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ClayManiacs.com  |  Archive  |  Jukebox Tour 2005  |  JUKEBOX TOUR MEDIA REVIEWS
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Author Topic: JUKEBOX TOUR MEDIA REVIEWS  (Read 3534 times)

Marilyn

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JUKEBOX TOUR MEDIA REVIEWS
« on: October 20, 2014, 09:10:09 PM »
 
JUKEBOX TOUR MEDIA REVIEWS

« on: July 15, 2005, 12:40:01 AM »
 


TOMS RIVERFEST


Quote
"Idol" star sings his Aiken heart out
Published in the Asbury Park Press 07/29/05
BY KELLY-JANE COTTER
MUSIC WRITER
 
Clay Aiken kicked off Toms RiverFest last night with a sprightly, "Hello, New Jersey" and a musical retrospective of the early days of rock'n'roll.

It should come as no surprise to his fans that Aiken spent a good deal of his stage time on cover material. As an alumnus of "American Idol," Aiken earned his fame charming the show's judges and viewers with his ability to put some zip into familiar songs.

Aiken is a young man with old-school appeal — a sweet smile, good manners, a cute Southern accent. No wonder he devoted a chunk of his first set to the hits of Elvis Presley.

Presley, of course, was an trailblazer, whereas Aiken is simply a wholesome pop star.

Aiken became a pop star despite not winning on "American Idol." He was runner-up to Ruben Studdard. Aiken's success — his debut, "Measure Of A Man" and his seasonal follow-up "Merry Christmas With Love," both sold well — a testament to the loyalty of "Idol" viewers.

He'd probably broaden his fan base if given the chance to stretch beyond the ultra-produced pop material expected of pop singers nowadays. Aiken also needs to treat lighthearted material more gently. His renditions of Petula Clark's "Downtown" and The Archies' "Sugar, Sugar" were too emphatic. That approach didn't harm his version of "Unchained Melody" but came across as heavy-handed on breezier songs.

Give Aiken credit for not over-romanticizing the '50s and '60s. His stage set looked like "Happy Days," with a jukebox and perky backdrop, but Aiken reminded his audience that the 1950s brought about "the Red scare" as well as the sock hop. And during the '60s, he said, Americans "fought our own demons and prejudices" through the civil rights movement. Pop music, he said, was a pleasant diversion in a time of tumultuous change.

True enough. The same could be said of the role of "American Idol" in this new century. Sure, Aiken is a made-for-TV superstar, but maybe the goofy fun of it all is a balm to viewers weary of war and terrorism.

To the teenagers and fortysomethings who cheered for Aiken and waved posters at the Pine Belt stage last night, the singer was as welcome a treat as was the sharp drop in humidity.

A note to any ticket-holders who were upset when they arrived shortly before the scheduled 8:30 p.m. show time to find Aiken already on stage: It was Aiken's decision to move up the official start time to 7:30 p.m., though he took the stage closer to 8 p.m.

Toms RiverFest continues through Sunday. Country star Keith Urban headlines tonight, followed tomorrow by "American Idol" winner Kelly Clarkson. The rock band Maroon 5 closes the festival Sunday.
©ASBURY PARK PRESS
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Marilyn

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Re: JUKEBOX TOUR MEDIA REVIEWS
« Reply #1 on: October 20, 2014, 09:13:19 PM »
« Reply #1 on: July 31, 2005, 01:03:16 PM »
 
DARIEN LAKE

Quote
Concert review: Aiken wants to be our era's Manilow
Jeff Spevak
Staff music critic

(July 31, 2005) — It was like the paint burning away from the sled to reveal the secret of "Rosebud" in the final scene of Citizen Kane. Saturday night at Darien Lake Performing Arts Center, Clay Aiken revealed his plan for complete, merciless World Domination.

Call it Operation Mandy. Sometime after the too-short intermission, Aiken actually sang the drecky 1970s hit "Mandy." Aiken wants to be the Barry Manilow of this century.

And he's well on his way, judging by the crowd of 4,600 on hand. Largely female, significantly middle-aged, with one demographic oddity: young girls, evidently caught in a pop-music warp between just having given up on the Backstreet Boys but not ready for the Gothic-punk edge of My Chemical Romance.

Aiken is a product of American Idol, a TV show that runs on equal parts mediocrity and drummed-up drama. Pushed from the nest like a downy duck, Aiken must now fill arena nights after having released only two albums. One of which is a Christmas album. And as this is still July, we weren't gonna hear any of that Saturday night.

Here's the answer: Other People's Songs. Somewhere around 50 of them, delivered in a campy chutney of medleys divided by decades.

He opened with the '50s, the stage adorned with a juke box — this is the Juke Box Tour — and his meek-sounding band playing "Twisting the Night Away." It was more imitation than re-interpretation as they did "Johnny B. Goode," "The Great Pretender," "Only You," "That'll Be the Day," "Let's Go to the Hop" and "Great Balls of Fire," with Aiken on top of a grand piano, just like Jerry Lee Lewis.

Well, not just like the Killer. More like Sha-Na-Na or a community players' sock hop. Aiken gamely tackled all of the Righteous Brothers' "Unchained Melody," doing well with the soaring Bobby Hatfield falsetto, before turning to more medleys.

Elvis songs. "Love Me Tender," "Hound Dog," "Suspicious Minds." It's a lot more fun when Elvis impersonators do them.

The '60s were boiled down to the Monkees' "Daydream Believer" and the Archies' "Sugar Sugar." The '70s were "Car Wash" and "Oh What a Night."

The Aiken '80s: "All Night Long" and "Rock With You." The '90s were Whitney Houston's "I Will Always Love You."

By the end of the night, Prince's "When Doves Cry" had been completely drained of its funk and soul.

And that, before Aiken's vision of this decade. The Clay Aiken decade, with a medley from Aiken's debut album, Measure of a Man. "I Will Carry You," "The Way" and "When You Say You Love Me." Plus a couple of new songs, a ballad called "Just You" and the up-tempo "Back For More" before he sent 'em home happy with the big hit, "Invisible."

Hits swept from the cat box of each decade. Didn't Aiken ever own a Led Zeppelin album? I'll bet this crowd would have dug him caterwauling like Robert Plant about lemon juice running all down his leg.

His fans love it. They sang along, they cheered lustily and they had a great time.

But where does the adoration come from? The sex appeal? Why are the women screaming? The guy's a nerd. He looks like he spent all four years of high school gym class being held upside down by his ankles over a toilet by the team. And we're not talking the football team. The chess team could have handled the job.


