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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 7251 times)

Marilyn

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Re: INDEPENDENT TOUR MEDIA REVIEWS
« Reply #30 on: March 24, 2010, 10:57:22 PM »
Pamela
Assistant Webmaster
      INDEPENDENT TOUR MEDIA REVIEWS
« Reply #30 on: March 18, 2004, 04:26:42 PM » 

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from: DanieP80
Quote
The guy that reviewed the show works for a Classic Rock station, eh what does he know?


Um...the complete discography of Grand Funk Railroad?
The number of joints in a nickel bag?
The real lyrics to Purple Haze?

:mrgreen:
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Marilyn

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Re: INDEPENDENT TOUR MEDIA REVIEWS
« Reply #31 on: March 24, 2010, 10:58:26 PM »
FAITH
Guest
  Grand Prairie Concert Review
« Reply #31 on: March 20, 2004, 10:16:52 AM » 

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Grand Prairie Concert

Quote
Clarkson eclipsed by feats of Clay

By Erin Quinn
Special to the Star-Telegram
Posted on Sat, Mar. 20, 2004


GRAND PRAIRIE - It's about time that mothers and daughters were able to find a boy they can agree on. Judging from the full house at Nokia Live on Friday night, that time has come, and that boy is the wholesome Southerner Clay Aiken.

Aiken is paired on this tour with Burleson's own Kelly Clarkson, the winner of American Idol Season 1. But by the sound of things, the audience, many of them mother-daughter pairs, came to see Aiken, who finished second in Season 2.

Aiken's set, which included standard renditions of his two MTV-adored singles Invisible and The Way, was spare, featuring a trio of backup singers and a band that let his voice do most of the work. He didn't stray far from his debut album, the triple-platinum Measure of a Man.

An acoustic medley spotlighted the album's title track, James Taylor's Carolina in My Mind, and Prince's When Doves Cry.

That last number was a little feistier than we're used to from white-bread Clay, but he pulled it off as much as a nice Southern gentleman can pull off Prince.

Clarkson's set was less successful. She seldom engaged with the audience, and when she did it was to let them in on meaningless tidbits ("I'm not wearing shoes, y'all!"). The voice that won Clarkson America's first Idol title was in fine form, but it was drowned out by too much bass.

The highlight of Clarkson's set was her duet with surprise guest Tamayra Gray, the third-place finisher in AI's first season. Gray and Clarkson made believable the jazzy, soulful sound Clarkson seemed to be going for all along. Their duet and Clarkson's rendition of Stuff Like That There, the song that got her noticed by America -- and acidic judge Simon Cowell -- made Clarkson's set much stronger and overrode the poor acoustics
.


STAR TELEGRAM


 
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Marilyn

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Re: INDEPENDENT TOUR MEDIA REVIEWS
« Reply #32 on: March 24, 2010, 10:59:47 PM »
Pamela
Assistant Webmaster
INDEPENDENT TOUR MEDIA REVIEWS
« Reply #32 on: March 20, 2004, 02:50:20 PM » 

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GRAND PRAIRIE



Quote
Review: Show full of thanks
 
Idols Clarkson, Aiken please crowd at Nokia Live
11:49 PM CST on Friday, March 19, 2004
By DARLA ATLAS / The Dallas Morning News
 
GRAND PRAIRIE – There's no better place to be barefoot than when you're at home.

Burleson native Kelly Clarkson opted to stay shoeless during most of her concert Friday night at Nokia Live, at which fellow American Idol alum Clay Aiken was her co-headliner. While the barefoot thing is her trait on this tour, she seemed especially relaxed and happy to see familiar faces in the audience.

"My friends are in the crowd – everybody give it up for my friends," she said, pointing them out, then adding, "They're screaming for themselves. That's not cool."

Ms. Clarkson started with her single "Low," showing off her newly acquired guitar skills.

In contrast to Mr. Aiken's ballad-heavy performance, her show had an R&B feel, featuring more up-tempo songs heavy on bass. On "You Thought Wrong," a duet from her Thankful CD with fellow Idol contestant Tamyra Gray, the audience was treated to a surprise when Ms. Gray showed up to sing along. (At least one other contestant from their season was in attendance; Grand Prairie resident Nikki McKibbin was spotted before the show.)

But Ms. Clarkson sounded best in the slower songs that were all about her still-stunning voice. "Beautiful Disaster," accompanied only by piano, was a hit with the fans, who expressed their affection loudly.

Her biggest crowd pleaser was "Miss Independent," performed with a little extra oomph, as well as the closing number of the show, "Open Arms," a duet with Mr. Aiken.

While Ms. Clarkson had love from the audience, Mr. Aiken had downright adoration. Coming out from a side door singing Mr. Mister's "Kyrie," the crowd was on its feet from that point on as he sang songs from his triple-platinum Measure of a Man.

Remember that goofball version of Mr. Aiken from Idol – the one who sang "Grease" wearing a red-leather jacket while displaying an appalling lack of rhythm? He's gone, replaced by an ultra-confident, laid-back, rhythmically competent, bedroom-eyed hunk. It's official: Clay is sexy.

But he's still the same non-threatening boy inside; Mr. Aiken continued to win over the audience by chatting with the fans in the front row, at one point taking a cellphone from someone and talking to the woman on the other end.

Like Ms. Clarkson, he also impressed with his crystal-clear voice. When he sang "Invisible," he had the crowd jumping along with him on the beat (again, let it be known that he now has rhythm). They then swooned during his ballads, including his new single, "The Way."

After performing an acoustic medley of classics such as "Carolina in My Mind" and "Fields of Gold," Mr. Aiken tackled an ultra-slow version of Prince's "When Doves Cry," before bringing it up to normal tempo. It was a risky move, but he pulled it off.

E-mail datlas@dallasnews.com


DALLAS MORNING NEWS
 
 
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Marilyn

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Re: INDEPENDENT TOUR MEDIA REVIEWS
« Reply #33 on: March 24, 2010, 11:02:39 PM »
Pamela
Assistant Webmaster
INDEPENDENT TOUR MEDIA REVIEWS
« Reply #33 on: March 22, 2004, 12:35:59 PM » 

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ST LOUIS

Quote
American Idols

By Barry Gilbert
Of the Post-Dispatch
03/22/2004

Kelly Clarkson and Clay Aiken successfully transferred their megaselling debut CDs to the concert stage at Savvis Center on Sunday night and, judging by the reaction of their adoring fans, they are anything but false idols, at least for now.

Clarkson, the 2002 "American Idol" winner, and Aiken, the 2003 runner-up, each performed for about an hour before a crowd ranging from the very young to the not-so-young - and including lots of moms and daughters. It was Clarkson's turn to go on first, and she hit the stage in hip-hugger jeans and an orange T-shirt reading "Dirrrty South," strumming a guitar to the opening of "Low" from the "Thankful" CD as the spotlight found her.

