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Aug 25 04 5:34 PM
Quote: okay, typed up a review for friends... it's really long, i rambled, and i probably left out half the important stuff. but oh well.
yesterday was. the. best. day. of my entire life. it was so perfect. oh my God.
okay so we drove to cleveland - my friend karina drove, her grandma sat in the front, and heidee and i sat in the back. her grandma was so awesome - she bought us lunch! plus we stayed at her house that night.
anyway, we dropped our stuff off at her house and helped her with her suitcases (she had been traveling and had been away from her home for a while). then we said goodbye to her and karina, heidee and i set off for the concert (about an hour away from her grandma's house - she lives a little outside of cleveland).
so we got to the concert venue (after getting lost a few times, lol!) and parked. we got out of our car and lo and behold, the tour buses were visible from our car! lol. so we noted where they were and set off to find the box office (we needed tickets, since we had just planned to go at like 9:30 the night before! LOL). we got in line (it wasn't open yet) with box office and will call people and then i looked to my right and saw jacob (back-up singer)! i've had a major crush on jacob for months, so i grabbed heidee's arm and half-dragged her to him. then karina left the line (she didn't even know who jacob was!) and left our spot. but it was okay, 'cuz it worked out. lol.
anyway, jacob is with s'vonne (keyboardist) and other people and is talking to them and joking with them and stuff. so the three of us like stand there in a huddle, like 'you go first' - 'no you!' LOL. finally, heidee was brave and marched up to him and asked for his autograph on the picture of him on the top of the fence in columbus. he was like 'what is this from?' and heidee explained it and jacob was like 'OH! I REMEMBER!' and laughed. lol! then heidee ran back to get in line and jacob gave me a personalized autograph on my copy of that picture. i could barely think straight, i just kind of gawked at him. LMAO!
anyway, so then i said thanks and then turned around to see heidee almost at the line, and i yelled 'HEIDEE! SEE IF THEY'LL LET YOU BACK IN OUR SPOT IN LINE!' and jacob like turns and watches me, i can see him out of the corner of my eye. and heidee of course is like 'what?' so i have to scream again, which was hard because i was trying to concentrate on breathing, lol! anyway, some people a little bit behind where we were let us back in line, so that was cool.
so then the box office opened, and the venue must have seriously been holding the entire center section of the front row, because people in front of us got front row on the sides of the center section (there were three sections in the front). then we went up there and the woman is like 'i can give you front row.' we're like oh. my. God. i told her i loved her LMAO! (like ten times.) she just smiled, hahah. and yeah, so we bought front row center tickets. then we freaked out. then we saw jacob again and went over to him and got pictures with him... yeah. i almost died. he put his arm on my lower back and my shirt was riding up a little bit so there was like an inch of skin between my shirt and my skirt, and his fingers brushed against it... i was like ohh my gosh. and i put my arm around him and my hand was like resting on his butt. LOL! he was like 'how are you doing' and i said 'good.' then after the picture i was like 'jacob, i love you.' and he's like 'you're so sweet.' and like reached out and massaged my shoulder. *fans self* HOT!
okay... lol. so then we went back to karina's car because the line was SO long, and put on the air conditioning and listened to clay for a while... then got in line because the line was just getting longer. then finally we reached the front and they said no cameras - we had to take our good camera and disposable camera back! grr. thankfully, we saw people behind us with cameras during the concert, but if we had brought ours in, security would have seen because we were in the FRONT ROW... yeah... we were seriously front row, dead center. holy freaking crap.
anyway, cherie, the opening act, was good... better than in lexington, but not as good as in columbus. but good nevertheless.
so we're waiting and the security dudes in front of me are like 'why is there such a big turn-out for clay aiken? ugh' (it was completely sold out - i really saw like no empty seats. i don't know how big scene pavilion is - maybe 8,000 - 10,000. something like that). so i started lecturing the two security guards in front of me - i talked their heads off about clay. LMAO. and i warned the guy sitting in front of me that i might get scary during that concert. he was like 'i might have to pour my water on you, then' - he was joking, but he accidently splattered a little on me. and during the concert, he was sitting down in front of me most of the time, and i was leaning over the barricade and umm... yeahhewasaperv. but anyway...
the lights suddenly go out for clay, and we jump up. and then there he is, in all his glory, RIGHT. THERE.
i can't believe i didn't pass out or act like an idiot. LOL. i did make a slight fool out of myself because i was really into the music, but i'm glad i didn't act like a banshee. LMAO. some people behind me... wow. i did scream shrilly though whenever the security guard in front of me stood up, because then he was like a foot away from me and it was annoying. and my screaming in his ear always worked. every time. i'm evil.
anyway clay was just so freaking AMAZING. wowee. beautiful, beautiful. and i could see his freckles! he had so many, it was exciting. and since my friends and i were dancing and standing the entire time, we got so much eye contact, it freaking rocked. during 'still the one,' at the end he draws out the word 'one' to three syllables, and points his arm out and with each syllable moves it down a notch. well i stuck my arm out to do it with him at the beginning of the word, and he saw me and we did the motions together. lol! i was like... did i just imagine that? then heidee grabbed me and freaked out about it so i knew it wasn't just in my imagination. and when he sang the james taylor medley, he pulled up a stool like four feet in front of me and sat down. i was like... oh yes, baby. and he was singing and it was so freaking outstandingly beautiful, and i was singing along with him and clapping and he looked down at me and smiled a few times. *thud* and when his back-up singers were singing solos, he'd like close his eyes, and move his head to the beat and his mouth was open ever so slightly... oh my lord.
oh, and jacob looked at us SO MUCH - he obviously recognized us from earlier - plus we cheered (and catcalled) for him a lot. lol! he had his own little fan club in the front row. lmfao.
okay so after the concert we RAN and weaved through people (think we pissed a few people off, but hey, it was necessary - and as karina was leading the three of us, heidee and i were yelling random 'excuse me!'s and apologies the entire time, so it's all good. and there were other people running too - but we managed to get a GREAT spot on the barricade by the buses, in the front. there ended up being hundreds of people there - maybe 30-40 people fit along the barricades, and the crowd was about 7+ people deep, like seven rows of people... so yes. we were lucky to be right up against the barricade.