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Re: JUKEBOX TOUR MEDIA REVIEWS
« Reply #2 on: October 20, 2014, 09:17:31 PM »
« Reply #2 on: July 31, 2005, 01:10:23 PM »
 
DARIEN LAKE


Quote
Aiken admirers travel in time
By MIYOKO OHTAKE
News Staff Reviewer
7/31/2005

Who knew that Clay Aiken has such die-hard fans? Tour T-shirts adorned the screaming fans - teenage girls but also huge throngs of middle-aged women - and posters declaring love for the 2003 American Idol runner-up were plenty at his show Saturday at Six Flags Darien Lake.
Nicole Clink, 16, held her "#1 Claymate" poster high above her head. Claymate? "It's what they call his fans - it's our name," said the official Clay Aiken Fan Club member from Cortland.

Women with pink flowers on their shirts recognized each other at the event as fellow members of the Clay Trippers fan group. "We get together and have dinner before the show," said Dee Law, 41, who made the trip to the show from Erie, Pa., as the first of five she plans to attend this summer. Last year she made it to six Clay Aiken concerts.

Aiken took the audience on a trip through recent American pop music history, using a 1950s jukebox as his launching point. Making his first appearance on stage in a leather jacket, looking like the Fonz with a sock hop girl on each arm, he began with a '50s music medley and continued relentlessly in that fashion.

After an Elvis tribute - featuring snippets of "Jailhouse Rock" and "(I Can't Help) Falling in Love With You" - Aiken moved on to a '60s medley, then a '70s medley, and you guessed it, medleys from the '80s, '90s and '00s as well. The whole Jukebox Tour theme got a little out of hand.

Thankfully though, Aiken did intersperse the fast-hitting song-after-song decade anthems with some longer songs. After introducing the 1970s by saying, "there's really only one major accomplishment (from that period) - me!" he sang his rendition of Simon and Garfunkel's "Bridge Over Troubled Waters," the song that first won him fans when he performed it on "American Idol."

One of the most energetic decades Aiken portrayed was the '90s, kicking it off with Boyz II Men and Goo Goo Dolls hits, which of course the Buffalo crowd loved. Acknowledging his goofy New Kids on the Block-like outfit, the U.S. history tidbit he offered - there was one for each decade - was "They were dressing like fools and they were wearing this!"

While Aiken took breaks to give his voice a breather and change costumes, his backup-singers showed off their own musical talent, and they were more than impressive. In combination with Aiken's ability to hit and hold long notes, the vocal talent that filled the amphitheater was incredible.

Aiken grew more and more comfortable with the crowd through the night. As only the third stop on a 25-city Eastern U.S. tour, there's no way he'll be sick of performing at the end of it. After being unable to finish a verse due to his own laughter, his smile showed he loved shaking it while singing Ricky Martin's "La Vida Loca."

Unfortunately, the crowd had to wait over two hours to hear any of Aiken's own songs, including "The Way," "When You Say You Love Me," and songs from his upcoming album to be released "when it's ready," said Aiken. Granted, the young singer has released only two full-length albums, his first being "Measure of a Man" in 2003 and the second "Merry Christmas With Love," from which selections were clearly not an option.

At the concert's end, fans walked away with smiles and filled with all the Clay Aiken they could have hoped for.

©BUFFALO NEWS

 
 
 


 
 
 
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Re: JUKEBOX TOUR MEDIA REVIEWS
« Reply #3 on: October 20, 2014, 09:21:54 PM »
« Reply #3 on: August 02, 2005, 01:58:11 AM »

CHEVY AMPHITHEATER

Quote
Aiken shows 'Idol' talent

Fans plunked down more than a few quarters to hear Clay Aiken on his Jukebox Tour Sunday night at the Chevrolet Amphitheatre. And they got their money's worth.

The evening was a musical walk through the history of rock 'n' roll, beginning with the 1950s: a 12-song medley of such staples as "At the Hop," "Great Balls of Fire" and "Unchained Melody."

Representing the '60s were songs by the Beatles, Petula Clark and even the Archies, much to the delight of the multi-generational crowd who sang along and swayed to the upbeat set. Fan favorite "Solitare" brought a chorus of screams from the "Idol" fans in attendance.

A side trip to explore Motown rhythms brought "Midnight Train to Georgia," with Aiken posing as a Pip while his background singer took center stage. He shared the spotlight like this several times, without at all compromising the show since the other singers' voices matched the power and poise of his own. It was a delight to see the entire group perform the songs in a manner true to the originals and not jazz them up for the sake of showmanship.

For the '70s, Aiken delivered "Nights on Broadway" and Too Much Heaven" by the Bee Gees. The crowd roared when he performed Barry Manilow's "Mandy." If that wasn't enough, he went into "Bridge Over Troubled Water," and brought the house to its feet.

The short '80s set ended with "Sailing," and the '90s was an interesting blend of chart toppers "End of the Road," "Livin' La Vida Loca" and the wonderful surprise of "I Can't Make You Love Me."

A dark spot in the evening was sound trouble. At times, the vocals were drowned out by the music. But even plagued with feedback, Aiken graciously thanked the sound crew for their hard work.

The evening ended with Aiken's own hits from "Measure of a Man," beginning with "The Way," When You Say You Love Me" and a few new tunes he was testing out on the crowd. The final song, "Invisible," had the entire audience singing along in perfect harmony.

Aiken will perform at the Crawford County Fair, Meadville, on Aug. 20.

-- Review by Rosa Colucci,
Post-Gazette staff writer
©PITTSBURGH POST GAZETTE
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Re: JUKEBOX TOUR MEDIA REVIEWS
« Reply #4 on: October 20, 2014, 09:25:37 PM »
« Reply #4 on: August 07, 2005, 09:26:07 AM »

CHASTAIN PARK AMPHITHEATRE-ATLANTA GA

Quote
Spirit-filled 'fest
'Idol' Clay Aiken puts his faith center stage

Friday, August 05, 2005
By JOHN A. ZUKOWSKI
The Express-Times

He transformed from geek to chic in front of millions.

And now the voice over the phone seems to have changed too.

It sounded more mature and seasoned than when TV viewers saw him on "American Idol."

It was Clay Aiken, calling from Atlanta before a concert.

Aiken had just a few minutes to talk in what was likely a flurry of short phone interviews to promote an upcoming tour, which makes a stop 8:30 p.m. Wednesdayat Bethlehem's Musikfest.

The voice may be different because so much else has changed since he was a runner-up on "American Idol" in 2003.

The family friendly, openly religious Aiken has become one of pop music's most unlikely successes.

"You don't look like a pop star," Idol judge Simon Cowell famously told him.

Yep, he's more Manilow than Marilyn Manson. More Elton than Eminem. More Harry Connick Jr. than Sinatra.

But the rise of the self-proclaimed "geek" and "Mama's Boy" is one of pop music's most appealing Cinderella stories.