A highlight of the early part of her set came when she sat up on the piano for a reworked and effective version of "Beautiful Disaster," followed by the jazzy "Stuff Like That There," the song that introduced her to the audience and judges on "American Idol."

After a costume change to black top and black fedora, the Texan sang the only unexpected tune of her set, a hard-charging take on Reba McEntire's "Why Haven't I Heard From You."

She finally got the crowd to its feet - by invitation - midway through her set and closed with a rousing "Miss Independence."

Clarkson is the more musically adventurous of the two, and although she seemed totally at ease and in control during songs, she was oddly self-conscious and giggly during between-song patter.

Aiken, in contrast, is a natural entertainer. He entered the arena from the back, singing Mr. Mister's '80s hit "Kyrie" - the first but not the last unusual song selection for the North Carolina native.

And it was clear whom the crowd really had come to hear. They were on their feet from the opening note as he sold the music from his "Measure of a Man" CD.

With self-effacing humor, some simple but playful dance steps and a boatload of personality, Aiken cherry-picked his CD - "Perfect Day," "I Will Carry You," "No More Sad Songs," "Invisible" - and included a birthday sing-along for a fan and a cell-phone call to another fan's kin in Toronto.

Later, a medley began with the CD title song and veered into cover territory: Sting's "Fields of Gold," Leo Sayer's "When I Need You," James Taylor's pre-"Sweet Baby James" tune "Carolina in My Mind" and, of all things, Prince's "When Doves Cry." It was a welcome detour into other textures and tempos.

Aiken closed with "The Way" and returned almost immediately with Clarkson for a duet on Journey's "Open Arms." And then it was over. No phony encores, but no extended bows and thank-yous, either. The house lights simply came on - to some grumbling from the  audience.



ST LOUIS TIMES DISPATCH


This appeared in a column, County Lines, in the Breese, Ill., Journal, on March 25, 2004, by Lynn Venhaus:



Quote
"It all started two summers ago, when my friend Lisa told me about this “American Idol” show on Fox, so I tuned in midway and was immediately hooked on the unique talent show competition. We’d call each other up to say who we were voting for and critique the performances. I voted for Kelly Clarkson and yes, I will admit I gave Justin Guarini a couple phone votes, too, but that was before he got way too full of himself. I thought Tamyra Gray was also going places.
The show became a phenomenon, and the second season started just a few months later in January 2003. From the get-go, I liked the easy-going big black guy from Alabama with the Luther Vandross vibe and the geeky yet charming kid from North Carolina with an amazing set of pipes, so I voted for Ruben and Clay quite a few Tuesday nights. I was eventually won over by Kimberley Locke, my sister’s favorite, too. On the finale, when Clay hit that last note of his terrific version of “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” I was certain he had won, but I wasn’t going to be upset if “The Velvet Teddy Bear” won either. When I tried to vote that evening, I just got busy signals. We all know how it turned out, but it hasn’t hurt Clay to be the runner-up.
Well, cut to a year later and all three “AI” vets have big careers, hit albums, concert tours, award nominations, national celebrity, and all because the American public embraced them. Since we helped them become stars, we feel like we have a part in their success. They’ve all had makeovers and now have handlers, stylists, and publicists in their entourages, but somehow, they still seem genuine, and grateful. I hope that doesn’t go away. Their talent is undeniable, but they have those unpretentious, fun-loving personalities that are refreshing in today’s edgier, sleazier pop music. Maybe nice guys don’t finish last.
Feeling like proud aunts, my friend Lisa and I went to the Kelly Clarkson-Clay Aiken concert at Savvis Center in St. Louis Sunday night. I figured the crowd would be a lot of teenage girls and moms, but was surprised to see quite a few dads and teenage guys in the audience, too. My observation is that people really like Kelly but they love Clay. As he moved through the crowd singing “Kyrie” as his opening number, it was shrieking pandemonium by hundreds of teenage girls, just like other teen idols who’ve come before. But let’s hope his career is longer than Leif Garrett and Shawn Cassidy.
Kelly, the down-home Texas girl with an excellent vocal range, and Clay’s aw-shucks humility attract fans of all ages, and a trio of gray-haired grandmothers in “Aiken #1” T-shirts were several rows over. They were having a blast. Clay’s a natural entertainer, looks like he’s been doing this for years, and I see him Broadway-bound someday. He’s certainly grown in showmanship from his first “American Idol” performances to now, where he can really sell a song and have lots of fun with the crowd. Dare I say it was wholesome, with some surprisingly good choices of music covers by Clay, like Sting’s “Fields of Gold,” James Taylor’s “Carolina on my Mind” and Prince’s “When Doves Cry.” Kelly did a nice job with a Reba McIntyre song whose title escaped me.
Lisa and I left with our fantasies of being back-up singers – the absolute coolest job in the world – intact.
(If you want to see Clay perform on TV, he’ll be the musical guest on “Saturday Night Live” this Saturday, with “Will & Grace’s” hilarious Megan Mullaly, who plays Karen, as the host. It’s a rerun, and it’s impressive.)
I think people are surprised to find out how good some of those “American Idol” kids are. They come out of nowhere, from places all across the U.S. Seventy-thousand, mostly disillusioned, young people audition, and it gets down to a dozen, who have to endure rigorous rehearsals, rejection pressures, and life in a fishbowl all the while trying to get America to root for them. Some come out with lives forever changed and capitalize on a lucky break. Fame may not be fleeting for Josh Gracin, the number four guy from last summer (the married Marine), who has a country song on the charts and his country album’s coming out soon. Third runner-up Kimberley Locke’s album’s out this week. Clay’s new single featuring “The Way” and “Solitaire” is climbing the charts. And cute kid RJ Helton, from Season One, has an album out this week, too.
Now the American public is in the beginning of the third “American Idol” competition, and the judges say this set of 12 finalists is the best yet. Who’s next for their dreams to come true? I’m predicting LaToya London as the winner, but there’s some good folks in George Huff, Jasmine Trias, Jennifer Hudson, Diana DeGarmo, and I even like the big guy, football player Matt Rogers and that goofy Jon Peter Lewis. Will they overshadow the previous winners?
Hard to say, but it’ll be interesting for the next two months. I’ll get real tired of the product placements, those drawn-out results shows, the bad song choices, Randy saying “dawg” and Ryan Seacrest.
But a show that makes a media darling out of rejected William “She Bangs” Hung is as fascinating as it was the summer of 2002 when it captivated a nation despite all those boy-band wannabes (EJ, AJ, et al). And most of the time, I agree with Simon, which is kinda scary, but he gives a reality check, sometimes too brutal and blunt, instead of fake praise.
At least it’s more fun than watching backstabbers and gold-diggers on those other reality shows
.


