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Apr 27 04 4:34 PM
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May 8 04 11:02 AM
Aug 8 04 6:41 AM
Reluctant 'Idol' candidate Aiken has done very well
Sunday, August 8, 2004
By Mary Barber
"They say when you wanna make God laugh, all you gotta do is tell him your plans."
That's a line from "When You Say You Love Me," on Clay Aiken's debut CD, "Measure of a Man."
God must be chortling.
The 25-year-old was studying special education at the University of North Carolina -- Charlotte when the mother of one of his students persuaded him to try out for "American Idol."
He sang at the Charlotte auditions and was sent home.
"I had no desire to be involved at all," Aiken said in a phone interview. "But I saw the people who sang with me, and I said 'I'm not getting cut.' ! It's just stubbornness."
His second audition, in Atlanta, resulted in an invitation to Los Angeles for the show's second season. Then he was cut again -- but was allowed to continue on a "wild card." He ended up taking second, behind Ruben Studdard.
Second place hasn't been so bad.
Aiken's first single, "This Is the Night," hit No. 1 on the Billboard charts. He won the Fan's Choice Award at the American Music Awards. His CD hit No. 1 and was one of the top-selling CDs of 2003. He joined the "American Idols Live" tour, then spent several weeks on the road early this year with the show's first winner, Kelly Clarkson.
And he finished his degree, graduating last December.
Now he's headlining a tour, with opening act Cherie, and he said the pressure's up.
"If the show went bad, I could blame it on her (Clarkson) last time," he joked. "But it's fun."
Aiken seems to be able to keep his success in perspective. After all, he's one of the rare few who could have it either way -- with fame, or without.
"In many ways, (teaching) is much more fulfilling than walking on stage," he said. "You don't get the money, for sure, which is a shame. But the benefits you get are much bigger and much more fulfilling. ! You don't walk in and have all the kids stand up and clap for you. You have to find success in small miracles. When the kid you were working with for three months to read one word does read just one word, it's very satisfying."
But fame has its perks, he said.
"The adulation and adoration you get from an audience when you're singing is very visible, very evident," he said. "I enjoy what I'm doing, and I get to see the world, see different things, and pay for vacations for my parents and my friends. I don't see any reason for me to want to stop it right now."
But if it doesn't work out, that's fine, he said.
"I don't have designs on it lasting forever," he said. "That would be a little too presumptuous."
Millions of kids want to be the next Clay Aiken, the next American Idol. But that's not the right path for everyone, he said.
"I think the best advice I could give someone would be to have enough confidence in yourself not to let one loss get you down," he said, "not to let one comment from Simon (Cowell, one of three judges) or the equivalent get you down."
He said he saw lots of very talented singers at "American Idol" who could make a career in music.
"But one nasty comment from Simon, and they were crushed for life," he said. "What's the point in that?"
He said Cowell is critical offstage as well as on, but his comments could be slightly more constructive in private.
"He's a little pompous, but he genuinely does usually care about those who are on the show," Aiken said. "He's not a cold-hearted person at all."
Asked if Cowell's advice helped him, Aiken said, "He'd like to say it did."
Aiken performs at 8 p.m. Thursday. Tickets are $29-$32.
-- Reach reporter Mary Barber at 768-4971 or [email protected]
Aug 8 04 6:54 AM
happiest when he's sharing his success
Sunday, August 8, 2004
Special to the Gazette
Just about a year ago he was a 24-year-old senior at the University of North Carolina, only six credit hours away from earning his degree in special education.
Then he heard about an audition.
And that was all it took for Clay Aiken to begin sharing his talent with the world.
He doesn't plan on leaving Michigan out, as he will be making a stop at the Jackson County Fair at 8 p.m. Thursday.
"What I'm trying to do, a goal of mine, is to have a show that everyone can go to -- a family show," said the 2003 second-place winner of "American Idol." "I only have one album to work with, so there will be a lot of old stuff.
"But there will be some new stuff, like covers of songs I grew up with. It's going to be a really good family show. It's going to be about music, no fancy lights."
But if you ask him, he is surprised that he ever got this far.
When he first auditioned for "American Idol," Aiken was sent home. So he auditioned again -- and this time it worked.
"I had to go home once," Aiken said. "After that, each step I expected to get sent home."
By now, everyone knows that Aiken lost the second title of "American Idol" to the smooth-singing Ruben Studdard. But some might say that Aiken is enjoying a little more success than the winner.
"It's just a matter of what type of facts you look at," Aiken said humbly. "Ruben has had a great deal of success. With airplay, I think Ruben gets more. With record sales, maybe I do."
Since it was released last fall, Aiken's "Measure of a Man" has sold more than 3 million copies in the U.S. and spawned the hit singles "Invisible" and "Solitaire."
All of the success is quite a change for Aiken. Singing in church since he was just a boy, Aiken always loved singing as a hobby. And now that he gets paid a little bit to do that, he has developed some other "hobbies" that everyone else does everyday.
"CNN is my hobby," Aiken said laughing. "And I like to read once in a while. Unfortunately, there's not enough time for a hobby."
Another interesting fact about this Raleigh, N.C., native that most people probably don't know is that he can turn his feet around backwards.
"Everyone says it's disgusting," Aiken said with a laugh. "But it's just natural to me."
Aiken is very thankful for his success and is making sure that others benefit from it as much as possible.
Aiken received his degree from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte last year through a special independent study provision. Besides sharing his talents, Aiken is sharing his time and resources to promote the Bubel/Aiken Foundation, which promotes the awareness and acceptance of children with various disabilities.
Aiken created the foundation along with Diane Bubel, the mother of an autistic son, Michael. Aiken was inspired to create the foundation after having his job at the YMCA, where he saw children with disabilities turned away because of the lack of staff trained in dealing with their special needs.
"I had my life planned out. I was going to be a teacher," Aiken told the Associated Press earlier this year. "I get a little jealous of my friends who have their classrooms now. It's a different sort of gratification.
"I once worked for three months to get a child to be able to read a word. You don't get anyone clapping for you when you do that. You work hard. You earn it. I didn't work hard to be able to sing. God gave that to me. It's easy, and people scream and cheer, and who wouldn't like that? It's great. But there's a different feeling associated with it."
For more information in the Bubel/Aiken Foundation, go to www.thebubelaikenfoundation.org.
Aug 12 04 3:58 PM
Quote:Just got a call from linlas
Its cold, 60 degrees and cloudy there
Its pretty full, the floor is practically full now and the grandstands are filling up as we speak. The chairs are really close together with the aisle only 1 person deep, hard to move or thud for that matter but i am sure they will find a way
Yes, Liz reports that Bob and Linda are RIGHT IN FRONT of her! Jeanne, I thought she said over 50 concerts so far though... hmmm
She said that Jacob and the piano player waled right by them on their way back from getting food!
and Bob and Linda's sign?? Dedication... Obedience... Service
Yea, that's our guy for sure!! And applies to Bob and Linda too!
Liz said Nick walked by also!! He's SOOOOO handsome, olive skin!!
Jeanne... take note... so handsome??
Jerome was giving autographs.... Raleigh... Liz got to see Raliegh earlier! And some mystery guy in a hoodie and shorts with thongs...
I just wonder who that might have been... No, we would recognize those legs anywhere!!! CLAYYY@!!!!!!!!!!
The venue is getting very full, and Cherie is about to start.
Quote:Venue almost full, seats 10,000
Ok, I think Lizz said it's concert number 59 for Bob and Linda.
Can you just imagine.... OMG!!!!
Showing POYB now!!!! Must be short set!
Here he comes!!!!! Mothership is opening!!!! Loud screams!!!!!
Streets Have No name.....whoa he's so on tonight!
She said he's soooo adorable!!!!!
Hair blown over to the side-looks different but good
Quote:Screams, he ended the U2 number,,, on to PERFECT DAY!!! HIS VOICE IS LILTING UP AND DOWN IN THE SONG... AND THEN THE SCREAM... GONNA BE A PERFECT....... DAY! NAILING IT
He's being a little flirt tonight!
(Says yesterday in Ohio was hot. It's nice that it is cooler today. Sometimes he tries to dance, and if they(audience) are lucky, he won't try it tonight. Talking about Jay having hard time with dancing. Someone in the audience is needed to bring him out of his shell. They got to be really creative.)
everyone is dancing
linlas said something about his shoulders hmmmm
security is going nuts cause people are on their chairs
He's got two girls up there!!
He's talking about how it's cooler tonight compared to last night.
Feels like he can talk to the audience.
Talking about dancing... says if we are lucky he won't dance.Because people in the audience do it better! Talking about Jay. Jay has a hard time dancing? Going to pull someone from the audience that can SHOW Clay that you can dance, he's gonna be watching!! to get the best dancer to get jay out there! You have to be creative he said!!
He says that Jay is really shy!
OMG, I just LOVE this song!!
PRAY he pulls me up onstage in CLIO!! Haha
I am in love. I love clay aiken. don't tell my husband.. shhh
He just said "come on now!!!" I screamed!!!
Hubby has no idea what it was about...
Ok, he's picked someone.
He's animated... but still singing!! Multitalented. Yea, like we didn't already know that!!!
He's acting how are they doing? I have no idea, nor do I know what this person even looks like!
But hehehe they are getting leid by Clay!!
Quote:oh my the screams are deafening
IWCY!! When your world breaks down...He is sooo cute!!!
sounds awesome as usual amidst the screams
went straight from Kyrie to I will Carry YOU!!! Oh , it's just too hot. the emotion he pours into the song!!
long beautiful glory note on the bridge
He puts so much emotion in this night asfter night! I will carrrry you!!!
(Singer now. Heather from Michigan. Without You.)
looking for the singer
joking with singer
singer is recording a demo cd/has sung professionally before?
wants to sing Without You
now he's calling someone named Heather from Michigan up to SING with him! She just said it's an amazing honor. No joke, he's being so nice to her! She auditioned with Jerome, she said. She has a gorgeous voice! Singing Without you... And she sounds fine, a very fine pick for Jerome!!
(Says every night singers are getting better. I think he's letting the backup girls remove their shoes. Told everyone to hold their nose.)
Heather singing Without You, really good. Calico is laughing, but I don't know what he's saying. Now he said since there's concrete on the stage they're letting Angela an Quiana wear flip-flops instead of high heels.
Angelas feet hurt. Nick is bring a special shirt for the girl who sang. She was good.
Quote:Talking about Angela wearing high heel shoes, he's going to let her put her flip flops back on.. says everybody hold your nose!! CLAY!!! He just did the cutest giggle... Heading into the James Taylor song group. OMG... This is the FIRST time I have heard this!! I've been holding off, waiting for CLIO!!! Sorry. Melted. Sorry, JT... CA just outdid you by 100%%%%%%!!!!!!!!!!!
JT Set. Sweet Baby James
How Sweet It Is now!!! Angela's rockin'!
Lots of screams for Jacob! Fire and Rain now!
(Wow, the audience loves them some Jacob)
linlas reports the singer was from her row
said clay smells really good-omg
Quiana rocking out big time
linlas said quiana must be feeling good
Quote:Yep, and it's the end of the Perseids meteor shower this week!!
Now CLAY is really blowing them all away.. YOU GOT A FRIEND!!!
Oh, Clay, you are a friend to ALL OF US!!!
the harmonies are great.
YGAF!!! Clay's voice just soars on this!
clay pulling shirt down to make sure nothing is exposed
doing shoulder shimmy/finger snapping move-go clay
did note holding contest as usual
MOAM he's got his eyes closed. Really feeling it tonight.
Lizz said the crowd is packed.
Lots of screams!!! STO now!!
dancing with Quiana
having a great time
They're dancing up a storm!
Grey pants, blue embroidered shirt. ISY now!
Crowd is loud, and loving him...showing clayton the love.
caressing the mic stand
Good luck, I wish you well!!... lots of screams! Holding beginnninnnnnnngs forever!
Introducing the crew. Asked if Kathy was wearing Clay Aiken thong.
Introducing band and crew and behind scenes people. Asked for applause for all those behind scenes who work on the tour.
IKYWW Duet with Angela
clay keeps pulling his shirt down
awww clay don't bother
talking about all the stuffed animals on stage saying maybe they can collect them all at the end of the tour
I think he said the stuffed animals were cold??!!
