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ClayManiacs.com  |  Archive  |  Indepedent Tour 2004  |  INDEPENDENT TOUR MEDIA REVIEWS
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Author Topic: INDEPENDENT TOUR MEDIA REVIEWS  (Read 7609 times)

Marilyn

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Re: INDEPENDENT TOUR MEDIA REVIEWS
« Reply #15 on: March 24, 2010, 10:13:54 PM »
Pamela
Assistant Webmaster
 INDEPENDENT TOUR MEDIA REVIEWS
« Reply #15 on: March 04, 2004, 11:13:26 AM » 

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TAMPA



Quote
CLAY SOARS KELLY RUSHES

By RICK GERSHMAN
Published February 28, 2004

TAMPA - Kelly Clarkson and Clay Aiken followed starmaking turns on American Idol with top-selling singles and albums. Friday at the St. Pete Times Forum, they tested whether their talents could resonate beyond the confines of the TV screen.

It wasn't presented to be a competition, but come on - these two got their careers from a competition. And while Clarkson was the first American Idol champion, Aiken - the second-season runnerup - easily stole the show.

The co-headliners followed opening act The Neu Sisters with separate sets, except for a show-capping duet of Journey's Open Arms. They alternate the opening and closing slots each night.

Clarkson was first up Friday, and her set played nothing like a true headlining gig. Instead, it was largely rushed and graceless.

A ponytailed Clarkson, while in good voice, sang with little passion and even seemed distracted. She steamrolled through most of her album Thankful like she was in a Fear Factor challenge, with barely a breath between songs.

Her delivery was largely uninspired, improving only a little with her set closers: The Idol signature A Moment Like This and her hit single Miss Independent. She sang them in a T-shirt that read "Clay Rocks" - ultimately her one resonating statement of the night.

Aiken ran right off with the show, dramatically appearing from the back of the arena to lead the band through a cover of Mr. Mister's 1980s hit Kyrie, rousing the crowd of 19,823. All night, he was charismatic and assured. Unlike Clarkson, he seemed completely at home onstage.

True, Aiken's smaller-than-life appearance was only magnified - or is that minimized - by the arena around him.

When Aiken sang I Will Carry You off his album Measure of a Man, one had to wonder: Clay, just exactly whom could you possibly carry? Mini Me? Whitney Houston?

It's too bad some of Aiken's material isn't better: The cheesy verses of I Survived You were indistinguishable from a Jack Black parody. But darned if Aiken - no doubt a fan of the word "darned" - didn't preach it like it was gospel, and darned if the crowd didn't buy every syllable.

Aiken closed by aping Prince - come to think of it, there's a guy he could carry - with a cover of When Doves Cry.

Few sights on earth could be stranger than Aiken dancing amorously with a lovely backup singer, crooning to her "the sweat of your body covers me . . . can you picture this?"

She's can't, we can't and Clay can't, but he knows it, and that makes him immensely appealing.

He's in on the joke, but his talent is serious, and Friday he seemed every inch the star. As for Clarkson - how about From Justin to Kelly II
?


ST PETE TIMES


Quote
Vocal Fans Idolize Aiken's Endearing Touches

By Walt Belcher
wbelcher@tampatrib.com
Published: Feb 28, 2004

TAMPA - If crowd reaction is any measure of who is the real "American Idol,'' give the crown to Clay Aiken. The spiked-hair crooner who looks like a younger version of Barry Manilow was greeted with screams from adoring fans, known as "Claymates,'' on Friday night at the St. Pete Times Forum.

The audience of 10,823 was predominantly female and of all ages - from grandmothers to preteens.

Appearing with first "American Idol'' winner Kelly Clarkson, Aiken, the runner-up on the last "American Idol'' series, brought the women to their feet when he made a dramatic entrance from the back of the arena and walked down through the crowd surrounded by body guards.

Although Clarkson and Aiken share equal billing and are alternating as headliners on this 30-city tour, Aiken clearly was the crowd favorite.

The 25-year-old from Raleigh, N.C., played to the faithful with little endearing touches such as picking up a cell phone from a woman near the stage and singing into it, signing autographs and performing "Happy Birthday'' to an ecstatic girl named Stephanie.

The duo have said this tour would focus on their music and there would be no fireworks, exotic costumes, big dance numbers or lip-syncing.

From a low-tech setting, Aiken breezed through "No More Sad Songs,'' "I Survived You,'' "Perfect Day'' and "When You Say You Love Me.''

His "Measure of a Man'' brought screams with almost every line.

His cover of Leo Sayer's "When I Need You'' and Prince's "When Doves Cry'' were crowd pleasers.

He also performed "Without You,'' a new duet with backup singer Kiana Parlor, a friend he met during his "Idol'' tryout in Charlotte, N.C.

Aiken has recorded the song with former "Idol'' contestant Kimberly Locke for her upcoming debut album.

Clarkson opened. The 21- year-old from Texas seemed to speed through a no-frills performance of about a dozen songs off her albums.

Blame it on the sound system, but the distortion was so bad that only those who knew the lyrics could decipher what she was singing.

Clarkson had little interplay with the audience, which seemed subdued between her sets and came to life briefly when she did numbers such as "A Moment Like This.
''

TAMPA TRIBUNE
 
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Marilyn

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Re: INDEPENDENT TOUR MEDIA REVIEWS
« Reply #16 on: March 24, 2010, 10:19:41 PM »
Pamela
INDEPENDENT TOUR MEDIA REVIEWS
« Reply #16 on: March 04, 2004, 11:19:30 AM » 

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MIAMI

Quote
'American Idols' lack independence

By Charles Passy, Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Monday, March 1, 2004

MIAMI -- If there was any doubt that Clay Aiken and Kelly Clarkson are trying to distance themselves from their American Idol success, it ended soon after their respective arrivals at the AmericanAirlines Arena on Saturday night.

And one needed to look no farther than the pants they wore.

Aiken, who placed second to Ruben Studdard on last year's Idol, sported a scruffy pair of jeans that were a little too down-and-dirty for his clean-cut image. Clarkson, who was the 2002 Idol victor, went to greater extremes: Her jeans were cut, ripped, shredded and torn. Granted, she's got a wilder side than Aiken, but Courtney Love, she's not.

In the end, however, clothes couldn't make the man -- or woman. Aiken and Clarkson's strengths remain what they were during each of their Idol runs. He's a big-hearted belter in a pure pop vein. She's a soul sister with a country-gal streak.

But even then, neither is a fully formed star. Oh, they both tried during their respective hourlong performances in the double-bill, dubbed the Independent tour, but they never quite hit the glittering mark.

Aiken went first, opening with a headstrong, declarative cover of Mr. Mister's '80s favorite, Kyrie, a song well-suited to his more-is-more artistic approach. He soon followed with a set drawn largely from his debut album, Measure of a Man. But the tunes were all painted in bright primary colors, leaving no room for subtlety. And Aiken pushed so hard, his voice began to grate -- or worse yet, teeter-totter and crack.

Indeed, what was missing from his music-making was the kind of easy grace he demonstrated when he spoke directly to the crowd. At one point, he grabbed a cellphone from a female fan and talked to the person -- in this case, the fan's mother -- on the line. He's not the first to try such an attention-getting device, but his affection for his fan base is clearly genuine. (And of the thousands in the audience, the Aiken contingent -- or "Claymates" -- was the loudest.)

Clarkson, on the other hand, demonstrated a much more varied artistry, but came up slightly short in the personality department. At heart, she's something of a roots rocker, a singer who's at home in styles that are, at turns, funky, swampy, sassy and occasionally lyrical. She did a fine cover of Reba McEntire's Why Haven't I Heard from You -- all twang and attitude -- but was just as quick on the draw with Anytime, a "big old mother of a ballad" as she called it.