and we saved karina's spot and she ran and got heidee's camera... apparently heidee snapped random pictures but she doesn't remember if she got any of clay! LMFAO. so then while we're waiting for clay to come out (he comes out after at every concert to greet fans [except state fairs, 'cuz he can't. lol] - it's to show his appreciation for us, he's so freaking awesome. ahh!) band members and back-up singers are walking around and stuff, and people are trying to get their attention... i said hi to angela, a back-up singer (she rocks), and she said hi to me and waved. i saw clay's friend nick and said hi, and so did he. i saw s'vonne, the keyboardist, and called his name and he freaking walked over to me (and everyone was trying to get his attention!) and like we had a little conversation about the concert. it was cool.
and then jacob came out... people were screaming, because, well, he's gorgeous, he's a nice guy, his voice is incredible, he can dance, and he plays the sax VERY well. anyway, he goes through the crowd grabbing hands, and then he stops in front of karina, heidee, and i and says 'i saw you guys in the front row - you were workin' it! how'd you like the show?' so we told him it was great and a said a few more things, and he shook our hands again. he probably thought we were stalking him, we met him three times in like six hours, plus we were cheering for him during the concert. hahah.
so then we're waiting... la la la... and there are like tons of screams the entire time, so we learned to ignore them, lol. then i casually glanced to my left, toward the door, and i see spiky hair and sideburns! i'm like h-heidee - clay. is. here. and she's like fumbling with her camera and stuff, lol. and karina is like cheering and i'm just like... is he a hollogram? he must be. pretty. so pretttttty...
so he makes his way through the crowd, shaking hands of people in the front row, and he tries to make eye contact with as many people as he can... the crowd is like surging forward, i thought the barricades were gonna come down! everyone was like shrieking in my ear and pushing and trying to reach past me... i slapped a few people's hands out of my hair. LMAO. so yes. it was weird because no one was really talking to him that much, most people just either stared or screamed in his face. yeah, i'm sure he'd love for them to scream in his face. achem.
anyway, then he's moving toward me, and shakes karina's hand, and then reaches me. both my hands are free, and he's standing right in front of me (he's tall! sexy man. yummy. *lick*) and he reaches out with his left hand and takes my right hand, and i take my left hand and grab his right hand. so it's like... we're standing there looking at each other, holding each others' hands. it was so surreal! and my brain is shouting 'say something! SAY SOMETHING!' so i open my mouth and:
'clay, i love you. i love you SO MUCH. clay, i love you SO much.'
lmfao. yeah. and he grinned and said 'thank ya, darlin'.' then he let go of my right hand and held his left hand out to the crowd, and my left hand was still holding onto his right hand, and he didn't try to pull it away. i just held it for a few seconds and debated whether to keep holding or let go. then i noticed the security guards on either side of him so i decided i should let go before he has to pull. but yeah.
then he moves over to heidee, and she's still like rummaging around in her purse with her camera, and he's right in front of her, lol! he was walking by her, but then he turned and grabbed her hand and held it for a second.
anyway... he makes his way down to the end of the barricade, and then backtracks and goes on the tour bus, which apparently had pulled up right in front of us (yeah... i was totally out of it, i really didn't notice that a huge tourbus had driven right in front of my face. LMAO!). he turned and smiled and waved before he got on, and i yelled his name and got one last second of eye contact. *thud*
so there's the best day of my life as of yet. my parents didn't know that i went to cleveland (about 4 hours away or so) - they thought i was spending the night at karina's house - LOL. so let's hope they don't find out. ever. it kinda sucks not being able to tell them about this though, but i decided i'll just tell them after dayton on saturday - i'll combine that with whatever happens in dayton. i have to wear the same clothes too because of my picture with jacob. lol! but yeah. 3 days 'til clayton in dayton! and even if i do get in trouble, it will be totally worth it and i'd do it all over again in an instant. the three main parts - 1. meeting clay 2. sitting in the front row/interaction 3. meeting jacob three times - any of those would be worth getting into trouble for. all three of them combined... wow. i'm just still in shock. i can't believe clay. aiken. was. right. in. front. of. me. *convulses*
Aug 25 04 5:35 PM
Quote:Cleveland & Clay is an awesome combination!!! For the third time I am so grateful I traveled from PA to Cleveland to see OMC!!!!
I was in Sec. 6th row left aisle seat....not the greatest seat but a different perspective from my other 6 concerts. I actually enjoyed TITN and Solitaire better from that point...Clay wasn't in shadow and I could make out every nuanced facial ex-pression for a change.
I think tonight's ISY was one of the very best of the untold ones I have seen. I LOVE the jeering laughs he has started to include the last few concerts!!!!! And the ovation for that song was THUNDEROUS...screams, stomping of feet on the bleachers etc. and it lasted quite a while and continued to swell and prevented Clay from speaking for a while. If he hadn't quieted us down our homage would have increased even more and lasted for a long time more! He just has to rerecord ISY and release it as a single!!!!!!
I am so tickled to watch the interaction between Clay & Angela (even more so after being clued in to the video of YGAF from PORTLAND!!!!!.........Thanks ROOM 902 Sistahs!!!!). They are so cute together and obviously enjoy each other's company to the nth degree! When Clay made Angela mess up the words during the JT set, they couldn't stop laughing and as someone said he could not recover and so lost the LONG NOTE contest big time!.
The bus experience was fabulous. This "fluffy" grandma hastily departed as soon as the Clayton disappeared after Solitaire and was praying that I could get near the bus barricade. Hallelujah...I did get right at the barricade directly in front of the bus ( enjoyed talking to you All4Luv and clayaikenfancom!!!) Just as Clay appeared at the side of the bus and looked like he might get on the bus a big old crane pulled in front of the crowd and we let out shrieks thinking we were gonna be robbed of our chance to meet Clay!!!! Fortunately, as you know, Jerome escorted him to the far left of the line and quickly yet thoroughly Clay greeted as many fans as he could. Not to repeat Baltimore where I was speechless and only got nice eyecontact and a pic after he passed me, I quickly took a pic right before he got to me, I reached out and ran my hand along his oh so furry left arm, then managed to lightly grasp his outstretched right hand starting from the wrist and sliding to the fingertips. As I did I said, "God bless you, Clay" and he turned his head and gave me a slightly startled gaze into my eyes!
As he progressed down the line Sarge crept the bus up behind him so that when Clay had finished greeting those he could he turned, waved one more time, and entered the bus as we screamed out our love and waved him off into the night.