Clay checking out quiana's toes
He is introducing band members now. Maybe I should learn to play that... he just said..
And now he's led into Rosanna, Rosanna...
Starts low, voice raises... holds notes so great... has the beat of the song down...
Sing it Clay!!
Sounds so beautiful
Quote:Band sounds great
OMG you go guys
linlas says "hang on darlings"
Here comes the light
Here comes clay
OMG here comes the VOICE
YWT now! Screams at first, now it's quiet.
OMG he sounds so awesome
Glow on his face
You Were There, even with the poor connection this performance gives me goosebumps!!! You will always be the risen lamb of God! Beautiful!
Talking about how blessed he's been, his amazing fans, cherish them forever. Looking back at highlights over the years.
He's talking about how much of a blessing his amazing fans are. Memories so vivid I will carry them with me forever... and to highlight it, this amazing song... Leading into THIS IS THE NIGHT!!! Yes, for all you lucky fans there, and especially REDDLIZ from the Clayboard!!
OMG... He sounds just like the album... it's hard to perfect perfection ya know!!!
Plaid jacket, blue shirt, brown pants for TITN!
After show tidbits:
blue shirt/tannish pants
then white suit
later plaid jacket
Clay seemed a little more subdued tonight
speaking voice towards the end a little rough
very chilly . . . could see his breath during the last few songs
not as much chatter as some other nights
crowd reaction in general very good
changed up TITN a little
not sweaty tonight at all
said John was on vacation
shook his head and said that's how he did his hair tonight
camera nazis out in full force tonight
bus pulling out already . . . left immediately after show
(methinks the bus scene was becoming an issue)
two dancers--both around 16-20 (?)
the new brown pants that he wears with the jacket have zippers up the back of them . . . pretty funky
singer was around 21 or so . . .
Heather here---she says she is . . . . well, she disappeared already--being mobbed
off to edit in Clayboard, and othe
Aug 12 04 9:19 PM
Quote:Michifan4Clay, didi46 and mmb40 back from Jackson!!!
Much larger crowd than we expected - just the far side seats not used (but those would have been crappy anyway).
Bottom Line? We loved it!!! We loved meeting the meers (**waves to Serendipity, Sparklish, Shygirl, Cap, Caplet, Berkeley and her sister, the lovely Teacher4Clay, Clotilde, Claycub , Lisa and Haley of Sock Monkee fame, and assorted "potted plants" - if we missed anyone -sorry.**)
Yes, his voice did crack on MOAM and he seemed to really work on a couple of the later songs but we were all very happy with this concert. He was having fun, playful and interacting with the crowd.
Invisible was very high energy - everyone was singing and dancing.
The camera nazis were out in full force so hopefully there is clack but not sure if anyone was getting anything.
The girl that sang was good and was from Ypsilanti. When she said she wanted to sing "Without You", he said ok and walked away. Too funny.
We had a Clay virgin with us and by George, I think she got it!!!
Didi is going to marry the keychain, right after she gets done making out with the program. (she really said that!)
mmb40 felt like she actually was SEEING Clay for the first time as she could see his expressions and didn't have to rely on the jumbotrons (and no, it wasn't the first concert - it was her 4th.)
Solitaire was great. I was concerned after he struggled with some of the other songs but he nailed it pretty much. Plus we got hands - always a good thing. Nice.
I am sure that all three of us will have more coherent thoughts later but we wanted to be first - are we? Even though it is Not.A.Competition! *g*
ETA - the weather held out for us - no rain and not too cold - for us. Clay and everyone were cold but I would volunteer to snuggle with Clay to keep him warm -what?
Aug 12 04 11:21 PM
Quote:Ok Ok we're home!!!! Where is everybody else.....still at the fair!!!!
What can I say!!!
Corn dogs and Ribs cooking in the near distance.....
And Clay Aiken.....it was all good!!!!
The venue was cramped. They had stuffed so many chairs in that place you couldn't even move, much less breathe.....Not only were the seats securely locked together with plastic tie-um-ups....they were so close to the row in front of you that you couldn't bend your legs at your knees when you sat down......good thing it was a Clay Aiken concert....nobody was sitting!!!!!!
I asked the multi-talented venue security/camera police what the venue size was and he said 10,000. It was full with the exception of the outer sides of the bleachers.....
Cherrie got us all warm for "your guy, Clay Aiken" Oh my how I love to hear her say that......
Then the master came out of the Mothership in all his Clayness
and man on man.......was the voice soaring tonight.....song after song after song, glory note after glory note......so clear.....so powerful.....so delicious.....
We got the Reader's Digest condensed version yet he sang for a really long time.....skipped Shine, NMSS and AAL but sang the new duet....
I haven't read the cellcert yet.....although I do understand my good friend reported that I had my camera in my underpants.....but for more details....the singer was Cillabear's sister Heather.....and what a voice she had....had Mr. Aiken jumping back in his tracks as she had her way with his song!!! He loved every minute of it and it seemed like he sang way more of the song than usual.
The star of the show, you know the one......the not what we're looking for in a pop star had the whole place on their feet, including men who were rocking out and shaking their heads in awe.....
I would show you this except for the fact that the camera police made me keep my camera in my underwear the entire night.....they even had camera police sitting in the isle beside me.....while he was watching me the lady behind him got some really great shots......so lets hope she posts here.....cause I have nothing to share except a few choice shots of blushnlavender and a Jackson Police car!!!!!
Highlights of the night were MOAM.....where his voice just soared in the cool night air.....nothing acoustic about that one....he let it rip!!!! Powerful and beautiful.....
Rosanna...my favorite....I thought he lowered a bit and he sounded so incredibly dreamy that I can't find the words to describe it at this late hour.
The "hold The Note" contest was amazing.....how the heck he does it is beyond me.....Jacob and Angela gave in and Clay kept on for probably another 15 seconds......it was beyond human!!!
The new bass player is a keeper.....he will fit in very nicely with this rich talented ensemble!!!!
Thought I saw a couple of new dance moves in Still The One.....the non-dancer did less jumping and more rocking than I've seen before!!!!!! Me thinks he might be getting comfortable with his moves!!!! Although we didn't get any tugs during Invisible he took every opportunity available to tug his shirt down in back......must be kind of like a shirt wedgie kind of thing going on!!!! I swear he's hiding something back there, he doesn't want us to see.
The second half of the concert still just boggles my mind....how he just takes each song up another notch.....he was so proud of the audience during Invisible when we sang back to him....that beautiful face was just glowing when he held his mic up to us and we in return responded in our best stage voices!!!!! He loved it...and Michigan loved him tonight!!! The encore screamage was beyond belief for a home town crowd (snicker, snicker, snicker) and outdoor
venue. You would have thought they were in the "Longest Note" contest......
So signing off for tonight......until we meet again......if you survive Clay Aiken that is!!!!
Aug 12 04 11:24 PM
Quote:Cilla and Heather (we all call her Heder on the other board we're all on together are friends and I hope Cilla doesn't mind this being posted here..
(Crying) "I'm thinking about you and I love you so much. You were all praying for me that this would happen and it means so much for me. (crying). You guys are awesome friends. I would not have got up there if it weren't for friends like you"
"I had to audition for Jerome and when I started singing I was nervious so my voice started cracking so I looked into his eyes so that he would pick me -- as long as he could see that I wasn't shy. I went back to my seat and I was sitting there and there was a little girl that got to meet Clay and they thought that she was going to sing with Clay, and I figured that if it didn't happen today, it would happen someday. Then I was singing along with Clay and all of a sudden my friend slapped me to tell me that Jerome was looking for me. I looked to the end of the aisle and saw a flashlight. I motioned like "who me?" I got to him and I said 'are you calling me.' He said follow me. The funniest part is that I was hopping behind him. At one point I got in front of him and was leading him!"
"I went to the back and he told me to wait there and someone will come get me in a second. Then a lady came out and gave me a microphone and she said follow me up this ramp and when I let you know you have to walk out on stage. A minute later she said "go!" Then Clay was talking about how he picks someone to sing and he said "here she is!" I walked up to him and I shook his hand. He said what's your name and I said Heather. He said where are you from, and I said Ypsilanti, and he said "what?" The he said is that in the top part of the hand or the lower part, and I said "I don't right now, Clay." He said what do you in (mispronounced the town name). I said the name of my city, and said "gesunheit." I told him I was going to school to be a special ed teacher. I told him that I sing and I'm recording a demo and I'll give you one in Clio. He said "we've got somebody up here selling herself!"
He said, what experience do you have in singing. I said that I opened for Colin Ray once. He said "well, that's good." He said, you told Jerome you wanted sing a song, what did you want to sing. I said, Without You. He said, "Ok, I'm leaving." The he said, "ok, we're going to get there, come stand over here by the speakers, do you know what verse you're starting on." I said yes. Then the music started and I started singing. He started making happy faces at the audience. Then he started singing with me. It was amazing. It was unbelieveable. So then I was thinking to myself "I wanted to hold his hand" so I reached out my hand and he was holding my hand and he was staring in my eyes and smiling at me while he sang with me. We sang it till the one part where he cuts people off. I went to hug him and he gave me a big hug -- he really squeezed me. I sniffed him. He smells like Lever 2000."
"Then I finished and he told me to go get my t-shirt signed by Clay, which is now owned by Cillabear -- she's wearing it right now."
"Then I walked off the stage and as I was walking off he said to the audience "they keep getting better and better."
"Cilla had all of these shirts made up and about 80 of us were wearing them and they say "make a difference" so when I got on stage I told him that we were wearing the shirts in his honor. We gave him a shirt too (when I auditioned for Jerome)."
"At the very end, Cilla had made a scrapbook of all of the band members and I gave it to Jerome to have the band members sign it, and they thought it was for them and they were going to keep it! We went and found security and asked for it back. The security guy got on the bus to get it and when he came back out he came Cilla over and she met Quiana and she signed the book. After that, we were leaving, and we walked by the other bus and saw Jacob inside and asked the bus driver to hand it to him, Jacob came off of the bus and asked Cilla "where's mine? He gave us a hug and told me I did a good job."
"We were in Ohio last night and I was going to audition but I was too late, and I told Cilla it doesn't matter because none of their real friends were there. We couldn't find Cincy (I wanted to meet her SO bad. That's the only reason I went to the Ohio show. I was heartbroken.)."
"Our best friends are here with us now. There were 80 of us, and my mom got a cellcert because she couldn't be here. It was very meaningful for me. I was so happy. Jerome kept hugging me and telling me that I was great. He's so nice."
"My sincere feeling is that Clay was genuniely happy for me, ....because there were better singers than me (Cilla in the background saying "who's better than you?" "
"You've seen posts and seen what my life was like before. I never had the courage to go for something that I wanted so badly and for it to actually happen. It's amazing. I will not forget this for the rest of my life."
"I love you all and I'll be home soon to play on the board. You are the best friends that I could have. I'm sincere about that."
Aug 12 04 11:25 PM
Quote:Just got home from my first concert and I cannot tell you how exciting it was. I am not a very good writer, but I will tell this the best I can being absolutely drained of any energy. It rained on the way there, so I was worried about it raining during the concert, but we had our ponchos and were going to stay no matter what the weather held. Thankfully, it didn't rain and although it was cooler than normal this time of year, his performance heated us up to a comfortable temperature. It seemed so surreal as we walked up to the venue and saw Angela and Quiana getting off the bus. I couldn't believe they were so close. We walked around the fair for awhile and when we got back to the grandstands, we saw Jerome auditioning singers. He is HUGE! I couldn't believe it. He was smiling and laughing the whole time and trying to put the singers at ease.
We then found our seats and waited for Cherie to come on. I t was fun to watch everyone come in with decorated shirts. We sat next to some great fans and enjoyed listening to them talk about Clay. Cherie was adorable and a very good singer. The bass was a little loud, but she really has the pipes. The audience did the wave for her just fine. It must be that Michigan likes the wave because they really did cooperate for her.