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Marilyn

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Re: INDEPENDENT TOUR MEDIA REVIEWS
« Reply #34 on: March 24, 2010, 11:08:06 PM »
Pamela
Assistant Webmaster
 INDEPENDENT TOUR MEDIA REVIEWS
« Reply #34 on: March 23, 2004, 07:17:57 AM » 

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CHICAGO

Quote
Humility and charisma distinguish 'Idol' Aiken

By Joshua Klein
Special to the Tribune

"American Idol" judge Simon Cowell has a seemingly endless supply of snarky quips and wry putdowns, but there's one dismissal that crops up in his critiques more often than others. "You've got talent," he generally begins, before dropping the ax. "But we're looking for a star."

Yet if there's one thing the talent show "American Idol" has evinced it's that stardom isn't quite as simple as braving the ire of hack judges and winning a call-in contest. It takes personality, and that's something that can't be bestowed like a crown or champion belt. The U.S. version of the British show is well into it's third season and has only produced one real star: Clay Aiken—and he was the second season runner-up who survived an early dismissal by winning a wild-card round.

Surely those behind the "American Idol" franchise recognize Aiken's underdog appeal, which is why they've sent him out on the road with fading season one winner Kelly Clarkson, who clearly has more to gain from the joint outing. The two have been swapping the headliner slot, and at a mostly filled United Center on Monday night it was Aiken's turn to start the evening.

Throughout his rapid ascent from geeky nobody to something akin to a real pop idol, Aiken has retained his aw-shucks demeanor and good attitude, reacting to his fluke fame with just the right degree of humility. Aiken was confident but still endearingly awkward, just what you would expect from someone talented enough to make the most of a lucky break.

Opening with Mister Mister's "Kyrie," which Aiken began while emerging dramatically from the back of the arena, Aiken breezed through the middle of the road material from his hit record "Measure of a Man," but it was the details and asides that set his performance apart from many of his "Idol" peers.

For starters, Aiken acknowledged his clunky Chicago debut, during the last "American Idol" tour, which was rife with technical problems and long delays. He laughed whenever he frequently flubbed what few rudimentary dance moves he attempted, and even made light of forgetting the lyrics to a few songs. "You know I'm not lip-syncing when I don't know the words," he said in the middle of a brief acoustic set, which found him covering James Taylor's "Carolina in my Mind" and Sting's "Fields of Gold."

Aiken was less comfortable with Prince's "When Doves Cry" than he was performing his own custom made "Perfect Day" or "Invisible," but he was rarely less than charming. He even survived a right of passage endured by all (male) pop idols: ducking teddy bears one second and underwear the next.

Clarkson performed to a noticeably deflated arena, about what one might expect given the overwhelming number of Aiken fans. Clarkson has a powerful set of pipes, but she lacks Aiken's personality, and her songs felt numb with anonymity.

Her singing was shrill and frantic, frequently overshadowed by the background vocalists, and she seems to have taken all the wrong advice from those more interested in demographics than songcraft. The only thing that unified songs like the piano ballad "Beautiful Disaster," the bombastic "A Moment Like This," the streetwise "Bounce," and Reba McEntire's "Why Haven't I Heard From You" was a distracting dedication to oversinging. "Is anyone else tired?" she said, panting, after trying to out-Christina Christina with the Aguilera-penned "Miss Independent."

It was a relief, then, when Aiken returned, duetting with Clarkson on Journey's "Open Arms." Suddenly the crowd was energized, and Clarkson kept in check. Aiken, of course, looked as low-key as usual. Stardom may take a lot of work, but real stars make it look easy
.

CHICAGO TRIBUNE



Quote
The Kelly Clarkson and Clay Aiken concert

BY JAE-HA KIM Staff Reporter
 
The Kelly Clarkson/Clay Aiken concert Monday night at the United Center was exactly what you would expect from a pair of winners -- well, one winner and a runner-up -- from "American Idol." It was sweet, earnest and well rehearsed, but not particularly memorable.

While it's clear that each performer has a strong set of pipes, neither has toured enough to put on a truly exhilarating live show. You can sit home and listen to their CDs and pretty much get the same experience.

The two idols have been taking turns closing the show, and on this night it was Aiken who opened for Clarkson -- the first winner of Fox's singing contest. With his shock of red hair and big smile, it was hard not to warm up to Aiken, who happily cackled at his own jokes and make fun of his onstage clumsiness.

Like Clarkson, he hit enough sour notes to prove he was singing live. Performing cuts from his debut album, "Measure of a Man," Aiken relied on a ballad-heavy set that included "Invisible," "Perfect Day" and the title track.

His selection of covers was curious. He opened the show with Mr. Mister's hideous "Kyrie." The boy from North Carolina redeemed himself with a touching rendition of James Taylor's "Carolina in My Mind." And he got the parents in the audience swaying to Leo Sayer's sappy "When I Need You."

Many of the kids in the audience were too young to realize these weren't Aiken originals. Others were just confused. When he launched into "Fields of Gold," two teenage girls sitting behind me didn't recognize it as a Sting original, but rather as the background music to one of Michelle Kwan's figure skating routines.

Aiken is a likable performer who would have benefitted from adding some more rock 'n' roll into his set. He gave it a nice shot with Prince's "When Doves Cry," but when the performer is mocking his own performance, it's difficult for the audience to take it seriously.

When Clarkson's five-piece backup band and trio of singers -- including fellow "Idol" contestant Kiana Parlor -- walked onstage, it took a second to realize it was the same group of musicians that had just backed up Aiken. Except now they were clad in black, rather than white.

Clarkson distinguished her set from Aiken's by forgoing a pop princess getup. Performing barefoot on the carpeted stage, she wore a pair of tattered jeans and a black tank top. She looked a little, well, drrrty.

But when she opened her mouth, the angelic voice that drove "A Moment Like This" to the top of the charts identified her as a good girl attempting to play bad ... which isn't necessarily a bad thing.

With songs like "Beautiful Disaster," Clarkson displayed a tranquil calm. Covering Reba McEntire's "Why Haven't I Heard From You," she showed vocal versatility.

It was only when she traded verses with the amazing Parlor that it was clear that the best singer doesn't always win the contest
.


CHICAGO SUN TIMES

I wonder if these two guys actually went to the same concert.  Interesting.  Also, Chicago concert-goers:  Did Kelly sing a duet with Quiana Parlor, or do they need a new fact-checker?
 
 
 
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Marilyn

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Re: INDEPENDENT TOUR MEDIA REVIEWS
« Reply #35 on: March 24, 2010, 11:12:20 PM »
Pamela
INDEPENDENT TOUR MEDIA REVIEWS
« Reply #35 on: March 25, 2004, 08:06:13 AM » 

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OMAHA


Quote
Quote
Review: Sound system drowns Kelly's, Clay's talent

BY JAN DEKNO
WORLD-HERALD STAFF WRITER

Kelly Clarkson and Clay Aiken are both exceptionally talented singers.

That comes as no surprise to the millions of TV viewers who voted for them during the talent series "American Idol" - Clarkson was the winner in 2002 and Aiken was the runner-up last year - or to the thousands of fans who cheered them on during Wednesday night's concert at the Omaha Arena.