Then we proceeded to sniff our hands and hug each other and do some major thudding!!!!!!!
Aug 25 04 5:37 PM
Quote:All I can say about last night's concert is WOW!!!!!! Hubby, son and I were sooooo lucky --- we got front row seats, right smack dead center. The mic stand was right in front of me. Thought we were going to get gen. adm. tickets, but when the box office opened, we were second in line and hubby asked what were the best they had and the girl said front row. We about died. Hubby (who really likes Clay too), took those and when we went in (yes the line was really, really long), I couldn't believe my seat was in the center. Clay's mic and chair were right in front of me. It was unbelievable to see every little facial expression Clay made. He even smiled and raised his eyebrows at us. I was able to take some pics (will try to post) before the security guard told me not to take anymore. I asked if I could just take a few more during his last song "solitaire" and he said, "Okay, just don't let me see you." Clay sounded absolutely wonderful and he was so full of energy. He has so much fun with his band. Also saw Jacob earlier and told him he was great and that they were great back-up singers for Clay. He said Yes, they had great chemistry. Couldn't believe there were two seats next to me that weren't taken. (I guess this row just opened up at the last minute). The crowd was REALLY into Clay. Yeah OHIO!!!
After the concert, we went to the tour bus section and it was already crowded with fans, so couldn't get very close. Did get to "see" Clay come to the bus and shake hands though. Hubby was able to snap a few pics. He looked really cute in his fedora hat and pj's. As the bus drove off, we were walking next to it to get to our car and you could see the back of Clay's head by the window (shade was a little up) and some girls were shouting for Clay, but he couldn't hear. Then they drove off.
I think people who dis Clay should go to one of his concerts. How could they not be Clayverted? He is incredible. I wish they would record a "live" cd. Can't wait for his Christmas cd!!
Aug 26 04 7:01 AM
Quote:POPULAR MUSICREVIEWClay Aiken
Aiken show offers fans a man who measures up
Thursday, August 26, 2004
Special to The Plain Dealer
Clay Aiken was anything but "Invisible" Tuesday night when the "American Idol II" runner-up crooned as the nearly sold-out Scene Pavilion swooned.
With more homemade signs than a PTA bake sale, the mostly female, sea-of-pink audience - a mother-and-daughter thing (with nonchalant Dad occasionally singing along) - got what it wanted: fun, by-the-numbers pop music with Clay leading the way.
For nearly two hours, including an intermission, the North Carolina native performed two-thirds of his triple-platinum debut "Measure of a Man," along with half a dozen cover songs and a momentum-killing James Taylor medley that left the youngsters in the audience learning how sweet it isn't when your favorite singer digresses into oldies music.
Not completely squeaky clean, Aiken was as wholesome as he was cool. He also possessed a relaxed stage presence that belied his relatively short-lived celebrity, which merely dates back to May of 2003, when he finished second to Ruben Studdard in the sophomore season of "American Idol." So cool was Aiken that on this hot and humid evening, the 25-year-old performer appeared to be the only one in the outdoor venue not breaking into a sweat.
Whereas "American Idol," for good or bad, is perhaps critically perceived as nothing more than a glorified karaoke contest, Aiken transcended this notion by turning in a pop performance of middle-of-the-road material that never offended.
As with other mega-selling pop stars such as Michael Bolton and Celine Dion, Aiken's material speaks to the heart. What it may lack in breaking new ground is justified by the overwhelming response provided by his fans. From the sincere "When You Say You Love Me" and the R&B-lite leanings of "I Survived You" to the breezy "Shine" and the anthemic "This is the Night," the singer sold the material with impunity.
Buoying his set perfectly were Aiken's numerous cover songs, including U2's "Where the Streets Have No Name," Mr. Mister's "Kyrie," Toto's "Rosanna" and Neil Sedaka's "Solitaire."
Not billed as a Christian artist, Aiken displayed his faith numerous times throughout the evening in subtle (wearing a WWJD bracelet) and not-so-subtle fashions (singing gospel song "You Were There" while dressed in reverent choir white). Perhaps answering the question of what would Jesus do if he were onstage, a benevolent Aiken invited two lucky audience members to sing and dance with his eight-piece band.
For the most part, Aiken's performance delivered what it promised: a derivatively wholesome "American Idol" celebration of music and overcoming great odds to achieve success. While losing the novelty moniker that currently shadows his career will be tough, Aiken effortlessly tackled a variety of material in a down-home fashion that confirmed that his vocal talents are definitely a cut above those of a karaoke singer.
Ultimately, the Darwinian nature of the recording industry with fleeting careers in pop music will be the "Measure of the Man." But on this night, Clay was everybody's idol.
Opening the show was pop singer Cherie, who was warmly received by the audience but appeared a bit stiff onstage. Supporting her recently released self-titled disc, the French performer offered up a set of adult contemporary songs that showcased the possibilities of her vocal talents.
Aug 26 04 7:25 PM
Quote:An Unplanned Abstract Recap of an Unplanned Concert Road Trip
How to Have the Perfect Fangirly Experience Without Even Trying
You have to do it at least once. Road trip to a concert without a plan. To many of you this may seem simple enough, but for someone like myself who by nature is a planner, it takes enormous restraint and self control to go against the grain. When developing blueprints and painting elevations for the stage, yeah, this is a necessary quality, but it sometimes impedes my equally strong desire to be spontaneous. And creativity is not the same thing as spontaneity. I wanted the perfect road trip experience, and I knew that to do this successfully I would have to let go and just go with the flow. So I plannedâ¦â¦. not to plan.
No hotel reservations, no calling ahead to find out about venue parking, no interstate traffic reportsâ¦..just two tickets to the Cleveland concert, two charged cell phones, a stack of CNN cards, binoculars (Iâm not stupid) and my MasterCard by my side, what else would I really need?
Well, I needed AT (anntherese54). Of course you canât have the perfect unplanned road trip experience without a perfect road trip buddy, who just also happens to be an obsessive planner like myself. AT is also the absolute best schmoozer in the world, so whatever trouble we got ourselves into, I had confidence she could talk ourselves out of it. So we headed off to Cleveland without even so much as a map of Ohio. We sort of felt our way to Cleveland with a little help from very obscure directions to the Rock Bottom Brewery.