When the music for WTSHNN came on, I felt really giddy because I couldn't believe it was happening. Then, there he was in the flesh. He is more beautiful than any TV show, video clip or picture ever taken. I think I had an out of claybody experience. I swear I was floating off the ground. He said that his hairdresser was on vacation and that he woke up, shook his head and sprayed his hair just how it landed. He is so witty, so quick with little quips that had us laughing. When he gave Quiana and Angela their flip flops to wear instead of high heels, Quiana told him she had just had a pedicure. He looked down at her feet and told her that one of her toes looked a little longer than the rest.
He was so cute with the singer, Heather, from Ypsilanti. He could not pronounce Ypsilanti and raised his hand up and asked Heather to point out where it was. She was so excited that she said she really didn't know at the moment. He told her she would have a rough time finding her way home. She sang great and the duet was really well done.
The place just rocked with STO and Rosanna. He is absolutely amazing on those songs and the antics are just too cute to describe. We also loved YWT I have never heard him sing with such emotion. The audience was spellbound and gave him great applause after that. I survived you was done with just the right amount of hand movements and emotion. Not too little, not too much. I really enjoyed it. When he leaned on the railing to sing IWCY, my heart sped up and I became breathless. He just looked so doggone sexy up there.
The night went so fast, I couldn't believe when he got to Invisible. Everybody sang along. TITN is still one of my favorites and the video show on the jumbo tron was adorable. Solitaire was beyond belief. He put absolutely everything he had into it. He was hoarse in his speaking voice all night and had a couple very minor cracks in his voice during a couple songs so I was worried how he would ever be able to sing the entire song. However, he just belted it perfectly. There was a crowd waiting for the buses, but we had a three hour drive home so had to leave. My life is complete. I can die happy. (hopefully many years from now) I cannot believe it all happened. My love for him just grows and grows. I know I'm forgetting a lot and probably most of this was already posted in the cellcert, but I am too tired to type anymore tonight. It was just too awesome for human description.
Aug 12 04 11:28 PM
Quote:Michigan loves Clay Aiken!!
Clay....the rain held off and the stars came out on a very cool August night. But you, my friend, are the brightest star ever to light up my summer nights. And I'm sure about 8-10,000 people in Jackson County feel the same way! Thank you for making us sing, giggle, sigh, swoon, gasp, melt and cry. I could attend one of your concerts every single night for the rest of my life and never tire of the joy on your face, the bounce in your step, or the magic and emotion in your golden voice. What a gift....What a blessing.
I attended the concert with my buddy linlas, and four concert virgins; My widowed and still-grieving mother-in-law who has adored Clay since AI, a close friend who owns his CD and loves it, and two teenage friends who were celebrating an early sweet 16th with their favorite singer in the whole wide world. Clay delivered the perfect combination of upbeat tempo, tenderness, laughter, dance (Yes, Clay...you CAN, I don't care what you say!!), angst, love, soaring glory notes and uplifting worship. He offers something for everyone and everyone with me tonight was thrilled, moved and eager to see him again!! He just leaves you wanting more and more!! One encore is simply not enough, Clay. Which is a good thing...
The late hour and my still-swooning brain are making it difficult to remember intricate details, but here are a few brief comments for now, and hopefully I'll think of more tomorrow after a good night's sleep! Which may be impossible!
First of all.....the man is happy beyond words. There is so much genuine joy busting out of him. Everyone around me noticed it and commented. I would have liked to have heard the duet he sang with Cherie, and I really missed hearing Run To Me, Shine, and All About Love, but I'll get over it...especially since hearing them all in Lexington. The highlight for me once again (and the others with me), was "You Were There". I wept as he nearly brought me to my knees (just like Lexington). The breeze, the glow behind him, his beautiful hands raised in worship, the power of the lyrics, the emotional delivery and of course his unmistakable voice are pure perfection. I wonder just how many hearts he has reached with this song. Many, I am sure. I've said it a million times from the moment I first experienced it, but again....thank you, Clay, for "You Were There".
I thought I saw several new little dance moves, and if it's even possible...more oozing confidence. No shirt tugs or deep knee bends (I miss those Clay!!) and no running his hands through his hair (although he commented his hair stylist was not with him today. You still looked sexy Clay. ) Love the plaid jacket, wouldn't mind a little stubble, missed having a catwalk and felt bad for telling the girl in front of me to put her sign down. Loved the duet with Heather from Ypsilanti (the girl is fabulous!) and the fact that she took the time to smell him for us! I asked her when she returned to our row, and she said he smelled like he was fresh out of the shower...like soap.
I watched him hit every soaring note, watched the tears roll down my MIL's cheeks while he sang, and while he stood there under the night sky, so high on the risers, his blue shirt blew gently in the wind...and he was breathtaking. When he hit the notes at the end, I thought my knees might buckle. Oh, how I love this man.
The night would have ended perfectly if I didn't eat that darn deep-fried snicker bar. UGH. It went down like a brick. So, seeing Clay at a Fair concert can be thrilling, uplifting and thudworthy....but it can also give you indigestion.
Consider yourself warned!!
Off to float on my Clay Cloud.....
Aug 12 04 11:42 PM
Quote:I hadn't read a celcert or review since the first 4 or 5 just to be fresh for this show and it was outstanding. I wanted to experience it as a newbie being my first Not a Tour show and was overwhelmed at just how good clay is as a headliner.
I love fair concerts. Its the combination of the midway the rides, the smell, all the freaks and geeks out in force, winning a darling stuffed Boxer dog. Just a good good atmosphere and a good time. My first time to Jackson and the grandstand is huge. I was surprised at how many people were at this concert. The cool Michigan weather the night sky, all added to the fun.
Clay is beyond...explaniation...His VOICE, his charm his humour. All add up to one heck of a performer even if this is your first time. Going in knowing Clay it's still a surprise just how good he is. The visual of the mothership and him coming out to Streets have no name catches you and holds. Even songs I've overhead...STO, Rosanna, etc he makes new. If you haven't gone yet and just listened to the MP3s...forget them..this is not the same. My high points...I survived you, You were there, Solitare. Outstanding delivery, just the right angst and emotion and again, take away everything, close your eyes....THAT VOICE.
I have to admit...I got a little choked up during This is the Night, started it all didn't it? The journey, being a part of it. This is about Clay...were just along for the ride.
All in all its hard to put to words just how good, how fun this is.
Let me add...Heather you were outstanding. Michigan can be proud of you. You went up there, nailed the song and were great singing with Clay. May you hold that experience forever.
Aug 13 04 7:54 AM
I left straight from work at 4, just to make sure I was there in plenty of time. Jacksonâs about 1.5 hours from where I work but wouldnât you know with all the construction it took over 2. I got there with no problems and proceeded to park in the $4 EZ Pay lot. Now Iâve never paid for parking at a county fair before but I figured that it would be much easier than fighting to get out of a huge lot with everyone else. This was a good move on my part. In and out, no problems at all. Except when I almost got lost and thought I was going to end up by the prison. *g*
So, we didnât really have any preconcert gathering planned. Weâre a casual bunch I guess. I met up with didi & friend, Michifan, and mmb40 right away. It definitely helped I knew what they looked like. *g* We also saw Cap and Caplet, Shygirl, sparklish, and ficus. At least I think it was ficus. I think thatâs one of lifeâs little mysteries.
Anyway, I bought my purty program and a Sâway and we headed for some food. I was dying and split an elephant ear with didiâs friend. She was a concert virgin and I hope she had a good time!! That was dinner. I always try to eat healthy.
Finally, we go into the venue. The track seating was not good. The center section where we were all sitting had 45 seats in a row and NO aisles in between. These seats were also strategically placed so that you had approximately three inches between the front of your seat and the back of the personâs in front of you. It made it a bit uncomfortable, especially trying to get to my seat. After a bit of seat jumping I made it. Whew.
Cherie started. Meh. Sheâs cute. Butchered Itâs My Love. That will always be Tim & Faithâs song to me. I saw them perform it together when she was 7 months pregnant with their second child and you could see the sparks fly even from my nosebleed seats. Her last songs were better. But not good enough to make me want her CD.
Okay, the main event. It was the shortened set, but I was expecting that so it was all good. I had 11th row dead center so my seats were excellent. I tried taking a few pics with my crappy disposable, Iâm sure none will turn out. Anyway, here are the highlights:
- Duet with girl from audience. She was sitting 2 rows in front of me and they all absolutely freaked when she got picked. She was from the MI Claynation group and managed to get in a quick shout-out to them. Good for her. Anyway, she was absolutely amazing. I think Clay almost fell over when she started singing. She was older, Iâd say about 25 or so.
- JT Set: I love this medley. I love hearing the backup singers do their thang. I was also oddly fascinated with the front of his pants during this medley. I swear Waldo came out to play but it could have also been the biggest, strangest fold Iâd ever seen. Those pants were thin, and didnât really fold as much as drape. Anyway, it was hawt.
- ISY: It was awesome seeing the audience gasp after the âGood Luck, I wish you wellâ part.
- YWT: Iâd say the initial reaction of the audience was surprise. Most of these folks werenât the hard core internet fans. A few started swaying and getting into it but about halfway through the song a lot of people in front of me sat down. We got the full bibles/crosses/stained glass version and I wasnât thrilled. I really think if there were no crosses, or maybe only one cross I would have been fine. But thatâs me. I didnât think the song was anything extraordinary either. Maybe Iâll try the close my eyes and listen thing in Clio next week.
- Solitaire: Oh for the sweet love of God, how I adore this song. And Clay didnât disappoint. He sang the crap out of it. My knees were weak and my heart was fluttering. How does he do that to me still?
A few more random things and Iâm done. The weather was fine, thank goodness. Clay even commented how nice it was after being indoors the night before in â115 degrees.â I donât like the plaid jacket in person any better than in pictures.
Clioâs next week already, yâall. Bring it on!!!
Aug 13 04 8:21 AM
Quote: OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG
This is probably the longest post in all my history here. So I hope your not bored.
What a night. This is my second Clay concert and there are just no words. I agree the fair concert was a nice feeling. The midway and the rides all lit up added to the excitement.
Okay, we get there and we pulled in to pay for the fair entrance, and I asked the lady taking our money when the grandstand would open. She says matter of factually, Mr. Aiken will let us know when to open the gate. I thought that was so cool!
We parked way in the back past all these semi trucks and buses. As were walking to the grandstands we see a bunch of people looking through the fences. The fences were lined with gray plastic so you couldn't see through them. But you could see through where they were connected. Okay, so we keep walking because I want to get to the buses. There weren't that many people by where the buses were parked, so we figured lets go see where the line is. We went around this truck, literally one hundred feet away, and whoala there is the grandstand entrance. Probably about fifty people waiting by the buses. And fifty people waiting in line. It's four o'clock or so at this time. Wooden barriers are separating us from the gates. Nothing really stopping us from walking around them. The gates were closed but there was a bus in there so we figured it was Clay's. We waited for about a half an hour then figured he isn't coming out, so we went to get in line. Then we see that the line really hadn't grown any so we decided to go back to the buses.
Now there are these three small boys running back and forth as well. One looked about ten or so. So just as we are coming back around the big truck separating the grandstand entrance and the line for the buses. We see Clay's bus backing in (of course as soon as I left) so we run up to see if we can get a peek at him. Three Jackson fair security guys are guiding the bus in back-wards. (Getting ready for there quick exit I know now) We see the driver and a woman sitting up front. (I've never seen her before anywhere) She was a younger black woman with a scarf, tight hat or bandanna on her head, not sure who she was, but I did see her sitting in the right side of the stage before Cherie came out later. Anyway. We see the bus get all parked in. The driver did it in one straight shot, which I thought was pretty impressive driving considering you are squeezing that big bus between to small gates, back-wards. Good job Sarge!