But what Clarkson couldn't offer was a sense of emotional connection. She didn't necessarily rush through her set, but she didn't slow it down, either. (Three costume changes in the space of an hour didn't help.) In the process, she sang soul without revealing a hint of her own soul.

Clarkson and Aiken teamed up for one final number, a predictable, play-it-safe rendition of Journey's Open Arms. (As Simon might have said, "That was American Idol: The Musical.") For this pair to take it to the next level, they'll each have to find a stronger path to independence
.


PALM BEACH POST


Quote
Quote
Aiken and Clarkson show off Idol mettle

By Jennifer Peltz
Staff Writer
Posted March 1 2004

MIAMI - Clay Aiken isn't the type of heartthrob who gets women's underwear thrown at him. He's the type who gets women's cell phones thrust at him, with their mothers on the line.

And he is the type who talks to their mothers, as about 7,100 people learned Saturday at the AmericanAirlines Arena.
 
Even if it was a stunt -- and it didn't appear to be -- it's this sort of accessibility that helped make the careers of Aiken and tour mate Kelly Clarkson, two of the most successful graduates of TV's American Idol. Ask fans what they see in the two, and most will marvel that the populist-pop stars started out as unknowns. Never mind that so did most other stars. The Idols, explained Kami Churba of Plantation, "don't seem to forget it."

They made sure to send that message Saturday, whether by means of Clarkson's frayed jeans and bare feet or Aiken's confession that he wasn't quite sure how to look smooth while navigating his set's stairs.

But Aiken was more than able to sound smooth while reproducing Perfect Day, Invisible and much of the rest of his double-platinum debut album, Measure of a Man.

He managed to look mildly convincing making eyes at a backup singer during a cover of Prince's When Doves Cry, but the self-professed nerd's specialty is a squeaky-clean sincerity. With his loose-limbed walk, jacket-and-jeans wardrobe and half-shy stage moves, Aiken comes off like a John Cusack character, and it's impossible not to be won over by him. The average member of his audience didn't just like him -- she'd like to have him for a son-in-law.

Clarkson may not inspire whatever it is that makes grown women call themselves "Claymates," but she's a punchier performer with a wider-ranging repertoire. And she plays a bit of guitar -- if with a feather boa for a strap -- and shares writing credit on some of her own double-platinum disc, Thankful.

Clarkson proved equally at home with the r&b-flavored title song, Miss Independent's strut and the country-style takedown of Reba McEntire's Why Haven't I Heard From You. A piano-only version of her own album's Beautiful Disaster proved she has an ear for mood as well as music.

For all their ability, the Idols do little to harness music's power to challenge, advance the cause of human creativity or even stop listeners in their tracks. And the armchair democracy that creates them does little to promote it. As Aiken fan Carolann Bailey of Daytona Beach put it, she likes his record because you can turn it on while you're doing whatever you want to do around the house.

But to take issue with these duly elected celebrities is virtually to be branded unpatriotic. They are officially idols (despite coming in second on the TV show, in Aiken's case), and who's to say they shouldn't be? When ordinary people go on reality shows to prove they can be stars while stars go on reality shows to prove they can be ordinary people, the vanishing point where the sidelines meet the stage can't be far off. In the future, everyone will be obscure for 15 minutes.
SUN SENTINEL


Quote
Quote
'American Idol' stars show strong signs of development

Kelly Clarkson and Clay Aiken display growth and vocal chops Saturday at Miami's AmericanAirlines Arena making for an appealing post-Idol concert.

By Howard Cohen
hcohen@herald.com

It's always gratifying to watch an artist display growth. In this regard, this first coheadlining tour from American Idol stars Kelly Clarkson, season one winner, and Clay Aiken, season two runner-up, proved the TV reality show just may be capable of unleashing genuine artists after all.

Need proof? Aiken sang Prince's 1984 classic When Doves Cry. It would seem impossible to find two people with less in common than wholesome Aiken, a singer some have called ''vanilla,'' and randy Prince, who used to perform in bikini underwear while simulating copulation.

True, both have spoken of spirituality, but Prince has always merged sex into the equation. ''Animals strike curious poses / They feel the heat, the heat between me and you,'' Aiken sang, grinding a bit against his background singer.

The display was probably sexy only to Aiken's devoted fans who run all ages, but that's beside the point. He sang his unlikely selection extremely well, revealing the gospel roots of the tune by opening it as a ballad amid hearty piano chords, and then taking it to a rousing finish.

The performance Saturday night showed that the poised, charismatic and confident Aiken can handle more than the unchallenging, overproduced pop mush of The Way and When You Say You Love Me that his producers have saddled him with so far.

Clarkson, however, earned her headlining status in Miami with her energetic hour. (The two are swapping opening and closing slots on the tour and end together with a grandiose duet on Journey's 1981 power ballad, Open Arms).

Clarkson's set wasn't perfect. She rushed it, seldom pausing except to introduce a song. She lacks Aiken's assurance and personality -- he was clearly the sparse crowd's favorite -- but she proved more musically inclined. She played guitar on a few songs (not well but, hey, she's trying) and offered more stylistic departures from pop/R&B into rock (a rearrangment of her single, Low), country-blues (a spot-on sassy cover of Reba McEntire's Why Haven't I Heard From You) and the convincing big-band strut of Stuff Like That There.

Best of all, Clarkson seems to have listened to her critics who have knocked her for her melismatic oversinging. This time she replaced trills for soul and it made the previously unlistenable songs from her Thankful CD bearable
.

MIAMI HERALD
 
 
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Marilyn

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Re: INDEPENDENT TOUR MEDIA REVIEWS
« Reply #17 on: March 24, 2010, 10:24:05 PM »
Pamela
Assistant Webmaster
 INDEPENDENT TOUR MEDIA REVIEWS
« Reply #17 on: March 04, 2004, 11:31:53 AM » 

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RALEIGH

Quote
Aiken was best of two 'Idol' stars

By David Menconi, Staff Writer

RALEIGH -- Sooner or later, all the "American Idol" stars are going to have to prove they can thrive outside the show's safe harbor.
On Monday night, Clay Aiken and Kelly Clarkson tried to do just that, bringing their "Independent" tour to the RBC Center.
 
It was a homecoming show for the prodigal idol Aiken, a Raleigh native. Maybe it was playing to a sympathetic hometown crowd, but Aiken came across as the vastly superior performer.

Clarkson seemed to be going out of her way to come off as down-home, coming onstage in torn jeans, ponytail and a red T-shirt that read, "DIRRTY SOUTH" (which later gave way to one that read, "I [heart] Clay"). She also strummed guitar on a couple of songs.

Clarkson can wail, and she competently handled everything from ballads to big-band-style belters. But she has yet to develop much vocal personality, and sounded very much like a poor woman's Christina Aguilera. In terms of voice, charisma and overall presence, Aiken pretty much left her in the dust.

Aiken made a splashy entrance with a cover of the 1985 Mr. Mister hit "Kyrie," walking to the stage from the back of the arena and singing as he went. The sold-out, overwhelmingly female, crowd went completely bonkers. This was a show where you could sense the audience as a living, breathing organism, and it reacted with hysteria to all the right cues -- the opening acts' references to Aiken, or nearly anything he did onstage.

There weren't many cigarette lighters in the air, but a steady pulse of camera flashes going off and a forest of raised cell phones. About halfway through the set, Aiken took one such phone from a young woman in the crowd, and had a brief conversation with a woman named Jody listening in from Syracuse, N.Y.:

"Hi, this is Clay Aiken. ... Who's this? ... Jody from Syracuse? ... Breathe, honey."

Then he sang the first verse of "When You Say You Love Me" into the phone before handing it back, probably triggering a heart attack in upstate New York.

Aiken sang most of the songs on his album, last year's "Measure of a Man." Since he only has one album, he had to do some covers to fill out his 70-minute set -- a positive thing, given the blandness of that album.