Best. Road trip. Ever.
Nothing went wrong...well wrong according to plans because there were no plans. We had roadblocks and adventures along the way (which I will let AT address), but each one was met with giggle fits and pee in your pants laughter. My side still hurts from belly laughing across I-80 through the wee hours of the morning. The Clay Aiken experience inspires spontaneity, and in my life at the moment where family and professional responsibilities seem to shadow my spontaneous inclinations, that is a very. good. thing.
Best. Concert. Ever.
*It was the best because it was the very first time I have ever seen the Aiken close enough to observe his expressive face when he chatted, when he sang, when he reacted to the enthusiasm of his fans.
* It was the best because OCB came to the end of the stage to sing a good chunk of Perfect Day to meeeeeeeeeeeee (and those other people sittinâ around me). You would think that I have already had the best Perfect Day experience air drumming with the Amish, but this was oh sooooo much better.
*I needed to experience the Aiken up close as the cubist masters needed to experience and understand their subject. I was mesmerized by the play of light on his lean form as he prowled across the stage during Chain of Fools and completely blown away by the way he sensually stretched his body during This Is The Night. Subtle brushstrokes with such visual power. Clay Aiken is a sensual masterpiece.
* The Voice thrills me beyond comprehension. It always has, it always will.
* Sharing the joy with my concert buddy anntherese54 doubled my own joy which is hard to imagine. We EEEEâd, we swooned, we snarked (I think he has got more than enough retread out of those lame passport and thong jokes, heh) we boogied, we snarked some more (especially on the set), we laughed, we cried, we did a Rocky Horror Show style audience participation to his ISY hand movements, we sang, â¦..but most of all, we lovedâ¦..and there is just so much to love.
If you ever feel the need to have a spontaneous fangirl concert adventure, Iâm your gal, just donât count on a plan. I have enough critical thinking and planning in RL, this fandom will continue to be what it has always been for me, joyful, unpredictable, and exciting as that Clay Aiken dude himself.
Aug 26 04 8:38 PM
Quote:Cleveland Recap: Why I Didn't Mind Dying on My Birthday!
Ok, first of all, thanks for all the nice words about my picture. Y'all are too sweet. I will be taking several moments as I relive this here, so forgive me if it is disjointed in any way. Sorry to make you wait. But I want to remember as much as possible!
He is so beautiful. His hair is NOT redder, the sun must have hit it funny. He is thin, but solid, IMO. He did not look exhausted at all in person. He was sparkly and beautiful and freshly scrubbed clean looking. GUH.
luna, honey.... I was playing the role of rational, normal Clay fan that day! You now have living proof that you can't judge a book by it's cover. Hee! *MUAH!*
How it all came to be: aka, It's not what you know, it's who. *more examples of this later - singer and dancer related*
My aunt is a big Clay fan (and lurks here...*waves to claddiction, with two "d"s*), and she has connections. She got us box seats and M&G passes for my birthday. Yes, I am truly lucky, blessed, and thankful. Beyond words.
We got to the venue and hovered by the "Will Call" table. Jerome "auditioned" the singers right there, so we got to watch that process in all its glory. All I can say is Jerome is a doll to do this. He is gracious and sweet and funny and such a sap! He can't say "no"! Hee! He'd say "OK, one more and that's it!" and then four people would raise their hands, and he'd say "OK, four more!"
Major hugs to Jerome. Thank you for making Clay feel like himself again. Really. Just thank you!
I am there with Auntie, Auntie's connection (AC), and MIL. AC and MIL are also fans, but not on the internet. I have debriefed them on what to expect. Based on other experiences I've read, that there is not time to chitchat, that there are only group pictures, etc. They say that it is fantastic that they get the opportunity, that he is so generous to even do this at all. They all think he is cute and sexy and adorable, and they love his good heart. But for the most part, they are in the mama car, and worry for his safety and his sanity far more than whether they are going to get to sit on his lap and tell him what they want for Christmas. What?
OK, so we are totally looking like rational people! Just standing, waiting, anxiously clutching our letter that tells Jerome we are who we are. While Jerome is auditioning people, we see Nick, and because we are acting like rational humans who would not know who Nick is, only that he was associated with Clay becoss of his badge, we just casually walk up to him and ask if we are in the right place. What a sweet boy he is! He had a big ol' smile, and he said, "That's the guy you need to follow, when he's done here," and pointed to Jerome.
So we wait, and sure enough, Jerome hollers out to M&G people to gather 'round. We do as we are told! He's a big man, after all! *g* And we are surprised that there are only 6 other people. All grownups, at least in appearance! We are lead back behind the venue, down an alley (guh, alley-Clay *winks at rattboi*), and we wait. And we primp. And we giggle. And we admit our hearts are racing. And we say out loud that he is just a regular guy, to try to calm ourselves. And we primp some more.
When Clay is ready, Jerome says it's time for the rules. He looks at the group and says..."Huh. There are no kids here. There goes my speech!" Hee. So cute. He says we will do pictures first, then signings...only one thing each. Pictures will be in groups, so form groups and put your cameras on the ground in front of you. We asked if we could do smaller groups, since we came in groups of four, four, and two. He hesitated for a minute, but I think because there were so few of us, and no squealing kids, he agreed. Yes, I am truly lucky, blessed, and thankful. Beyond words.
We broke off into our three groups, and our group put our cameras on the ground. The other two groups held their cameras (rebels). Perhaps they knew something we didn't, because our cameras were almost kicked or tripped over at least three times. Hee! Jerome pointed out the order for the pictures, and our group was last. *g* So we got to watch Clay interact with the other people. When he came through the gate it was like the sun came out. I swear. And it was already 85 degrees and sunny! He looked so fresh and scrubbed-clean, and his eyes were so bright and sparkly. I swear I could see his eyes sparkle from across the alley, way before he got to our group! And I swear that the next 10 minutes are all blurry....I felt like I had to avert my eyes. They are deadly.
