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Mar 31 04 11:10 AM
Hi. Just got back from Vegas. It was so much fun and I met so many wonderful people. I can't begin to tell you what a great job buzztechie did to make this a memorable experience for everyone. I only got 2 hours of sleep last night so I will only post my highlights.
I went to Raleigh and DC. Vegas was my third and last. All of them were great for different reasons, but I think I enjoyed Vegas the best overall. I think he just gets more and more comfortable in his role as entertainer. He was all over the place last night and his facial expressions were priceless. He was a pro.
I thought he was the best vocally here. I actually thought it was pretty perfect. I saw ROCK star Clay here. He had much more of a rock edge to his songs than at my other 2.
His hair was awful. I have no idea what was going on. He looked like he needed a haircut. When he first came out it was sticking straight up, but the hair "fell" in the middle of the concert to resemble extra long Oprah hair. It was kind of funny actually. Even his hair is just so quirky.
He was oozing confidence here. He has really grown as an entertainer since Raleigh. I think he has such a bright future ahead of him.
One of my favorite moments was while he was thanking the fans during The Way. He listed each accomplishment and after each one he said "because of you". He said that The Way was about how sometimes you just can't find the words to describe the way you feel about someone. He said it is like "our relationship" and he pointed out to the crowd and then back to him. He said he will never find the words to tell us how much we mean to him. He was very sincere. His singing of The Way was fantastic.
The venue was so much smaller than DC and Raleigh. Kelly got a great reception at times, but I thought it wasn't as great as DC. I actually commented that as her set went on, I was watching people on the sides and I thought it was a little dead. (I was middle floor). I enjoyed her set, but thought she was much better in DC. (Most people however, thought she was better here). (I also think it matters where you are sitting)
The crowd response to Clay compared to Kelly was shocking. Kelly had a lot of clapping and some yelling, but the energy that filled the arena with Clay was something else. I thought Kelly got a great response when she came out during OA.
This is the first time I loved Open Arms. They did a great job.
Had the unfortunate experience of sitting next to very mean Kelly fans. As has happened to others, they have decided to talk VERY LOUDLY during the acoustic set and to occasionally yell out Clay's name in a mocking way. I felt really bad for the boy in front of me who was a Kelly fan but wanted to hear Clay too. I really wish the moderators at KCE would put an end to this. Most of the Clay and Kelly fans aren't even on the boards. Many spend a lot of money to go to these concerts and many want to enjoy both. EVERYONE was very respectful to Kelly and we all stood the whole time for her on the floor. She was great and was in good voice too. Kelly and Clay had a great hug at the end. They seem to be having fun together - good for them.
I am sure everyone else will post. There was just so much going on all weekend and we were all doing a lot of traveling. The dinners, pre and post parties were fun. But I had fun in DC and Raleigh too. It sounds like most of us have had some great concert experiences. They ALL have been great.
ETA: The phone call was hilarious. He was just being silly, not mocking her. People were laughing AT HIM. He was adorable and cute with it.
The only time I noticed helium voice was during WYSYLM. He had just done the phone call thing where he was talking in his high voice and it seemed like he just continued in that voice for that song only.
Did I say how much I love the people here?
Mar 31 04 11:11 AM
I'm back from my first (and likely only) concert with a very random recap. What an amazing experience it was! Until Friday night, I had never met any other rabid Clay fans, much less a meerkat. I got myself checked into the Tropicana and zipped off down the Strip to join the Friday night gathering. I walked in the restaurant and squeezed through the velvet ropes to avoid the line and started scanning the place for my imaginary friends. Then it dawned on me, damn, I didnt know what these people looked like! After a near miss with another table of women I timidly approached a friendly-looking mecatherine and quickly determined I was in the right place. I was delighted to meet some meerkats from my area of the country (melladi, clackho and bronwynne). What a great group of folks!
After a quick dinner, I headed off on a tour of Vegas with my new friends of approximately 1 hour, polyvinyl and ellenpoppy. Calliek and caroline were so kind to let me tag along with them all day on Saturday. The Meerkat Stampede at Bucas was fantastic. It was just so much fun to put faces with the names with whom Ive spent my evenings for so many months. Buzztechie totally rocks for organizing that whole extravaganza!
Off to the concert. We luck out and get picked up by Mr. LameCabDriver.
Mr. LCD: Whats going on at the Thomas & Mack?
Meerkats: Clay Aiken & Kelly Clarkson concert.
Mr. LCD: Well Jesus Christ! (sorry Clay, now the cabbies are even comparing you)
Meerkats: Have you heard of them?
Mr. LCD: Arent they from that Star Search show? Jesus Christ, theyll make a star outta anyone.
The concert was simply incredible! I am in awe at the generosity of the meerkats. Seat swapping was the name of the game. My favorite part was caroline giving two young teenage Clay fans some floor tickets. They were so excited! My original seat was by some mature KCE fans who were hell bent on aerobic tricep building exercises with their damned runway lights. The one lady made runningfree flee for safety and personal space. Their sweet little finale was the release of silver mylar confetti at the end of Kellys set. Im still kicking myself for turning down callieks generous offer of an aisle seat on the side. It turns out Clay came right down the aisle next to that seat. Oh well, after Kellys set I made my way up to an empty seat closer up and ended up sitting next to a nice family from Vegas. The wife had followed AI since the first season, but they were not serious fans. He didnt understand the big dealuntil the concert was over. He told me that they had been to many concerts in Vegas, but this was among the very best ever!
Some quick observations from the concert:
The calm and rational jennyk was really surprised by the fangirly behaviors that took over my body. The hand-flapping, random 2-handed waving (complete with cellphone & camera) and foot stomping was brand new, as was the incessant chest patting. WTF?
Clay was sporting his Dagwood Bumstead look. Look for him in next months Glamour Donts. The fugly outfit (particularly the pants) made him look 12 and makes me question my taste. If Im gonna be his Demi, he needs to look at least 26.