A chunk of that is told in the revealing autobiography "Learning to Sing: Hearing the Music in Your Life."

Not only is it a tale of overcoming bullies and naysayers, it's also a moving rise out of Southern poverty.

But it's also a story of religious faith.

His mother sometimes put religious-themed notes in his lunch when he was in middle school.

"The Lord sometimes takes us into troubled water not to drown us but to cleanse us," was one note she tossed into his lunch bag.

And there was inspiration in the Baptist and Moravian churches in North Carolina that he attended.

Outside of Pennsylvania, the largest concentration of Moravians is in North Carolina, where Aiken grew up. Aiken attended a Baptist church but for a period worshipped in Moravian churches.

Aiken ultimately returned to the Baptist church because he says it gave him more of a sense of community. But he says some of the inclusive messages in the Moravian Church stayed with him. That's something he wrote about in his book when he declared, "To me God is about love, not condemnation."

And so along the rise of his popularity he's been one of the few pop stars to talk about or display his Christianity.

When he appeared on the cover of Rolling Stone he wore a "What Would Jesus Do" bracelet. In the story inside he met a writer for dinner and prayed to himself before he ate. When an Express-Times reporter asked him last year for a favorite Bible verse, he immediately quoted Exodus 14:14: "The Lord will fight for you and you have only to keep still."

And he's been able to do what many other artists haven't been able to do -- which is being accepted by both Christian and secular media.

A group of Christian Web sites are devoted to him. He's been profiled in some Christian publications. He's also well-known for playing a few spiritual-tinged songs at his concerts.

But when Aiken, 26, performs at Musikfest he'll be somewhat of a human jukebox.

In addition to some trademark songs, such as "Solitaire" and "Bridge Over Troubled Water," and songs from his album "Measure of a Man," he'll perform medleys of songs from the 1950s to the present.

That means Aiken will perform snatches of songs such as Elvis' "Love Me Tender," the Beatles' "Can't Buy Me Love" and the disco anthem "Car Wash."

How did that come about?

From thinking about going back to some places he toured last year, he says.

"We were at Musikfest last year and we couldn't come back and do the same thing," he says. "A friend of mine did a review of songs from the 1960s and I thought that was a neat idea. But when I couldn't decide between the 1950s or '60s or '70s, I just decided to do them all."

He's reportedly been performing part of the Heart song "Alone," which last season's "American Idol" winner Carrie Underwood did a show-stopping version of. But that couldn't be the reason Aiken is singing it, because he didn't watch the "American Idol" contest this year.

Aiken was touring tsunami-struck areas in Asia with the organization UNICEF when "American Idol" was airing. He's also been busy with his charity organization, the Bubel/Aiken Foundation, named after an autistic boy he knew when he was studying to teach special education at the University of North Carolina.

So what does he get out of UNICEF and his nonprofit group that he doesn't get from singing?

It's a chance for him in some way to continue his pre-singing goal of teaching, he says.

And something more.

"When people are screaming at you on stage it's a kind of selfish fulfillment, that's the only way I can think of to describe it," he says. "Who doesn't want to have people love and enjoy what they do? But there's only so much you can get from people telling you how wonderful you are.

"There's a completely different satisfaction in learning what there is to do to help other people. I don't feel like my trip to Uganda is going to greatly change the situation there. But even if it's a small change it was worth it."

Aiken's trip to the African country with UNICEF was actually somewhat dangerous.

Aiken visited UNICEF shelters where children take refuge to avoid being abducted by a rebel army. The army regularly kidnaps children to be forced to either serve in the military or become sex slaves. That's displaced more than a million people.

He considers a question about whether he does things like that because it's part of his faith. Anyone can do it, he says.

"I feel everybody has a purpose on Earth and God has given each person a gift to improve the surroundings they're in once they've discovered what that gift is," he adds. "So each person's purpose is for the glory of God and to better our surroundings."

He's often mentioned his ability to sing as a gift. And he seems reflective about what it's done for him.

"I look at this gift as a stepping stone, or trait if you will, that I can use to ultimately better things," he says. "I think the entertainment career in many ways enables me to do more important things."

Despite his enormous popularity, the entertainment world is something some published reports say Aiken sometimes has trouble adapting to.

He doesn't drink or smoke. He reportedly has never said the F-word in his entire life. He also mentioned in his book how embarrassed he was bringing his mother to an awards show with sex jokes and obscene language.

So how does he stay away from the temptations that come along with that fame?

"It depends who you surround yourself with," he says.

After formerly being around people who were just career and money-oriented, he's found other people and friends that are supportive, he says. Then he pauses and apologizes for "not being very quotable about it."

In a recent TV Guide cover story, Aiken seemed homesick for his native North Carolina -- he has a home in Los Angeles -- and sounded somewhat disillusioned about some aspects of the entertainment business.

So perhaps it's a struggle he's still fighting.

But Aiken turns more definite when it comes to whether he considers himself a role model.

He does.

"When I stand out and look from the stage I see families and a lot of kids out there and that's a big thing for me," he says. "I always thought I was going to spend my life working with kids in some way. I know I'm not a teacher when I'm onstage. But whether you're singing or dancing or acting, I think you have a responsibility."

Without mentioning any names, he seems to feel strongly about entertainers who don't feel that way.

"I don't think everybody has the responsibility and delicateness it requires," he says. "When you're doing a job like this, being a role model is something that comes with it. Kids, teenagers, even adults look up to you. If you choose to put something out there that's not necessarily the best image or being a good role model, that's your choice."

He says that in a tone of maturity and experience.

And then he's gone, on to another interview.

©NJ.COM - EXPRESS TIMES

LINK NO LONGER WORKS

« Last Edit: October 20, 2014, 09:34:59 PM by Marilyn »
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Re: JUKEBOX TOUR MEDIA REVIEWS
« Reply #5 on: October 20, 2014, 09:36:42 PM »
 
Re: JUKEBOX TOUR MEDIA REVIEWS

« Reply #5 on: August 09, 2005, 11:29:13 AM »

CARY

Quote
Aiken takes fans through time

By Stacy Peterson
Staff writer

CARY - The '50s era jukebox center stage said it all.

Clay Aiken was back home and ready to take his die-hard fans on a journey back through the radio hits from the '50s til today.

On Friday night, he did just that with songs from The Four Tops to the Goo Goo Dolls.

For more than two hours, Aiken's summer homecoming show at the Koka Booth Amphitheatre at Regency Park, was a little bit of everything for the capacity crowd of 7,000, many of which traveled from states around.

Between songs, Aiken spoke several times about being back home, pointing out that his mother was seated on the front row and that he forgot how a Carolina August could be so hot.