He has a long stride. An amazingly firm handshake. He looks right into your eyes when he is in front of you. He didn't hear ACs name and he held her hand the whole time as he leaned his right ear in, and sort of jutted his jaw out to hear her repeat it. (How many of y'all just did that motion to try to envision what I was talking about? *g*). He hears you and he remembers your name. He places his left hand over yours to "hug" your hand as he shakes it. Guh. I was second in our group, and he said "what's your name?" I said "Stacey" and he said "Nice to meet you Stacey, where'r you from?" I answered, and he said, "Are you all from the same area?" Auntie said "Rochester" and he looked back at Jerome and said, "Rochester. Did we go there on this tour?" Jerome looked like a deer caught in headlights but we saved him by saying, "No, but you went to Syracuse." He is so beautiful. His skin...gah. His hair was perfect - soft and spiky. His sideburns...I am their bitch. A bit of stubble. Furry arms. Furry legs. His eyes were glorious and startling. Yes, I am truly lucky, blessed, and thankful. Beyond words.
Picture time: I am on one side, Auntie on the other, MIL and AC next to them. He is 6'1", I was probably 5'11" with my sandals on. I fit perfectly in the crook of his shoulder, and our bodies were touching from our shoulders to our thighs. GUH. I'm fairly certain there is a scorch mark down my entire right side, he is so hott and gorgeous! He put his arm around me, and I him, and he didn't just dangle his arm back there, he wrapped his fingers around my waist. His body felt warm, but not hot or sweaty. Just... nice. Excuse me while I get the defibrillator. I just died again. *g*
OK. We had three cameras. Someone took the first two pictures, and Auntie asked Clay if he minded if the three of them stepped out for the last one, since it was my birthday. Clay said "Oh it is? Well of course! Happy Birthday!" *cheeeeeeeeeeeese - click - faint*
Autograph time: I go last. With each person, Nick takes the thing you want signed, asks names, hands it to Clay. Clay looks right at each person when he hands their thing to them, and says "thank you for coming" or "thank you so much" or "thank you, enjoy the show." He @#%$ ROCKS! MIL hands him a pic of my kids with their Clay shirts on, says "these are my grandchildren", and spells their names for him. He signs it and his silly three words bring tears to my eyes. What? You knew it would happen, didn't you??? Yes, I know that is what he signs all the time, but at that moment, it all just crashed in on me. I met him. I've never cared if I met any celebrity. Ever. I have no other autographs.
But this is the man I am so proud of for being such a good soul. The person I use as an example for my kids of how to be a good person at the core. The person who is a beautiful example of how everyone is fallible, but that trying each day to be better is what is important. And he wrote "use your voice" to my kids, and I just... gah...
I stepped up with a big ol' lump in my throat, hands on my heart and said "Wow. Those are my kids. You have no idea what it means that you wrote that to them." He said "Oh, they're darling! You're welcome!" I handed him my M&G pass and he immediately wrote "Happy Birthday Stac", looked up and said "e?" and I said yes, and he wrote "ey." OMG. I am dead. And I have never been happier. I said, "thank you so much for taking the time to do this, have a good show," and he said "Thank you."
Before we know it, he's gone and we are staring at his signatures and flitting about (yes, the three of them were as smitten as I was, surprise, surprise), being led out without paying attention that we are walking. We regain our composure, and start deciding what to take back to the car. Guess what. NO CAMERA!!!!!!!!!! Minor panic. Oh who am I kidding, major panic! But a few walkie-talkie conversations later, we learn the venue folks had it. I got it back. And here I am.
Many of you have heard that I was one who was afraid to meet Clay, for fear that it would irreparably alter my vision of him that I have created over the past year or two. This meet and greet situation was just.perfect. I am truly lucky, blessed and thankful.
I Could Not Ask For More.
Quote:Cleveland Love Fest, Part Two
We floated into the venue and found our table. The boxes are at the back of the floor section, but perfect view because the floor slants down from there. Little table cloth. Purdy. Railing in front of us to lean on. Handy. Waiter bringing me too many Mike's Hard Lemonades and Nachos. I mean, are you kidding me?????? Clay, Mike's, and Nachos?!? And room to move and dance!!! The floor chairs were set reeally close like sardeeeeeeens! Any of y'all who were sitting there probably understand the value of having that box to dance in. I wonder if Clay wants to dance in my box? What?
What a gorgeous spot for a show. The venue just had black sheer curtains on the back and sides, so you could see the lighted sky scrapers behind...just beautiful. It was wide open (as was I). What? Ahem. There was absolutely NO obstruction of view because of lights or speakers, or light boxes or anything like that above his head. All the "up high" songs, were just breathtaking, because the stage was open so far above his head. What a difference that makes in the visuals!
Before the start of the show, I told the ladies that everyone in front of us was going to stand up, and that even though the floor is slanted, we will need to stand to see. MIL, Auntie and AC said they were too old to stand! "These old hips can't cut it!" Ha! Well, guess who was first to stand??? Well, I was. But they were second! ;-)
Auntie had powerful binoculars. GUH. This is a dangerous thing, and should not be tried at home without supervision. I focused almost entirely on his face and hands. One of the benefits of multiple orgas...um...shows. You can focus wide on everything at one show, closer at just Clay at another, and zero in on his face and hands at a third. Yes, I am truly lucky, blessed and thankful. Songs like RTM, ISY, YWT, Solitaire? With the open venue and the binoculars? G.A.H. That's all I have to say about that (tm Forrest Gump).
Remember earlier I said there would be more "It's not what you know, it's who" examples? Well, Jill the singer was walking along the river with Jacob for nearly an hour before the show. Not all schmoozy or anything. But definitely making herself known. Cheyenne the dancer? Talking with Jerome AND Jacob before hand. I'm not saying there is anything wrong with that at all... in fact, I'm sure that in close "races" with Jerome, personality may be the tie breaker. These girls were selling themselves, and it worked! Jill walked in front of me as she was leaving, and I yelled out, "Hey Jill! You ROCKED up there tonight!" (She really did!) She put her hands to her heart and said, "It was soooo special!!!!" Too cute. Good for her!
The JT laugh/conversation.
Here is my take on it, through binoculars. Clay totally missed his last note - I heard it, and could see it on his face immediately! Hee. He looked over at Angela with a "WTF was that?" face, and she cracked up. The conversation they were having started out as an "OK, lets get a grip here" pep talk to eachother, but then it became sort of "I'm not doing it, YOU'RE making me" thing back and forth. Finally, I think Clay challenged Angela to a staring contest, and she pointed with both fingers down to the floor saying "right now". He tried to brush her off, but she said "right now" with her fingers again, and they started staring and singing. I'm inclined to believe it was not a "gaze into eachother's eyes lovingly" stare...it was a contest, and the reason they didn't join in the note holding thing when Quiana tried to engage them, was because they were still staring! Angela finally blinked first, I think right at the end, when Quiana stepped toward her a bit. They are so ding dang cute. Every stinkin' one of them!