I am not good at multi-tasking. Cellcert (waves to newland21!) or camera. Not both. Digital zoom is not my friend (as evidenced by craptacular photos). The Beus and Kelly are not a good use of space on the memory stick. Premature ending of WDC grinding action on video will result.
Loved every minute of the post-concert gathering at the condo. There were simply too many names to mention, but I enjoyed meeting each of you. And I do have to say Brandi wins my Miss Congeniality vote. Okay, you can also be Miss Smut in a Swimsuit if you want. My final shoutout goes to the KCE chicks who put the party in my bra. Im sure the maids at the Tropicana wish to thank them for all the silver glitter that fell out all over the bathroom floor.
Now, Id like to put out a shameless request for a California cellcert. One Clay fix isnt gonna do it for me. I neeeeeeeeed more!
Response to Cladicted: Joe the cabbie did indeed still have Clay's photo in his cab when he picked us up around 2:00 am!
Mar 31 04 11:16 AM
Quote:CLAYING LAS VEGAS
Things I learned this weekend:
1. Flying to Las Vegas from San Jose is probably more trouble than driving.
2. Traveling alone sucks.
3. HeidiHo is a gooood roommate. She is very clean and doesn't snore much.
4. Mr. Dr. artquest is a handy person to know in Vegas.
5. Earplugs are useful in other places besides concerts.
6. There is not enough time in the world to spend with other meerkats.
Friday dawned and I packed listlessly for Vegas. I was having a crisis of faith and didn't even know why I was making this trip anymore.
"I already know every syllable he's going to sing, every move he makes, every tug and hop and reach and hip-thrust and eyef*ck, I've got a gazillion gigabytes of it spilling off my hard drive. Why am I even DOING this?" I whined to Mr. Spot. (Well, OK, I didn't say "eyef*ck" exactly.)
"You're asking ME?" he replied, ever the helpful husband.
He drove me to the airport and I waved goodbye as I trundled off to be x-rayed and inspected and poked and prodded and wanded.
On the ninety-minute flight, I thought back to my very first Clay trip ever, July 12, Indianapolis, and tried to remember that sense of adventure and excitement. It wasn't coming to me.
I arrived at the Tropicana at 3 p.m., where the amazing artquests had secured rooms for several of us. About 15-20 meerkats showed up that afternoon for a cocktail party hosted by artquest, Permaswooned, and ncgurrl. It was good to see some old friends again and meet new ones; I started to relax a bit. The party started at 5 p.m. and by 5:30 we already had complaints from the neighbors. Now THAT'S a good party! After a couple of hours of chatting and EEEEEEing and watching Clay cavort on the hotel room wall, we all drifted off to various dinners. I made an early night of it.
The California Crew had breakfast Saturday morning. Ever the life of the party, I opted for a nap afterward, preparing for the big evening. At 2 p.m., I carefully painted my face and donned my I-ain't-that-old-yet-by-gawd Hoochie outfit. At 3 p.m., Rob the driver arrived with our limo (see Thing I learned #4) and took us to Buca's for the big pre-concert dinner. We attempted Clayversion on Rob. He pulled our chains and pretended he'd never heard of Clay. But he was impressed (or frightened, I couldn't be sure which) when he found out we'd all met on the internet only months before.
Lordy, lordy. Eighty meerkats in a room do NOT chatter. They squeal. At very high pitches. (See Thing I Learned #5). But it's all good. I bounced around greeting old friends from last summer's tour madness and meeting new ones. I admired Nova's Beauty Queen sash. I batted my eyelashes coyly whenever I heard "You're spot!" Ah, infamy. Or is that in-Faye-my....
I won't even try to name everyone because I'll screw it up, but a big fat MUAH! to buzztechie and everyone else who helped organize this fabulous get-together. In those two hours I remembered why I was there, and why I'll do it again. Final memory from dinner: buzzie trying to get the mob organized for a group picture, and four different husbands/friends aiming cameras at us while trying not to fall backwards off the curb to be squashed on Tropicana Boulevard.
Rob arrived once again with our limo (gee, that's fun to say) and we arrived at the venue by six p.m. As we drove into the parking lot, Perma suggested someone roll down the window and shout, "It's Faye!" I practiced my Queen Elizabeth anamatronic light-bulb-screwing wave. Then it occurred to me that getting out of a limo and looking like Faye might not be so funny around a few thousand Clay fans. I got out the back door wearing my hoody.
We all stood around waiting for the venue to open. Some Lecherous Broads came by in head-to-toe purple and shared some love beads with us. Clay fans were everywhere with t-shirts, buttons, and yes, tiaras. Just before 6:30, a security man came down the steps and announced, "NO VIDEO EQUIPMENT. Cameras are OK, but NO VIDEO." Then they opened the doors, and in we went -- no searches, no nuttin'. The honor system in Vegas. I could have had a rocket launcher in my purse.
The merchandise stands seemed calmer in Vegas than in Charlotte. I stood in the lobby chatting for a while, and then we went down to check out our seats - 12th row, left of center, on the far left aisle (grindage side). The stage stairs were at the foot of the catwalk on our side; Clay would be coming right by us.
Someone thought they saw Dean the AI hairdresser walk by; I only saw the back of his head, but I hoped it was Dean -- maybe we wouldn't get the Hair from Hell tonight! Hope springs eternal, but fruitlessly.
I visited with some of the luckier meerkats up front and heard that Clive Davis was in the house. Finally it was time to get back to our seats, the lights dimmed, and the Beu sisters belted. I dozed. Then Kelly came on. The front sections of the floor shot to their feet and there was a lot of screaming. We exchanged some surprised glances at the strong reaction. The first chord of the bass sent my ribcage into a harmonic spasm, but after that it was OK. I even dared to take out my left earplug for Beautiful Disaster and Stuff Like That There. Kelly had a great set and was having a good time with the crowd. She found one of the blinky hearts on the catwalk and put it around her neck. Someone near the catwalk had some kind of sign that was blinking Kelly's name and she thought that was "cool".