But not all the covers worked. He butchered Prince's "When Doves Cry" with a lounge-lizard introduction, followed by a semi-lewd thrusting behind one of his backup singers (a shocking move for such a rigorously clean-cut young man).

Faring better was an acoustic medley that included Sting's "Fields of Gold," Leo Sayer's "When I Need You" and James Taylor's "Carolina in My Mind." The latter song drew the loudest howls of the night. But all over the arena, clusters of girls took advantage of the quiet parts of the medley to yell out marriage proposals or vows of undying love.

If he plays his cards right, Aiken could be the next Tom Jones -- or the next Barry Manilow
.

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Re: INDEPENDENT TOUR MEDIA REVIEWS
« Reply #18 on: March 24, 2010, 10:26:33 PM »
Pamela
INDEPENDENT TOUR MEDIA REVIEWS
« Reply #18 on: March 04, 2004, 11:38:21 AM » 

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PHILADELPHIA


Quote
Quote
Crowd is Clay's in Idols show

By David Hiltbrand
Inquirer Staff Writer

American Idol alumni Kelly Clarkson and Clay Aiken have been taking turns headlining on their current tour. Tuesday at the Liacouras Center, it was Clarkson's night to top the bill, and that resulted in a topsy-turvy show because the predominantly female crowd was clearly composed of Clay devotees.

The ladies began to scream as Aiken emerged from the back of the hall, singing Mr. Mister's 1985 hit "Kyrie" as he walked through the audience. And they continued to scream all the way through his final number and latest single, "The Way."

Whatever X factor makes an Idol an idol, Aiken obviously has it - this despite the fact that he's a one-man Andy of Mayberry reunion: He looks like Opie, moves like Barney Fife, and sings like Gomer Pyle.

He certainly didn't bother dressing for the show. In an untucked blue dress shirt, baggy gray slacks, and running shoes, he appeared to be headed for a shift at Kinko's.

As always, Aiken's clear and limber voice was impressive. The best showcase for his soaring instrument was the simplest: an acoustic medley of his "Measure of a Man," Sting's "Fields of Gold," Leo Sayer's "When I Need You," and James Taylor's "Carolina on My Mind."

Unfortunately, he had to wade through the sappy songs on his debut CD to get there. With the exception of "Invisible," the anthemic material sounded like flea-bitten Three Dog Night.

The high and low points of Aiken's set was Prince's "When Doves Cry." His slow, melismatic, a cappella preface to the song was sensational. Then the music began to jerk and throb, and it became painfully clear that Aiken doing funk is like Yanni attempting Metallica. It's just wrong.

Clarkson proved to be the more engaging and natural performer, though her reception was not nearly as enthusiastic. Like Aiken, she has a phenomenal voice, but there is greater passion and depth to her delivery.

On a stage covered with area rugs, so she could scamper barefoot, Clarkson moved a bit too hastily through songs that ranged from nostalgic ("Stuff Like That There") to soulful ("What's Up Lonely").

Her voice combines the earthiness of Bonnie Raitt with the dynamic coloratura of Christina Aguilera. But she possesses an extra gear that most singers don't: Like fellow Texan Janis Joplin, she's an elemental belter.

Until she learns to harness that power, Clarkson risks overwhelming her material, as she did on a cover of Reba McEntire's "Why Haven't I Heard From You." But she's capable of bravura moments, such as her stark and stunning rendition of "Beautiful Disaster."

Since her season on American Idol, Clarkson has grown into her voice so much that she has trouble doing a convincing rendering of paint-by-numbers pop ditties like her first single, "A Moment Like This."

Maybe she should turn it over to Aiken. In his hands, it would be a showstopper
.


PHILLY.COM


Quote
Review: Kelly Clarkson/Clay Aiken

March 6, 2004

Fox TV's ''American Idol'' offers the illusion that there are loads of just plain folks who could be stars if only they were given a chance.

Former ''American Idol'' stars Kelly Clarkson and Clay Aiken, who are being given a chance to establish themselves with a national tour, took full advantage of their opportunity Tuesday night in Philadelphia, performing for roughly 10,000 people at a nearly full Liacouras Center.

And though neither Clarkson's or Aiken's show would convince a skeptic that either had anything special to offer other than an ability to hold notes for long periods of time, their rapport with the crowd was indeed remarkable.

During her one-hour headlining set, Clarkson, the Texan who won the first ''American Idol'' competition two years ago, presented herself as a down-home diva in torn low-rise jeans, studded belt and a variety of tops.

Her material was a little bit country and a little bit R&B, with some bellicose boogie woogie and bombastic balladeering thrown in.

If the crowd liked Kelly, it loved Clay. Aiken, runner-up on the second ''American Idol,'' had women swooning and screaming shrilly as he sang romantic pop songs in a blue shirt and open-knotted tie and charcoal gray slacks.

And when the North Carolina native joined Clarkson on stage for a concert-ending duet, Journey's ''Open Arms,'' the place exploded.

Overall, though, it was enough to make a skeptic long for the subtlety of, say, Michael Bolton or Patti Labelle.

NYC's Beu Sisters opened with a politely received 20-minute set, dancing around in low-rise jeans and tank tops as they sang material, in the words of one concertgoer, more suited to a country crowd
.


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Re: INDEPENDENT TOUR MEDIA REVIEWS
« Reply #19 on: March 24, 2010, 10:29:33 PM »
FAITH
Guest
  NEW YOORK REVIEW
« Reply #19 on: March 06, 2004, 10:13:43 AM » 

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NEW YORK


Quote
AIKEN NOT FAKIN': HE'S THE REAL DEAL
By DAN AQUILANTE
   
March 6, 2004 -- A POST reader - a devoted "American Idol" fan - has been calling me a jerk for months.  All because I said the debut album by runner-up Clay Aiken was a limp, sappy, mealy-mouthed exercise in bombast by a crooner whose only hope was the hype garnered as he was force-fed to America.

In other words, the album was a stinker.

She will be elated to learn that at the Nassau Coliseum Thursday night, Aiken, on a double bill with his "Idol" cohort Kelly Clarkson, played a concert that was startlingly good.

There's never been a question whether or not Aiken can sing. What this concert showed was that, when placed under the lights on a concert stage, the lanky Southerner is an entertainer.

Wearing jeans, a rugby shirt and a sports coat, Aiken was completely unpretentious.

His aw-shucks, between-song banter was natural and the program had a wide reach - from Sting's "Fields of Gold" to his own "Invisible."

While his album was a geezer-pleaser, the stage show's program was more well-rounded, catering to an intergenerational house packed with kids.

Take Aiken's concert version of "Perfect Day." In the live rendering, the singer infused the song with unexpected grit and power that was completely missing from the bland, milquetoast studio take.

Aiken complained that he's been suffering from a sore throat, but there was no evidence of it during the show.

Still, the show was far from perfect: The bass and drums were cranked way too high, and the bottom beats overpowered at times, especially in the latter half of his set.

Aiken used his hit-the-back-wall superpower sparingly, but he couldn't help but inject a full measure of ballad bombast and histrionics into his power ballad "I Survived You."

Still, he didn't rely on those tricks to melt the crowd and unglue them from their seats. Instead, the show's real signature was tunes with upbeat tempos delivered by Aiken's rock band, which was propulsive in its attack.

Where Aiken did wow with slower material was when he stripped the instrumentation down to classical guitar, piano and voice arrangements. That was how he set up an unusual cover of Prince's "When Doves Cry" and James Taylor's pretty country/rock ballad "In My Mind I'm Going To Carolina."

Kelly Clarkson, who won the "American Idol" talent show in its debut year, opened the concert, but she was only OK during her hour-long set.

Clarkson's set depended on too may pop ballads fueled with vocal runs and acrobatics. The crowd lent her strong applause to "Beautiful Disaster," "Some Kind Of Miracle" and "Anytime," but the lack of variety was snore-inducing.