"I'm sweating like Ruben," Aiken said, referring to fellow "American Idol" contestant and winner Ruben Studdard. "You would think for a homecoming it would be cooler."

Aiken's concert was divided into decades, the '50s, '60s, '70s, '80's, '90s and today.

For each decade, a different backdrop set the mood with a different style of jukebox, lettering and hints of things that were in style then.

Aiken, his back-up band of six musicians and three singers, also dressed in the style of the decade.

I'll use the word dancing liberally. But hey, Aiken is trying.

The show felt like a combination TV variety show and a Branson-style show-for-everyone.

It also provided a creative outlet for Aiken's sense of humor and quick wit.

Once, in the middle of another thought, Aiken looked down at the first two rows, looking for a fan to bring on stage.

"What could you possibly be looking at with binoculars from the second row?" he asked.

But it was his vocal performance that showed why fans love Clay Aiken so much.

He hit those famous high notes and held on to them for what seemed like a minute in each song. He was joined by an impressive group of singers who also took turns with songs from the years that Aiken felt they could do a better job with such hits as "Rock With You" by Michael Jackson and "I Will Always Love You" in the way that Whitney Houston made the song famous.

For Rod Edwards, seeing Aiken perform was nothing new.

Edwards, who performed with Aiken in the late 1990s as a member of a house band for local community college performances, saw Aiken's magic years ago. He also played with Just By Chance, a four-man vocal group that included Aiken.

Back then Edwards and others in the variety show band would audition young singers who wanted to gain experience in front of small crowds.

Edwards said he knew from the beginning that Aiken had something special.

"He hit those high notes and would hold it, and it just raised people to their feet," Edwards said as he waited for the concert to start.

That happened several times Friday night.

You could hear a pin drop between lines of "Unchained Melody" as the crowd hung on to every note.

Aiken channeled a slightly higher-pitched voice of Elvis in "Love Me Tender" before tackling a full-on version of "Suspicious Minds."

He brought out "I'll Be There," "Happy Together," "Car Wash," "All Night Long," a gospel intro version of "When Doves Cry" and even Ricky Martin's "Livin' la Vida Loca" just to name a few.

That last song might have been a mistake. Vocally Aiken sounded fine, but he actually tried to swing his hips like Martin. This didn't work.

One particularly strong moment came during Aiken's version of Barry Manilow's "Mandy." You could tell that Aiken really loves this song.

The only downside to the show was that most songs were medleys, which means only parts of the song.

I understand that he wanted to pack as many hit songs in as he could, but it got tiresome not hearing the full song.

On the upside, Aiken did debut new material from his upcoming album. The song "Back For More" sounds much better than his material on "Measure of A Man" and should introduce us to a whole new Aiken.

Not that his fans are not happy with the old Aiken.

Staff writer Stacy Peterson can be reached at petersons@fayettevillenc.com or 323-4848, ext. 384.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Copyright 2004 The Fayetteville (N.C.) Observer (www.fayettevillenc.com)

  ©FAYETTEVILLE OBSERVER

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Re: JUKEBOX TOUR MEDIA REVIEWS
« Reply #6 on: October 20, 2014, 09:40:13 PM »
« Reply #6 on: August 10, 2005, 08:45:13 AM »
 

WOLF TRAP


Quote
Aiken, Lounging at Wolf Trap
Wednesday, August 10, 2005; Page C07

Who says girls love bad boys? Certainly not the women who filled Wolf Trap on Monday -- paying ticket prices higher than for any other pop, rock or country singer scheduled to appear at the amphitheater this season. They love Clay Aiken.

And while his voice is polished and he moves about the stage quite comfortably, there's nothing about his new road show, tabbed "The Jukebox Tour," that will convert the nonbelievers, those who didn't cheer when he finished second in the 2003 season of "American Idol," nor swoon when his first post-"Idol" single and two full-length CDs hit No. 1.

Aiken put on the sort of show a wedding singer might if given a big budget. The set list was made up of two hours of really famous cover songs -- it included the longest Elvis medley seen outside of a Las Vegas lounge -- capped off by a handful of tunes from his own, thin discography. Tunes from the Beatles ("Can't Buy Me Love"), Frankie Valli ("December 1963") and Ricky Martin ("Livin' la Vida Loca") were broken up by decade and delivered chronologically from oldest to newest.

Aiken, in between period-specific costume changes, sang mainly abridged versions. One of the few songs that the singer, fronting a seven-piece combo, didn't give short shrift to was "Mandy," the pop gem from Barry Manilow, a founding father of the asexual heartthrob realm that Aiken now rules.

As a good wedding singer would, Aiken had the crowd dancing and singing along with every familiar tune. And just as "Idol" contestants get caught up in nonmusical subplots as the season goes on, Aiken let the fans in on a behind-the-tour soap opera. He alluded to romantic and sexual advances a backup singer, Angela Fisher, had been making toward him, then made a big point of telling her to back off, and bragging with an odd cackle that he'd "shot her down!"

Dave McKenna

WASHINGTON POST
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Re: JUKEBOX TOUR MEDIA REVIEWS
« Reply #7 on: October 20, 2014, 09:42:50 PM »
« Reply #7 on: August 11, 2005, 09:03:39 AM »


MUSIKFEST


Quote
Aiken Leaves Crowd Aching For More

Thursday, August 11, 2005
By SUSAN KALAN
The Express-Times

At Musikfest's RiverPlace stage Wednesday night, "American Idol" runner-up Clay Aiken reached back to last year's hit performance for songs to open this year's concert. They were songs from his double platinum album, ''Measure of a Man."

This year Aiken put the platinum numbers at the end of the show before an audience that numbered 4,800 -- 1,700 fewer than in 2004.

On Wednesday, 8-year-old fan Emily Liros, of Bethlehem, gave her opinion of Aiken, and it might not have had anything to do with music.

"He's hot!" Liros said.

Prior to his performance, Aiken announced to the news media this year's show would be "simple."

It was.

No glitz. No fancy light show. Instead, his musicians casually strolled onstage and placed coins in a colorfully lit jukebox at center stage. The sound of the record repeated as if broken and they walked away.

The jukebox then rolled back and two female backup singers wearing short-sleeved blouses and poodle skirts escorted Aiken down a set of stairs.

The idol himself was dressed in a white shirt, a black leather jacket and black slacks. His spiked, blond hair of the past was now a reddish brown -- sophistication replaced by innocence.

He took off with a medley of the 50s, including "Twistin' the Night Away'', "The Great Pretender" and "Only You," and stood on the piano for "Great Balls of Fire" and "Rock 'n' Roll is Here to Stay."

The show's format was more like a musical retrospective with hits by Elvis Presley, Motown stars and The Beatles. Aiken called it "a journey" for his audience, adding that he chose the "most best and fun songs" for the tour.