Intermission. We watched the crew set up Clay's stage. I saw Roger standing below the stage and took a picture of him. We scoped out possible entrances for Clay. The follow-spots were in the back of the arena, so no help there. I recognized several Bolt Babes in row 9 and talked to them, including Claudia (JoJo's perpetual caller) and Diane, both of whom sat near me at Ryan's first show. Row 11 (in front of me) is populated with six Clay fans who should be playing for the female Lakers, but Row 10 has five empty seats next to HeidiHo. I politely asked the 6-footers if they would mind my five-foot-three-inch self sneaking into row 10, and they were really nice and said go for it. Bina and I had six empty seats to roam around in!
People started to gather around the catwalk; apparently security was going to let a mob gather there, regardless of where their seats were. I opted to stay put. At five minutes to Clay, I called my cellcert recipient lilybay and told her to hang on for dear life. (As you have already read, she spent the next 85 minutes cosily nestled in my non-existent cleavage. Eat your hearts out. And that wasn't me screaming. No. It wasn't.)
The lights go out, the screams come up. Disorganized chants of "Clay, Clay" from various points. The band starts up Kyrie and I'm on my chair watching for the spotlights to come on to mark his location. He sings the first four lines in the dark as usual, then the screaming starts, and the spots are suddenly on him on the floor in the back of the arena; I wonder how they got him to that position. And sure enough, he's coming right up our aisle, two feet away. I make one of my usual bad decisions and try for a photo op, so I don't really SEE him -- and I don't get the picture either. Security just SWEPT him by really, really fast. I did get a lovely shot of the little girl across the aisle reaching out for him, though. [/bitter sarcasm]
He gets to the foot of the stage and sings the rest of the first verse and I can't really see him all that well. Finally he starts that erotically slow ascent of the stairs and surveys his harem before launching into the final chorus. And as I stood there dancing and singing and watching him, and the electricity shot through the crowd, I remembered the OTHER reason I do this. It's not just to see Clay perform. It's the experience of being there in a crowd of thousands of like-minded, mesmerized people, all half-insane with joy at simply breathing the same air as The Aiken. I'm not really sure it's totally healthy, but there's no drug like it.
OK, skip the next part if you can't take some honesty. The Man is always gorgeous from the Adam's apple to the hairline, but Jeez Louise, folks, the rest of him is a MESS. Having now seen it in person, I can attest that the fugly outfit is indeed THE fugliest set of clothes ever to escape from a Salvation Army truck. The endless pockets on those pants look like he's carrying a lifetime supply of footie socks around with him. And a very large family of meerkats could nest comfortably in the baggy butt of those pants. And the yellow shirttail hanging out under that rumpled green pullover? Puh-LEEEEZ! And WTF is UP with that HAIR? Has he developed a scissors phobia? Does he think he's Sampson? Is he trying to achieve it rather than weave it? Yo! Clayboy! You're a millionaire recording and touring artist now! Get a f*cking haircut and some new clothes!
Perfect Day was pretty goddamned perfect. He was on fire from the get-go, and so was the audience. After PD he stopped and talked a bit about what a party town Vegas is, and how the crew and band walked around the strip while he took a nap.
I Will Carry You was really stunning - Bina and I gaped at each other during the last chorus, because I hadn't heard him sing it that strong in quite a while.
I'm not sure when this happened, but the funniest thing I saw all night was when he walked to the end of the catwalk with the microphone in his left hand and a water bottle in his right, and tried to take a drink out of the microphone. The audience laughed. His eyes widened, he snapped his head back and shook it, and he said, "I'm gettin' conFUSED here!"
During All About Love, he tried the dancing again, the audience cheered again, and he broke up laughing again. You'd think he'd expect it by now, what?
You've heard the reports of the cellphone call to Teresa, and I must partly agree with bryher:
[sv]Does anyone else think that the "mock the fangirl on the cellphone" schtick is a bit mean spirited?
It did go on a bit long in Vegas, complete with scrunched up face, fake crying, and wiping away crocodile tears. Face it, the bit is NOT for the person on the other end - it's for the audience. However, I'd like to think he's laughing WITH us, not AT us, knowing that we ourselves know how silly we get over him sometimes. It was also damn funny, I must admit. And I loved it when he came back later and got the cellphone again and sang to it during WYSYLM. The man knows how to work a room.
One vision keeps popping into my mind as I think about Spot with her cellphone buried in her bra--I keep seeing Clay's face buried in her boobs as he tries to sing into her phone. The pose for the duet would be incredible.
Ding-dangit, MrsGenghis! This was the only great tidbit I had, and you scooped me! Oh, well, I'll tell it anyway. This is EXACTLY what happened! Even though Clay had to take a swan-dive all the way into the tenth row to get to MEEEEEE! I'm so sorry there's no VIDEO of this! Howver, "buried in" is probably not an accurate description for my particular boobs - "desperately in search of" might be closer to the truth. Brandi has promised me a transplant on my next trip to the Midwest. But I digress. Or di-breast. Whatever.
Without You was particularly beautiful in Vegas. This has become my favorite song of the concert. Clay and Quiana blend perfectly and put so much passion into this lovely melody.
ISY has taken on a life of its own. The Man is either a very good actor (probably), or he's working out some serious demons here. He growled his way thru the last chorus and left our jaws scraping the floor. As he slowly swiveled his head from one side to the other and that burning gaze singed the entire crowd, I wondered, just for a moment, if "I survived YOU" was about US - his fans. Whoa. Not going there.
As I remember the acoustic set, he sang it beautifully and straight, no giggling; and if there was screaming from the audience, I didn't notice it. MOAM sounded especially good to me, as I felt he had been struggling with it in the last few concerts. I was pleased that the "screeeeeeam" in the WDC introduction seemed just right, not overdone.
WDC was sensual and smoldering, if not as filthy as I might hope. (*spot sighs and wishes she had been in DC for the porn.) Afterward, his remarks about Kathy Griffin seemed very good-humored to me and IMO referred back to her Billboard routine. If he dislikes her, then he's a really good actor; and why even mention her presence if they are enemies? It's show biz, folks.