She did get the crowd out of the seats when she asked them to do so, but they were soon sitting again. The rule in rock is: If ya gotta ask, it doesn't count.

Where she did hit all the right buttons with the house was on the fast-break number "What's Up Lonely" and her big hit "Thankful."

The latter was her final tune in her set, and for it she made a quick costume change into a T-shirt that said "Clay Rocks" across her chest.

Who would have thought a T-shirt and TV show could be so right
?


NY POST
 
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Re: INDEPENDENT TOUR MEDIA REVIEWS
« Reply #20 on: March 24, 2010, 10:30:38 PM »
Pamela
Assistant Webmaster
INDEPENDENT TOUR MEDIA REVIEWS
« Reply #20 on: March 06, 2004, 03:42:32 PM » 

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NEW YORK


Quote
Quote
Still more like puppets than idols
By Rafer Guzman
STAFF WRITER
March 6, 2004

In some parallel universe, there's a Fox show called "American Artist" in which contestants struggle to make bold, original music. Instead of competing for a prize, each artist is given a "task": To find his or her audience and connect with it on some level. The winner gets to have a career - sometimes.

But wait - we already have something like that. It's called reality. But because it requires so much concentration and goes on for so long, with contestants occasionally dying in obscurity or killing themselves, it's not always easy to watch. Fox's "American Idol," then, is the exact opposite of reality.  And now on tour are Clay Aiken and Kelly Clarkson, the exact opposite of artists.

"American Idol" groomed Aiken and Clarkson to resemble other successful pop and R&B artists - hence, they resemble each other. Though one is male, the other female, they can be described with the same few words: Young, talented, likable. If they have more complex personalities than that, Fox wasn't telling.

The trouble is, Clarkson and Aiken still aren't telling. They've exited the bubble-world of "American Idol" (an environment as tightly controlled as "The Truman Show"), but still share the same management company, record label and songwriters- for-hire. That made searching their Thursday concert for hints of originality a tough task, like trying to crack a computer code: The tiniest hiccup in the data became something to glom on to.

Such blips were few and far between, but Clarkson provided most of them. For starters, she's changed her look. Instead of the well-coiffed girl-next-door who appears on her album, "Thankful," Clarkson played the tomboy in ragged jeans and a functional ponytail. She strummed an acoustic guitar on a countryish version of "Low," then an electric one for "Just Missed the Train." During the ballad "Beautiful Disaster," she sat cross-legged on the piano instead of draping herself over it.

Clarkson has a typical soul-belter's voice, powerful and with a big range. Perhaps because of that, the material that should have suited her best (such as the new jack swing of "Bounce") was also the most boring. The bolder Clarkson's song choices, the more impassioned her singing became. She put some sass into Reba McEntire's "Why Haven't I Heard From You?" and did a fine job revving up Bette Midler's old-fashioned "Stuff Like That There."

If Clarkson's personality shone through her songs rather than her words - she barely spoke during her 50-minute set - Aiken achieved the reverse. His between-song patter was far more charming than his music. At one point, he swiped a cell phone from a young fan and spoke to the apparently hyperventilating caller: "Karen? Let me talk, okay? Breathe."

But Aiken's set plodded along with mostly mid-tempo ballads and gentle pop numbers designed to accentuate his wounded-puppy image. After a short while, his songs became a blur of similar-sounding plaints such as "I've been hurt way too many times" or "I survived you."

The only break was an ill-advised cover of Prince's "When Doves Cry." When Aiken tried to purr, "The sweat of your body covers me," we discovered at least one thing about his personality: He can't funk
.


NY NEWSDAY
 
 
 
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Re: INDEPENDENT TOUR MEDIA REVIEWS
« Reply #21 on: March 24, 2010, 10:31:39 PM »
Pamela
Assistant Webmaster
INDEPENDENT TOUR MEDIA REVIEWS
« Reply #21 on: March 08, 2004, 01:27:08 AM » 

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WASHINGTON DC

Quote
At MCI, American Idolatry For the Feats of Clay and Kelly
Monday, March 8, 2004; Page C05

Fox's "American Idol" may be just a karaoke contest wrapped inside yet another let's-laugh-at-people reality show, but its premise -- let America decide whom it wants to listen to -- has produced some actual talent. First-season winner Kelly Clarkson and second season runner-up Clay Aiken don't just have great voices, they've quickly become solid performers. During their co-headlining show Friday at MCI Center, they both cruised the stage comfortably, even signing autographs mid-song without missing a note.

Aiken opened, singing "Kyrie Eleison" as he walked through the audience. Fans, a mix of screaming teens and equally ecstatic middle-aged women, sat only when he did, during an acoustic medley that included Sting's "Fields of Gold" and James Taylor's "Carolina in My Mind." Aiken's love songs are predictable, but they kept the audience at full attention. When he paused to talk to a fan's friend on her cell phone -- coaching the hysterical woman to "breathe, honey, breathe" -- his geeky grin sent the crowd into further delirium.

Though she didn't get the thunderous response granted to Aiken, Clarkson delivered a solid set, belting out her ballad "Beautiful Disaster" accompanied only by a piano, playing guitar with her band on "Low," and whispering Betty Hutton's '40s torch song "Stuff Like That There." But Clarkson lost momentum through several unnecessary costume changes, and it was clear by the lukewarm reaction (and preponderance of Aiken T-shirts) that Clay was the main attraction.

Aiken and Clarkson closed the show with a powerful duet of Journey's "Open Arms," turning a saccharine '80s ballad into a vocal workout, bringing the crowd back to its feet. The pair's talent is genuine, and the crowd was ecstatic
.
-- Catherine P. Lewis


 
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Re: INDEPENDENT TOUR MEDIA REVIEWS
« Reply #22 on: March 24, 2010, 10:35:14 PM »
Pamela
Assistant Webmaster
INDEPENDENT TOUR MEDIA REVIEWS
« Reply #22 on: March 08, 2004, 08:12:01 AM » 

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WILKES-BARRE


Quote
Singers show there's talent in 'Idol'

By ALAN K. STOUT
alanks@leader.net

WILKES-BARRE TWP. - Say what you will about "American Idol."

Say that it's cheesy, corporate and contrived, and that it takes the idea that pop music should be a showcase for songwriters and sells it out for the sake of a few points in the Nielson ratings.

Say all of that, and you're absolutely right.

"American Idol" is about as creative and artistic as filling in a pothole, but that doesn't mean that it can't be entertaining.

Some American Idols - no doubt about it - can really sing, and that's clearly the case with 2002 winner Kelly Clarkson and 2003 runner-up Clay Aiken, who performed at the Wachovia Arena on Sunday night in front of a crowd of 8,000.

Clarkson, blessed with a remarkably soulful voice, offered a mix of songs from her debut CD "Thankful" and from her feature film "From Justin to Kelly."

And though some of the tunes themselves were forgettable, her voice shined during every number, particularly during performances of the R&B-flavored "Anytime" and her No. 1 hit "A Moment Like This." Her set ended with an energetic performance of another No. 1, "Miss Independent."

Aiken was next, and Aiken was better.

It's interesting that the young vocalist was never an actual winner on "American Idol," yet he was the biggest star at last year's American Idol tour that visited the arena. And he headlined Sunday's show.

The reason, most likely, is how well he embraces the songs he sings. Through his gestures and mannerisms, he truly appears to capture the feelings of the songs' lyrics, and thus, makes them his own. (Elvis and Sinatra did the same.)

There's also an innocence to Aiken, as if you could see in his smile that his fame is still new to him, and that he's excited about it and appreciative of it. That, too, makes him an engaging entertainer.

Highlights of Aiken's set include his hit "Invisible," "No More Sad Songs," "I Survived You" and an acoustic set of pop hits that included songs by Sting, James Taylor and Prince. The show ended with Aiken and Clarkson offering an excellent duet of Journey's "Open Arms."