Reactions of the ladies I was with:
All three were just blown away. Duh. All three could do with out the singer and the dancer bits. They understand the "engaging the audience" idea behind them, but think they are not necessary. He is engaging enough all by himself. Uh huh. Yes, he is! Many MANY screamers in the crowd tonight. And NO, that was NOT me!!!!
MIL: Favorites? TITN (without the screaming), Solitaire (without the screaming), and then everything else! Hee! "Unbelievable!" "Too Cute!" "What a year!"
Auntie: Favorites? Invisible (he really struts on that one), TITN (especially the montage), IWCY. Her repeat comment was "he is SO much better than on the IT" She saw him in Houston for the IT, and she said to say hello to you, KAndre!!!!!
AC: Couldn't speak. She was grinning the entire show. Never sat. After Solitaire, she walked to her chair like she was in a trance. She was just grinning and shaking her head slowly, and not speaking. I kept saying "WHAT???? What are you thinking???? Tell meeeeeeee!" She just shook her head, and said "Unbelievable. I need to see him again."
Welcome to the fold, ladies. Or is it a fold? Wait. That's a topic for the next show. *g*
I do not recall the order of the songs. I have no idea what he wore. I have some very sore cheeks from grinning for three hours. I recall sitting there with my mouth hanging open a lot, shaking my head in disbelief. But that seems to be a constant state for me these days when I watch Clay Aiken sing, talk, breathe. So nothing new there.
Watched the Rockford grab video before we left. Was sickened. I agree with whoever said earlier that it likely happens more often than we know. But actually seeing it take place was pretty awful...I gotta admit. We parked near the busses, but I was certain that he wouldn't come out there tonight, so we just meandered over, chatting, squealing, laughing. We stood across the street becoss I wanted the ladies to see the phenomenon. The crowd. The screaming. The need to get one last glimpse, possibly one last touch from the Aiken. The song "One Last Kiss" from Bye Bye Birdie just leaped into my head! Yes, I'm a goober! Hee! Anyway, they were pretty floored by the whole scene. Again.
But dontcha know? Karma hadn't turned in for the evening yet, because the venue folks pulled the yellow caution tape across the street - right over to us! We were the last few people Clay shook hands with! EEEEEEEE!
What have I done to deserve this much good fortune?
I got to look into Clay Aiken's eyes, shake his hand, hold his waist while he held mine, have my picture taken with him, hear him say "Happy Birthday" to me and take home a note to my kids that says "Use Your Voice". He sang his heart out to me for two hours, and never once asked for anything from me. He is so gracious and generous and kind. He gives me more than I ever asked for, certainly more than I deserve. I know I will never be able to thank him...there are no words invented to accomplish that.
I Could Not Ask For More.
Aug 29 04 8:30 PM
Quote:Cannoli Sisters Conquer Cleveland
Long ago and far away in another galaxy...(well, it wasn't exactly another galaxy, but it was HAPPY VALLEY, PA., which in a way IS LIKE another galaxy. Apparently, they don't call it HAPPY VALLEY for nothing)...I embarked on a great road trip adventure with beauzzartz, my cannoli sister, to the Cleveland concert. I suppose now is as good a time as ever to explain the significance of the "cannoli sisters". Beauzz and I are both Italian and we both love cannolis, a pastry with a long, hard tube-like shell filled with sweet pastry cream. They come in different sizes, small and large. The best part of a cannoli is licking and sucking the cream out of the shell. You get the idea. Well, when Clay is wearing the white shirt and suit for YWT, beauzz and I both commented how he looked like one big cannoli...which started us thinking about all the things one could do with a cannoli...and with Clay....or with Clay's cannoli. If that explanation is not clear enough, PM beauzzartz. She can take it from there.
Beauzz's hubby, the charming mr.beauzzartz that we serenaded for his 50th birthday at the Syracuse pre-concert dinner, had snagged two second row seats for Cleveland on TM. However, he had to work that week, so beauzzartz asked me if I would road trip with her to Cleveland. "Asked" is really an understatement. She taunted me, lured me, bribed me, coaxed me, tempted me with visions of strawberry daiquiris and promises of relaxing on her deck alongside the quiet stream in the woods. How could I resist?
She had me after "2nd row".
I drove by myself 5 hours to HAPPY VALLEY, PA, (not to be confused with HARPER VALLEY, PTA, for those of you who remember THAT song *g*). We relaxed, drank daiquiris, watched Clio clack and shucked corn...which is when we discovered the smut corn. It was an ear of homegrown corn that had a most amusing physical feature. There was an erect Waldo Jr. growing out of the ear of corn. Beauzz and I laughed and laughed and we both immediately thought of bringing it to Cleveland to give to Brandilyne. (Really, brandy, it was a COMPLIMENT that we thought of you.)
beauzz and I planned to leave PA at noon. Her hubby said the drive to Cleveland would take 3 1/2 hours. (It wasn't until the drive back from the concert that beauzz told me her husband had no sense of time....LOL). I was hoping for 4-4 1/2 hrs. with traffic.
We headed out in her car and stopped to pick up a few things for the trip at a drugstore. When we got in the car, beauzz couldn't get the carkey to turn in the ignition and the steering wheel seemed locked. I'm going to bypass many of the details otherwise this recap will take as long as our trip to Cleveland. Suffice to say, we got her car started with the help of a guy in a truck. We decided to drive back to beauzz's house and take my husband's car (I had told him I was only driving it to beauzz's house in PA). By the time we got on the road, it was now 1 p.m. We were somewhat delayed, but not disheartened. We were finally on our road trip to Cleveland. Woohoo!
We had to drive about 200 miles on I80 through PA. Lots of rolling hills and mountains. About 20 miles from the Ohio border, traffic comes to a dead stop. We sit there and don't move for what seemed like eternity. I tried not to look at the time. I was confident we'd make the start of the concert at 8 pm, but the CH preconcert dinner starting at 5 looked doubtful. We sat in bumper to bumper traffic for an hour. It was due to construction. We would move for a little bit and then sit there not moving for a long time. It was tense and draining. We finally made it across the border to Ohio where the traffic began moving again. Beauzz and I simultaneously let out a primal scream! Delayed, but not defeated, we drove gallantly on towards our destination.