Before The Way, Clay recited the mantra of achievements: "I released an album last October, and THANKS TO YOU, it's gone triple-platinum...." He specifically mentioned Solitaire debuting at #4 on the Billboard Hot 100. Although the speech is getting pretty pat by now, it still rings true. He loves being on that stage and he knows how he got there.
His voice was strong all evening with the exception of one strained high note in Open Arms. He was one hot property on that stage in Las Vegas. It was a great crowd and fed his energy, but if Clive Davis was the catalyst for this fiery performance, then let's take up a collection and send him to the rest of the tour stops!
About half the meerkats gathered afterwards at buzzie's condo and kept her up all night. Many fine conversations, much laughter, many hugs, much EEEEEEing over SNL, many fond goodbyes. We really must just found ourselves a meerkat city and all move there someday.
As for "what happens in Vegas STAYS in Vegas", the only thing I'm NOT telling you is what CAP121 licked THIS time.
Mar 31 04 11:20 AM
I think everyone else has done a great job of recapping, so I'll just give the bits and pieces I remember.
Unfortunately, I did not meet up with any meerkats because I was in Vegas with a large group of friends. The one I went to the concert with is a Kelly fan and would not have been comfortable at a get-together. I'm sure I missed out on an amazing time.
We arrived in Vegas on Friday and were given our room key for the Hilton - ROOM 666. I think that was the perfect foreshadowing for the weekend. Friday night, we went to a dance club at Harrah's and danced until 3AM (right in front of the speakers). Many a Purple Hooter shot was thrown back. Then we walked back to the Hilton (about 2 miles). We went to the cafe to eat and I dozed off at the booth. The waitress came to clear some plates and dropped a knife on the table. That startled me, and I let out a huge scream, which made her scream. Not my finest moment.
Needless to say, on Saturday we were pretty beat up. I spent most of the day at the pool (which was freezing because it was so windy). But the thought of seeing my first concert of this tour perked me right up. We got to the venue at 6:30. We had 6th row seats on the non-grinding side. I felt bad because I knew there were meerkats around, but I didn't know who was who and was embarrassed to go up to anybody. I did recognize Nova though, and I could kick myself for not introducing myself. I also saw Jerome, and I wanted to go up to him but I had no idea what to say. I wish I knew how to schmooze him into backstage passes though. That's the one thing I haven't done yet. The Beu sisters were a little too perky for my taste, and I found the lead sister's voice a little harsh. Kelly, on the other hand, was awesome. I was a Kelly fan already, but I was really impressed about how healthy her voice sounded. I was expecting it to be really hoarse by this point. I really enjoyed her set. I also was really excited to see the band and back-up singers. I'm now a big fan of theirs and tried to show them a lot of love. You Thought Wrong was actually awesome. The bootleg audio I have of it made it sound like just a lot of shouting, but it sounded amazing live. I had to go to the bathroom, but didn't want to miss Miss Independent. I waited until her final note and hightailed it up the stairs (in 3-inch heels). The stampede to the bathroom was hilarious (well, not so hilarious at the time). Ladies were running at full speed. Luckily, there were a lot of women's restrooms, so I made it out in plenty of time.
I was so excited to see Clay, although I'm about as spoilered as you can get. A lady sitting next to us, a really nice Kelly fan, came up to me and told me Clay would be coming down my aisle - and I was seat #1. But then Clay proceeded to come down the aisle on the other end of the arena - about as far from me as possible. Grrr. But I'm happy for all you that were on that side. I don't really have to say how amazing he was. I thought he was a little hoarse on Kyrie, but his voice was strong for the rest of the set. I got major helium Clay in the middle - mainly during WYSYLM. It started up again during Open Arms, and then helium Kelly came out. Very odd. I loved the cell phone bit. I loved The Way Intro (although the treacly piano music was a bit much). I loved his fugly outfit. I hated his hair. Wow, was it bad. I also must say that I was so concerned about how loud the bass was going to be and I didn't have earplugs. But I wasn't bothered at all by it - even during Kelly's set. What does that say about my hearing? Maybe I was used to it because I had gone to the dance club the night before.
When we were leaving, I went up Clive Davis's aisle as he was trying to come down. There was a traffic jam and I was stuck in front of him face to face. I had no idea what to say to him, but I was just amused that I was in his way and couldn't move. I just made a joke about the crowd, but he was really ready to just get down to where he was going. He seemed very gracious to everyone that did come up and converse with him though. And, yes, he did stay until the end (I don't know when he showed up though).
So that was my night. It was amazing, and I still have three more to look forward to. I'm glad everyone else had a great time too. I'm enjoying reading the recaps as much as those who weren't there.
Mar 31 04 11:21 AM
Quote:*waves* Hi kids, I'm home.
I have no idea what GBB reported from my undoubtably only partially coherent cellcert. I was never quite sure if she was on the line and, if so, was she interested in the asides or cursing my name for interjecting commentary during the songs? [sv]I tried to wait till the end. Really. But what he did during INVISIBLE was just OBSCENE![/sv] As always, being in the presence of Clay in full performance mode just blasts all sentience and I'm left with jumbled impressions and images and the faint hope I can just rubix cube them into order over the next few days. I may need visual aids.
I will tell you that I was watching PD and thinking (saying?) that I really didn't expect him to completely eyefuck the first five rows by the catwalk during this particular song. I mean, watching him stride down the walkway, in complete ownership of the room, setting his brand on his audience....well, the boy came out hot and just never slowed down.
Okay, he did a bit, when he got to the acoustic set. There were a lot of exchanged smiles with Jacob, Quiana and Angela, and grins at the shouts from the audience. I think Clay was definitely showing off a bit, with the long cellcert bit, a lot of really cute audience interaction, and just the most fantastic vocal performance I've ever heard. Meerkats who have been to five or six concerts told me he was in the best voice they'd heard so far on tour. When I was talking to the fangirl security guard, she said they didn't sing at all on the sound check, and I wondered if they were being especially careful to save their voices knowing Clive would be in the house.