Critics of "American Idol" might say that every church choir in America or every karaoke bar might have singers as talented as Clarkson and Aiken, but that's highly unlikely, and that's exactly why the show remains so popular.

It finds talent and it presents it with opportunity. And despite some justified knocks, there's ultimately something very American
about that.


TIMES LEADER


Quote
Clarkson, Aiken: Two idols who just might turn out OK
By Alexander Choman TIMES-SHAMROCK MUSIC CRITIC  03/08/2004
 
WILKES-BARRE TWP. -- American Idol alumni Kelly Clarkson and Clay Aiken returned to Wachovia Arena at Casey Plaza on Sunday night. But unlike previous trips where they were hot off appearances of the most recent competitions on the FOX phenomena, they were teamed together this night on the Independent Tour for a sold-out performance as favorites of America's latest infatuation.

Ms. Clarkson's voice is adjusting and maturing admirably. The problem comes in the songs that sounded cutesy. In Mr. Aiken's case, he is most definitely still a work in progress, results yet to be determined.

While they take turns headlining on each tour stop, Sunday evening it was Ms. Clarkson's turn to open, which she did admirably with a generous selection of songs from her hot-selling debut recording, "Thankful."

Playing before a set decorated with floor-to-ceiling transparent linen swatches bathed in various hues throughout the show, Ms. Clarkson rendered admirable versions of the title track, "Thankful," "Beautiful Disaster," "Anytime," "American Idol" show-stopper "A Moment Like This" and "Miss Independent."

Ms. Clarkson's voice seems to have matured significantly past these overproduced tunes that her producers burdened her with. On the other hand, her interpretation of Reba McEntire's work was not without merit -- perhaps her best song of the night.

For his part, cohort Clay Aiken was clearly this crowd's favorite of the evening. Security ushered him in through the rear of Wachovia Arena in a bit of a grandiose entrance. From the moment he appeared until and hour or so later, the screams of "Clay, Clay, we love you, Clay" didn't diminish from one part of the arena to the other.

Versions of Mister Mister's "Kyrie Eleison," "Perfect Day," "I Will Carry You," "The Way" and "When You Say You Loved Me" all opened and ended with roaring approval from the sold-out audience.

Journey's 1981 power ballad "Open Arms" seemed a bit anti-climactic as Ms. Clarkson joined Aiken joined for the finale.

Mr. Aiken was the consummate showman, playing in front of his competent five-piece band and three backing vocalists. Mr. Aiken has a cocky confidence that exudes charisma and a belief that he can cover any song and win over any audience. Judging by the reaction of the Wachovia Arena crowd, perhaps he can.

As it stands now, both singers have inherent talent and, properly guided and crafted for the right reasons, could be in this business for a long time.
SCRANTON TIMES
 
 
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Re: INDEPENDENT TOUR MEDIA REVIEWS
« Reply #23 on: March 24, 2010, 10:40:04 PM »
Pamela
Assistant Webmaster
 INDEPENDENT TOUR MEDIA REVIEWS
« Reply #23 on: March 09, 2004, 07:59:07 AM » 

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WORCESTER

Quote
Bubbly `Idol' stars give concert real pop

By Renee Graham, Globe Staff, 3/9/2004

WORCESTER -- It hardly matters whether one thinks "American Idol," and the ready-made pop stars it produces, is a great egalitarian pop-culture phenomenon or simply the opening act for the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Last night, there was no denying the effervescence exuding from "Idol" alums Kelly Clarkson and Clay Aiken.

So what if it was all cheesier than the lunchtime menu at Papa Gino's? Both Clarkson, the winner of the show's inaugural season, and Aiken, the second season's runner-up, performed hourlong sets so filled with gratitude and energy, there was no room left for airs and attitudes common among many pop stars. Both seem to understand that they're just a couple lucky so-and-sos who were plucked from obscurity to become concert draws. If Clarkson was supposed to be the headliner, no one told the sold-out crowd. The evening was all about Aiken, who has emerged as a kind of people's champion after losing the "Idol" title last year to Ruben Studdard. (Of course, it was the people who voted for Studdard, so go figure.) Prepubescent girls, and some well on the shadier side of adolescence whooped and hollered for Aiken, holding such colorful signs as "Clay is a Hottay." Accompanied by two Studdard-size guards, Aiken entered the arena through the crowd as if he were a conquering hero, singing "Kyrie," by the long-forgotten '80s band Mr. Mister.

Looking like a cuddly cross between comic book character Archie and E.T., Aiken chatted with the audience between songs, and even signed autographs while he was singing. He has a big, warm voice, though one that still seems more suited for show tunes than pop songs. Then again, most of his songs -- from "Invisible" to "Perfect Day" (not to be confused with the Lou Reed song of the same name) -- are fairly schmaltzy. Most regrettable was an ill-advised cover of Prince's "When Doves Cry."

If Aiken seems fresh from "Idol," Clarkson was ready to stretch. Dressed in black T-shirt, and ripped jeans complete with dangling wallet chain, Clarkson was eager to project an image beyond the carefully crafted pop chanteuse. Barefoot and playing acoustic guitar, Clarkson displayed a soulful, versatile voice that often seemed superior to the songs, such as "Just Missed the Train" and "Anytime." She went for a bit of PG raunch on "Bounce," but mostly this was a show that even the FCC could love.

© Copyright 2004 Globe Newspaper Company.


BOSTON GLOBE


Quote
Clarkson and Aiken live up to 'Idol'atry

By Amy Amatangelo
Wednesday, March 10, 2004

In a match made in marketing heaven, Kelly Clarkson, the winner of the first "American Idol'' competition, and Clay Aiken, the runner-up in last year's competition, took their joint tour to the Worcester Centrum on Monday night. Both stars clearly have not forgotten the reason they have a career.
 
     Aiken performed a slew of numbers from his album, "Measure of a Man.'' His effortless banter with the crowd was delightful. He signed autographs, took a cellphone from an audience member, and when he saw a 5-year-old girl with a sign that read, "Clay, can I sing with you?'' he brought her on stage. To his surprise, the young fan knew all the words to "When You Say You Love Me.''
 
     "You know this song better than I do,'' he said.
 
     Let's be honest - the idea of Aiken covering Prince's hit "When Doves Cry'' seems preposterous. But as judge Paula Abdul likes to say, it's all about making the song your own. And Aiken owned the song. Whether it was during a power ballad such as "I Survived You'' or his hit "Invisible,'' the Raleigh, N.C., native seemed to be having a blast on stage.
 
     "Idol'' judge Simon Cowell's rallying cry is that contestants not only need vocal talent, they also need charisma. That kind of charm can't be taught, and Aiken has a joyful stage presence that is downright contagious. That's one reason he's touring with Clarkson, instead of Ruben Studdard, who aced him out in their season's final vote.
 
     Compared to Aiken, Clarkson did not seem nearly as comfortable in front of the crowd. Although they shared the same three backup singers and band, the two sets were vastly different. Clarkson's stage was layered with Oriental rugs and giant candles and her stage persona was more affected.
 
     Clarkson was often drowned out by her band and, at times, seemed to be screaming the lyrics. She fared better on such numbers as "Beautiful Disaster'' and "Thankful,'' accompanied by just the piano, so her rich voice could be heard. The live version of her mega-hit "Miss Independent'' was the highlight of her set.
 
     Like Aiken, Clarkson remembers where she came from. She closed with her first hit, "A Moment Like This,'' and signed autographs during the entire song.