Too bad, then, that the sound was cranked up so loud during most of the show that the quality of their voices was all but obliterated.

The problems?

So much bass that the seats literally shook, especially during Clarkson's set.

So much over-miking that some of Aiken's crystal-clear high notes were made to sound as if he were singing on helium.

Nonetheless, the audience had a great time, waving countless signs, tossing stuffed animals at Clarkson and offering a bouquet of flowers to Aiken in exchange for an autograph.

Clarkson took the stage first - as co-headliners, she and Aiken have been alternating in the final star slot - and showed that as a performer, she much prefers her rock roots to the pop songs of "American Idol."

But her voice shone brightest during her set's quieter moments. Highlights included the title song of her debut CD, "Thankful," which she wrote in gratitude to family, friends and fans; and a soulful, scaled-down version of the torch ballad "Beautiful Disaster."

After a short intermission, it was Aiken's turn to charm the crowd. And although this is his first concert tour as a solo star, he made his appearance in true rock-star style - by entering from the back of the arena and singing the dramatic strains of Mr. Mister's rock anthem "Kyrie" as he and his bodyguards made their way to the stage.

During his set, Aiken performed many of the pop songs from his debut album, "Measure of a Man," but also offered an appealing mix of other material.

Most effective was an acoustic medley that included a wistful "Fields of Gold," a sentimental "Carolina in My Mind" and a soulful "When Doves Cry," which started as a soulful hymn and ended as a G-rated dance groove.

Opening the show was a quartet of appealing Florida singers, the Beu Sisters, who showed off fine harmonies and a number of appealing pop songs, most of which the siblings wrote themselves.

And because most of the time they sang a cappella or were accompanied by a single guitar, you could actually hear their voices.

That's something that would have paid off for the stars


OMAHA.COM
 
 
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Marilyn

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Re: INDEPENDENT TOUR MEDIA REVIEWS
« Reply #36 on: March 24, 2010, 11:14:38 PM »
Pamela
Assistant Webmaster
INDEPENDENT TOUR MEDIA REVIEWS
« Reply #36 on: March 27, 2004, 10:20:30 PM » 

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SALT LAKE CITY


Quote
EX-IDOL STARS BELT OUT TUNES FOR DELTA CROWD

by Sam Vicchrilli
The Salt Lake Tribune

Pop stars Clay Aiken and Kelly Clarkson took to the stage Friday at the Delta Center amid the echoing screams of thousands of women, plus a few men. This, coupled with the bad acoustics, led to fuzzy sounds, through the powerful vocals of the former "American Idol" stars came through clearly.

Aiken, who performed first, has found his niche as the "aw shucks" Backstreet Boy, with a comfortable stage presence, plus catchy, cohesive songs. Clarkson, hidden under dyed blond hair, unnatural cosmetics and a genre-hopping sound, has yet to develop an identity as strong as her voice.

After his thundering opener, Aiken kept the energy strong with "Perfect Day," followed by a birthday dedication to fellow Idol and Utahn Carmen Rasmusen for "I Will Carry You," whose opening line is "Yeah I know it hurts."

"When You Say You Love Me" was dedicated to a woman in Tampa, Fla., listening in by cell phone. Aiken's energy on "Invincible" [sic] and "I Will Survive You" [sic] got the crowd clapping and stomping in sync. He ended his set with Prince's "When Doves Cry."

Clarkson started off with a bang for "Low" followed by the country-ish "What's Up Lonely." The techno beats were turned up on "The Trouble with Love is," marking the start of a whirlwind set that was disorienting in its genre jumps.

Clarkson's songs are simply haphazard. Fortunately, Clarkson's vocal integrity is constant. She's best at doing what made her a winner--singing.

Clarkson's strongest song of the evening was "You Thought Wrong," an emotional song led by two female-back-ups before Clarkson joined to bring the bass heavy song to an orgiastic climax. Clarkson strutted around her rug-covered stage for the Reba McEntie cover "Why Haven't I heard From You?" before launcing into some PG-13 hip-swinging for the rap-ish "Bounce."

The crowd got moving for the sway-fiendly "anytime," followed by the show's closer "Thankful."


Dyed blonde hair?  Invincible?  Fact checker please!



Quote
Clay Aiken — high note of show

Kelly Clarkson sings well but without spark

By Scott Iwasaki
Deseret Morning News
.
      If Kelly Clarkson and Clay Aiken were competing on "American Idol," Clarkson would have been cut after Friday's performance.
      Not that Clarkson's voice was bad. It wasn't. She sang well. Her set just felt empty. She lacked personality.
      Aiken, on the other hand, was full of charm, and he connected with the audience. In fact, he started his set in the audience.
      Aiken made his entrance at the back of the Nu Skin Theatre in the Delta Center during his version of Mr. Mister's "Kyrie."
      Smartly dressed in an untucked blue shirt, blue neck tie and khaki slacks, Aiken greeted his fans with his boyish smile and slid into "Perfect Day."
      At one point, he grabbed a mobile phone from one of his fans and spoke with her friend in Tampa, Fla.: "I've got a song for you, but the phone is not working."
      With that, he serenaded the audience with "When You Say You Love Me." "Invisible" and "I Survived You" were also sung with heartfelt sincerely.
      Then the band and the three backup singers played an acoustic set, featuring the title track from Aiken's album "Measure of a Man," as well as Sting's hit "Fields of Gold," Leo Sayer's "When I Need You" and James Taylor's "Carolina in My Mind." Another remake, Prince's "When Doves Cry," along with Aiken's trademark single "The Way," wrapped the set.
      Clarkson didn't reach Aiken's energy level. While her voice was strong on songs such as the folk-rock "Low," the rhythm & blues bump of "What's Up Lonely" and the soulful "The Trouble With Love Is" had Clarkson just going through the motions.
      She kept asking if the crowd was having a good time, but she always seemed in a rush to get on with the next song.
      "Just Missed the Train" and Reba McEntire's "Why Haven't I Heard from You" were high vocal-energy works and a piano/vocal version of "Beautiful Disaster" sounded great in the mix. But her personality was flat. And her chunky wardrobe, complete with stiletto heels, was a bit much.
      The loudest audience response during Clarkson's set came when Aiken joined her for Journey's "Open Arms."
      New vocal quartet the Beu Sisters opened the show. Accompanied by a lone guitarist, the sisters sang smooth harmonies. Their set included the dreamy "You Make Me Feel Like a Star" "Any Time You Need a Friend" from Disney's "Home on the Range," and the sassy "Stop! Stay Away From My Sister."

DESERET NEWS



Quote
THE DAILY HERALD

Jessica Eyre
Date March 29, 2004

All the Clay-mates were out in force at the Delta Center on Friday night to see "American Idol" talents Clay Aiken and Kelly Clarkson.

Ironically called the "Independent" tour, the two power singers joined forces for their 30 dates nationwide.