Our elation was short-lived as we hit Cleveland rush hour traffic. Plus, there was a Yankee game at Jacob's field, so that added to the congestion. Beauzz and I had no idea where the arena was and we were following directions from mapquest and the restaurant. However, the map names didn't match the street names. Big city. Rush hour traffic. Plus, we were now so late and I was stressed from driving for 5 hours straight. I wondered if Clay would sing, "Where the Streets Have WRONG Names"!!
We had to do some navigating and exploring (nice euphenisms for missing turns and being "lost" . There are lots of bridges in Cleveland. My favorite was Hope Memorial which I was sure was named for the fact that whoever drove over it HOPED that they would find where they were going...sort of like beauzz and me!
We eventually DID find the venue and the restaurant next to the venue where the dinner was held. There was a parking lot across the street which was already jammed. We got to the CH dinner and were able to order something to eat. (Oh, yeah, we were starving by that time, too). We didn't have as much time as I would have liked to meet everyone at the dinner, but I was glad that we had some time at least to meet and greet some of the midwest meers: Va_1587 (thanks so much for organizing the dinner), magnoliafan, northernghost, shearwater, and brandilyne. Beauzz and I delivered the smut corn to brandy. It was worth the trip just to see her face when she took the corn out of its wrapping. Needless to say, brandy GOT IT right away!
Some random impressions of the Cleveland concert:
Clay came over to our side of the stage several times during the concert. Shine, PD and Invisible for sure. During PD and Shine he appeared to be looking right at beauzz and me, except I had the feeling that the people in the row in front of us and in back of us probably felt the same way. That's okay, beauzz and I were happy to live with our little delusions.
We had a great angle to see Clay leaning on the stage for IWCY. Clay leaning on the set made for some lovely leg lines to look longingly at through my binoculars. (nice alliteration, eh?)
The JT set was great except for one part. During YGAF, Angela walked over to stand next to Clay. Clay and Angela were talking to each other while Jacob and Quiana were singing. It seemed unusual because I've never seen Clay do that before. At one point, he even took out his ear piece presumably to hear better. This went on for a few moments. Then, when it was time for Clay and Angela to join in on YGAF, Clay started giggling. He giggled so much that Angela missed her entrance and didn't sing her part of the song. Then, the 4 of them were standing in the front for the end of the song, and Clay started laughing again. He turned around and walked to the back of the set and then came around front again. The song ended essentially without Clay and Angela doing much singing, and certainly there was no note holding contest. Afterwards, beauzz and I just looked at each other and said, "That was weird".
I had several reactions. One was that I loved seeing Clay laughing spontaneously. A side and glimpse of Clay I don't normally get to see "live". So, from that perspective, I enjoyed watching him. However, I do think that the audience was excluded from whatever was going on between Clay and Angela and it went on for a good part of the YGAF segment. Objectively speaking, they messed up the ending of the song. I've had the good fortune to attend other concerts and hear the song at other times. If this had been my one concert, I would have been disappointed at not getting to hear Clay sing this very special JT song.
He regrouped for MoaM and RTM which were beautiful as always.
The second half of the concert in Cleveland was awesome. I got to hear Chain of Fools live! Yay!!! I was so happy! I've always loved Chain of Fools. I love Aretha Franklin and I love dancing to her music. Beauzz and I let loose dancing on that song. It was a blast.
Beauzz and I were convinced that ISY was a shout-out from Clay to us because of all the Italian-like hand movements during the song. If nothing else, he was speaking OUR language. So, we really got into that song. In fact, we acted out the hand motions of the song along with Clay. Beauzz and I kept waiting to read in somebody's recap about the two weird ladies who were doing all of the handmotions to ISY in the 2nd row. The energy and passion he exudes while singing ISY is so intense. Afterwards, I felt spent. By the way, it was really warm inside the Scenic Pavillion. I was sweating and I could see sweat on Clay's brow through my "claynoculars". Yum!
I finally got to see Clay do his one-legged hop across the stage during Rosanna. He is so funny and adorable. I love how he gets into the music during Rosanna.
YWT. Beautiful. I am mesmerized by his voice in this song. And yes, beauzz and I had our little giggle over Cannoli Clay.
TITN. Yowza! Body Stance! Legs apart, arms outstretched. OMG! By now, it was REALLY hot in the arena and I don't mean the Cleveland summer night.
Solitaire. I loved our angle because we were directly facing him since he sort of stands on the side during the song. He sang it as passionately and brilliantly as he always does. Kept his shirt on, dammit.
Screams from the audience thoughout the concert were intense. Maybe it was the venue itself. Crowd was just deafening in its roar. It was so much fun to hear and be a part of it.
Clay's performances were outstanding in Cleveland, but I did think the banter seemed less natural and original than the other concerts I attended. Usually, there is something unique about the banter in each city...or maybe something unique in his chatter with the singer or dancer or about a sign. But, Cleveland didn't have anything banter wise that made it stand out, except for Clay's laughing during YGAF. But, of course, concerts aren't normally planned expecting that those attending will attend multiple concerts. It's an unusual circumstance, so I offer it just as an observation, not necessarily as a "criticism".
Wow, this is long! (Hmmmm....no comment). I'll press submit and go work on Pt. 2.
Cannoli Sisters Conquer Cleveland, Pt. II
This is the hardest part of the recap to write because so much of it is a blur to me. Beauzz and I left the concert. We hadn't really discussed the buses, although I was certainly wanting to go by and check it out. Beauzz and I casually walked over to where the buses were parked at the end of a driveway behind the venue. There was a metal barricade set up along the sidewalk. Not a very long one. I'm terrible at gauging distances....maybe about 30 feet long? There were already people several rows deep along that barricade. I stayed away. There was also a yellow plastic tape across the driveway itself to keep cars and people from going down the driveway. If people tried to stand there, then the security guard told everyone they had to be over on the sidewalk.