Clay didn't really goof around like in some other shows, and I suspect that was, in part at least, to make sure they gave Clive the best show possible. Both he and Kelly seemed genuinely pleased -- even giddy in Kelly's case -- by the crowd response. I think they both took care to make everyone else look good, too. It occurred to me during WITHOUT YOU that Quiana is MAD TALENTED and that this actually was a bit of a mini-showcase for her and Jacob and Angela in front of Clive Davis. Which doesn't suck. There were quick little grins exchanged during the acoustic sets, duets, after especially well done parts of the show...it was really a great performance, and they were all supporting and rooting and cheering for each other all the way through. Total synergy and fantastic to watch. Or, more accurately, fantastic to experience, because they draw you right in with them.
From the right side, the WDC looked pretty tame...unless you noticed the hand slipping over her hip to the belt...then her hand sliiiiiding up his chest from waist to shoulder...and then his hand sliiiiding around her waist and GRABBING that belt with serious authority and intent.
Uh...where was I again?
CH-ers who have been to several concerts said they thought the backup singers were more animated, and I suppose that could be because Clive Davis was there, but we like to think that getting the baskets gave them a nice boost.If nothing else, if they had any nerves about performing for TPTB, the timing of our letter couldn't have been better.
Several of us got to talk to Jacob a bit before the concert when he came out into the floor section, and he simply couldn't be sweeter or more appreciative. (what did he say before I got there? Bueller?) A few meerkats were talking to him as I walked up, and I'm sure he had already heard 'clackhouse' ten times, but as soon as I said I was with the board his face lighted up and he said 'you guys are great' and that he and Jason couldn't wait to go through everything after the show. We'll have a thorough 'basket recap' once everyone who works on it gets back so we don't leave anything out.
ISY was really a highlight of the evening. He growled at us, people! The gestures were more contained than some of the clips I've seen, but it did NOT lack the power and emotion. It was all there, skimming just above and below the surface and with the sense that he could let loose at any moment. It was dark, painful, determined, triumphant, and absolutely gorgeous. Of course, if you looked at the jumbotron at the very end, with the Vincent yellow uplight, the wonky hair sticking out to the sides, and the most turbulent, INTENSE stare ever...well, I couldn't tell if he'd purged some demons or embraced a few. Very freaky. I didn't get my camera up fast enough to get the shot, because I know I had a moment of immobililty, just staring.
The frankenfugly jacket and the hair were seriously painful. For about a second. After that, all I saw was Clay.
But, boyfriend seriously needs a haircut! Several people said they saw Dean there, so you'd think he'd help a buddy out...but I think Clay looked better even when he admitted to doing his own hair. Does the tour stylist not like them? The women all looked fantastic, so we were hypothesizing they took all the stylist's time, or that Clay just likes napping until ten minutes before he goes on and the hair is a casualty. Okay, we have no clue, but I can't imagine anyone thought that looked good. *g* The funniest thing, though, is how we just. don't. care. On him, bad hair IS hot.
We're soooo easy.
I'm really tired and will post more details when I've finally had some sleep and caught up a bit on what has already been reported. I will say that boyfriend was amazing and I have a new respect for Kelly who is cute as heck and actually has some good songs. The audience showed her some love even before learning Clive was there, and she seriously turned up the audience interaction and the bubbliness, comparing what I saw to earlier concert reviews. She waved at fans, talked to them, accepted gifts, read signs...she was very personable and cute and sang extremely well.
I do admit, though, that Open Arms was not a stunner for me. I don't think she and Clay blend, and while he was singing TO her, she seemed to be in her own little bubble, until they started grinning to each other at the very end.
As for the Beu sisters...they are very sweet. And fluffy.
I was inspired by Aurorabee and also shook Clive Davis' hand. I can report that his hands are dry and warm and he has a reassuringly firm handshake. I was pretty impressed that, even surrounded by suits and heading backstage, he took a moment to respond to a greeting. I wonder if he finds it unusual to be recognized. And approached. Hee. There is nothing typical around Clay.
I had a great time with the Meerkat 100 participants and wish everyone a safe trip home. I'm fading pretty quickly so will try to be coherent later and share any stories GBB didn't make up...er, I mean, pass on.
Mar 31 04 11:31 AM
Quote:I admit it, I am bad and have not caught up. I wanted to post my recap now before I get to bed, though, since I am leaving again in the morning for San Diego. Anything I repeat from the other recaps I apologize for in advance.
Okay, tired, tired meer here. I just army-crawled my way to the computer. Dang, you know, Bellagio is one fine hotel, and one that I definitely will stay at again (free upgrade for me, heeeee!), but do you know they have only dial-up? I have no modem in my laptop, so sorry, so I couldn't post til I got home after my looooooong drive. Got v. sleepy during the drive, which scared the crap out of me since freeway speeds on the 15 freeway top 80 mph, so once I got to the nearest town (many many miles into the trip) I stopped to get coffee, put Boyfriend CD on, and sang and slurped coffee til I felt awake enough to drive safely.
We barely made it in time for the Vegas meerkat stampede. There was an accident with a rollover on the way to Vegas, which put us quite behind. Fortunately things hadn't gotten into full swing quite yet and we were able to still join in the festivities. It is such a hoot to meet everyone and put names to faces! I know I'll forget to name about 100 of the people I met, so I won't name names other than to say it is always fun to see the "regulars" as well: Spot, ncgurrl, ellenpoppy, agape and bina, to name just a few.
My friend and both our daughters started out at the Paris hotel, which is v.v. nice. My friend got that hotel room for Saturday, and I got the one at the Bellagio for Sunday. After we attended the Buzz party, we were dragging. I had worked all night the night before so I could go to the concert, so I just couldn't stay up long enough to do the recap. Sorry!