Aiken, the runner-up of last season of "American Idol," gave a shout-out to Utah's Carmen Rasmusen, who was in the audience, during his charming hourlong set.

Dressed casually in a loose shirt and tie, Aiken recognized his fans -- many toting signs saying "I love you Clay" -- with charm and confidence.

While most of the songs were from his current album, "Measure of a Man," a collection of cover songs -- among them James Taylor's "Carolina In My Mind," Sting's "Fields of Gold" -- let him do what he does best: showcase his voice.

An interesting turn from the usual borderline Christian Rock-type music was a cover of Prince's "When Dove's Cry." And it appeared Aiken was channeling a bit of Prince's energy with the onstage moves with one of the backup singers.

But Aiken's fun personality made the show entertaining, and not just a music recital by a guy with a good voice.

Clarkson, the first "American Idol" winner, took to the stage in ripped jeans and bare feet, and spent most of her 45 minutes skipping while she worked. Her set was filled with more dramatic lighting and more dance-style music than Aiken, which was a nice contrast in a concert with two headliners.

At one point, a giant disco ball dropped slow-spinning twinkling lights around the entire arena, making it feel like a big school dance.

And when Aiken joined Clarkson for a duet of "Open Arms" by Journey, the crowd went wild, and it was difficult much of the time to hear the singers over the screaming pre-teen girls.

We already knew Aiken could sing -- but his showmanship is coming along nicely.


DAILY HERALD
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Re: INDEPENDENT TOUR MEDIA REVIEWS
« Reply #37 on: March 24, 2010, 11:19:08 PM »
Pamela
Assistant Webmaster
 INDEPENDENT TOUR MEDIA REVIEWS
« Reply #37 on: April 01, 2004, 11:36:32 PM » 

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SAN DIEGO


Quote
Clay and Kelly, a study in contrasts
By: PAM KRAGEN - Staff Writer

SAN DIEGO ---- Perhaps it was fitting that Clay Aiken and Kelly Clarkson performed for a near-capacity crowd at Cox Arena on Tuesday, the same night Fox TV aired its latest installment of "American Idol."

Clay and Kelly got their start in the top-rated televised vocal competition, and the presence of so many fans (a mostly-white family audience, ranging in age from 8 to 80) proved that Clarkson (contest winner in Season 1) and Aiken (first runner-up in Season 2) remain a hit with fans, even as a new round of "Idol" contestants vie for the next slice of pop fame.

Their uneven concert sets, though, proved that "Idol" fame can be fickle when it's toyed with. Aiken's hourlong opening set was a smash with the audience, while Clarkson's follow-up left many concertgoers cold, with dozens streaming for the exits well before she wrapped up her one-hour program.

Why? It's not her singing. Clarkson is probably a better-trained vocalist than Aiken, but her physical appearance and the ear-splitting, generic rock concert set she delivered was so far removed from what "Idol" fans expect, that only her diehard fans were moved to stand and sway.

As "Idol" fans know, the TV show is all about the singing. The contestants perform live, without the benefit of studio tricks or backup singers (a set-up that would easily scrap the careers of many of today's top pop stars). Clarkson, Aiken and second season winner Ruben Studdard triumphed because they've got the goods and don't need fancy echo machines, digitizers or retakes to correct vocal flaws.

So the flaws apparent Tuesday were in style, not vocals. Aiken's intimate, personable dozen-song set was delivered in a simple, bare-bones way to his adoring audience. While Clarkson's concert buried her fine voice under layers of loud rock music, reverb, shouting backup singers and cheesy stage props. It was hard to hear and see Kelly under all that noise.

Adding to the contrast were their appearances, beamed with unforgiving video clarity from giant video screens on either side of the stage. The tousle-haired, freckled Aiken ---- dressed in a conservative midnight blue pinstripe Oxford shirt, tie and his ever-present "W.W.J.D." ("What Would Jesus Do") bracelet ---- looked like a matinee idol with his flawless pale skin, bright green eyes, pearly smile and no makeup. The once-wholesome-looking Clarkson had a funky rock chick vibe going on, with heavily applied dark makeup, tattoos, nose stud, tight black tank top with bra straps askew, torn jeans, bare feet and a few more pounds than "Idol" fans may remember.

Aiken entered the arena through the audience and continually conversed with fans, accepted love tokens, grabbed a raised cell phone from the crowd to chat with a stunned lady on the line in Louisiana, and entertained a marriage proposal from an 11-year-old girl in the audience ("Is that legal in California?"). His folksy, self-deprecating, geeky demeanor was the same engaging presence that has won him millions of fans (if not the official "Idol" title).

His set featured 10 songs from his debut album "Measure of a Man" (which recently went triple-platinum, nearly more than Clarkson and Studdard combined) which were delivered ably if not spectacularly in most cases. What worked the best, not surprisingly, were the quiet, unaccompanied solos of "Measure of a Man" and Sting's "Fields of Gold," along with an exceptional a capella rendition of Prince's "When Doves Cry" that brought down the house. He sang with power, near-perfect pitch and big closer notes throughout and his voice retains its bell-like clarity.

Clarkson, who often accompanied herself on guitar and sang with soulful beauty, talked about her Monday visit to Sea World and accented her performance of "Thankful" with slides of her friends, but the connection to the audience wasn't quite there. She too sang most of the songs from her album, "Thankful," including a much-improved acoustic version of "Beautiful Disaster" and a funky version of "Trouble With Love Is." The crowd roared for her hit song "Miss Independent" but the level of applause seemed to decline in direct comparison to the rising volume of her onstage band and backup singers.

The Aiken/Clarkson concert series is labeled "The Independent Tour," a nod both to Clarkson's hit song but also apparently to the duo's efforts to distance themselves from "American Idol." Neither of them sang any of the cover ballads they re-popularized on the TV program, disappointing many Aiken fans hoping who shouted frequently for "Solitaire" and "Bridge Over Troubled Waters."

Yet while Aiken openly embraced his connection to the TV show with frequent references to his fellow contestants and his auditions, Clarkson seems determined to prove she's nothing like the corn-fed, curly-haired sweetheart TV fans remember. That may work for her in the long run, but it disappointed some fans in the audience Tuesday.
NC TIMES/CALIFORNIAN



Quote
Clay Wows his Fans; Kelly Also There
by Gil Sery -- 04/06/2004

Foxes on Idol writer Gil Sery recently saw the Kelly Clarkson/Clay Aiken concert. While Clay wowed his fans, Kelly didn't make a connection with the audience.

As you may have read in the blurb for my article "Motown Week: A Retrospective," I attended my local Kelly Clarkson/Clay Aiken Independent Tour concert last Tuesday instead of watching American Idol. (Why 19 Entertainment chose to schedule a concert on a Tuesday night is beyond me. After all, they have six other nights to choose from when people aren’t watching their show and voting for their favorites.)