So out comes Nick, now remember we are watching this through the spaces between the fence links. Nick is wearing shorts and a orange stripped polo. So similar to Clay's that I had to wonder if they wear each others shirts. Just popped into my head. So then Jerome comes out of the bus (dark suit) and stands with his back to us so we couldn't see who else was getting off. He walks away and Nick gets back on the bus, only to come out with Raleigh two seconds later. People are yelling there's Raleigh, there's Raleigh. Then they opened the gate and brought up a small golf cart to set right in front of it. Three security guys sat on it and guarded the gate. All of a sudden Rosanna starts playing, we could hear it getting louder and louder. I'm like is that Clay? And people are trying to see through the fences, when one of the little boys says, hey you can see the whole stage from over on the other side, and I'm like where? Show me. So he starts to walk that way, and I follow. Now remember we are in a fair parking lot (grassy field) so there are cars everywhere and people walking towards the fair in droves. He went around the cars and back towards the semi's. I'm out of breath by this time (Jeanne is on the phone, laughing I'm sure)trying to keep up with this little ten year old boy, when he stopped to wait for me, I said have you been back here already and he said yes. I said where is it that you can see the whole stage, keep in mind I can still hear Rosanna playing. He said over there behind those trucks. I said is the fence open or? He said no but you can see right through if your up close. That's when I said no, no I can't go peeking through the fence. (Even though others were, and I commend you for it. Hey if you got a peek good for you, but I just couldn't do it) He kept going back further, but I stopped and stood by the last semi. Then he goes, really right over there you can see the whole stage, come on. I'm like no sweetie I can't go peeking through a fence, but you go over there and tell me if it is Clay singing, I'll give you a dollar. He says you don't have to and runs over by these other kids peeking through the fence. He comes back a minute later and says no it's not Clay just some girls are on the stage. So I figured it was Angela and Quiana. I pulled out my dollar to hand it to him and he din't want to take it. So sweet. I made him take the dollar, and he went off with his friends back by the fence. I stood there waiting for my husband who figured since we were so close to the car he would get his sweatshirt. There were people getting out of there cars going towards the fair, but I stayed thinking I didn't want to leave that spot because my husband went to the car. Well I could see through the semi where the cab and the trailer connect, so I'm just watching people get on and off this dark blue bus. One guy was on his phone and he looked over at me. (I was like, Oh he sees me looking at him. Busted! ) This other lady starts laughing, and we are looking around. It was so funny, you had to have been there. Then the bass player Jay came off the bus, then a light blue hoodie comes off the bus, I'm like OMG, no way. Now I'm probably fifty feet away between the two semi's and the bus. The hooded man (whether it was Clay is not for sure) But anyway, he had on khaki shorts, a light blue hoodi (I couldn't see the letters on the front so don't know what state it was) and flip flops. I'm thinking it's Clay but don't know if it really was...the hood was up. Who else would wear their hood up? You know? He walked off the bus and around through the opened gate back there where all the crew were. Then my husband came back and we went back to the buses. I felt like I had a Clay sighting so I'm going on that feeling. I'm so pumped up by the time we go to get in line after waiting by the buses for another thirty minutes, finally deciding he is not coming out. That I'm giddy. Soapy could hear my excitement. Go soap. I think I just saw Clay. I can't believe I just paid a kid a dollar to peek through a fence. OMG. What Clay does to us. We did see some kids later and they swear they saw Clay too. So happy joy for everyone. My husband goes to get food and I look over and OMG there's Jerome signing autographs, laughing, a whole crowd of people around him. I take out my digicam thinking I have to get a pic for Mar. So I go up and snap a few of him with the crowd around him. Then I got back in line. There were about fifty people in front of us in line...it's five thirty or so by now. I then took a few pics of the line and the shirt stand, because the crowds were so big, I wanted you guys to see. So we go inside about six thirty, six forty five. We know we have general admission so I'm thinking the seats aren't going to be that great. OH was I so wrong. The usher directs us to the grey general admission seats, and I tell my husband whichever isle and seats he wants is fine with me. general admission was on either side of the center. He goes to the left and took the two first seats in the eighth row. Were waiting for Cherie and out walks Nick. Now I have to tell he is beautiful. he has olive colored skin and dark hair and OMG. he is just model material. My husband and I are chit chatting and I said to him, I wonder if Bob and Linda are here tonight. Low and behold the girl in front of me turns around, looks right at me and says, yes they are, she is sitting right in front of you. I'm like no way, so Linda turns around and says HI. OMG. I'm like hi, it's so nice to meet you. We shake hands and proceed to talking. I ask about Bob just as he is walking up. At this time I realize - I seen him out by the buses. So he shakes our hands to, and we start talking about Clay. They are the sweetest people and they gave me a message for the Clayboard which I will tell you all about after my review.
Linda watches our seats while we go smoke a ciggy. I called Cindy and Jeanne to tell them I saw Nick, Bob and Linda. I'm all excited and they are to now. Then we are coming back in and there is Jacob and the organ player. OMG again. I'm like WOW this is my lucky day. I've got Cindy on the phone telling her all about Linda and I'm like Cindy there is Jacob he was just walking through the people like nothing. No one approached them and they walked right up to the stage, climbed over the barrier and went back. Jacob looked really good, he had on green cordoury pants and a thinned stripped shirt left out with his sun glasses on his head. So we are milling through the crowd to get back to our seats, and we look on the stage and that girl that was in the bus was sitting up on the stage back behind the organ. That was covered up at the time. Next to her is a girl in jeans, a pink shirt and a baseball cap. Later I realized it was Cherie cause she came on stage singing in the same outfit. She had on tennis shoes, no heals tonight.
Cherie was good, she said her job was to warm us up for our guy Clay Aiken, and the crowd loved that. She is cute, and can sing. So I was entertained.
Then Clay, OMG what can I say. He is so amazing. Linda said this is the hoarsest she has ever heard him. Only when he talked, when he sang you couldn't even tell. (How does he do that?) He is just amazing. From the moment he took that stage my brain went to mush. I couldn't remember the words to the songs. I just jumped up and down screaming and dancing all night. I have no voice today. But it was so worth it. You heard all the reviews on every song so I'll just tell you my impression. (Linlas, you said word for word how I'm feeling about every song last night)
Personally I do believe that Clay could sing anything and make it sound good. I felt like he was really relaxed last night. he seemed very happy, and played with Angela and Quianna alot. He told us their feet hurt and he was going to let them put on their flipflops, which Nick brought up to him center stage and handed to Clay. Angela said here Clay take my shoes and Clay made a stinking smell face. Then Angela said, Clay take them holding them out. He did but he had the cutest face as he carried them over to hand them to Nick. It was just so cute the look on his face. You can tell that these people have a lot of fun with each other. All the songs were amazing. He put so much emotion into ISY, I thought I was going to die. I swear, I couldn't breath for a minute. Linda turns around and hands me her binoculars and I could litarely count his freckles. He is the most beautiful man I've ever seen up close. His features are so perfect. Why he thinks he is not one of the sexiest men in America is beyond me, because he most definitely is. So a few more times Linda shared her binoculars with me, and if your reading this thank you Linda you, you are an angel. Invisible was electrifying, Solitaire was beyond words. He held that note so long. OMG is all I can say. There are just not enough words in the English vocabulary to describe how beautiful hearing Solitaire live was for me. I tried to keep checking the girls on the phones but hey I was in Clay mode and just couldn't concentrate. It's funny because my husband used his phone to call Cindy (Clayfaninaustin) and I used mine to call Jeanne (Soapyjean). He suggested trying speaker phone so I did, he didn't. Needless to say she couldn't hear as well from my phone. I found out later. But I finally heard her saying turn me off speaker phone and I did. I slapped my husband in the head for that later. Sorry Jean.
I cried when he sang YWT. I've heard the stuff about the crosses but I'm religious so this was incredible for me. He emotes so deeply on this one that the emotion he brings moves me to tears. I love this man. That was my favorite Clay moment of the night. Sing it baby. Just sing it.
So the concert is over and there's only one exit. OMG we are all the way to the left and the exit is on the right. So people start coming down to get in line to exit, but Bob, Linda, Paul and myself skip thought the seats and scurry out around them all. Don't know why everyone went down there to exit. When they could have gone around the seats, but whatever. We just want to get to the buses. Well when we finally do, Clay is already in the bus, the gates are opening and the bus is preparing to pull out. Now mind you this is two minutes away if that. He is sitting in the front waving, (My husband said later that it was one of his most memorable moments. To see Clay sitting up tall in the bus, front lights on him, him twenty feet away. Clay was waving and everyone was following the bus. These girls are talking to the driver,( the bus was coasting at this point) telling him how they brought Clay Krispy Kremes, and a lei. He took the lei, but not the KK's. She's running along saying please Clay, come out, we love you. It was so sweet to see these teenaged girls just going gaga for Clay. Crap I was going gaga for Clay. So we just walked along toward our car. The bus is in line surrounded by cars and can't get out. The crowd gathered not in front of it, but around it. Screaming we love you Clay. But when I got close enough to see, it's wasn't Clay anymore in the passengers seat it was Jerome. Party pooper. the bus leaves and we go to our car. I call my girls back and rehash all the nights events. We played Clay on our two hour drive home and laughed and sang. What a night. What a day. It was the best concert so far. I went to one Independent tour concert in Detroit, but this was 100% better. he has grown so much even in the last six months. He is so comfortable in his own skin. While I could tell the crowd does make him a little nervous at times, he loves it, he feeds off of it, and gives it right back to us. he entertains us, and in turn we entertain him too, that's how Jeanne described it, and she was so right. Love you Clay, you rocked my world at the Jackson Michigan Fairground's. I will never forget this night as long as I live. Until Clio next week anyway. I'm sure he will out do himself, he always does.
Now on to Bob & Linda.
I still cannot believe that I got to not only sit behind Bob & Linda. but share in their joy of seeing Clay. These are the two sweetest people I've ever met at a concert. They love Clay so much, it is written all over their faces.
Once the introduction were done I just came right out and ask her what so many of us have been wondering for so long. It went something like this. Sorry if this story has been told before.
I ask her if she reads the Clayboard, she says Bob does sometimes. But doesn't post much. He says hi to the Claydawgs. I ask how many concerts this is for her and she says this is #59. I'm like WOW tell me Linda how did all this start for you guys? After I told her I wanted to be her. And she says,
She was watching T.V. one night last year and she hears "To Love Somebody" She says that was the moment for her. She told Bob about it later, and the next week they watched together. That week he sang, Unchained Melody and Bob said in made his whole body light up, he said and I quote "It brought me to tears." They watched and prayed and voted and in their hearts even though Clay lost, he won for them. They both said he won that show. Then they told me how they went to the AI tour and it was all about Clay. they said that even though the others stars sang well. The crowd was mostly there for Clay. This sucked them in. His charisma on the stage, his dedication to children, his obedience to his faith, his service to his fans. He come to entertain and that he does. They went on to say that the concert was so good, but not enough Clay, so they went to another AI concert. New York I think she said. Anyway, he was even better. Then the tour with Kelly came up, now in the mean time they are in their day to day life going about their business. But keeping up on Clay. They start feeling like they needed to contribute so they helped support his foundation, and his causes. Spreading his good name every where they went. They loved him already, and all he represents, so why not. They found something they both enjoy. Said it makes them feel good to help support Clay. They go to the first Independent concert and OMG love it, he had gotten so much better, like that was even possible they both said, they now know that they have to see it again. So they did. Then again and again. They loved it. They were on a Clay high going to all these great concerts. Enjoying the heck out of his voice, his person, his incredible way of making you NEED to help. So it escalated from there. they are retired, they never used their vacation time at work, they had finally found a celebrity that they could get behind. Linda personally told me that she loves supporting the BAF and donating CD's and time for Clay's fund raisers. Like Bob said, "Some people make twenty calls a day to their radio station to support Clay and keep his name out there, we do this." So Linda goes on to tell me how she made a sign saying this is our 26th concert (I think that was the number) she was close to the catwalk and Clay commented on it. He took it, and put it on the jumbotron. Then at the next concert he said hi to them. OMG They couldn't believe that he knew them. They did say that they had a meet & greet while he was on the AI tour but other then that, they had never talked to him. So he says, "Hi Bob & Linda." OMG She freaks out. He knows their names. He remembers them. She was speechless. So they go on to another concert, now these folks are driving in a late model van, they are not wealthy by no means. But what extra money they do have, they chose to spend on supporting Clay. isn't that amazing? Anyway. She said she didn't do but three number signs. the last one was a small, smaller than 8 x 10 sign that said 50th, nothing else. She held it up a few times. then Clay said, look at that Linda is telling me this is her 50th concert. Bob & Linda got so excited even telling me this you could see the joy in their faces. Beautiful souls these two have. So, last nights sign said, Dedication, Obedience, & Service. She made the sign for Clay to let him know that while he recognized her support in him, by speaking to her at the concerts, almost like thanking her, she in turn wanted to him to know that she and other fans recognize his work as a celebrity. She siad she doesn't make signs for every concert, just a few so far. They have never done anything like this before. And they do not feel sorry for Clay, it's not an underdog thing for them, it's a support thing. Clay needs his fans support, he brings us the best entertainment he can every night he steps on that stage, it's the least they can do. I love them, and I don't even know them. If you read this Bob & Linda, thank you so much for a wonderful night. Linda, you said to me, "It is so much fun having you here," while we danced and sang with Clay. But NO, I need to thank you. I was the one that was so happy to meet you, and all the other Clay fans that I met. It was a pleasure to hang out with you and watch the concert together. Thank you for the story it fills my heart with such joy to know that you guys are out their spreading the CD's around and the good word on TBAF. Thank you for the pure joy of watching you guys light up when Clay took that stage. Thank you for the use of your binoculars. And last but not least, thank you for the big hugs. I hope to see you at Clio both night. Look for me.