My hotel upgrade: I had purchased the hotel room online with a lake view, but when we got there they said all the rooms with two queen beds were taken, but for $100 more we could say in the super-duper penthouse suite; unfortunately, it did NOT have a lake and fountain view. No thanks. So I just smiled and put a crispy bill beneath my credit card, and voila! A lakeview suite on the security floor was ours! I have to say we were treated v.v. well at Bellagio, every little wish and whim was taken care of in a heartbeat! We ordered up desserts last night, and when the guy brought up our order, he did everything but spoon feed us. Heh. We were on the thirtieth floor, and the view of the fountain show is incredible! They have the music for the fountain also on the television, so we had a great time watching a ton of the fountain shows.
Okay, you can stop scrolling now. On to the concert.
Most of you know that the ticket angel was sitting on my shoulder and I scored some awesome seats the day before the concert, six total, with four in the first row and two in the second row. I already had really really good seats in the center section, row 10. By now you may have heard about the happy meerkats that got the row 10 and row 2 seats.
Well, what can I say about front row seats? They were freakin' awesome. One fun aside as that I had one ticket for the fifth row center, which at Raleigh was directly in front of the catwalk, so I made arrangements for Agape to get that ticket. By the time we got to the venue, the Beu sisters were done.. we got lost thanks to Mapquest. So we very happily sit in our front row seats, and Agape comes up to say they started row 1 of section 2 at the back of the catwalk, so she was five rows back, and not right in front of the catwalk like we had thought she would be... BUT, we noticed that the seat right next to my friend was empty, so I told her to sit there and see if anyone came. No one did, so she ended up with a front row seat too! Eeeee!
I have to say I enjoyed Kelly's set a lot. She is such a sweetheart and so normal and natural. She was sooooooo close when she sat on the piano during Beautiful Disaster! They had toned the bass down, which was great, and she seemed to be having a great time. I was a little worried, though, because the stadium seemed pretty dead during her set, I thought maybe we had a boring crowd. Well, when Kyrie started, the whole place just erupted to jet-engine decibel levels. My gosh, but that was incredible! Even wearing the fugly jacket, that man is beautiful. When he was walking to toward the steps to the stage, my friend's daughter put her hand out, and he grabbed her hand and held on; I don't have to tell you that was an amazing thrill for her. She was a casual fan before Solitaire at AI3, then became a good fan, now she is as fangirly as they come! She just gushed all day Sunday and on the way home today.
He was in great voice all night, but he was especially awesome during the acoustic set. And during WDC, he drew out scareeeeeeeeem quite a while, though not as long as he had in Raleigh. But he was spot on for all the songs and seemed to be having a great time. I was really surprised at how close we were to Clay during the acoustic set and during WDC. I felt like I could almost reach out and touch him. And I'm telling you, he is such a tease and HE.SO.KNOWS. He was winking and pointing and just totally playing the crowd. This man was born to perform, ya'll. He just exudes joy and confidence. I did see Clive in the stands. I am sure this crowd gave Clive a tiny taste of Clay's fandom and of his ability to own the stage and the crowd. My only complaint: I wish people would please STHU (can't use the F word, so I substituted heck; so sue me) during the acoustic set. When it is quiet and the mood intense and the feeling and meaning of the songs is permeating throughout the crowd, it is not the time to draw attention to yourself by screaming to Clay how much you love him. Sheesh.
You already heard how hot WDC was. He just gets such a kick out of our reactions, and he plays us like a Stradivius. I don't think he still quite gets that he really is a sexay man. Some young thing is going to teach him someday; God help us all then.
Mar 31 04 11:58 AM
Got back from Las Vegas about 4 hours ago and heres a mini-recap. No need to throw roses at my feet. Im sure more people are going to squealI mean, share some Vegas goings-on. I havent caught up on all the pages so there might be some duplication.
Concert was almost all sold-out by the look of it. Beu Sisters were between songs when an over-enthusiastic Clay fan shouted out, Wheres Clay? The lead sister answered back, Backstage, pretty politely.
Kelly was on last night. She interacted with the crowd around the catwalk, looking at signs. She picked up a blinkie necklace and wore it for the rest of the concert. While she will become a lot more polished a performer as she gains experience, you can see she does have stage presence and that she is the one you want to watch on the stage (if Clays not on it.) Her voice is beautiful and with experience shell learn to sell the deep emotion of the song. Same with Clay.
I was wearing my navy American Idol Clay shirt and got asked twice about where I got it. Once by a young blonde woman who gave me a blank stare when I asked what board she was on. When I mentioned that she could do a search to find Clay boards, she asked if she could meet Clay then if she was part of one. I said, Well, no, but you find out information faster, and stuff. Then I realized she got right to the heart of the matter. Hmmph? I also got asked about my shirt by a mother and 11 year-old daughter. Daughter wanted to buy the Clay shirt. I want Clay, Clay, Clay! Then she took a look at the simple Clay shirts and said, Uh, no, I guess Ill take Kellys shirt. Note to RCA: I want photos on my t-shirts next time.
Now Clay. I was talking with some Clay fans who looked toward the stage when Kyrie started while I turned toward the back, natch. It wasnt until I started jumping up and down, squealing and pointing There he is! that they turned and saw him.
Its interesting because I thought that Vegas was just a so-so crowd compared to all the recaps Ive read. The floor section was the only section that stood during Clays entire set, though other sections stood at times. Other people thought the crowd was great. I must say that Las Vegas was LOUD for Clay, at least thats what the two men in front of me plugging their ears must have thought.
Clay was really into I Survived You, natch. He looked beautiful, weird hair notwithstanding. I could do no Waldo sighting from my seat. Revoke my Clackhouse membership if you must, but I was a blinkie wearing, screaming fangirl of a Pogo Stick last night. I was representing, yall! (Now stop banging your head against the desk! I wasn't that bad.)
Anyway, theres more, including our standing around waiting around the buses, but that will have to come later. I will say that when Jacob was taking a momentary break from their water gun fight someone asked him how old he was. He answered, 12!
Some more random Las Vegas thoughts, my first solo tour concert:
Am I the only one who doesn't like "Without You"?