The opening act was a group of five girls known as The Beu Sisters. To preteens, I’m sure they sounded pretty good, but their bubblegum pop sound was more reminiscent of P. Diddy’s now-defunct all-girl band Dream than anything we’ve seen on American Idol. Their songs were upbeat and catchy, and even had catchy names like “Hey Mister, Stay Away from My Sister,” but the problem was that they all sounded very much the same.

Half an hour later, Clay Aiken, flanked by six bodyguards, was spotted singing and walking through the audience in the direction of the stage, much to the delight of many of the 6,000 screaming fans in the audience, especially those up front. Aiken was easily the best performer of the night, singing with feeling and interacting with the audience on a personal level.

After a couple of songs, he noticed one female fan in the front row who had been holding up a cell phone while Aiken was singing. Taking the phone from the fan, Aiken proceeded to talk to the woman on the other end of the line who turned out to be a fan of his in Louisiana. Her friend was holding up the phone for her so that she could hear the concert.

It’s this kind of fan interaction that set Aiken apart from Clarkson that night. He paused at one point during his set to briefly recount his history on “a little show you may have seen called American Idol,” and continued by listing all the sales records that his fans had either set or broken and thanking them for each one. Clearly this is a performer who remembers that without his fans he wouldn’t be up there on stage.

Nevertheless, between all the talk, he proved that he definitely belonged up there, singing each song with feeling, and drawing shrieks of delight and even some standing ovations from his many fans. The biggest reaction was undoubtedly when Aiken launched into his performance of the popular “Invisible.” The audience truly came alive and sang along with him. One of the songs he sang was “The Way,” which was notable for the fact that that song is the B-side of his “Solitaire” single, yet he did not perform “Solitaire” itself.

After an hour of songs, Aiken bid his fans goodbye and left the stage as the lights came up for intermission. Once intermission was over, Clarkson took to the redecorated stage singing “Low.” As great a singer as she is, Clarkson could not quite match the vibe generated by Aiken. She moved quickly from song to song, only stopping occasionally to return an, “I love you too,” to some fans’ screams. There was definitely power to her voice, but the feeling just wasn’t there.

Clarkson barely interacted with the audience and didn’t work the stage as much either. The biggest audience reaction came from “Miss Independent,” to which many fans stood up in their seats and clapped to the music. Many of Clarkson’s performances reached the level of screaming instead of singing, something that had not happened during Aiken’s performances, even when he went for the high notes.

Still, Clarkson wasn’t all bad. Her performance of “Miss Independent” was well received; she sang several duets with one of her backup singers, including “You Thought Wrong,” a song she originally sang with fellow Idol finalist Tamyra Gray.

Clarkson didn’t sing exclusively from her album, though. She gave a great rendition of “Stuff Like That There,” the song she sang during Big Band Week on American Idol, and also sang songs like “Timeless” and “The Bounce” from her movie From Justin to Kelly.

While there were many fans in the audience sporting T-shirts of Miss Clarkson, the last song of the night made it crystal clear whom the fans were there to see. Clarkson started out singing Journey’s “Open Arms,” but was drowned out the moment Aiken appeared on stage to sing the second verse with her. The two collaborated on the concert’s last song, always walking towards each other but never quite meeting, (perhaps due to the nature of the song).

Maybe it was just that Aiken’s fans outnumbered or outscreamed Clarkson’s, but this was definitely not Clarkson’s night. This was not the Kelly Clarkson we had grown accustomed to seeing excel on American Idol, nor was it the Kelly Clarkson who had appeared with so much energy and pizzazz during the first American Idol tour. This Kelly Clarkson appeared tame, subdued, and going through the motions.

Perhaps it had something to do with the nap she took several hours before the concert. She mentioned this on a couple of the local radio station interviews she did that night, when some deejays noted that she sounded tired. Had she performed like this on American Idol, it might have prompted Randy Jackson to say, “I’m just not feeling you, dawg
.”

FOXES ON IDOL
 
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Re: INDEPENDENT TOUR MEDIA REVIEWS
« Reply #38 on: March 24, 2010, 11:24:41 PM »
Pamela
Assistant Webmaster
INDEPENDENT TOUR MEDIA REVIEWS
« Reply #38 on: April 03, 2004, 10:29:04 AM » 

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SACRAMENTO

Quote
Review: Clay Aiken's all the craze at Arco in 'Idol' lovefest
By Will Evans -- Bee Staff Writer 

The Clay Nation was aching for Aiken - whatever. The usual puns aside, people love Clay Aiken.
Love is a strong word. And yet it is not too strong for one 14-year-old Sacramentan, chewing bubble gum around her braces as she waited in Arco Arena Wednesday night for the tour stop of "American Idol" stars Clay Aiken and Kelly Clarkson.

"I just have a weird obsession with him," Megan Owen explained. She and her friend were wearing red T-shirts that they had turned into symbols of devotion by writing "Clay's Lifeguard" in puffy paint. (You see, he's afraid of the water. And they know that.)

"I mean," she said, "I'm in love with him."

And so even before the singing, and certainly during, it was Aiken's show. Clarkson was just someone who won a TV show contest a couple of years ago and came on to warm up the crowd.

Clarkson would start a song in a promising way, with only a guitar or light band background to compete with, so she could highlight her voice. But in song after song, after the intro they'd jam in a heavy, noisy background and drown her out for the remainder.

She just couldn't be heard clearly over the clutter of three backup singers, two guitarists, a keyboardist and a drummer who was especially too loud. With her words sounding garbled, all we got was the feeling that she was singing, along with her vocal flourishes - which she does just fine - here and there.

With "American Idol" stars, we don't care about the bands - it's the singer's voice that got us here. And Clarkson missed the chance to show us why she won.

Her two female backup singers became a refreshing contrast - with more energy, punctuation of their phrases and projection of their voices. Even on "Miss Independent," Clarkson's funkiest and catchiest song of the evening, the sparks came from the backup singers.

She was best at the end of the show, singing "Open Arms" in a duet with Aiken, as their voices clicked and squiggled up and down and all over. Overall, though, she just didn't come off like a star. But then, many in the audience didn't come to see her, anyway.

Debbie Wood, 55, and Helene Sasser, 67, drove to Arco from Reno for Aiken. The sisters, both mortgage bankers, both wearing black outfits and hoop earrings, shook their heads in wonderment at Aiken. Sasser clutched her hands to her head every once in a while like an overwhelmed teenage fan. Their 88-year-old mother, a fan who couldn't make the trip, got a CD player for the first time just to hear Aiken's album.

"He's the new Sinatra, he's the new superstar," Wood said. "I think this is history in the making, right here."

Aiken's entrance was pure pop star. He came in from the back of the arena, walking down from the upper levels of Arco - singing and beaming, the near-capacity crowd on its feet, fans bouncing around him, security guards with arms hovering, the screaming unleashed like you just took out your earplugs. Through the rest of the night it sounded as though a thousand small screaming creatures had been uncaged. Clay was on.