BOSTON HERALD



Quote
Idol Duo Breaking From Pack

By Scott McLennan - Entertainment Columnist

Worcester- Singers Clay Aiken and Kelly Clarkson may be proclaiming their "independence" from the AI machine that created them, but the pair's concert Monday at the Centrum revealed how much a product of that machine they are.
Aiken & Clarkson's Independent tour is a well-polished entertainment vehicle, one that allows each singer to stand on the merits of work presented on albums produced in the wake of their successes on the AI TV show.
Both have broken from the pack, no longer simply faces in the ensemble AI tours that have previously hit the road. And both have done well, as Aiken's MOAM and Clarkson's Thankful have provided plenty of fodder for Top 40 radio and MTV"s teen rage, TRL.
But when all was said and done with the Independent tour stop at the Centrum, there was no getting around the fact that Aiken & Clarkson are winners of a glorified "Gong Show" ( and Aiken was actually runner-up in season 2 of Idol). And without that distinction, no singers with a range as limited as Aiken's or stage mannerisms as clunky as Clarkson's would have the right to be headlining on an arena stage.
But to their credit, Aiken & Clarkson came across as totally likeable characters. Aiken is the guileless Peter Pan-like fellow who warms a mother's heart and radiates the sort of non-threatening attraction that compels young girls to scrawl " Aiken 4 Clay" on their T-shirts.
Clarkson is a bit more sassy, unafraid to let a little blues growl slip into her work, but still the sort of girl a father can be proud of; the odds of finding out Clarkson had a late-night wedding in Vegas seem as remote as finding weapons of mass detruction in Iraq.
At a time when the school of pop is awash with ne'er-do-wells and harlots, Aiken & Clarkson present themselves as safe alternatives. And that warm, cushy feeling was embraced by a near-sellout house.
Aiken was the first to declare his independence. The pixieish singer emerged from an aisle in the middle of the arena singing the joyous "Kyrie." Aiken crooned and signed autographs through the crowd, and by the time he joined his white-clad band and backup singers, a full-on "Up With People" vibe was in effect. Aiken did a great job connecting with his fans, bringing little kids on stage, chatting on fan's cell phone and lauding the crowd's enthusiasm at every opportunity. His connection to the songs he sang was a bit more tenuous, however.
Whether aiming for bouncy on " A Perfect Day" or a love-lorn feel on " No More Sad Songs", Aiken kept coming up neutral. His by-the-numbers set was harmless enough untill he tackled Prince's "When Doves Cry." When done right, that slow-burning jam can throw off a ton of heat. Aiken's rendition came across more like a Saturday Night Live parody of white guys singing soul music.
As a singer, Clarkson covered more range than Aiken. Sharing the same band Aiken used, Clarkson opened her set with "Low," and fished for some credibility by strumming guitar on the tune.
Clarkson also took chances, pumping up TTWLI with a harder-hitting outro, and toning down "Beautiful Disaster" into a simple piano ballad. Her effort to recast "Anytime," a duet she recorded with former Idol star Justin Guarini went haywire when she and her male couterpart from the ranks of the backup singers veered horribly off-key and had to restart the song.
Clarkson regained momentum for a strong closing run through her hits AMLT & MI.
And not an adolescent vocal cord was left intact when Aiken reappeared to join Clarkson for a night-ending version of Journey's "Open Arms."
Singing over-the-top versions of old hits by other people is AI at its most basic. Seeing Aiken & Clarkson go down that road for the big closing number of their first post-Idol tour makes one wonder just how interested in independence they really are.


WORCESTER TELEGRAM



Quote
Move over, Kelly, Clay is America's "Idol"

A Telegraph Column By Stacy Milbouer
Published: Thursday, Mar. 11, 2004

I shaved my legs for Clay Aiken on Monday night, and I was not alone.

The hordes of women (there was barely a man in sight) who crammed the Centrum in Worcester, Mass., for the Clay Aiken/Kelly Clarkson concert not only shaved, but shampooed, perfumed and as the Fab Five would put it tszujed like crazy, just to be in the presence of the unofficial winner of last year's "American Idol" contest.

Yes, I know, Kelly Clarkson was on the bill, too, and she was good. But no one, not anyone should follow Aiken on stage. It's like eating Jell-O for dessert after feasting on Duck a l'Orange.

And trust me, this Duck a l'Orange had them swooning in the aisles.

After the concert, two of my five companions admitted the thought had crossed their minds, that Aiken was the messiah who had come to Earth to lift us up in these depressing times.

OK, that might be going too far, but there is no doubt that Aiken has "It" with a capital "I", and the age range this guy appeals to is almost as wide as his vocal range. Infants held by postpartum Claymates seemed lulled to sleep by Aiken's "This is the Night". Teen girls traveling in packs with spotlights reflecting off their braces carried signs imploring someone to "Get Me Back Stage". And let us not forget those among us who have reached middle age and last remember feeling this hypnotized when we polished our go-go boots while listening to the new "Beatles "65" album.

Yes, the same people who pulled their hair out when Paul McCartney sang "Yesterday" on "The Ed Sullivan Show" 40 years ago were swooning when Aiken belted out his No. 1 "Invisible". It's hard to believe the live New England debut of that song took place a mere seven months ago when Aiken, Ruben Studdard and the other Idolites took to the Centrum stage last summer for a schlocked-up "American Idol" tour.

Talk about meteoric rises: Aiken's spiky little head must be spinning. But you'd never know it watching him perform. If there is one thing better than his voice, it's his stage presence. This guy sang his guts out, signed autographs, ducked beach balls and never broke a sweat. In fact, he was so comfortable with the screaming throngs of estrogen-emitting females that he seemed to want to clone himself, sit down and watch the show right along with them.

Instead, he did the next best thing. He dished with them, at one point plucking a cell phone held up by a fan who was ?sharing? the concert with her at-home buddy. And, as if he were talking to his best friend in Raleigh, N.C., he said ?hi? in the cutest southern accent this side of the Mason Dixon.

"That's right," he said. "It's me, it's Clay. Whatch y'all doing? What's your name? Debbie? Hi, Debbie . . ."

Debbie went wild. Her friend went wild. The audience was on its feet as it was when Aiken brought to the stage a 5-year-old girl who held up a sign that read "Please Let Me Sing with Clay." The two did an impromptu duet of "When You Say You Love Me", and as Aiken himself put it, the 5-year-old "knew the lyrics better than I did."

Life is a strange when you become off-the-charts jealous of a kindergartner.

What's there to say? He can sing the sparkly eyeshadow off a teenybopper and curl the thinning hair of a grandmother with just one note of "Carry You". It's about his voice, of course. But it's also about his Southern drawl, his paintbrush eyelashes and the fact that he actually seems as nice and innocent as his press package makes him out to be.

And let's face it: For some reason, this gawky boy-man with a sea-urchin hairdo, giant feet and 6-foot-plus frame is downright sexy. He knows this and appears to be embarrassed by this and that makes him even more appealing. The audience nearly dropped dead when he did a little bump and grind with one of his background vocalists, then blushed a deep shade of red.

As for Clarkson, who followed on stage after Aiken's hourlong performance . . . whatever. One teenage girl behind me summed it all up: "I was, like, so falling asleep with Kelly. I was feeling a little depressed. Then Clay showed up again, and I was, like, all excited again."

Sad, but true.

The highlight of Clarkson's performance was her closing duet of "Open Arms" with? you guessed it Clay Aiken.

Stacy Milbouer can be reached at news@telegraph-nh.com.


NASHUA TELEGRAPH
 
   
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Re: INDEPENDENT TOUR MEDIA REVIEWS
« Reply #24 on: March 24, 2010, 10:46:50 PM »
Pamela
Assistant Webmaster
 INDEPENDENT TOUR MEDIA REVIEWS
« Reply #24 on: March 13, 2004, 01:32:26 AM » 

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COLUMBUS

Quote
One idol shines; another searches
Friday, March 12, 2004
Elizabeth Weinstein

Idol worship was on display Wednesday night at Value City Arena when a force named Clay Aiken rolled into town to perform songs from his chart-topping debut album, Measure of a Man.

Females from toddlers to middle-aged mothers sported Aiken T-shirts, painted his name across their faces and carried banners with pictures of the American Idol runner-up turned international phenomenon.