Why has "You Thought Wrong" not been released as a single? Kelly stormed down the catwalk in her black shirt and sequined tie. I would have loved to see her sing this as a "Beat It" style face-off with Tamyra Gray. Now THAT'S a video! None of this silly video stuff we've seen from both Kelly and Clay, we need us some LIVE concert video to be released on TRL. (Though I did like Invisible.)
Kelly made an effort to interact with the audience this time. Clay had a bundle of red panties on the catwalk, a sign, a teddy bear (I think) also, but he stepped around them. He also got a teddy bear and pair of panties thrown on the main stage for him. I did hear helium Clay, but I was on the side seats, not on the floor, so I don't think I got the full experience of the hotness of Clay in ISY and WDC. Both sets seemed rushed though. I'd like to tell them to relax and slow down, enjoy the experience and try some new things, make it last longer. (Down, smutters, this is a PG-rated post!)
I also waited near the buses after the concert. Jacob, Quiana and Angela were having a waterfight. Jacob is friendly and enjoys this tremendously. Can't wait to hear the story behind the baskets! We saw Raleigh with her cute fluff of a tail bouncing back and forth. Clay walked by three times (fans shouted "Triple Platinum!" ) and Kelly walked by. Fans asked Clay if he's beaten Kelly at Scrabble yet. He said the he doesn't play Scrabble with her now because "she's a cheat-ah." When fans told Kelly later that, she squealed "He's lyin'!" Later they asked Clay about Scrabble again and he joked that he didn't want to embarrass Kelly. Kelly came to sign autographs for fans, separated by a chain-link fence. She joked with the fans and laughed. Later Clay came to the fence with 2 bodyguards and signed autographs from left to right. My take? Right now, Clay is completely at ease with fans when he's on the stage, but Kelly is more at ease interacting with GROUPS of fans offstage. My opinion only, but Clay seems kind of overwhelmed right now with the combination of press expectations and interviews, industry pressure, personal appearances, personal stuff, and the intense hunger of the fans for him. But, everyone I talked to said that he seemed really happy at the Las Vegas concert. I think like any popular and well-loved entertainer, he's making the transition from normal, private citizen to superstar. Considering how many other entertainers turn to drinking, drugs and other destructive behavior to deal with all the pressures and attention of fame, I think he's doing pretty well. Anyway, he gave a great concert! When he was on phone with the fan and told the audience to shhhh, the arena went dead quiet. He has a rare presence.
Oh, and one concert is not enough. There is so much I missed of what happened at the concert, and I was there! I saw the microphone and water bottle, but didn't hear what he said. Also, I was on the non-grindage side of WDC, gosh darn it! I missed the hotness! It's hard to catch everything because in videos, the focus is on Clay only, but in concert there's so much going on and one is constantly switching one's eyes from stage to the Jumbotron.
Meeting the Clackhouse characters was great!! I finally got a proper introduction to Spot and Brandilyne and Jude and...I could go on and on!! Everyone was great at the party, but I missed the dinner. AuroraBee was a total hoot! She cracked up a couch of us and worked the audience like a pro. Why I imagined her as nice little old lady who embroidered couch covers I'll never know.
ETA: A lot of Kelly fans were at the Las Vegas concert. The nice merchandise guy said Clay was out-selling Kelly 2 to 1, so Kelly got a lot of love in Vegas. Big Clay sellers were the teddy bears, programs (especially) and t-shirts as they had to bring in extra boxes from the back of them. Gah, I was drooling over that Clay poster but I got the program. Still thinking about that poster though.
Apr 1 04 11:03 AM
Quote:My Meerkat Stampede Adventure is a little late in coming, but I flew all day yesterday and am still fatigued from jet lag. It's also long, so please feel free to scroll if your eyes start to glaze over...
Wowjust wow. As I sit here trying to assimilate my thoughts on the whole Vegas experience, I am struck by how inadequate words can often be. That said, I will take a whack at a recap.
To use a really worn exultation, Vegas simply rocked! And what a place to gather 100-plus Aiken-hyped-up meerkats, all swarming in crazy clusters and chattering in an ever-rising fevered pitch. What was priceless? The looks on the faces of the incredibly good-natured and indulgent staff at Bucas as our gathering grewand grewand grew. A roomful of meerkats + food x galactical concert experience forthcoming = well, what do you think? Just wrap your mind around thatuh-huh
Two long flights brought me into Vegas just before sunset on Thursday evening, and I thought Id have plenty of time to make Artquests Wine and Cheese Partybut I failed to take into account that arriving in Vegas and clearing the plane, airport, transport and check-in to hotel were in two different time zones. I must say, the approach to Vegas by air was memorably stunning: the sienna and lavender hues of desert and mountains and the spectacular Grand Canyon, followed by the shock of suddenly seeing the Strip appear out of nowhere in all its towering, eclectic glitz.
After I realized Id never make the Wine and Cheese Party *sob* I caught up with the meers gathering at Aladdins Spice Market Buffet. What a feast! Here I was able to reconnect with my wonderful concert buddy, the lovely and scintilating caroline. I also got to meet jennyk, who is absolutely delightful. The three of us spent some great quality time touring the Strip. It was so exciting to meet the dynamic and brilliant buzztechie (who really earns her Clackhouse sainthood and whose Nascar-on-crack driving is vastly overexaggeratedeven if she does give U-turns a whole new dynamic) and our fearless trout warden Nova, with whom I have had the privilege of many profound and compassionate conversations in PM. I really enjoyed hearing all about life in Vegas from the bubbly mecatherine and her Mom as well as invigorating conversation with the spunky mel ladi and equally feisty ellenpoppy, the beautiful Bronwynne, two of the infamous Chicago contingentPink Armchair and Beagle3and everyone who shared our festive little night-before gathering. On the way out to the incredible mall shops at the Aladdin, I ran to hug the endearing donnamom, in whose room we grouped after the Raleigh concert with the equally endearing mr. donnamom. As we strolled around the beautiful blue-ceilinged mall annex, my eyes began to glaze as my body was on East Coast time and it was pushing 3:00 a.m. thereso I shared a petticab with Runningfreeand let her lyrical accent sing in my ear as we sailed around the mall. Her lyrical accent was also singing in the attentive ear of the driver as she shamelessly flirted.