Aiken has developed a quirky, fun performance style, built around his dorky but warm smile, the jerky movements of his lanky body and the spurts of dance moves that look silly and cute at the same time.

And in contrast to Clarkson, Aiken's songs showcase his voice. Sure, he often sounds quite Broadway, as Simon Cowell, the nasty "Idol" judge put it. But that's what the fans apparently like, and it's a quality that allows him to enunciate his words and sing with contrast, important in such a large venue. He also benefited from having catchier material than Clarkson, songs such as "The Way," "No More Sad Songs" and "Invisible."

Aiken picked out a sign in the audience that read, "We dropped 13,000 feet for you," held by a woman who sky-dived that morning. "But you did that for you," he said, "and because you're obviously crazy."

"We fell for you," she yelled in response, upon which Aiken called her over to the side of the stage and crooned "When You Say You Love Me" directly to her. She put out her hand, and he took it. She swooned, her eyes popping. The act seemed to make the rest of the audience jealous and way too vicariously excited.

Likewise, there was a palpable shock when the innocent Aiken delivered a pelvic thrust when dancing with a backup singer during a cover of Prince's "When Doves Cry."

Not that Aiken doesn't have sex appeal. Take the homemade T-shirt of Jessica Fat, 16. The back of her shirt professed her desire to have intimate relations with the singer.

But her 15-year-old friend quickly added: "Not before marriage."

To Aiken, presumably. Such devotion.


SAC TICKET


Quote
Surprise: Aiken has talent

By Tony Hicks
CONTRA COSTA TIMES

The horrifying realization came about three songs into Clay Aiken's set Wednesday night at Sacramento's Arco Arena:

Maybe it was the woman seated on the right, who said "American Idol" got her through a long hospital stay. Maybe it was the seven giddy middle-aged women on the left, all of whom came straight from the same office clad in Clay Aiken T-shirts. Or maybe it was all those old ladies running around in "Grandmas for Clay" shirts

Whatever the cause, a guy could catch himself thinking something he wouldn't have taken 500-1 odds on only a couple hours earlier:

"Man, there's no way that Ruben guy should have beat Clay on 'American Idol.' This guy was robbed."

What!?!?

Oh, God. Who said that?!

Let's not go overboard and call him a musical genius or even a legitimate star, yet there's really no preparing a cynic for the nonthreatening, charm machine that is Clay Aiken, who is co-headlining the "American Idol" tour with fellow "Idol" wailer Kelly Clarkson. The man's confounding. He looks like Martin Short and sings with as much subtlety as a guy wearing a cod piece on Broadway. He's the most uncool man in America, and that even includes Florida.

Yet the mystery slowly unraveled, in front of one of the most drastically varied age group of females ever to gather at a mainstream pop concert. Mothers see him as the most deferential son-in-law. Grandmas see him as a doting grandson. Girls see him as a supremely confidant, yet incredibly nonthreatening nice guy, who could smile and sing them sweet ballads while slow dancing at the junior prom.

Guys? Not many, unless one counts the middle-aged ones doing sentry duty over their 11-year-old girls. I still don't feel the love, and probably never will. But at least I'm starting to understand it.

Aiken is confidant, unassuming and can sing. He doesn't have to live up to the always demanding standards of cultural coolness because his crowd just doesn't care. They love him. Bingo.

Clarkson shares those traits, only without the same nerdy charm. Cheerleader types -- even ones with howitzer vocal chords -- just don't get the same amount of respect with the grandma-rocker demographic.

Clarkson is distancing herself from the world's Britney Spears-clones. Dressed down, hair ponytailed and without shoes, her job was to be perky and sing, while connecting to the youngsters. She noticed their signs and even wore one girl's homemade T-shirt.

In 52 minutes, Clarkson covered most of last year's "Thankful," including "What's Up Lonely," "The Trouble With Love Is," "Just Missed the Train" (during which she tried playing one electric guitar chord over and over. It's a good thing she can sing), "Beautiful Disaster," "Thankful" and "Anytime." The last is a big ballad designed to showcase her power, which it did until she plunged too deep into Mariah Carey-ville. It seems to be some sort of law or something for good young pop singers.

But Clarkson is slightly different because, while she can go toe-to-toe with any pipes in the land, she picks her spots well. She knows when not to blast away, staying subtle when necessary and setting up the big notes. She ended with a rousing "Miss Independent," a power dance song (for her, anyway) that showed she can be more than another TV singer doing standard ballads.

Aiken came out hyped, entering the arena from a second-level door opposite the stage (and sending the grandmas into screaming fits). By second song "Perfect Day" his almost hokey-yet-commanding way of handling the crowd was conjuring visions of a low-grade Barry Manilow. Miraculously, by the time he did the big ballad "No More Sad Songs," he was more than holding his own on a night that was so dangerously top heavy with weepy ballads, a Journey concert was threatening to break out. But more on the encore later.

After the curiously sunny stalker song "Invisible," Aiken couldn't dodge his show-tune roots, bringing everything down (literally, sitting on a stool) for a medley mixing originals and cover snippets from Sting, Leo Sayer and James Taylor. Now this was tolerable and all, but when he broke out the lounge version of Prince's "When Doves Cry" it was time to stop the madness.

Almost. The most gleefully predictable moment of the night was the show-closer, when Clarkson returned for a duet of "Open Arms." You know the drill -- they walk slowly toward each other, belting out lines and pretending they're in love. What was interesting, though, was the way their powerhouse voices mixed. It was like stumbling into the morning shower and, instead of getting the expected trickle, out comes Niagara Falls.

The whole "American Idol" thing is what it is: A manufactured attempt for corporate entertainment to suck America into a televised competition, parlaying it into ready-made markets of CD sales and concert tours. Despite an enthusiastic crowd, Wednesday's show smelled very temporary. No one is spending more than minimum wage on promotion, lighting or a big stage set up. No choreographers, dancers, or even a different band for each artist (the band just changed from black to white outfits between sets). Television did all the work, and the masterminds will squeeze these kids until the public's collective memory fades.

But taste aside, a cynic's pre-conceived notion that Clarkson and Aiken are just as expendable vanished Wednesday. When the pop juice runs dry -- and it will, because the market flames out fast for even the hottest "TRL" wonders, nevermind the ones not pushing sex -- both will survive. The dramatic, personable Aiken is clearly headed for Broadway, while Clarkson's friendly Texan demeanor and vocal skills could dominate the young country or adult contemporary ranks for years. Their careers look a little more promising now. Even to cynical eyes.



CONTRA COSTA TIMES
 
 
 
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Re: INDEPENDENT TOUR MEDIA REVIEWS
« Reply #39 on: March 24, 2010, 11:29:29 PM »
Pamela
Assistant Webmaster
 INDEPENDENT TOUR MEDIA REVIEWS
« Reply #39 on: April 05, 2004, 12:50:19 AM » 

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GLENDALE


Quote
Fans in a frenzy for 'AI' duo
 
Theresa Cano
azcentral.com
Apr. 3, 2004 02:30 AM

Arizona's chapter of "Claymates" was out in full force Friday night to witness 'American Idol' season two runner-up, and unlikely sex symbol, Clay Aiken deliver a wholesome, charming and most importantly, vocally impressive set.