When he walked through aisles of admirers to the stage, an initial hush preceded eardrum-piercing screams that continued throughout the evening.

Kelly Clarkson was there, too: She performed before Aiken and after a bland set from a Disney-friendly opening act, the Beu Sisters. Clarkson has come into her own musically since winning the first American Idol competition, finding a hybrid of pop and rhythm and blues that works nicely with her soulful voice. But her tame reception, compared with Aiken’s Beatle-esque treatment, must have left her wondering, and rightfully so, "Where is the love?"

Clarkson emerged wearing torn bluejeans, a black T-shirt and a ponytail. The acoustic guitar strapped to her shoulder was a pleasant surprise and she strummed it ably during several songs.

Clearly determined to pre-empt any diva image, she kicked off her shoes, flashed a winning smile and peppered her chatter with familiarities such as "What’s goin’ on, y’all!"

Clarkson sang most of the songs on her album, Thankful, but the highlight came when she propped herself on the piano and sang an acoustic version of Beautiful Disaster, followed by a rousing cover of the Jay Livingston/Ray Evans scat tune Stuff Like That There.

Aiken began his set in a mismatched blazer, green polo shirt and blue cargo pants, his indefinable but undeniable allure causing teen girls and their mothers (and even their grandmothers) to swoon.

Unfortunately, the uninspired, forgettable songs that make up Measure of a Man are nothing to swoon over, not that it mattered.

Perfect Day, No More Sad Songs and I Survived You were pleasant enough, but, when he sang about picking up a girl in a bar (When You Say You Love Me) or declared his love through trite metaphors (crescent moons and shooting stars on Shine), it rang false, contradicting his geek-next-door charm.

The worst moment occurred when Aiken broke into a sedated version of Prince’s When Doves Cry, then proceeded to bump and grind (giggling awkwardly all the while) with a female backup singer.

At moments he shone, as during his singles This Is the Night and Invisible. He turned on the charm by inviting a lucky teen from the audience to join him in a song, later promising a girl he would find a special place for the teddy bear she handed him.

Unlike Clarkson, who has found a comfortable niche in pop music by staying true to herself, Aiken seemed torn between two personalities: the familiar boy next door with a powerhouse voice and the new teen heartthrob.

If he’s wise, he’ll ditch the uncomfortable sex-symbol act and concentrate on his voice, a gift that can make even the most insipid pop song a tolerable listen.

As Idol judge Randy Jackson might say, "Sorry, dawg, but I just wasn’t feeling it. It was just all right
."


Fact checker please!  Clay did not sing Shine in Columbus.  Nor did he sing This is the Night in Columbus?  I'm not sure this writer was even there! 

No link - subscripton only.  I'm sure I would pay for erroneous information.  :roll:   : 
 
 
 
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Re: INDEPENDENT TOUR MEDIA REVIEWS
« Reply #25 on: March 24, 2010, 10:49:13 PM »
Pamela
Assistant Webmaster
 INDEPENDENT TOUR MEDIA REVIEWS
« Reply #25 on: March 13, 2004, 09:54:43 AM » 

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DETROIT


Quote
Clay Aiken works his way into heart of "Idol" Audience
By Doug Pullen
Journal Entertainment Writer
The Flint Journal 03/12/2004

DETROIT - Like that rental car company used to say, you try harder when you're No. 2. Clay Aiken, last year's "American Idol" runner-up, has made instant success look pretty easy.

His solo career has eclipsed that of that big ol' teddy bear of an R&B singer, Ruben Studdard, who won the 2003 competition. And he's pretty much established himself as The Favorite of all the "American Idol" stars who have emerged since the obscenely popular TV talent show debuted more than two years ago.

That includes Kelly Clarkson, who was crowned the first "American Idol" winner in 2002.

The two talented young singers now are traveling together on the "Independent" tour, which takes its name from her million-selling winner of the first season in 2002.

It brought the gentle North Carolinian and spunky Texan Clarkson to Joe Louis Arena, home of another insanely popular franchise known as the Detroit Red Wings, on Thursday night for a near sell-out crowd of about 13,000.

If Aiken's easygoing charms, honey-sweetened tenor and obvious popularity with the mostly female crowd were any indication, he doesn't have to play second fiddle to anyone anymore. Of course, he did last night, taking the stage after a 20-minute set by newcomers the Beu Sisters, whose generic girl pop wasn't any more distinguishable than their pleasant but average voices, and before Clarkson, whose impressive pipes couldn't quite compensate for her utter lack of charisma or stage presence Thursday night.

Clarkson's got a powerful voice and a likable, earthy quality - she walked the stage barefoot in a black tank top and a pair of jeans that was more holy than righteous. Simon wouldn't approve - but other than a heartfelt rendition of the ballad "Beautiful Disaster" and calling a birthday girl up on stage to sing, Clarkson acted like she couldn't wait to get her 50-minute show over with.

Who could blame her? Aiken is a tough act to follow, and it was obvious that the mostly female crowd, which ranged from little girls to their grandmas, was mostly there to see him. The ratio of handmade Aiken shirts, signs and memorabilia (including an older woman's bib that read, "Clay makes me drool") outnumbered Clarkson's about 5 to 1, suggesting the cult of Clay is in full swing.

That's not to say Clarkson's time has passed. It's just that Aiken's time has come.

The "Idol" machinery has transformed the self-described geek into a natural, wholesome entertainer who obviously appreciates what's happened to him over the past year - like selling 3 million copies of his first album, seeing his face plastered all over magazines and MTV and co-headlining a major arena tour.

He opened his 65-minute performance by walking and singing his way through the crowd, a reminder that he was one of us until a year ago. When he wasn't emoting on a series of inspirational ballads that just might make him the Steve Perry of the new century, Aiken often interacted with the crowd. He breezed into the barricade between the crowd and the stage a couple of times, stopping to shake hands and sign autographs.

He called up a female fan to dance with him on a version of Prince's "When Doves Cry" and plucked cellphones out of the crowd to talk with fans in Illinois and Louisiana.

Aiken, who'll perform Aug. 14 at the Clio Area Amphitheater (no ticket details yet), also sang beautifully, drawing from songs on his solo debut, "Measure of a Man," that play to his vocal strengths more effectively than Clarkson's generic-sounding debut did.

He didn't sing "Bridge Over Troubled Water," but he did a soaring version of "I Will Carry You" and his first hit, "Invisible," that had the crowd in his palms.



 
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Re: INDEPENDENT TOUR MEDIA REVIEWS
« Reply #26 on: March 24, 2010, 10:51:07 PM »
Screaminrieman
Guest
  INDEPENDENT TOUR MEDIA REVIEWS
« Reply #26 on: March 15, 2004, 12:58:41 PM » 

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I too was at the Columbus concert and say the same as you others mentioned before about the reviewer. I am a 35 year old male who enjoys good music, good vocal qualities, and love the fact that Clay was just like me just one year ago. The only difference is I can't sing, but I can play a mean guitar. I took my sister and her daughter and friend as well as our mom. She is wheelchair bound and don't get out. This was her one night to remember, ok, second, since we all went to American Idols in Cincy. She was in heaven when Clay performed and that is worth it. We had a blast and I will take my son to a Clay concert when he comes here to Cincinnati (not on a school night). I love the fact that there are no cursing and it is pretty much a clean show. Not many of those out there these days. Keep up the good work Clay.
 

 
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Re: INDEPENDENT TOUR MEDIA REVIEWS
« Reply #27 on: March 24, 2010, 10:52:52 PM »
Pamela
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 INDEPENDENT TOUR MEDIA REVIEWS
« Reply #27 on: March 16, 2004, 07:45:07 AM » 

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WINSTON SALEM



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News & Record
March 15, 2004
By Eugene B. Sims

Clarkson, Aiken leave fans happy with Triad concert

Television made a real-life appearance Saturday night in Winston-Salem with two of “American Idols” biggest stars.