Now there's something Linda wanted me to say directly to the Clayboard members. First everything I have said here today about and from Bob & Linda is with both of their full permissions.
Linda doesn't come to the Clayboard much, but they both enjoy the posts when they do. Bob mentioned the Claydawgs so he's over there reading. One of the post that Linda found in a thread that she doesn't remember now, said she told someone at a concert, that her and Bob thought Clay was Jesus and they were following him around the country for that reason. Linda says and I quote. "That is just not true. She has never said that to any one at a concert or otherwise. We do not think Clay is anything other than a great entertainer. I have no idea why that person would say that."
They said to let you guys know that. She doesn't understand they whole lie, or why someone would say that she said that. I could tell that she was not interested in the internet and was a tad bit baffled at the whole talk of something she supposedly said. She wanted everyone to know that her and Bob are just enjoying their retirement, they worked hard to be able to enjoy this part of their lives, and that is what they are doing. Supporting Clay has become a part of their lives and it gives them great pleasure, and I do mean great pleasure. Linda and Bob had a great time dancing and singing. They showed Clayton the love, it was awesome to see. Everyone of us here would do the same. I don't see Bob & Linda too much different from me and my husband ten years down the road. They are just fun loving people who enjoy traveling and Routing on the Clayton. I'd jump on your bus any day. Linda & Bob, Have fun on your incredible journey.
That's all. Like that wasn't enough. Love ya guys. Everyone is always asking for details, so that's what you got from me. Hope you enjoyed my review.
Aug 13 04 9:14 AM
Quote:Jackson was simply wonderful. I wish I could think of the words to describe how great it was. But, Clayton shone bright enough to make up for all the stars we couldn't see in the cloudy sky. But, praise God that it didn't rain. I arrived at Jackson around 5:30 or so. Auditioned with Jerome, but started out flat and couldn't get on key the entire time. So, I knew I lost it. Not that I stood a chance against the amazing Heather! She was freakin' awesome! And, Clay's reaction to Ypsilanti was hilarious. Anyways, he came out and I burst into tears. It's a long story, but this is an emotional time of year for me. Basically, the short version is that about a year ago, one of my good friends passed away and Clay and his music really helped me through that time. So, now that it is almost a year since my friend's death, I've been feeling really low, and with as much as Clay helped me a year ago, seeing him now is...theraputic, in a way. Amazing timing. Back to the show. I'm sitting there with tears streaming down my face. He sounds so amazing, and looks so unbelievably happy. The man knows how blessed he is, and it shows how greatful he is for everything. Perfect Day...it was a perfect day, so the song was even better. He was having so much fun up on that stage. And, he was so funny last night! Just some of the things he was saying, his cute dance moves, some of his facial expressions. It was great. I don't think I've ever laughed so much at a concert. You Were There was mind blowing. To see him worshipping and to look around and see so many people with their hands raised to praise the Lord...it was more spiritual that a lot of what I feel in church. Thank you Clay, for not being ashamed of your faith, for sharing Jesus with the world. I could go on and on about how amazing last night was, but I just don't have the right words. All I know is that Clay is an amazing performer and an even more amazing person. If Clio is even half as good as last night was...I can't imagine how wonderful next Friday/Saturday will be. It was a wonderful night.
Aug 13 04 9:42 AM
Quote:'American Idol' star draws about 5,000 to fair concert
Friday, August 13, 2004
By Monetta L. Harr
A few fans get to shake hands and have photos taken with Clay Aiken before the show.
After watching Clay Aiken twice a week for months, it wasn't a total shock to see him emerge from his huge touring bus looking more like a fraternity student after a long night than an "American Idol."
Wearing a gray, hooded Wisconsin sweatshirt, striped cotton pants and flip flops, his reddish-brown hair tousled, Aiken greeted seven select fans before his concert Thursday night at the Jackson County Fair.
Aiken, who has parlayed his second-place finish in the second "American Idol" competition into a pop singing career, wouldn't sign autographs. But he shook everyone's hand and then stood in the center of the group and posed for photos.
Faryn O'Connor, 14, of Rives Junction nearly swooned when the quick photo shoot ended because Aiken put his right arm around her. The left arm went around the shoulders of Gloria Spicer, 76, of Kennesaw, Ga., who played Aiken's rendition of "Bridge Over Troubled Water" at her husband's funeral.
"He is such a good young man. He has the correct attitude for life," said Spicer, who had attended another of Aiken's concerts in Atlanta.
The audience of about 5,000, a mix of all ages, clearly agreed about Aiken's positive, upbeat attitude. Aiken sang for 90 minutes, ending with "Solitaire," which debuted at No. 1 on Billboard's Hot 100 Sales chart.
He performed a mix of music, including gospel, James Taylor and even a few rock songs, prompting the mostly-female audience to scream and clap their hands.
Aiken talked to them, challenging them early-on to a dance contest.
"The one who dances the best, I'm bringing up on stage," he said.
Women of all ages and sizes jumped onto chairs and swung their hips and arms, and it was Heather Hensel, 21, of Canton and Susie Moore, 24, of Saline who were chosen.
They danced on stage as Aiken sang another song and when it was over and their feet were back on the ground -- at least near their front-row seats -- all the women could say about their experience was to scream and hug each other.
But even Aiken was surprised by Heather Bouaziz of Ypsilanti who got a shot to come on stage and sing with him, something Aiken does at his concerts.
"What?" he said, stumbling over the city's name.
"Are you in this chunk of Michigan or that chunk," he asked Bouaziz, referring to the Upper and Lower Peninsulas.
"I don't know Clay, I'm too excited to think," she replied.
She wasn't too excited to sing, though, and when she belted out the words, Aiken stepped back and looked at the audience. Together, they went through a couple verses, ending with a roar of the audience.
Aiken initially said he was glad for the cooler weather -- "It was like 105 degrees last night at the Ohio State Fair in Columbus," he said -- but toward the end of the concert he noted the musician's hands were getting a bit cold.
The temperature was about 60 degrees, with the audience dressed more for a football game than an August concert, in jeans and sweatshirts and carrying blankets.
It didn't affect Aiken's voice, though, as he belted out song after song, including "This is the Night."
Between songs, sometimes between verses, various groups of women in the audience shouted, "We love you Clay." Many wore black T-shirts sold outside the concert, Aiken's photo on the front and dates of his first solo national tour on the back.
Aiken's opening act was Cherie, who with her French accent had the crowd doing the wave and standing on their feet, clapping to the music.
As they walked together out of the concert, Margaret and Steve Van Antwerp of Jackson were clearly glad they had come to hear Aiken.
"Clay is awesome, a fantastic voice," said Margaret Van Antwerp. "I loved it."
-- Reach reporter Monetta L. Harr at [email protected]
Aug 13 04 12:44 PM
Quote: I think this tops my longest post as well! So be ware. It's lengthy! And detail for detail.
Wow, did I ever have an admirable time!!?
I was really worried that we had gotten there to late when I didnât see any Clay fans walking around during the fair. Our family isnât too punctual with time. I think we got there around 7. It was just my mom and I and we were walking through the festive fair in different directions trying to find our way out of the craziness to the actual seating.
Finally we found a huge mob of Claymates. It felt so dreamlike, ya know? Some of the people I saw looked so familiar, though Iâve never met them. I could swear that I could name their Clayboard, RHT, and etc. usernames just by looking at them. Anyway, my mom and I didnât really know what we were doing because everyone was just kind of standing there with enormous smiles on their faces. But then my mom spotted an opening gate where the Jackson âstaffâ was collecting tickets. I donât think anyone had realized that they could be allowed in yet. So we went as quickly as we could through that gate ran to the seats. I was amazed at how friendly the Jackson staff was. They seemed to be enjoying the entire Clay fan atmosphere and they were so helpful toward everyone.
I was really nervous that we werenât gonna have good seats because we had general admission, but it turns out my mom and I had the best seats that weâve ever had! We had front row on the right section of the stage, probably 15-20 feet away from Clay.
I was so happy to see that all of the handicapped were able to get up close and personal with the stage. They were so close and I was just so happy that they got to be where they were. You could tell that the Jackson Staff was really looking out for them and made sure they had perfect view.
Okay, sorry, on with the show. Cherie was really good. Iâve never heard her before until last night and sheâs such a cute girl. I absolutely love her accent as well. She got the crowd going, made everyone get up on their feet and got everyone hyped up for Clay. She had a great response; a lot of people were applauding her. I canât get over how she says âClay Aikenâ; itâs too darn cute.
Before I knew it the lights were turned off and the music for WTSHNN began blaring from the speakers, which were literally 5 feet away from us. I had this electrical wave of excitement that shocked through my whole body and couldnât believe all this was actually happening. I was a little disappointed by the speakers blocking our view from when he first came up from the stairs, but then he moved towards the front of the stage more and we could see perfectly. When he first came out, my mom was like âMan, does he look buffâ. It was the funniest thing Iâve ever heard coming from my moms mouth! Sheâs not really Clayverted at this point, but she was getting there. He was wearing some new baggy khaki pants and the blue buttoned down shirt with the design on the front. Oh, did I have a great shot. I think he may have had a âboxer wedgieâ. He was facing the opposite direction of us, with his behind right at us and he kept tugging on what looked like the bottom of his boxers. Too darn cute!
His voice was perfect during WTSHNN and his dancing was unbelievably fantastic; incredible. Then he went straight into Perfect Day! Those notes, gosh they were amazing. And every little thing Clay says is hilarious! I found myself cracking up the whole entire time.
After perfect day his voice yelled out âHELLO JACKSON, MICHIGANâ. I love when he screams. Then it was WYSYLM and the dancing begins. Iâm really shy so I just kinda clapped and tried to move around a bit. My dancing pales in comparison to Clays. He got two girls up stage and it was really cute. When the girl realized it was actually she, she flew under the white pole in front of the stage and hugged some random person! Haha. I laughed so hard. They looked like they were having a blast. The he âleidâ one and gave the other a t-shirt.
Screams for Kyrie were deafening. His voice just soars through this song! Itâs so energetic, it just makes you get up and want to go crazy. I was the only person in my section, besides two women behind me and I swear Clay would look over to the right side of the stage so many times and make eye contact with me. I blew him a few kisses and he winked back! Eee!
Right into IWCY, boy do I love this song. The emotion he puts into it just fills my body with joy. The glory not was just breathtaking!!
Talked about how Jerome auditions people to sing and every night the singer just blows him away!! He said that Jerome had already picked one and that she was backstage. He introduced her and she walked on stage. He asked what her name was and she said Heather. And he asked her where she lived and she said Ypsilanti, MI. It was too funny because he didnât understand the prounounciation of the city and kept messing it up. Then he goes, is ashfdajdshfj (Ypsilanti) in the upper or lower part of this (pointing to his hand). And Heather goes; I donât even know right now, Clay. He goes, well that might be a problem, how are you gonna get home tonight?? Aw, it was so cute. Heâs so genuine with all of his fans and I love it. Heather sang a beautiful version of Without You and her voice blended so well with Clays. I was very impressed. I want her demo!
