go @#%$ themselves at work. Classy, yes? :blush I love my Dad, but he has absolutely no class. I also get that from him.
My parents left at about 7:30 and I had to show them the back way out of my development, as our town parade was taking place and all the main roads were barricaded for the event. I was gone for fifteen minutes, and granan was left alone with hubby and daughter again. *praying nothing embarrassing was said again*
I got back and had to bathe my daughter and granan was left again with hubby. *praying nothing embarrassing was said AGAIN* I got back downstairs and hubby went to bed. Poor guy, he's on vacation this week and his sleep schedule is all messed up. He usually sleeps from 3:00 PM to 9:00 PM, so he had to be all social and stuff when he's usually unconcious. I bundled my daughter off to bed and finally, we had some peace and quiet!
We watched this totally awful old movie with Clark Gable, Lana Turner, and Jimmy Stewart and pretty much mocked every line of dialogue. And then I put in a DVD that I have of Clay's concert clips from the Not-A-Tour.
Let me tell you, granan fangirls with the best of them. Don't let her fool you. Clay moved his hands in a certain way and she yelped. Clay made a bug-eyed facial expression and she whimpered. granan is so a fangirl!
After the DVD, granan was exhausted, so she went off to bed and I piddled around online until 2:00 AM. Which wouldn't have been a bad thing, except my daughter woke up at 7:00 AM. :cry
granan got up at 8:00 and we diddled around on the computer for a bit. Hubby took my daughter off my hands (GOD BLESS HIM!!!) and went to see his best friend, so we had the place to ourselves. We went to Walmart to get a rain poncho for granan, as the residuals from Ivan threatened our clack experience later that night. *stabs hurricane* We got back and had lunch and waited for Shady. And waited. And waited. We had been making little bets as to how late she would be, knowing how frazzled Shady gets when confronted with bothersome things like schedules and deadlines. Shady finally pulled in by 2:00, only two hours late. To be fair, it was the fault of the construction crews and traffic, not Shady. The very same traffic that caused me to be late for Musikfest made Shady's drive unbearable. *stabs PennDOT for ripping up 222*
We fed Shady (that makes her sound like a pet or something!) and we set out for York. I didn't want to go down RT 30, as it is one traffic light after another and the traffic is hell on a good day, so I went down 462 and ended up driving through downtown York. The traffic was surprisingly light through the downtown area, so we arrived at the fairgrounds in very good time. We pulled into a paid-parking lot (which was actually someone's front lawn, or as Shady described it, in front of the thing in between the two white houses. Very descriptive, that! :lol ) and ambled over to the gate.
There was a big white sign on the entrance gate that said "No Passing Out!" and we all cracked bad jokes about drunk ClayWhores. We paid our money ($5 just to enter the @#%$ grounds!) and walked around for a bit. I had to check out the judged craft competition, as I enter all the town fairs with my crafts (I got two firsts and a second from my town fair on Tuesday! WOOT!) and they had a judged antique competition as well. We lost granan to that for a while, so I wandered around the craft section and Shady went outside and smoked some more.
We kept trying to find the lady who had given us the box seats, with little success. We finally hooked up with her as we were eating dinner. After dinner, we went over to the Grandstands, which was where the concert took place.
Getting in was ridiculously easy. No bag searches whatsoever. I could have brought in a movie camera as long as it wasn't visible, they were so lax. So I expect tons of clack from York.
Okay, the concert...
First off, this was my first real exposure to Ben Jelen, and I was impressed. He's a total babe and I liked his music. I don't know any of the song titles, but the first one had a really good beat. That was helpful, yeah, I know! :lol He ended his set very abruptly and stalked off the stage. I don't know why. granan said he did three more songs in Houston. Maybe he wasn't feeling the love in York.
The crowd was REALLY rowdy. Chants swept the venue several times, you know, like "WE WANT CLAY!" and other pithy concert slogans. The lights dimmed and the crowd came collectively. The stairs of the Mothership opened and the crowd came again. Me personally? I saved my orgasms for later, as you will see. :brows
WTSHNN...we were standing up and howling, and these bitches behind us were screaming "SIT DOWN!" WTF? Who sits at a concert? I wanted to turn around and get in her face and tell her to bite my moldy crotch (TM Jessica Aiken) but I behaved very circumspectly for me and I sat. It was very strange to sit through a Clay Aiken show, I can tell you. WTSHNN was stellar.
He jumped directly into Perfect Day with no banter. OMFG he was ON! He hit the wails perfectly and I was in full shrieking fangirl mode.