Kelly Clarkson and North Carolina native Clay Aiken have thrilled audiences through “American Idol.”

The night started off with a brief set from the Beau Sisters. They filled 25 minutes with arm waving, stage sashaying, toothless teenage pop. Their songs were a capella for the most part. Occasionally, a lone guitarist would step up to flesh out the songs.

The Beau Sisters’ cliché lyricism stood out as much as their ceaseless chatter between songs. The sisters are easy to forget.

Kelly Clarkson hit the stage with “Low.” She had a very capable band backing her up. This allowed her to show off her rudimentary skills on the guitar that was buried in the mix.

Next up, a new up-tempo version of “Trouble With Love,” where her true talent got to shine.

But, once again, someone gave her a Les Paul that was just as beautiful as she was for “Just Missed The Train,” a rocker that managed to get folks out of their seats.

The pop song “Beautiful Disaster” was stripped down to its true soul with Clarkson being accompanied only by a piano.

The backup vocalists got to strut their stuff on the intro of “You Thought Wrong” during Clarkson’s costume change. The power of that song live was more potent than the recorded version. That made for an easy transition into a straight-up cover of Reba McEntire’s “Why Haven’t I Heard From You.”

Clarkson exhibited her own wing of pop obscurity with several songs from the ill-fated film she did with Justin Guarini. And, of course, a night with this American Idol wouldn’t be complete without a fluffy song that propelled her into super stardom. The audience ate up “A Moment Like This” before a true musical dessert titled “Miss Independent” came along to round out a fine, musical feast.

Clay Aiken opened up with a lifeless cover of Mr. Mister’s “Kyrie” as he traveled from the back of the arena to the stage. Aiken’s backing band was the same as Clarkson’s. They did double duty as Clay lit into a string of well-known songs such as “Perfect Day,” “I Will Carry You,” and “No More Sad Songs.”

Hollywood trickery was in full effect as Aiken stopped to take a cell phone and sing to the “person” on the other end during “When You Say You Love Me.” Clay and band broke out an unreleased song called “Without You” that lulled the audience into a light sleep. Thankfully, his song “Invisible” was quick to break the dormancy as Aiken strutted the stage with rooster-of-the-walk attitude – ironic considering the song is about NOT being noticed.

Aiken then toned down the stage presence for “I Survived You,” paving the way for an acoustic “Measure Of A Man/When I Need You” medley. He then finished off the night with James Taylor’s “Carolina On My Mind,” Prince’s “When Doves Cry,” and “The Way.” Kelly Clarkson joined him for the last song, a mechanical cover of Journey’s “Open Arms.”

I’d gladly tune into Kelly-vision. The rest of the night was made for channel surfing.

Eugene B. Sims is a DJ at WKRR, Classic Rock 92
 


Hollywood trickery?  This guy didn't believe the cell phone call was real. BWAHahahaha!




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Aiken and Clarkson Excited Twin City crowd on Saturday

By Charity Apple
Times-News
March 16, 2004

WINSTON-SALEM – Two vocal powerhouses gave a sold-out crowd at Winston-Salem’s Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum something to shout about Saturday night.

That’s when “American Idol” alums Kelly Clarkson and Clay Aiken performed their “Independent” tour, its third stop in North Carolina. The other two were in Charlotte and Raleigh, Aiken’s hometown, on Feb. 24 and March 1, respectively.

This venue may be smaller than the other two but the enthusiasm was still outrageous. Middle-aged women wore homemade shirts with Aiken’s picture plastered all over them. And teenage girls were out in full force – some had home-made T-shirts that said things like “I’ll do anything to get backstage” or “the 10 things we love about Kelly.”

Others carried signs with the words “I Love Clay” or requests like “Clay, bring us backstage.”

One woman seated on the floor even had a sign for every song that Aiken sang, as he soon found out when he asked her to present them.
“All right, do you know what I’m singing next?”, he asked her. “If you pick the correct one, you can come backstage.” The woman began shuffling through the stack and enlisting others’ opinions for help. “Don’t cheat now!” Aiken screamed in his Southern drawl. “Now all y’all that have seen the show 15 times can’t help her.” When the woman responded, “When You Say You Love Me,” Aiken asked if she got help. “You did? Well, I tell you what – you get to come backstage anyway, for being honest,” he added.

Aiken certainly made her day. The woman continued to scream as Aiken went on to introduce his mother, who was seated in the front row.
“Everybody say hey to my Mama.” Aiken said.

The last time I saw Aiken in concert, (RBC Center last year) his mother was seated in the nosebleed section, so I’m glad that she got a good close look at her baby boy.

Well, that is until Aiken performed Prince’s “When Doves Cry.” The song involved some gyrating against a background singer – Aiken didn’t seem uncomfortable – until the song ended. “It’s just not right, really.” He said, laughing. “There are people in the audience that have known me since I was 6 years old.”

The audience just laughted along with the moment – hearing Clay sing (and talk) was like visiting with an old friend. He performed a number of songs off the “Measure Of A Man” album, including the title hit, “Invisible” and “The Way,” which is due to come out as a single today. And he did a great rendition of James Taylor’s “Carolina In My Mind.”

Clarkson was equally as good on vocals. Her songs “Thankful,” complete with video of family and friends and “Beautiful Disaster” were simply amazing. She looks like a young Sheryl Crow up there on guitar.

But it would’ve been better if she’d just left the talking to Aiken. During the entire show, she introduced each song by saying things like “and this song is…” “and this song is about…” She could take some lessons from Aiken when it comes to how to deal with the audience.

His presence is polished and comfortable. He didn’t mind singing into someone’s cell phone and then saying, “Who am I talking to? I can’t hear you…it’s loud here…but I’ll sing to you anyway. By the way, my name is Clay Aiken.”

Aiken has come a long way since his “American Idol” auditions; he got voted off the first time but came back as a wild card. Gone is the eye twitching that he did in “Idol” auditions. And he no longer resembles Opie Taylor, well, except when he smiles (but that’s OK).

It’s still difficult to imagine this Raleigh boy as a star, but as I drove out of the coliseum Saturday night, 50 people were crowding around the gate, hoping to catch a glimpse of him (and Kelly). He’s made the big time, but he hasn’t lost that hometown appeal
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Marilyn

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Re: INDEPENDENT TOUR MEDIA REVIEWS
« Reply #28 on: March 24, 2010, 10:55:49 PM »
Screaminrieman
Guest
  INDEPENDENT TOUR MEDIA REVIEWS
« Reply #28 on: March 16, 2004, 09:22:58 AM » 

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yeah, I get messed with all of the time because I like Clays music and voice. Again, he was in the crowd as I am. Did anyone see the CNN story on Reuben and Clay?  It was sweet!!! Another reason I like Clay is because he works with Autistic children. My sister is in that same line of work and is actually going back to school to get her degree so can teach full time. She has three children she works with and one of them is autistic. It takes special people to do this thing!!! :)
ALWAYS AND FOREVER-UNCONDITIONALLY!!!

Marilyn

  • ANN News Team
  • Claymaniac
  • *****
  • Posts: 42046
  • Gender: Female
  • THE EPITOME OF DECORUM
Re: INDEPENDENT TOUR MEDIA REVIEWS
« Reply #29 on: March 24, 2010, 10:56:26 PM »
DanieP80
Guest
  INDEPENDENT TOUR MEDIA REVIEWS
« Reply #29 on: March 17, 2004, 10:12:22 PM » 

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Hollywood trickery? This guy didn't believe the cell phone call was real. BWAHahahaha!




HA!  Ok, guys I'll admit it.  I work for Clay Aiken.  I'm really in the audience for every show handing him cell phones.  Don't I wish!

The guy that reviewed the show works for a Classic Rock station, eh what does he know?
 
 
 
ALWAYS AND FOREVER-UNCONDITIONALLY!!!

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