Early Saturday afternoon, while I was waiting for the evenings festivities to begin, I met Jersette, one of the many whose posts I read faithfully and who in real life is every bit as charming and witty and wise. We talked as if wed been friends since high schooluntil time got away from us and Cheesegal began to make increasingly desperate calls from her hotel, urging us to pick up the pace. We fetched her with our cab and headed to the restaurant.
Our official and first annual Meerkat Stampede dinner at Bucas was, in the capable hands of thehave I said brilliant?buzztechie, an event to remember. Again, watching the astonished looks that passed between the staffers as we multiplied and began to feel the joy, was priceless. It was overwhelming to be in the presence of so many of the Clackhouse illustrious, but in a good way. I was glowingwell, actually I was sparkling because I was wearing a glittery pink top that shed faster than a Mexican hairless dog (and my favorite line came from darling Jude who said, So youre making everybody sparkle!)I was glowing in the warmth of the intimacy that somehow came from being surrounded by so many bodies who all love Aiken Clay endlessly and passionately. And I was elated to finally meet Jude who is, quite simply, one of the sweetest women I know. I sat back and watched, with delight, as her Cluppy fans praised her considerable talent. Our brood became so loud that it became increasingly difficult to hear and the parade of meet-and-greet was rushedbut among those I met and chatted with briefly were: Cap121, PantyQueen, Kandre61, Mrs. Loki, allingoodfun, couchtomato, huskerfalcon, Neptune Nanand I got to BWAH Madcowjj in person! The unbelievably resilient Agape arrived with nary a scratch after her frightening accidentlots of good thoughts were with you, girl! It was also a reunion from past shows as I hugged and got hugged by Brandilynewho doesnt just come into a room, she makes an entrance and illuminatesMnM, Bina, Perusing One, Dolce Pienza, and the effervescent spotlightlover.
Sated by food but achin for Aiken, we posed in front of the restaurant for a group shotcant wait to see this!and then dispersed for Thomas and Mack. From the Its.Not.Just.Us. files I shared a cab with caroline and jennyk, and noticed the cab driver listening with interest to our conversation about the dinner. His curiosity piqued, he asked, Did I hear you all say that youve come from all over the country? Yeah? Where ya from? So we told himVirginia, Washington, South Carolina. What are you, like a cult? We giggled. Um, nonot like trekkies. Heard of Clay Aiken? We can see his eyes widening in the mirror. Clay Aiken! he exclaims. I love that boy! Hes my boyhes the man! Would it surprise you to know that the cabbie was not a young man? I didnt think so
The concert. Since you have most of the glorious details by now, I will only add a few personal observations. First, my seatmatescaroline, jude, and donnamomand I were utterly disappointed to discover that the 9th row center seats that wed though would be within whistling distance of the catwalk were actually again as far back. But once the concert started and I realized they provided the best view of the stage Ive had from any of the previous concerts Id attended, I was happy. The other two concerts Ive attendedCharlotte and Raleighwere both special in their own way: Charlotte because there is nothing like the first *waves to my girl pixie and mr. pixie*; Raleigh because of the hometown crowd. But Vegaswas AMAZINGthe best of the best. He was strong, powerful, totally onhe was joyful and exuberant, playful, sexy, cocky (jude has more thoughts on this, hee). He performed as if he had nothing to prove and was reveling in every moment. The sound was the best, his voice was pure and a frequent visitor to glorynote heaven. Hair and the arguably fugly outfit? Im in the could-care-less caras far as Im concerned, if hes comfortable in his own skin and whatever fashion it happens to be wearing, its fine by me. When youre withering and wilting in the laser gaze of those eyes, how can you even think about hedgehog hair or the fugly jacket? His banter gets more adorable and endearing with every showand his confidence level and stage presence is off the charts. I sobbed during The Way, partly because I am just so proud of him and love him so much and partly because it was my last show on this tour. And what a night for Clive to be in the house. I would have loved to be on the train of his thoughts that night. We all know how devastating ISY is, how sensual WDC is--even the PG13 version--but, for me, Kyrie is still one of the most exhilarating experiences of the whole show...and Invisible still rocks.
After the show, there was a party at buzzies condo, and while my jet-lag began to sneak up on me again, I enjoyed the sleepover camaraderie of a room packed full of giddy twelve-year-olds, laughing and applauding the Clay SNL rerun. A good time had by all. Especially Brandi. Hee.
I spent Sunday in the company of Nova, the recovering CTClayFan (I hope youre feeling better, sweetie), Skatejoy, Jude, donnamom, Brandi, kmh135, Corabeth, and Aurorabee. We toured some hotels on the Strip and reminiscedand I have never laughed so much! Poor Skatejoy and Corabeth were battling allergies, but youd have never known it by their witty reparteeCori, I could have talked to you all day...and Aurorabee, can I just say what a darling you are? I loved spending time with all of you and what a great day it was! In one of the casinos, we ran into the divine Clavia and Cleo and swooned over the Aiken yet again. We capped our day at the Ah Sin restaurant in the Paris hotel, hosted by the vivacious oldmoviegal with whom I wished I'd had more time to get to know...winding up in the mist of Bellagios dancing waters.
I wrapped up my wonderful Vegas adventure by spending Monday once again in the delightful company of donnamom and jude, strolling part of the Strip and some of the hotels one last time and enjoying a great lunch at the Rainforest Caf.
Ohwhat happens in Vegas stays in Vegas? Not on your life. We couldnt wait to come back to the Clackhouse to tell you all about itbecause even though you werent there, we felt like you were. And every day, several times a day, someone would say, Im having board withdrawalI cant wait to get back and catch up.
See everybody at the Second Annual Meerkat StampedeI will definitely be there!
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