After the Without You duet, Clay was talking to Angela and Quina about their feet hurting and telling us that every night they have to wear their high-heeled shoes and that their feet kill! And at Jackson, the stage was made of concrete, so he allowed them to wear their flip-flops. When Angela took of her shoes, Clay said, âHold your nose, peopleâ. And he wouldnât take the heels from Angela, but then he finally gave in and held them as far out from his as he possible could because of the smell. Joking, obviously. The audience had a good laugh at that one.
James Taylor set. Oh, I loved this so much. Clay is truly blessed to have his vocal singers. They are so extremely talented. My mom made another comment: âOh, whoâs that? (Pointing to Jacob) Me: Thatâs one of Clayâs backup singers. My mom: âOh, heâs not too bad lookingâ. Haha. I love my mom.
Clays smile was just indescribable last night. He is always so happy anywhere he is and his fans know it! Heâs so full of joy. Clay just blew everyone away with You Got A Friend. Only one word to describe that glory note: INCREDIBLE. It seemed like it went on the whole entire night!! I was grinning so big that whole time.
MOAM was beautiful. My absolute favorite! Pure Clay. Aw, so enjoyable. He stood on the stool and his eyes were closed for a lot of the song. He was really feeling it tonight.
I think my absolute favorite of the night was STO. When the music first started I knew exactly what it was. I got all excited and kind of yelled out âStill the Oneâ and hope I didnât spoil it for anyone. This song just hyped me up and I couldnât believe how perfect Clays voice was. My favorite lyric of this song is âI look at her feet everydayâ¦â I love how he assembles it. Danced a lot with Quina. I got some great pictures of that.
I think ISY was next. Wow, I canât believe that I remember all of this in order. At least I think it is. But OMG, ISY was pure irresistible beauty. Gah. And A LOT of growls, especially during âbut you would have to have a conscious baby, good luck, I wish you well.â Oh, a he caressed the mike stand ever so beautifully. Lol!
Thanking the crew after ISY. Heâs so generous. Iâve never seen any other artist ever taking the time away from them, to give credit for the people who help make the concert a success. I love that man. The crowd gave a great response and continually kept on clapping.
Duet- I Knew You Were Waiting. Implausible. I love this duet. Their voices blend so graciously and itâs beyond beauty. Great, great song. Afterward he said something about stuffed animals, but I think I was so a taken back, that I didnât catch what he said.
Rosanna- Unbelievable song. I was dancing the whole timeâ¦and Clays lower register at the beginning I think blew everyone away. I donât know if itâs just me, but when I go to his concerts, my knees always shake and never stop. At one point during Rosanna, I felt as if I was going to collapse! Those high notes are so awesome. I donât know how he does it, night after night. Itâs amazing really. His voice is just gorgeous.
Then it was YWT. I really could not wait to hear this song, but when its time came, I couldnât see Clay because of the HUGE speakers right next to us. I didnât get to see him in the white tux! Ah, oh well. I still heard that beautiful soaring voice. That song just brings me to tears, itâs so moving.
I did get a little annoyed by these two teenager guys that came right up next to me and started talking to me during this song. I do have to admit that they were really hot, but they were ruining the song. They were talking so LOUD. And one had a sign that said âIâm Aiken 4 Clayâ and they thought it was hilarious because they were guys. And they kept saying stuff, like âOMG, look at his signâ and all they did was laugh. And they were yelling stuff like âShake your ***, Clay, shake itâ. Then they held up a lighter in the air and were waving their hands back and forth. It was really funny, because they were just having fun and Iâm pretty sure they werenât mocking the Clay fans, because first of all, they were in the show, meaning they would have to have bought a ticket and they were wearing shirts and stuff. But what got me really mad at them was they asked me if I had a lighter. Iâm 14 and um, no I donât carry a lighter on me. And they are like âCome on, who doesnât have a lighter at a Clay Aiken concertâ Darn-it (Only they said the other word instead of darn) and then they used Jesus Christâs name in vain, just because I didnât have a lighter, so I simply told them to shut-up. It basically ruined the song, but I kept telling myself not to let them bother me.
Everyone remained silent when Clay sang YWT. First there were tons of screams when he came up from stage with his white suit, but then it immediately got silent. Ah, itâs so awe-inspiring. I got misty eyed and I really felt the meaning of the song.
After YWT he came back on stage with the plaid jacket, which I love, brown pants and blue shirt. He looked great. His hair was sort of flopped to one side, kind of just hanging there. It was too funny. In the beginning of the concert he said that his hair stylist was on a vacation and that he just woke up and did this (he shook his head and made the cutest face with his lipsâ¦like when you wake up) and he said he just sprayed it. That got another laugh from the audience. And Angela commented on Clay that it looked good. And he noticed that she had just got her hair redone so he commented her on that as well. Such good friends.
Then the video starts playing for TITN and he talks about how blessed he was this past year and how amazing his fans and all the memories that he will hold forever with him in his heart. TITN was wholesome perfection. It was faultless. Well, all his songs are faultless!
Then came Invisible! He thanked everyone for making this song big and for supporting it every way we could. Eee! It was so impeccable. I started dancing and clapping along. It really is the liveliest song, I think; so full of life. And if Iâm not mistaken, he did a âsuit tugâ on the left side of the stage and that sort of thing where he bops up and like leans back. He really acknowledges every inch of the crowd. Thatâs one of the things I love about him. Now this could be my imagination, but I was making eye contact with him and he sort of moved back behind the speakers where I couldnât see him and he quickly came back to where I could see him and made eye contact again, like he was making sure I got to see him. I donât know if that was just I thinking that in my dreams, or if thatâs what he was really trying to get across to me.
Oh, after Invisible, he screamed: âGOOD NIGHT JACKSON!â And he waved good-bye. It seems like the concert went by in a flash! The screams were incredible, deafening to my ears. We knew we didnât want that to be the last song and we were demanding! Some people were starting to leave and I tried to stop every person I could to tell them that he was singing an encore. Iâm glad I did that because I wouldnât want anyone being disappointed!
Solitaire. OMG. OMG. Miraculous. Phenomenal. Extraordinary. Again, during this song, I was unable to see Clay because of the big speakers, but at the people that left, not knowing about the encore, left their seats, so I was able to take one of them. I had to lean really far in to be able to see just the side of Clay and his hands, but anything Clay is good. But wow, was Solitaire ever great. That was my first time hearing it live and just wow. Iâm speechless. After the song it was so sad to see him go. It was like leaving a brother or sister when they go to college! It made me want to cry, but I was so happy and I and excellent time.
So right after there was no sight of Clay to be seen, I told my mom that sometimes Clay will come out and greet his fans, or just drive past them. Well, when we first got to the concert we knew exactly where the buses where, so I sort of ran to them to get a good spot, right up front. Within a few minutes there was a throng of Clay fans surrounding me and a few people that were waiting there first. It was hilarious to hear all the comments. When we were waiting there, we could see Clay walking around inside the bus, but only his hair and forehead. Everyone was like: âEek, OMG, I see his hair and forehead! AHH!â At one point, I mustâve been delirious, because I swear I saw him carrying roller skates and sitting down putting them on. And I was like: âOh dear gosh, is gonna come roll by us!?â Okay, yeah, I was just weird then. It mustâve been his shoes; he probably took them off right after and was holding them. First he came out of the curtain for a few seconds and everyone was screaming. And then he went back in and everyone was like âAwwwâ. But then he came back out and they turned on the light and opened the gate for the bus to make its exit. Wow, we were so close. I would say only 3 feet away from the bus and again, he took the acknowledgement of his fans and waved to everyone. And of course, right as I was taking a picture, the button to press would not go down and I didnât get a picture. I was really mad, but oh well. I enjoyed just seeing his valuable face so close up. That is the closest Iâve ever gotten to the Clayton.
That was really exciting and some people starting following his bus, which I thought was going a little too far (the people, not the bus) and so my mom and I just went the other way to our car.
I had the best night of my life. It was so SURREAL. It still feels dreamlike, but it wasnât and I canât describe how good I feel right now!
**I saw the lady that danced on stage last year at the Detroit concert and new that I recognized her. It took me a minute, but then it finally clicked. She was too far away to say hi to, but that was exciting.
**We were sitting about 5 feet away from where every one of Clays people would come out of. There was this plastic gate thing that you could move and I would see everyone come out of. I saw, Jerome, Nick, all of Clays managers and my mom says she saw a Jerome with Raleigh and she only tells me this after the concert because she didnât know who Raleigh was!! And a bunch of people I recognized from pictures, but canât place a name on. And then one of the photographers came and sat right next to my mom. I donât know if she was part of Clayâs âteamâ or just for a local newspaper, but she had on a sticker that said something about Clay. Iâm guessing so she could go up and take great shots of our stud muffin. My mom was gonna talk to her, but I guess she really wasnât sure if she was part of Clayâs people.
**Jerome walked right past me and I said his name and he looked back and smiled and waved. I think he had to quick get somewhere because he looked like he was walking real fast. He is HUGE. Does anyone know how tall that man is??? And is there another bodyguard thatâs a little smaller? I noticed someone that I first thought was Jerome, but then I saw Jerome and was like, wait, whoâs that then? My mom thinks Jerome and the other guy were pretty handsome. Too funny.
**I saw a lot of people with member board passes and was really excited about that and I saw a lot of âI Wanna Play With Clayâ shirts. Hilarious.
**This is random, but right before the concert, my mom had to use the bathroom, so we went to a gas station, so we didnât have to use the gross ones at the fair and there was a girl that was waiting in line after me and for some reason, I had a feeling she was a Clay fan. She was really polite and really nice and seemed like she was in a rush to get somewhere. Turns out, out of all the people at the fair, I saw her by the merchandizing. Haha!
Aug 13 04 3:31 PM
Quote:Oddly enough, I have an urge to share some thoughts about Jackson. Scroll if you will; Iâll never know the difference. Iâll just pretend to myself that you all hung on my every word.
This was my fourth concert - I had been to IT DC, Detroit and Chicago - and enjoyed them all, but Jackson is by far my favorite. For the first time I am convinced that I actually saw Clay live. We were able to upgrade from the 20th row to the 10th row, and we were close enough to actually see his face this time. Of course, Iâve seen Clayâs face plenty, but it was always on a screen of some sort - TV, computer or jumbotron. This is going to sound odd, maybe, but it was thrilling to see the same expressions I know so well on his face for REAL this time. It really brought home for the first time that this was really CLAY standing and singing in front of meeeeeeeee.
I was basically unspoilered for this tour - I had downloaded some (on dial up) but had not had time to watch or listen to hardly anything. I was sorry to discover we were getting the short set, but as Michifan pointed out, the short set is only missing 3 or 4 songs, and I'll see the full set in Clio. I loved it all. It was wonderful to see TITN performed live for the first time (I never get tired of that song), and be reminded how far heâs come in such a short time. Invisible was fun, as always - really high energy, and I was happy to finally see Rosanna after reading so much about it. YWT was nice and sung well, but it was not the highlight (nor the low point) of the concert for me. I agree with some others that the special staging was maybe a little over the top, and not necessary, but whatever makes him happy. And of course, Solitaire live was to die for.
I did notice toward the end that his voice was giving out and he was really working those last few songs. There were a few bobbles. But the thing that strikes me as different about Clayâs concerts as opposed to other concerts I have seen (not that thereâs been that many), is the relative lack of the fourth wall. To me, itâs not so much of a formal contract - pay him enough money, and heâll render a service in return, and perform for us - itâs more like heâs invited a few thousand of his closest friends to get together to hang out for a while and have a good time with him. Maybe thatâs why goofing around, forgotten lyrics, less than perfect voice etc never really bothered me. Though I might feel differently when my credit card bill comes rolling in...
It seemed to me that giving Angela, Quiana and Jacob the lead vocals for the medley only proved how good and unique Clayâs voice is in comparison. They sing well, but Clayâs voice does something to me no other voice can do. And as far as Iâm concerned, Jacob can hang up his sax. I didnât feel it added anything to the songs and was more distracting than anything on MOAM. Thatâs just me, though.
I bought more merchandise that I donât need, but for some reason I want Clay to have all my money. Like he needs it more than I do or something. Would you believe I almost forgot to get the program? Talk about a bad Clay fan! But I remembered in time, and it is safe beside me.