So, I went and stood over on the sidewalk near this yellow tape. People would come and stand in front of me of course. So, where I had been in the front, I was now pushed back behind others. Meanwhile, beauzz sort of drifted off to the side. She just wanted to observe from a distance. S'von and Jacob came out and were talking to many of the young women gathered near the yellow tape. The security guards kept trying to get people to move back to the sidewalk, but as long as S'von and Jacob were there, nobody was moving. At one point, the security guards moved the yellow tape across the road to let an equipment vehicle drive by. I moved to the corner where the tape turned down the road. I was in the front. The night before was when Clay was "grabbed" by the fan by the buses. So, no one knew if he would come out or not.
S'von and Jacob left. People waited. Suddenly, I hear it. The screams. Of course, it's dark. It's hard to see anything and my eyesight is so poor to begin with...especially distance vision. I finally see a cluster of people starting to move along the barricade along the driveway. I don't see Clay, but I see the bodyguards. Two of them. Then, I see that Clay is in the middle and the bodyguards, Jerome and Chuck, are right next to Clay. Almost shoulder to shoulder. That seemed different than the night before when Clay got grabbed by the fan. That night, Jerome and Chuck were one or two feet near Clay but not right next to him. I thought that they were being much more careful and protective, not risking what had happened the night before.
It all happened so quickly. Clay and Co. started to move along the yellow tape area. I heard people screaming out to him. I saw his face as he moved down the tape and I saw him look out into the crowd. I heard him say, "Thank you". I saw him reaching out to the many hands reaching out to him. There were so many hands reaching out to him and he was moving so quickly. Clay did squeeze my hand although it all happened so quickly. Chuck, the bodyguard, actually took my arm and guided it towards Clay's hands. I felt Clay squeeze my hand although I couldn't see him squeezing it. Both Jerome and Chuck were watching everyone's hands like hawks that night. At one point, I looked down and Clay's forearm was right in front of me...cinnamon fur and all. I did reach down and gently put my hand on his forearm as he was walking by. At some point, he moved away from the line of fans and waved as he walked away. I remember he wore orange pants and some sort of grey t-shirt with short sleeves.
What I just described happened in a matter of seconds. It was all surreal. It was almost an out of body experience. I did not get any eye contact with Clay. As he walked by me, I was prepared to say "Thank you" to him, but he was looking out and over the crowd, not straight in front of him. As soon as Clay finished shaking hands, he must have gotten right on the bus, although I didn't see that happen. The bus quickly left. I walked with beauzzartz to our parked car. It was about 11:15 p.m. The traffic was bumper to bumper with everyone trying to get out of the venue.
beauzz and I shared our responses to what had just happen and what we each had experienced. She found her way to a "catwalk" outside the venue and stood up on it, so she watched the whole bus scene from beginning to end. She verified what I had observed about Jerome and Chuck standing shoulder to shoulder with Clay as he moved down the line. It was if they were watching each hand that reached out making sure there was not a repeat of the sudden grabbing from the night before. We also talked about how Clay looked as if he was looking into the crowd, but not necessarily making eye contact with people. This was not necessarily a bad thing at all, just what we noticed. Beauzz noticed, and I suppose I did, too, how pale his skin was. Sigh. Yes, but beautiful, too. Oh, so beautiful.
Pt.III On the Road Again
At this point, I look at beauzz and realize we need to somehow get out of Cleveland. Getting there was harried enough. Now it's dark, there's traffice from the concert, and we are in a city where the streets have wrong names . Essentially, we had no plan for getting back from the concert. Our plans only focused on getting TO the concert.
So, I do what I do best. Schmooze. (That's what beauzzartz calls it). I walked over to a man directing traffic and he gave us directions. He was so helpful and thanks to him, we miraculously found our way out of Cleveland with much more ease than getting into Cleveland. It was now about 11:45 pm. Our plan: drive. Ohio wasn't too bad. The interstate was well-lit. The interstate had several lanes so trucks could speed by easily enough. Beauzz and I were happily reliving and discussing the concert and each song and each feeling and memory.
When the first wave of fatigue hit us, we decided to put in Clay's AI performance CD. That worked for awhile, except I could tell that beauzz was ready to fall asleep. So was I. It must have been around 2 a.m or later. By now I am driving on I80 in Pennsylvania. This road never ends. It is dark. The road is all winding hills...uphill, downhill, curve to the right, curve to the left. There is endless construction which means a single lane with a cement barricade on one side and orange barrels on the other...in the dark...and I have very poor depth perception which made it harder find my way. Then, we hit FOG. Freaking Fog! Now, I couldn't see 5 feet in front of me.
Stop, you say? There really isn't anywhere to stop in rural PA. Besides, I HAD to be back in NY by the next evening, so if we stopped at a hotel, that only meant that I would have to drive 10 hours to NY in one stretch during the day on Wednesday. That option didn't appeal to me either.
So, we continued to drive relying on rest stops and truck stops to get tea and coffee to keep us awake. We were both in a sleep-deprived state of stupor. We got the giggles. We laughed about every little thing that happened. It was like we were high on fatigue. We laughed so hard, it hurt. We rarely looked at the time. Why bother? We couldn't do anything about it. We didn't look at the miles either. It didn't make it go faster to check them.
Finally, finally, we pulled into her gravelway at 5:00 a.m. We could barely speak or formulate words or sentences. We were pretty delirious. Beauzz's husband had called us on the cellphone around 4:30 because he was worried about us. He stayed up and waited for us and MADE US PANCAKES AND EGGS AND JUICE for when we got home. That was SO SWEET!!
I went to bed around 5:30 a.m. Slept for 3 hours. Woke up. beauzz and I chatted awhile and checked the boards, of course. Then, I slept again for about 2 hours. Left for NY around 2 pm and drove another 5 hours by myself to my home in NY. Left Thursday morning to drive 3 hours to take my oldest daughter to college in Syracuse. Lots of driving!! My butt may never be the same shape again!
It was a crazy adventure, but it was a wonderful way to end this second summer of Clay. It came at a time of personal transition in my life....back to teaching full time this week, sending my oldest daughter off to college, and turning 50 this summer. How wonderful that Clay has brought the opportunity for such joy, spontaneity and adventure into my life! The following familiar quote sums it up best:
Dance as though no one is watching you, (well, at least I
hope no one got me on video!)
Love as though you've never been hurt before,
Sing as though no one can hear you (except beauzz's sister on the other end of the cellphone*g*)
Live as though heaven is on earth.
Road tripping with a buddy to Cleveland? Heaven on earth, indeed.
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