His audience absolutely loved the high notes of "Unchained Melody," "Suspicious Minds," and "Solitaire."

The 26-year-old native of Raleigh, N.C., seemed a cool character in this, the fifth tour of his career and that coolness connected with his audience.
©NJ.COM

 

 
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Re: JUKEBOX TOUR MEDIA REVIEWS
« Reply #8 on: October 20, 2014, 09:45:50 PM »

« Reply #8 on: August 11, 2005, 10:51:51 AM »
 
REGENCY PARK CARY NC

Quote
Clay-mazing show for faithful fans

By WENDY LEMUS, STAFF WRITER
August 11, 2005

Friends Jackie MacFarlane and Katie Canning came a long way to see Clay Aiken's sold-out show at the Koka Booth Amphitheatre at Regency Park on Friday night.
So, with general admission tickets in hand, they weren't going to risk sitting on the far reaches of the lawn. The New Jerseyian and Canadian, respectively, were the second and third people to arrive at the gate — at about 10 a.m. — a full 10 hours before the concert.

The friends met through a chat room devoted to their mutual idol, and decided to follow the Raleigh singer's Jukebox Summer Tour — from New Jersey, to New York City, then to Darien Lake, N.Y., and Cary.

"It's like a reunion," said Canning, 18.

Albeit a hot and sticky one. Concertgoers who lined up early for the 8 p.m. show endured sun, humidity and temperatures in the 90s. Some held umbrellas, or waved fans bearing the idol's picture on them, to keep cool.

When the gates opened at 6 p.m., some 7,000 ticketholders streamed into the amphitheater. (The final few tickets were sold a couple hours before showtime.)

Many fans wore signs proclaiming their fan status — T-shirts reading "Jukebox Summer Tour," "Clay Aiken Official Fan Club Member," "Ultimate Claymate" and even "The Future Mrs. Aiken."

"Just the thought of seeing him is so, like, awesome," said 15-year-old Lizzy Phillips of Fayetteville, who shrieked when a nearby group of binoculars-holding concertgoers spotted the singer doing a pre-concert meet-and-greet in the backstage area with some lucky fans.

If the 26-year-old Aiken has come a long way in terms of image from his famous red sideburns-and-geeky-glasses "American Idol" television show audition in 2003, audience members say he certainly has grown as a performer too.

Many in his female-heavy fan base have seen Aiken in concert multiple times in the two short years since he hit the touring circuit.

"He's so much more confident," said MacFarlane, 18. "He has improved drastically. He seems like he's enjoying himself so much.

"I can't believe it's the same Clay that walked into that audition."

Aiken has one full-length album to his name, not including a Christmas song collection. Obviously that means he has to find other material to entertain fans lining up to see him in concert.

With the Jukebox Summer Tour, he made some bold choices. Who dares take on the King of Rock ‘N' Roll other than an Elvis impersonator?

In a 25-city tour that celebrates five decades of rock ‘n' roll, Aiken could not have left out Presley.

Performing for more than two hours, he belted out some of the last few decades' best-known songs — made popular by the Bee Gees, Prince and Marvin Gaye to name a few.

He has proved — Randy, Paula and Simon, take note — that it is not the song choice that matters.

It is the voice. And he can sing. He is at his best when he does powerful ballads, and there were plenty of those Friday night.

Aiken and three highly energetic backup singers — who also had a chance to show off their vocals with some solos — started in the 1950s with an old time rock ‘n' roll medley of standards such as "The Twist" and "Great Balls of Fire."

An Elvis medley included "Love Me Tender," "Hound Dog" and "Heartbreak Hotel."

A trip through the '60s included "Solitaire," a Neil Sedaka song that impressed the "American Idol" judges and which Aiken later recorded as a CD single.

Then it was on to Motown and kitschy dance steps reminiscent of The Temptations and The Four Tops.

Just before a break, Aiken headed into the reserved-seat section near the stage, microphone in hand, joking, "I know there's some men who were tied to the roof of the car and dragged here tonight. We need somebody who's just miserable."

Guess he knows who is making him rich.

Victim found. During the second half of the show the man was pulled onstage for backup dancing to a collection of '70s hits, which Aiken followed with two popular ballads from that decade: Barry Manilow's "Mandy" and Simon & Garfunkel's "Bridge Over Troubled Water."

Probably Aiken's biggest stretch of the evening was a rendition of Prince's "When Doves Cry." He did not sound a bit like Prince. The performance was, however, spine-tingling. He made the song his own. The "American Idol" judges would be proud.

The show finished with some selections from the new millennium — from Aiken's 2003 "Measure of a Man" CD and with a glimpse of a new CD he is working on.

Then the jukebox turned off (yes, there was a real jukebox on stage), the stage lights dimmed and there was no need for an encore. The sweat-inducing show had included 60-plus songs, in full or part.

Patty Allen of Wake Forest, who attended the concert with her 14-year-old daughter Kate, said the concert was like a trip down memory lane.

And Aiken's performance? In a word, "awesome," Allen said.

The show turned out even better than MacFarlane and Canning had expected; at the 11th hour some reserved-seat tickets had opened for sale and they ditched their general admission tickets for fourth row.

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Re: JUKEBOX TOUR MEDIA REVIEWS
« Reply #9 on: October 20, 2014, 09:53:53 PM »

 Reply #9 on: August 14, 2005, 10:17:48 AM »
 
CARY

Quote
From Concertgoer Reports

CARY -- Clay Nation was content Friday night. The citizens were hot and couldn't buy a breeze, but Clay Aiken's Jukebox Summer Tour made happy campers out of the 7,000 or so people at Koka Booth Amphitheatre at Regency Park.
The songlist spanned '50s to the present -- from "Twisting the Night Away" to "Invisible" is how fan Pamela Broadwell described it -- and included songs that concertgoers expect to hear on his next album.

We asked concertgoers to post their comments on a forum at www.newsobserver.com. Those who responded were all but unanimous in saying that the adored singer from Raleigh delivered the music, the moves and the charm the expected.

Here's a sampling:

* Kay Hester of Raleigh: "I have attended all of Clay's concerts, and each one gets better than the one before. It's so obvious that Clay is maturing in his performance, and he keeps that wonderful ability to connect with his audience."

* Hannah Wolfe of Hillsborough: "He always finds a way to connect with his crowd, and he never ceases to amaze! His dorky dance moves and quirky comments ('I'm sweating like Ruben tonight!') definitely added to the evening."

* Annette Brantley of Middlesex: "He is a beautiful man with a beautiful voice. Even my husband, who is not a major Clay-maniac like me, was clapping and screaming. We thoroughly enjoyed every second of the show."