It was wonderful to see Serendipity, sparklish, Cap and Caplet. Clotilde (much too briefly), Teacher4Clay and various shrubbery who shall not be named. Special hugs and thanks to Berkeley, who made it possible for me to return to PA in good standing with my aunt. The lovely and gracious Shygirl was kind enough to keep me company while we waited for a local DJ to upgrade us to front row seats. I got all excited when he said, âMar-â, but he finished with âshaâ, which is close, but no cigar (or front row tickets). Not very nice of him to get my hopes up like that.
I never really lost the EEEEEE but I had kind of forgotten why I was EEEEEEing, if you follow me. Now I remember. Itâs good to be reminded exactly why Iâm here every now and then.
Hugs and smooches to didi, who I love even more now than I did before, and who was brave enough to keep us overnight in her lovely home, and got us to Jackson and back safely. I think mr didi was a little wary of us, and perhaps he was right to be. Twelve year olds in 40 some year old bodies must be a little disconcerting to the uninitiated, after all.
In short, EEEEEEEEEEEEE! I had the bestest time, and canât wait for Clio.
Never said this publically, but I love him so. I do. Heâs so purdy and sings so good it hurts.
I know Iâve talked too long, and left a bunch of stuff out too, but Iâve done a lot of traveling in the past two days, and Iâm a little punchdrunk. Back to lurkerdom for me.
Aug 13 04 4:52 PM
Quote:Three Meers and a Virgin â Jackson, Michigan Recap 8/12/04
I've never tried my hand at one of those looooonnng recaps, but as Clay would say, this is the night.
And, to paraphrase the song further, I'd been waiting forever for this â concert. It has been pure torture/delight to read recaps of the concerts, but at last MY concert arrived. So did my houseguests, the fascinating mmb40 and the wonderful Michifan4Clay. My friend of many years, Jan, had not seen Clay since AI2 and was game to accompany us to the Jackson concert. By the end of the night, Jan was certainly no longer a virgin, and I'd like to consider her our honorary fourth meer. She has one of Cap's business cards for the Clay Nation newsletter, so can true meerdom be far behind?
But first, we had to leave my driveway. My dear husband, the long-suffering mr.didi, had graciously permitted me to drive his brand new Pacifica, which seats four very comfortably with room for a plenty of meer necessities in the back. I had to pass a test drive the night before, to prove that I could turn into a parking space and stop on a dime if need be. The problem is, this car is fully loaded and I'm a simple girl, apparently in more ways than one. The four of us sat in my driveway for a good ten minutes as I repeatedly washed the front and rear windows by accident while searching for the windshield wipers and headlight switch. At first, I thought this might inspire confidence in my passengers, that I would insist on knowing how to do these things before heading out on the highway. Later, I pondered that it probably had the exact opposite effect â how hard is it to use windshield wipers and flip on the headlights anyway? I am still somewhat surprised that they all agreed to keep me in the driver's seat. They must have been even more intimidated by the array of options on the Pacifica dashboard. Eventually, with nice clean windshields, we set off for Jackson.
We spent much of the trip educating Jan the virgin on the finer points of Clay fandom, familiarizing her with the lingo, the various boards, played every song that Clay ever sang on the cd player, and I completely outed myself as the fangirliest fangirl that ever fangirlied. Luckily, Jan laughed and did not obviously roll her eyes. (I think mmb40 and Michi rolled their eyes, but I expect that from them.)
We found the same E-Z in and out parking lot that Serendipity did, and spent oh, five minutes or so getting the Pacifica backed into a spot so I wouldn't have to back out in the dark. Like having daylight made any difference. *g* There was about a mile on either side of the car, but I knew mr.didi would be proud of me for arriving home with no side-door dents. Michi, mmb40 and I all spontaneously "eeeeeeeeeeeee'd" as we approached the entrance and saw Clay's picture up on the billboard.
Jan proved to be a very useful scout and did not hesitate to gather information for the three of us. In fact, Jan located the merchandise tables. I must say that I have seen scans of the program, and heard how nice it is, but my, oh my, this program is the most beautiful piece of clack you can imagine. I looooove my program and my keychain. Solitaire singles were only $2.00, and I saw quite a few people buying them.
We met up with the Jackson meers by the grandstand including Serendipity313, Cap121, Caplet, an anonymous potted plant, ShyGirl, sparklish, BerkeleylovesClay and her sister, Teacher4Clay. I saw Plecoptera off in the distance, and later got to give the sweet Claycub a big hug. Clotilde, I missed you again! I know you exist somewhere out there â maybe I'll see you in Clio.
Jan and I had row 14 seats on the aisle, fairly center stage. They were decent seats, and we had a good view of the stage. But you all know how it is â you always want to be closer to Clay. The security people had warned us that only disposable cameras would be allowed, but they did not search. Once the concert started, however, they were quite diligent about smacking people with cameras down. I did not see anyone's camera confiscated, but many, many warnings were issued, including to me.
Cherie was okay. Wouldn't buy her cd, but the Jackson crowd was good to her. We did the wave repeatedly. It seemed to make her happy, so why not? I wished I had earplugs for her set â it just seemed loud, yet hard to understand the words. It made me appreciate Clay even more â you can always understand Clay, can't you? He sings clear as a bell.
Ah, Clay. The concert was everything I dreamed of, and more. He was so very purdy. His hair was perfect, looked recently cut, with sideburns, but not too long, and the hair was perfectly spiked. He wore the blue embroidered shirt (that I don't particularly like, but he looks so good, I don't dwell on it) for most of the concert. There were a couple of rough spots in his singing, notably the cracked note in MoaM and I thought his final note in ISY was quite off-key. But overall, the performance was so completely amazing, I can't find it in my heart to focus on a small imperfection or two. We only notice them because they are unusual.
The Jackson crowd was really into the concert, and the venue was much fuller than I expected. In fact, it looked pretty packed to me â only side grandstand seats were empty, and those would have been pretty bad seats. I would estimate 75-80% full. I was amazed how many people were there â and the crowd was really into it, except for the mother and her two whiny kids who were sitting next to us, courtesy of some free tickets. They left as soon as Clay started â I'm still shaking my head in amazement over that. They missed out on something special.
The James Taylor medley was really good. I didn't hear a lot of those annoying "I love you, Clay" people for a change. Maybe they turned up on the cellcert, but I was pleasantly surprised that Clay sang Sweet Baby James without interruption. I was struck by his attitude during the backup singers' solos. He is like a proud papa showing off his children, sincerely pleased at their accomplishments. He is a truly generous performer, with much the same vibe as I got from Heather Headley when she sang with Clay.
I had been trying to reserve judgment on Jacob's sax playing â I always think it sounds "kazooka-ish" over the cellcerts, but figured it must sound better in person. It does not. In fact, I think MoaM sounds much, much better without the sax solo. Sorry, Jacob.
YWT was sung with passion, as always. This was the first time I have seen the performance and accompanying videos. I like the melody, and Clay sings the hell out of it, but I'm of the opinion that the staging (especially as the video gets progressively more â obvious? is that the word?) is a bit over the top. This was the only time I saw people sitting down, not that many, but it was noticeable from where I stood. Overall, though, the song was very enthusiastically received by the majority of the crowd. It's just not my cup of tea. But it's just one song, so I can deal.
Invisible was so high energy â everyone seemed to be singing at the top of their lungs (I know I was). It was excitement personified.
I love to listen to the cellcert performances of Solitaire, and could hardly wait to see and hear it in person. Clay did not disappoint. The performance was a thing of indescribable beauty. The hands ran up and down the mic stand delicately, the vocals were everything I could ever hope for. When we talked the other day about songs that Clay owns â well, for me, it is this song. Neil Sedaka was right. It will always be a Clay Aiken song. Sigh. I swear I would have driven to Jackson (or to the ends of the earth) just to hear that one song performed by Clay.
In conclusion, it was an awesome experience. By the way, I highly recommend having Michifan4Clay and mmb40 as houseguests â they bring presents! And are terrific, fun people to boot.
Okay, now when is Clio? I neeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeed to see Clay again!!!!!!!!!!
Aug 15 04 9:34 PM
Quote:tâs been a couple days in coming, and thereâs been other more eloquent recaps of the Jackson concert, but I thought Iâd throw my thoughts out there as well.
Iâve never driven this distance or as many hours alone as I did getting to Jackson. I was a little wiped out when I got to the hotel, but I had time to relax before going to the fair to meet up with fellow meers. Plus I got an added bonus â another board was having itâs pre-concert party at my hotel, so I had Clay singing to me outside my room the whole time.
Then it was time to leave for the fair. I put on my layers of clothing since felt like it was Christmas in August (okay, so Iâm exaggerating a little â but it still felt cold even though it was in the 50âs) and found my way to the parking lot across the street from the fair. I was picturing the fairgrounds to be out of town a little, but this was smack in the middle of a residential section of Jackson. It reminded me of a bigger version of the church carnivals we have here. Lots of rides, food, and games. So I worked my way over to the grandstand where we were all supposed to meet; however, I think every other board made this their meeting place also, so there were all these little groups of fans huddled together and, if youâve never met any of them, we all look the same. I felt kind of funny going to each group saying âCH? Clackhouse?â, so I just hung around each group straining to hear any familiar words or names. Finally, after a few minutes I heard someone mention Clackhouse and I zoomed in on her. Turns out it was none other than the effervescent potted plant Ficus herself. She gave me a big hug and took me over to everyone announcing âIâve got another one of us!â While the group might have been small, it more than made up for that in friendliness. I met quite a few of the Michigan contingency âdidi, Michifan4Clay, mmb40, CAP and CAPlet, Serendipity313, sparklish, and after the concert BerkeleylovesourClay and her sis Teacher4Clay showed up. (Hope I didn't miss anyone) After chatting for a while, we headed off to our seats.
My recollection of the concert? He came, he sang, he left. What happened in between Iâm still trying to get clear in my mind. I had a great seat â 7th row center right on the aisle. I was less than 30 frikkinâ feet away from him when he came to my side! This is the closest Iâve been at a concert and to see him that close up just took my breath away. I tried not to stare at him the whole time, but I just couldnât help it. I tried looking at the others on stage once in a while, but my eyes just kept coming back to him. His expressions, even when heâs not the one singing, are priceless and I didnât want to miss anything. Iâm sure if he saw me, heâd think âWhy is she staring at me like that? Why doesnât she look at Jacob or Quiana or Angela when itâs their turn to sing?â But darned if I just couldnât do it. As long as Clayâs on stage, heâs got my complete attention.
During WYSYLM, I watched him as he looked for a dancer from the audience. And I caught his signal to Jerome when he spotted the girls he wanted. He crooked one of his fingers ever so slightly towards the girls direction and I saw Jerome head down our aisle towards them. They were only a few rows in front of me on the aisle and were dancing up a storm (the taller one especially) and I had a hunch heâd chose one of them. As it turned out, he took both of them up on stage. Like CAP, I wondered if he meant for Jerome to choose the taller one, but when Jerome chose the other one, Clay had the taller one brought up also. Anyways, they were cute and so excited when they sat back down in their seats.
Heather, the singer, was fantastic! Her voice is amazing and Clay was clearly impressed with her singing. She mentioned that she had a demo CD and was going to give it to Clay at Clio. After she finished the duet, Clay said to make sure she got him her demo. I hope things work out for her.
After watching the note challenge in the JT set, I have come to the conclusion that Clay is just one big walking lung. Yes, people, Clay does breathe because I saw him take his breath just before the neverending note, but it wasnât a big breath. He just snuk it in there and proceeded to hold that note so effortlessly (like someone before me mentioned, itâs like heâs thinking â lay de da, ho hum, which hotpocket should I have for dinner, do I need to get more milk) until Jacob and Quiana just gave it up.
I spent almost the entire concert standing, but when he started YWT I had to sit down to drink in his voice. He puts so much feeling and reverance into this song and I could feel it better sitting down. Donât know if that makes any sense, but I didnât sit down out of boredom or not getting into the song. I donât know how to describe it, but he sounds so wonderful on this song and, for me, his voice is why Iâm a fan, now and always.