After PD, we got some trademarked Clay stage banter. He spoke of performing in Pennsylvania before, and completely blanked on the name of Clearfield County for a moment. He referred to it as "some little county" and we were all shouting "CLEARFIELD!" and I guess he heard our big mouths from 1000 feet away because he suddenly remembered the name. :lol
WYSYLM was next, and Jerome was clueless in finding the dancers. Yes, dancers. Clay brought a guy and girl onstage to dance. Clay so knows his fanbase composition...he said that he was going to bring up a girl and a guy, and he said "So ladies, if you dragged your man here tonight..." and I @#%$ lost it. He is so hot when he is self-deprecating. :eee
Jerome couldn't find them and Clay was cracking wise at Jerome's expense. The dancers finally got on stage and it was hysterical...they were supposed to do the line-dance with Angela, Jacob, and Quiana, and the guy completely ignored the dance and was doing his own moves and putting the moves on Quiana. Faye and Brett were in attendance, so Clay's own dancing was very toned-down and good-son stuff. Boo hiss on being family-friendly!
Kyrie next...good God, was Clay ON! Honestly, this was the very best show ever. Musikfest was all about ClayWhores for me, and this show was all about the Vox. Baltimore was the best show I had attended up to this point, but York kicked Baltimore's ass, packed its bags, and sent it on the express train to Distant Memory.
IWCY was @#%$ FANTASTIC. He changed it up a bit and gave me Deep!Voice!Clay! and I came on the spot. I was a big puddle of goo at the final wail.
Next up was the WY duet. The girl he pulled onstage was a total famewhore. I swear to God, she got backstage before the show and they rehearsed the banter, because it was so practiced. For every crack Clay made, she had a ready rejoinder. They did this running gag about getting a big response for doing a city shout-out. Clay couldn't pronounce Northumberland to save his soul. :rollin Clay got the biggest response when he said "York, Pennsylvania", not surprisingly.
The famewhore got off to a great start, but when she hit the high notes it was a train wreck. It was so off-key that I wanted to rip my ears off and throw them on the ground and stomp on them. And then she tried to improvise a run and I ran screaming onto the stage and jumped her sorry famewhoring ass and kicked her into submission. Okay, not really. But I wanted to, really really badly.
After he got the famewhore off stage, he was joking with Angela, Quiana, and Jacob about shopping and he mentioned York again. I quoted directly from Leno and said "This is called pandering to the audience." Not two seconds later, Clay said "This is called pandering to the audience." OMFG, I had a mind meld with Clay Aiken! :eee :eee :eee :eee :eee :eee :eee :eee :eee :eee
JT set...it was positively sublime, even if the improvised runs got out of hand. Angela was terrific during How Sweet It Is. Jacob was out of control during Fire and Rain. Quiana, my girl crush, was fantastic as usual. I wanna have her babies. That is all. Angela did this run during her solo in YGAF that was a wee bit over the top. Clay won the note-holding competition as usual. Poor Jacob...I pity his ego! Clay held his note for 32 freaking seconds. I timed it. OMG, he is incredible and I lurve him.
He went directly into MOAM and it was unbelievable. He has never ever performed it better. Shady was crying. I was on my feet clapping furiously afterward, and Shady was so wrecked that she couldn't even stand. He sang it with SOOOOOO much emotion. The last "is that" was a thing over everlasting beauty. And I lurve him.
STO was very high-energy compared to the three previous times I've seen it. And then we got to ISY, otherwise known as OMFG!
Shady and I were clutching each other's hands convulsively as we got to the second verse. He added even more growl and I was yelping like a woman in the throes of the world's greatest orgasm, because I was in the throes of the world's greatest orgasm. The glory note put me over the top. The final "survived" was the impetus for my second orgasm. They really oughta sell t-shirts at the concession stand that bear the legend "I Survived 'I Survived You'", like they do at theme parks for the big roller coasters.
SSD...I was a virgin. I had downloaded COF and I had heard KYWW at Musikfest, but I didn't have an inkling of what was coming with SSD. OMFG. Let me say that again. OMFG!!!1!!1! He's got so much SOUL! And just WHERE in the hell was he hiding that falsetto?!?! Holy @#%$ @#%$! My jaw fell open, dropped over the railing, and fell twenty-five feet to the concourse below. I gathered my wits and screamed "I JUST CAME!", because I did. After he was done, I was spent. I was panting and screaming and gasping. Lordy, what an experienced man can do to a virgin!