* Nicole Androsiglio of Raleigh: "I really love his jokes. I liked when he was making Angela, Quiana and Jacob dance and he said, 'I get to make them do whatever i want, cause MY name's on the ticket.' ... I do get a tad bit jealous when Angela and Clay start dancing. She starts touching his hair and pulling his shirt. Then her and Quiana start rubbing his stomach. Could they get any more lucky?' "

* Mike Smith of Raleigh: "It's admirable that he is so generous to his backup singers, but I imagine they sang 25 percent of the tunes. We were there to hear Clay sing. He is a refreshing counterpoint to most of the sleazy stuff that our kids are force-fed, and we will continue to be fans, but this concert was tedious."

* Jessica Woltz of Apex. "It was great to get a taste of his new album. (I am already addicted to the new song.)"

* Aubrey Templeton of Goldsboro: "Clay was totally working the stage, and he didn't miss a beat. He was perfect, and all his performances were so much fun. I got a kick out of watching the security guys boogying to Clay, too. ... I LOVED watching Clay dance (And yes, Clay, you CAN dance!) and just really getting into it all."

* Jen Baucom of Durham. "Grannies bumped shoulders with moms who cheered and sang along with their daughters (and some husbands!) ... a great crowd of very enthusiastic Clayniacs. Clay's backup singers were, as usual, fantastic, and watching him banter with them on stage was fun. The show left us with big smiles on our faces!"

* Neva Miller of Apex: "Who else could sing Elvis, Earth, Wind & Fire, Lionel Richie, Barry Manilow, and Prince -- and sound better than the artists themselves?"

* Pamela Broadwell of Clayton: "Who else would channel Elvis one minute and the Monkees the next? Who else would have the temerity to sing the Archies and Simon and Garfunkel in the same show? Name one other singer who would dare to sing the sweet Christopher Cross ballad 'Sailing' and then follow it with MC Hammer? ... When I spend my hard-earned money on a concert ticket, I want to be entertained, to feel something, to laugh and have a good time. I was, I did, and I can't wait to do it again."
©RALEIGH (NC) NEWS & OBSERVER

 
 
 
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Re: JUKEBOX TOUR MEDIA REVIEWS
« Reply #10 on: October 26, 2014, 10:19:47 AM »
« Reply #10 on: August 14, 2005, 10:21:34 AM »
 
GREENVILLE


Quote
Audience is "Clay" in Aiken's Hands
Singer won second place on ‘Idol,’ but first place with fans

COMMENTARY
By Andy Dehnart
MSNBC contributor
Updated: 6:23 p.m. ET Aug. 9, 2005

Less than a week after kicking off his 25-city “Jukebox Tour,” Clay Aiken performed in Greenville, South Carolina. After performing an energetic review of hits from the ‘50s, ‘60s, ‘70s, ‘80s, and ‘90s, he concluded with a few original songs, including “When You Say You Love Me,” which was on his first album, “Measure of a Man.”

As he began to sing, he stumbled, arriving at the wrong words at the wrong time. The music kept playing but Clay turned to the singers on stage with him and said, “That’s the third night in a row!” He laughed. “I don’t know the words to this song!” Then Clay pretended to sulk off stage, letting one of his back-up singers take over, but he quickly came back to give it another try.

Then, in the front of the Peace Center’s auditorium, near stage left, a fan held up a sign. But she wasn’t proclaiming her love for Clay; instead, she was offering assistance. “Are those the cue cards for that song?” he asked, walking over toward her. In her hands were, in fact, homemade cue cards with the lyrics to “When You Say You Love Me.” Having known of his tendency on this barely week-old tour to have trouble with the song, someone had constructed cue cards to help him out and passed them to the front of the auditorium. His fans knew he was going to mess up before he did.

“Although I feel completely, miserably embarrassed, I’m going to try to continue, if that’s okay,” Clay said. Then he asked, with mock incredulity, “How do you know I’m going to do the same ones I did last night?”

That’s a good question, but there’s an easy answer: Clay Aiken may have been the runner-up on “American Idol 2,” but two years after he lost that competition, he has become the single most successful and popular reality TV show contestant ever. No other reality TV stars—and few stars of any other origin—have managed to build a fan base like that at the Peace Center last Wednesday. Other reality show participants have recognizable names (such as Omarosa, Richard Hatch), and others have gone on to successful careers (like Clay’s “Idol” predecessor Kelly Clarkson, for example), but Clay has an audience like no other.

Even though Clay lost “Idol,” he easily outsold winner Ruben Studdard in both singles and albums, and his debut record landed at number one upon its release. His fans are obsessively devoted to both Clay and his art, going online to discuss his music and his charity work (as a UNICEF ambassador, among other things).

There’s even a Clay Aiken credit card, which can be used to buy everything from a Clay Aiken bucket hat to a Clay Aiken thong.

Play that not-so-funky music, skinny white boy

Why exactly is this “skinny white boy,” as Clay described himself in Greenville, such a sensation? I went to Greenville to try to find out. What has inspired the rabid devotion that characterizes Claymates, as his fans are known? What sort of performance causes fans to attend concert after concert on the same tour?

Although a single concert just skims the surface of the phenomenon, from the moment Clay strutted out on-stage arm-in-arm with his back-up singers, the audience was, well, clay in Clay’s hands.

Before the concert began, I asked a fan sitting in front of me to explain, in a sentence, why so many people loved Clay Aiken. “We came for the music, but we stayed for the man,” she said.

This enthusiasm for both Clay and his art didn’t subside the entire evening. Throughout the two-and-a-half-hour show, the audience stood up (during the fast songs) and sat down (when Clay was telling a story or singing a slower song). Waves of energy rippled throughout the auditorium as he performed medleys of well-known hits from the past half-century, more than capably tackling covers of songs by everyone from Elvis to Prince.

As Clay moved on stage, camera flashes strobed constantly, and tiny images of the stage were visible on dozens of video cameras’ view screens. Some fans stood with cell phones open, broadcasting the concert to others around the country, who transcribed it online for the benefit of other fans. The audience cheered wildly when Clay accompanied himself on piano, because, someone quickly told me, he was just learning to play.

Everyone who’s heard him knows that Clay can sing. But on stage, Clay is also energetic, humble, and awkward. He mixes self-depreciation with a dose of pretend, over-exaggerated ego, and genuinely appears to be having a great time interacting with his audience and his band. Far more experienced performers would have been thrown off after forgetting words to a song, but it didn’t really phase Clay at all; in fact, he embraced it. His personality and persona are as much a part of his performance as his music.

During the performance, Angela Fisher and Quiana Parler sang back-up for him throughout the evening, but the phrase “back-up singer” doesn’t really apply to either one. Clay literally shared the stage with them, as they performed their own solos as he stepped aside.