I did notice a few times where there seemed to be a catch in his voice, and the mama in me came out and started to worry that the strain of doing so many concerts in different weather extremes (going from 115 in Cleveland to 50âs in Jackson) might be affecting his voice. He didnât appear sick, and he was energetic on stage. But nevertheless, I got concerned after MOAM and TITN, that he might not be able to hold that note in Solitaire. Of course, Clay showed that I neednât worry about him doing whatever it takes to give his audience everything heâs got. I walked away being even more impressed with his work ethic and desire to do his best for his audience. But then, I guess I always knew this ever since the AI special when he said the reason he was upset with all the Chicago mishaps was that he felt they werenât giving the audience the best they had â not that the screw-ups made him look bad. For him, heâs always thinking of the people who come to see him perform.
Unfortunately, while my seat was great for viewing, it was lousy for clack procuring. There were signs posted at the entrance stating no video or digital cameras were allowed, only disposable cameras. But they werenât checking purses or bags, so I figured Iâd try my luck. Well, the venue security guy was seated right at the front of my aisle and just stared into the crowd. There was also a guy in back of him sitting and looking at the crowd â I think he was the âspotterâ. I started taping the mothership entrance, but Clay only got a few bars into WTSHNN before the guard came over and told me Iâd have to stop. At least he gave a warning instead of taking anything. And he looked like Harrison Ford, so I couldnât get too upset. So the whole evening he and the spotter sat watching everyone and busted a few people. Then Jerome went on his patrol up and down the aisles and passed right next to me a few times so I didnât dare risk taking it out again. Fortunately, I did bring along a disposable just in case, so if the pictures are halfway decent, Iâll post them.
After the concert CAP and I went to go over by the buses, but by the time we got there CAPlet told us we missed Clay. Seems that he went from the stage right to the bus and drove away. CAPlet did say that he waved at them through the window. I donât know if it was due to the security worries Iâve read about, or that the ride to the next concert was long, but I was a little disappointed that I didnât get to see him leave. Oh well, Iâve got a few more concerts left â maybe I can catch him after one of those.
A big thanks to Ficus and the rest of our little post-concert group for talking me into going out with them for food. I had a great time, and a nice conversation with Teacher4Clay. I really admire her for what she is doing to help bring about inclusion in her school and other places.
Indyâs next up on Monday. Hopefully the weather will be a little warmer. And then itâs the two-fer in Clio and the mini-Snarklefest. Should be fun.
Aug 15 04 9:50 PM
In the meantime I was trying to find someone that I had never met (and ding dang it all those plants look alike). All of a sudden, I thought I saw who I was looking for, tore out of where we were eating (I am sure the rest of my group wondered what they did to piss me off) and caught up to her and her group. Luckily I had just grabbed the right person or I would have been decked for sure. More hugging and screaming ensued. I also got to meet Berkeley and her sister who I must have scared the crap out of when I yelled âYou have to come over here, we have something for youâ. (They did follow me but I think they were looking for security all the time).
A little later, we felt ourselves drawn back to the grandstand area. We saw the merchandise area but didnât know if it was open yet (must have been around 5:30 or 6:00 pm) so Jan just went over there and asked. Yes we are such gutsy meers arenât we?. It was open and we bought our goodies (and they are goodies). The bags were nice because it did still look like it could rain any time on us.
The Jackson police were announcing the âdisposable camera onlyâ rule so 3 of us all of a sudden developed âtumorsâ of sorts. Luckily mine was secure or it would have moved from my stomach to my knee. They never checked anything going in. Nada.
Didi pointed out âBrillo Bobâ and we just hung around and waited until we were supposed to meet the other meers. We had run into Cap, Caplet and Sparklish already. Serendipity came over to our group. (And yes, I mainly recognized her because of her height - first). Disorganized, casual, call it what you like. We didnât mind at all.
Luckily Shygirl isnât, because it was true that she got dragged over to us with a cry of âLook I found one!â. I admire her for driving from Chicago.
I had to go over and talk to Lisa (who had the sock monkee in Atlanta for the IT) and her sweet daughter Haley. They are just too cute. They ended up with two of our original row 20 tickets due to all the juggling around I did with tickets and I am glad they made it. (Happy birthday Haley)
When we filed into the concert area, the first thing that struck me was that anyone that would have had the far side sections would have had sucky seats. The next thing I noticed was that row 10 wasnât going to be that far away from the stage at all!!! Of course basically stacking the rows on top of each other gave that illusion but at this point, I was taking it.
I have a good friend that had the seats next to me so that was neat. So now I was sandwiched between two wonderful people (yes, mmb40, I am talking about you and it has nothing to do with the fact you are watching me type this) (I can always edit later) and going to be seeing Clay.
Cherie was ok. Cute. Way better voice then I would dream of having but I found myself counting her songs. As mmb just pointed out though - opening for Clay has to be a thankless job. You KNOW people are just waiting for him and for you to leave the stage. She did try to make the most of it. I wondered though if she was thinking âwhere the HELL is Jackson, Michigan and why am I here?â.
Ok, I admit it. I eeeeeeeeâd when he came out. It was so breathtaking to see him and to really see him. mmb mentioned that and it is true. These were our best seats and just wow (and they were only row 10). I ask for forgiveness for every nasty thought I have had for those that get front row or close to it seats more than once. The closer you get, the closer you MUST be. I can understand that now. I stuck my tongue out at the meers in row 2 but also know I would have just died (probably literally) to be that close to him. Gah.
Clay cracked my @#%$ up over and over again. He was so funny. I loved his banter. We listened to the cellcert after we got back to didiâs and were amazed that you could hear him talking so clearly. Kudoâs to the cell certers - a fireside chat was nothing compared to that.
Oh Clay sang too? Yes and it was worth being relatively unspoiled. I have downloaded like crazy but not really watched anything.
If anyone doesnât like the embroidered blue shirt, you can blame him wearing it on didi and mmb because they said they didnât like it before we left. Ok, maybe that is the wardrobe for the short set but I tend to think it was our karma being worked out.
I tend to get hypnotized when he is singing so it is hard to discuss individual songs. The dancers were cute. The singer was good. I have decided I am changing my name to Heather. That was the name of the night.
LOVED the JT set but I knew I would. SBJ is so dweamy. I admit that I would prefer Clay singing all the songs himself because I can never hear enough of him but the back up singers taking solos wasnât as big of a deal for me.. I know what people are saying when they donât like it because he would have killed on all of them but I do like his generosity. I also agree that it just serves to show how uber talented he is compared to just about anyone.
What bothered me more was the sax in MOAM. I could deal with the song being sung in a little faster tempo but the sax playing was jarring to me. If it had been softer or more in the background then maybe it would have worked better. I didnât get up and leave or anything (yeah like that would happen). When he cracked at the end of the song you could tell it caught him by surprise too. I did see his face and it made me laugh. He finished the song just fine.
Near the end, even his speaking voice was cracking a bit but not terribly.
YWT caught ME by surprise. I hadnât heard any of it but of course I knew all about it. But wow (and see, this is where it is interesting to note all of the different perceptions). I am standing there (yes I stood) just absorbing his voice. After he sang the first verse, I stopped hearing lyrics and I barely paid attention to the images. Something about the melody, about him singing this song just got to me. I didnât even realize what had happened and thought that maybe we did get some of the rain that had threatened us all evening because I felt something wet. I discovered I was crying and that never (or rarely) happens. Not sobbing, not sad but the tears were there. I was moved for whatever reason.
In TITN he had a few tiny moments of struggle but not a lot. I was struggling with trying to see the video and watch him at the same time. HE won out but I still have 2 Clio shows to go. I would catch the occasional clip but for the most part was just focused on hearing him sing this song. I donât think it âstarted it allâ for him but maybe it did. Maybe Randyâs âI hope that isnât your first singleâ line when he knew it was, helped motivate some of us. It was wonderful and I was so glad to hear it live again.
Invisible rocked the house. It was a great rendition and I loved it during the one part when he sang and the whole audience filled in the âoh oh, oh ohâ echo part like on the cd. Michigan loves Clay.
Solitaire. What can I say other than everyone should see this live. I am glad to have 2 (actually 3 - I am going to Allegan - eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee) more concerts because you cannot simply take it all in. To answer Capâs question, I didnât notice any goofing off on the side of the stage but at that point you could have asked me my name and I couldnât have given you the right one.
What a concert, what a night.
Sorry that we didnât stick around after the concert to see the meers. We had an opportunity to get out right away and we took it. We also figured we have Clio and we had been doing a lot of driving by that point. I am glad some of the meers got together though.
It strikes me as funny that probably only at a Clay Aiken concert you will hear a squeal and then see two strangers hugging like they are long lost friends. You know what though?- they are. When Clotilde stood up from two rows behind us and yelled her screen name to Cap in row 2, I spun around in time to see Claycub next to her. Of course I yelled (never know to use real name or screen names) and we eeeeeeeeeeeeâd some more. Clio canât come too soon. Look forward to really seeing and talking to some of the wonderful meers we have here (and mmb is looking forward to ditching me for a while *g*)
Clay does love what he is doing. I donât doubt that at all. I love Clay loving what he is doing. I love Clay. He also seems to have genuine affection for the backup singers and that is neat to see. I did like that he incorporates a little more than a âHello, Jacksonâ in his banter with the audience. âThis chunk of Michigan or this chunkâ complete with illustrations was priceless. Maybe more so because I can do the same thing pointing out where I live. The backing away when Heather said she wanted to sing âWithout Youâ was so funny. Had he done that somewhere else?
I also hate Clay though because now I want to go to every show I possibly can. Brat. I bet he knows it too.
Aug 21 04 7:52 AM
Quote: I want to thank Blessed With Claywho convinced me to go to Jackson after the Columbus concert by selling me a 5th row ticket slightly right of center (which really was 3rd row cause for some reason the first two rows weren't there).The concert was fantastic!!!!!
As others have said, we were close enough to see freckles.*sigh* The floor seats were extremely close to the stage, even Clay commented "We are so close, I feel I can talk to you"...or something like that.The digital camera nazis were out in force. It wasn't till the last three songs that I got brave enough to use my digital and got some decent shots. However, my disposable photos were pretty darn good too.
Clay's bantor was so cute especially during the shoe episode with Angela & Quiana, when showing us how he rolled out of bed, shook his head and sprayed his hair since his hairstylist is on vacation, and how he kidded Heather, the fabulous singer from the audience.
The two teenage girls in front of me were so cute. From the beginning of the concert they were squealing and hugging each other cause they were so excited to see the Clayton. When it came time for Clay to choose a dancer they started to jump around. I kept saying "Clay's looking at you...shake it...shake it!" They really started to cavort in their cute, teeneybopper way and, sure enough, Clay pointed and Jerome grabbed the shorter girl and she started climbing onto the stage (there weren't steps) and immediately Clay indicated that her friend should come up too.
They were in line dancing with Jacob and the girls and were supposed to go loosen up Jae, the guitar player, but when Clay was going to send the girls over, Jae was nowhere to be found!?! (He didn't return to the stage till a song or two later...don't know why).After giving the t-shirt and the lei to the girls Clay even posed so the mother of one of the girls could take a pic. AHHH!!!!!!
As mentioned the audience listened reverently to You Were There and gave a heartfelt ovation when it was done.
Poor Clay was having trouble with hoarseness throughout the evening. Mostly when he spoke but a couple times while singing...In MOAM on the word "all" he had a big old crack in his voice and he looked over to S'Van and pulled such a cute face as if to say"What the heck was that sound I made?". Then during TITN he knew he could not hold out a note and turned away from the mic. Other, than that, he sounded perfect to me. I'm amazed how he can do this every performance.
From my seat I had a straight clear shot to the bus area. Here, I am, grandma that I am, lined up with a horde of teenage girls, screaming and waving as OMC got on the bus, went to the back of it, briefly pulled the curtain then, thankfully came back to the front of the bus, plopped on the front seat and began waving and making faces at us as the bus pulled out. He is too sweet for words!!!!!
Blessed With Clay & I then walked around the fair. We were really impressed at how nice it was...clean with many neat rides and concession booths. As we walked past the bus area to leave the fairgrounds Jacob was getting ready to board his bus after greeting some fans. Julie thanked him for a great concert...he thanked us for coming (How sweet) and I asked him if there will be a concert DVD. He said that he really doesn't know. I sure hope there will be.
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