Rosanna next...it was soooooooo good. I was still in the afterglow phase of the sweaty hot sex that was SSD. It was Rosh Hashannah yesterday, so it was a major holiday for Dani the guitarist, and Clay wished Dani a Happy New Year in Hebrew. How funny does Hebrew spoken in a North Carolina accent sound? Very! :lol Anyway, he held the "Ros" part of "Rosanna" extra long after the second verse and he added a growl. :drool The jam band showed up again during the instrumental section. I was in heaven. And S'von finally did the two-keyboard solo!
YWT. I SWORE that I wouldn't cry this time. Swore on a seventeen-foot-high stack of Bibles. Swore on my mother's good name. Swore on all things holy. Well, I guess Satan is taking over the earth and my mother's name is mud, because I cried like a baby. Damn my weak constitution, and damn Clay for singing that so well! He got to "You were the victor and the king" and the waterworks started.
TITN next. So help me, I still hate this song, but he still wails on it so convincingly that he makes me love it. He got a huge response to this, but as huge as it was, it still wasn't as big as the response for ISY. ISY is, bar none, the highlight of the show every time.
Clay was talking after TITN and he used the word "gratifying" and all I could think was Clay+gratifying=me dead. You know in which context I was thinking about "gratifying", so I'll say no more on that.
Invisible closed out the show, and I was dying to dance, but the bitches behind me were shooting laser death eyes at my back so I couldn't stand up. It was great, but not as good as the Leno Invisible. In my eyes, nothing will EVER as good as the Leno Invisible, though. I shouted "I LOVE YOU CLAY!" when it was over, as I didn't have enough of my wits about me to come up with something more clever.
Solitaire...gah. Just, GAH! There are no words to describe the beauty of it. I sat here trying to think of some for twenty minutes. There are just no words.
After the concert, I tried to get a denim jacket, but they were sold out. Demmit! Anyone have the freaking merchandise link, so I can buy it online? This was my last concert. :cry :cry :cry
We drove back to my place and granan and I polished off the rest of the wine. Shady couldn't drink as she was driving home. :cry I kept telling her to stay overnight, demmit, but she had to go home and let Grace out in the yard before the living room was used as a litter box. Shady left at 1:00 AM and granan and I talked until my head fell on the table and my eyes closed of their own volition. No sleep two days in a row sucks ass, y'all.
granan left me at 8:30 this morning :cry and now I'm all alone. God, life SUCKS after a concert! S.U.C.K.S. I feel like somebody just died or something. When is Vegas again?!
Sep 24 04 11:51 PM
Quote: Another York recap...
I went with my sister-in-law and my daughter. My other sil bailed at the last minute. :wtf We had okay seats, first row in the plaza. I did watch most of the concert through binoculars. My daughter who is in first grade had an awesome time and stood on her chair most of the concert. I agree with shady, what was up with people sitting down!?!?!
I tried to have my daughter audition for Jerome, but he was mobbed due to Faye being with him. We ditched that idea after we heard that he only had time for ten people. (I tried clay4me) The dancers and the singer were probably at the bottom of my list if I had to rate parts of the concert. They didn't seem into Clay. It was kinda strange. :meh
I just can't get enough of this man. He is so amazing my heart dropped into stomach. I kept thinking about how this was my last concert so I was sad and trying to hang on to every moment.
Loved, just loved chatty Clay. I could listen to him talk all night long. I was raised in Pennsylvania and spend almost every holiday in the state so I loved hearing Clay talk about PA. I don't think Quiana and Angela were too thrilled with the shopping. :lol
YWT was well received. I was not surprised since I consider that area of PA to be sort of in the "Bible belt" of the state. Many religious stands at the fair as well.
I definitely liked being at a concert with Clay's mother since I think he was very animated for her. On the other hand, not as much sexual tension.
I was totally cracking up at the "driving move" with the smirk on his face. He has to read the boards. Love that he reads the boards for the most part. Would love to be a fly on the wall and watch his reactions to reading the boards...
Each concert there is a different song that stands out to me that he changed and made it new again. Last night that was MOAM and Invisible. Loved them.
I had a woman from RHT behind me and an adorable teenager beside me. Jerome was casing the joint and he walked back and forth in front of us many many times. Security was very visible, but I couldn't tell how strict. Merchandise line was murderously long so I was glad I had gotten my stuff in Baltimore.
We missed Ben Jelen since my daughter was dying to try a rubber band like bungee cord ride. That was a hoot to see.
I have decided that Clay is good therapy for my compulsiveness. Usually I have to have everything overly planned out, but I have been going with the flow for these concerts instead. I didn't make my travel plans until Wednesday night. For me that is unheard of! I've decided Clay saves me money in therapy!!! :lol
So yeah, I pretty much drooled, thudded, and panted through the concert.
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