His gawkiness is especially endearing. Clay may be able to sing exceptionally well, but his on-stage talent drops off rapidly after that. Primarily, he dances like a wooden puppet on a stick.

But every time he’d awkwardly attempt a dance move, or just attempt to move a body part, screams would ripple through the crowd. And he played along, giving them more of what they wanted.

Watching Clay and his audience interact was revealing, but in many ways, the concert seems to be just the public side of his popularity. Fans gather online and in person, and have two and a half years of history with Clay; I don't know if I'll ever fully be able to see the Clay phenomenon in exactly the same way they do. But the performance made it clear that, in this era of manufactured pop, where top-40 music is constructed for the benefit of the audience by marketers and radio station conglomerates, Clay Aiken's fans believe they have found something real. That's ironic since Clay Aiken, the phenomenon, was born of "American Idol," which, with its narrow focus and snap judgments, is a televised look inside the machine that produces our entertainers.

At the same time, Clay’s fans were introduced to him and his music and saw him work his way up throughout the competition. His talent and his personality are genuine, or at least appear to be, because we’ve watched him grow along the way. Clay Aiken may be a product of the "American Idol" factory, but to some degree, what went in is what came out, and that’s just the way his fans like it.

Andy Dehnart is a writer and teacher who publishes reality blurred, a daily summary of reality TV news.

 

 
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Re: JUKEBOX TOUR MEDIA REVIEWS
« Reply #11 on: October 26, 2014, 10:25:17 AM »
« Reply #11 on: August 14, 2005, 10:24:14 AM »
 
CARY


Quote
Are People Still Aching for Clay?
By Jimmy Gibbs

"Do you want to be my Claymate?" I read from the back of a T-shirt at last Friday's Clay Aiken concert at Regency Park Amphitheatre in Cary. It was one of many signs and other T-shirts from Aiken fans across the state and beyond. I was on a mission to find Clay's most devoted fans--and I found her. It was 89-year-old Ginny Boyton, who will be 90 on Christmas Eve. She was accompanied by her friends, including Brenda Richardson and Betty Black.

"We just love him. I am definitely a Claymate," exclaimed Boyton with a big smile and her hands clasped in the air. Ann Lauer and her houseguests from Boston had reserved seats and have attended at least four Aiken concerts. "It's wonderful supporting a local man who happens to have a gorgeous voice."

I met Sallie Williams and Hilary Wathern just as the concert was beginning, and Wathern told me that not only did Aiken invite her to the New Year's Eve blast sponsored by MTV last year, but she currently works with Aiken's summer Camp Gonzo for special needs and disabled children. Gonzo is the Sesame Street character known for overcoming the challenges of his disabilities.

Then, I bumped into Vicki and Jackie Reis from Cary. This mother and daughter team were preparing to settle in for the evening concert. Vicki works in the same office building as Aiken's mother, but the only tidbit I learned was that the designer in the office actually did the floral arrangements for Aiken's home in L.A.

Although the concert was billed as a sell-out on the Regency Park Web site, there were seats released early in the evening. Is Clay played out here in his home state? Well, after listening to his concert, a compilation of melodies from the 1950s to the present, I see his voice blending nicely into the lights of Broadway in the years to come. At times his voice appeared to be strained in the upper range, though his falsetto was strong and pure. My advice to Aiken is to relax, have fun and enjoy the bright lights now before our Idol becomes Idle. That would be a huge disappointment to all of his fans.

A surprise highlight of the show was Wake county native Kyler England, a graduate of Enloe High School and N.C. State. She now lives in L.A. after stints in Boston and New York, and performed during the pre-Aiken show with most of her own original music. She will be the final concert at Cary's Six String Cafe on Aug. 25-26 at 8 p.m. That'll truly be one "seen" that I won't miss.

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Re: JUKEBOX TOUR MEDIA REVIEWS
« Reply #12 on: October 26, 2014, 10:28:39 AM »
« Reply #12 on: August 14, 2005, 10:28:15 AM »
 

TOMS RIVERFEST


Quote
Aiken Puts On Fun-FIlled Show in Toms River

Looking around the crowd was a little like going to a family reunion. There were fans of all ages — from tots to teens to grandmothers — and everyone seemed to know each other.   
 
By SHANNA KELLER
CORRESPONDENT

If anyone hasn't seen Clay Aiken since his "American Idol" days, they're in for a big surprise. As he showed New Jersey on July 28 when he kicked off his summer Jukebox Tour at Toms River High School (part of the Toms Riverfest), he's not afraid to move around the stage and show off his vivacious personality while performing.

Looking around the crowd was a little like going to a family reunion. There were fans of all ages — from tots to teens to grandmothers — and everyone seemed to know each other. There was no hesitation to strike up a conversation with a complete stranger because there was always a common thread: being an Aiken fan.

A frequent sight among the throngs of "Claymates" was a cell phone in hand during the concert in order to "cellcert" friends who were not able to attend the show. By keeping a phone on during the performance, the person on the other end of the line could enjoy listening to the music as well.

Aiken's songlist was as diverse as his audience. Starting with the '50s, he treated fans to songs representing each decade — moving from energetic crowd-pleasers such as Sam Cooke's "Twistin' the Night Away" and Bobby Day's "Rockin' Robin" to slower ballads such as The Platters' "Only You (And You Alone)" and "The Great Pretender."

Aiken later dedicated a portion of his show to the king of rock 'n' roll, leaping atop the piano and doing Presley's songs as he sang his heart out to hits such as "Jailhouse Rock," "Heartbreak Hotel," "Hound Dog," "Love Me Tender" and "Suspicious Minds."

Performing such well-known songs may have been overwhelming to some, but he managed to pull them off with ease, exuding confidence as he displayed powerful and rich vocals.

The '70s and '80s also brought a great variety, such as Barry Manilow's "Mandy," Simon and Garfunkel's "Bridge Over Troubled Water" and Prince's "When Doves Cry."

Although he preferred the selection of songs from earlier days, when the show reached the '90s, Aiken still managed to wow the audience with his lively renditions of the Goo Goo Dolls' hit "Iris" and Ricky Martin's "Livin' La Vida Loca," among others.

This decade provided the opportunity to revisit Aiken's debut CD, "Measure of a Man." He sang "I Will Carry You," "The Way," "When You Say You Love Me," and then debuted two songs: "Back For More" and "Just You."

The new songs brought the crowd to its feet, and then Aiken topped it off with an explosive rendition of his signature hit, "Invisible."

Between songs and medleys, Clay's interaction with the audience, banter with his band and informative introductions gave a personal aspect to the performance. His back-up singers were frequently showcased, as some of the highlights of the show were Quiana Parlor's outstanding rendition of Whitney Houston's "I Will Always Love You" and Jacob Luttrell's solos on saxophone and vocals. The ensemble meshed well — and their personalities and talents complemented each other perfectly.

Regardless of age or background, anyone could find at least a few songs to sing along to and have a blast during this fun-filled, feel-good show.

Teen Scene correspondent Shanna Keller, 19, of East Brunswick will be a sophomore at Rutgers University.

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Re: JUKEBOX TOUR MEDIA REVIEWS
« Reply #13 on: October 26, 2014, 10:31:13 AM »

« Reply #13 on: August 14, 2005, 10:33:40 AM »
 
MUSIKFEST


Quote
Clay Aiken Strikes Up the Oldies
His 'Jukebox Tour' at Musikfest draws a crowd of 4,800.

By Keith Groller
Of The Morning Call

Visit Hersheypark, Busch Gardens, Disney or any amusement park in America and chances are you'll pass by a stage with young people jumping around, changing costumes and singing hits from other eras.

That, in a nutshell, is what Clay Aiken and ensemble did for nearly two hours during his ''Jukebox Tour'' show Wednesday night at Musikfest's RiverPlace stage.

But even though Aiken didn't do any of his own material until the final 20 minutes of his performance, his frenzied fans — and there were 4,800 of them in full throat — didn't care.

The runner-up in 2003 version of ''American Idol'' continues to possess what his female fan base, the Claymates, crave — a cute face, an easygoing, sometimes awkward but always humble demeanor and a powerful voice.

He may never be a consistent chart-topper like Idol's first winner, Kelly Clarkson, but Aiken's new tour showcases the kind of versatility that could eventually nab him long-running gigs on Broadway or the Vegas strip.

There's just something about him that girls — ages 8 to 80 — adore.

His musical journey through the past five decades of pop hits — from Elvis to Boyz 2 Men — clearly pleased the crowd.

The show opened with Aiken in a leather jacket singing 1950s favorites such as ''Johnny B. Goode,'' ''At the Hop'' and ''That'll Be the Day.''

His Elvis medley drew a laugh when he hit the wrong key at the piano on ''Can't Help Falling in Love.'' Aiken is still learning to play the piano and gave ample warning when, after listing the late Presley's feats, he said, ''And now I'm about to ruin his music.''

Actually, Aiken did The King justice, especially with his own phrasing on ''Suspicious Minds.''

Moving into the 1960s, Aiken delivered the Monkees' ''Daydream Believer'' and deftly handled a Motown medley. He even played a Pip on Gladys Knight's ''Midnight Train to Georgia.''

But it wasn't until after a 20-minute intermission that Aiken found his niche with ballads such as Barry Manilow's ''Mandy,'' Christopher Cross' ''Sailing'' and Simon and Garfunkel's ''Bridge Over Troubled Water.''

You could almost hear sugary Idol judge Paula Abdul coo, ''Clay, you made great song choices and made each song your own.''

Aiken was allowed to catch his breath and let members of his talented ensemble — Angela Fisher, Quiana Parler and Jacob Latrell — showcase themselves.

Finally, Aiken delivered some of his own songs, such as ''When You Say You Love Me,'' and even tried out some yet-to-be-released songs from an upcoming album.

He closed with his hit ''Invisible.'' But considering the intensity of the affection, it's hard to imagine him becoming invisible any time soon.

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Re: JUKEBOX TOUR MEDIA REVIEWS
« Reply #14 on: October 26, 2014, 10:33:35 AM »
« Reply #14 on: August 14, 2005, 11:22:43 PM »
 

WOLF TRAP



Quote
Clay Aiken  Rocks Wolftrap Ampitheater August 8, 2005 during his Summer  JukeBox Tour   
Staff Writer: Mary Ann Everett   
 
Take one spectacular venue on a rainy, hot summer night. Add 7000 Clay Aiken fans and you will have a mix that is sure to “Clayvert” the season ticket holders. That certainly was the case Monday night at The Wolftrap in Vienna, Virginia. Clay and his crew packed the two plus hour show with so many great tunes I can’t remember them all. Tunes from the past 50 years took the audience on a trip down memory lane before catapulting them into the future by rocking the house with “Back for More”, a strong contender from his next album.

Despite the heat and cumbersome attire, including black leather and polyester, Aiken’s voice ranged from “Love Me Tender” sweet to “When Doves Cry” seductive. At a few points in the show I thought the vocals were somewhat overpowered by the crashing drums but the purity of his voice was quite poignant during the 60’s medley of “Daydream Believer”, “Sugar-Sugar” and “Downtown”. The medley’s moved quickly as did Aiken from atop a Baldwin grand piano belting out “Great Balls of Fire”. The audience enjoyed his full versions of such chart-toppers as “Unchained Melody”, “Solitaire”, “Bridge over Troubled Waters” and “Mandy.” Manilow would be proud. Clay has obviously been working on his dance moves as evidenced by his fancy foot work while posing as a “pip” on the “Midnight Train to Georgia.” and his hip swivels during the Elvis Medley. (I thought Grease was cute)

I believe his rendition of “Suspicious Minds” would have been lauded by “The King” himself. He chose to leave the Michael Jackson moves to his back up singer, Jacob Luttrell. How-ever, it should be noted that Aiken’s backup singers are on the stage for far more than vocal support. All three are quite talented and are an integral part of the show. Quiana Parler earned her own standing “O” with her powerful rendition of “I Will Always Love You.” Move over Whitney. With this being the fourth tour for this foursome, it seems that they have “bonded”, so to speak. It also seems that Mr. Aiken chose this show to possibly repay Ms. Fischer for some past misdeed. Throughout the evening, she was the target of his jokes and mischievous looks. He acknowledged their behavior to the audience by explaining that Ms. Fischer had crush on him and he had let her down easy. 

From the enthusiasm of the fans and abundance of Clay-related regalia, it is apparent that Ms. Fischer is not the only one enamored by Mr. Aiken. Even though he has sung his new song, “Back for More” only a few times since the tour started, his devoted fans had no trouble singing along word for word. As they said back in the day, “The joint was jumping”. The song has a great “hook” and if the passion for it at Wolftrap is any indication of it’s mass effect, DJ’s will be spinning it every hour on the hour. His other new song entitled “1000 Days” is a typical Aiken ballad but has potential as well. For those wondering, Aiken says the new album will be out “when it’s ready”, apparently a joke among anxious fans.

This highly energized show was a treat for all in attendance, even those with lawn seats at the bottom of the hill. Despite white caps lapping at their backs from the run-off, these concert-goers hung in there ‘til the end, a testament to the quality of the show.

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