It's hard to tell how or when Aiken, who is on tour with 'AI' season one winner Kelly Clarkson, transformed from a geeky 'AI' contestant to a full-fledged pop phenomenon, but for those in attendance at Glendale Arena the message was repeatedly said loud and clear ... "We love you Clay!"

From toddlers to grandmas and grandpas, the crowd went into a frenzy as Aiken opened the show entering from the back of the arena with a cover of Mister Mister's "Kryie."

Based on the scream factor alone, the night clearly belonged to Aiken who opened the co-headling show. Aiken played up his awkwardness to just the right degree. While he did his best to try to execute a few dance moves, he relied mostly on what got him to the point of having thousands of adoring fans ... his voice.

Aiken's range is impressive to say the least. He effortlessly cruised through his hour-long set which included fan favorites “Invisible,” “The Way” and “I Will Carry You” from his debut album, Measure of A Man. The teacher-turned-pop idol served up a short acoustic set that featured stellar renditions of James Taylor's "Carolina On My Mind" and Sting's "Fields of Gold."

The singer could do no wrong in the eye's of his fans, many of whom brought handmade signs that read anything from "Clay Nation" to "Claymates" to "Save a marriage - give my wife a hug." Yes, Aiken did his part to save the doomed union.

His one, two punch of a power packed voice and quirky demeanor are no doubt why fans have jumped on the Clay train and no one in the crowd wanted to get off.

A cover of Prince's "When Doves Cry" was Aiken's only misstep of the night. While his vocals were in step, the awkward production featured the goofy singer bumping and grinding with a backup singer. It was a little too suggestive for the innocent, "aw shucks" appeal of the singer.

That little incident aside, the 'AI' stars' stop in the Valley served as a safe haven for parents who wanted to take the family out for a night of good, clean fun.

Clarkson opened with "Low," off of her debut album Thankful. The tune which is reminiscent of a Sheryl Crow rocker sounded great live. The Texan's voice has a soulfulness and depth far beyond her 21 years.

A funky remix of Clarkson's new single "The Trouble With Love Is," was received well by the crowd, many of whom danced and sang along.

While Aiken got the loudest screams, Clarkson got more fans off their feet during her set which featured a mix of rock, pop, soul and even a big band number. The personable singer frequently exchanged banter with the crowd and even spent a good amount of time signing autographs at the end of the stage.

Bouncing, dancing and at times, banging her head as she sang, Clarkson truly seemed to be having the time of her life during her set. Stand out numbers included "Miss Independent" and "Stuff Like That There." 'American Idol' fans might remember the latter as the song Clarkson sang on "Big Band Night" that pushed her ahead of the pack on the show.

The only problem with Clarkson's portion of the night was the pacing in between songs. At times rushed and other times slow, the singer never really got into a rhythm with her set.

Both were plagued by sound problems in the arena. A distracting echo could be heard throughout both of the singer's sets, which was especially disruptive during slow numbers like Aiken's "I Survived You" and Clarkson's gorgeous number "Beautiful Disaster."

Clarkson closed out the night, joined by Aiken, for a cover of Journey's "Open Arms." The tune showcased both singer's voices perfectly and was arguably the strongest performance, vocally, by either one during the night.

While Aiken's "Claymates" might have been the reason most in attendance bought a ticket, Clarkson no doubt pulled her weight as a worthy star herself.

Here's hoping that both come around to the Valley again.

AZ CENTRAL (Slideshow at the link - lots of pictures!)




Quote
Idols worshipped at Glendale Arena

By THOMAS BOND
Get Out
April 2, 2004

It's good to be an idol.

“American Idol” TV singing contest stars Kelly Clarkson (winner of the first season) and Clay Aiken (runner-up of the second edition) were the subjects of much adoration by a crowd of approximately 10,000 fans at Glendale Arena. Both stars responded with strong vocal performances if less than exciting stage shows.

Aiken took the stage first in an untucked, dark blue shirt and loosened necktie with gray pants and sneakers singing Mr. Mister's “Kyrie,” followed by “Perfect Day” and “I Will Carry You.”

He seemed comfortably at ease onstage, acknowledging the signs of fans including one that read, “Save a marriage — hug my wife!” which he did. His southern drawl and unassuming nature seemed to connect with the crowd.

Vocally, he was in fine form. With a full set of songs to sing instead of one to make-it-or-break-it with on television, he rarely over-emoted and found the nuances in the tunes to lay back or hit hard.

“I thought he was a lot better in person than he was on TV,” said Kasandra Merrill, 27, of Mesa, who brought her daughter Jensynn, 7, to the show.

Backed by five musicians and three backup singers all clad entirely in white, Aiken performed the majority of his 3 million-sold-and-counting debut album, “Measure of a Man.” After a strong “I Survived You,” he gathered the backup vocalists, guitarist and keyboard player for an acoustic medley of tunes that included Sting's “Fields of Gold” and a nod to his roots with “Carolina On My Mind.”

He wrapped up the segment with an a capella intro to Prince's “When Doves Cry” — less than 48 hours since the Purple One had performed it in the same building — that segued into an electric finish. At one point he even got a bit frisky, going pelvis to pelvis with a female backup singer. Aiken closed his set with “The Way”

After a short intermission, Clarkson began her set playing acoustic guitar on “Low.”

Dressed in a black tank top with torn jeans that soon gave way to black jogging pants, she performed her set barefoot. She was backed by the same musicians and singers who had all changed into black clothing.

Where Aiken was low-key and sauntered around the stage when he moved at all, Clarkson was perky and playful throughout her set, though it came across somewhat forced. Her material, including “Bounce” and “Miss Independent,” was considerably more upbeat and the singer showed off a few rudimentary dance moves.

She performed the majority of her own debut album, “Thankful,” and signed multiple autographs while she sang. While the crowd's response was warm, it was noticeably more so for Aiken.

Clarkson concluded her set with “A Moment Like This” and the lights went dark for just a moment before she started singing Journey's “Open Arms.” When Aiken returned to the stage singing the second verse, the crowd greeted him with a grand ovation and the pair finished the song as a duet. Though their voices blended pleasantly, there didn't appear to be much chemistry between them and after a quick half-hug they exited on opposite sides of the stage to end the show.

With the venue only half-full and literally nothing in the form of stage production for the entire night, the concert had the definite feel of a State Fair show.

“It wasn't good, but it wasn't bad,” said Sari Lin, 14, of Scottsdale. “I've been to better concerts.”

While Aiken and Clarkson have fine voices and seem genuinely personable, both are painfully lacking in stage presence, especially for an arena show. Even more especially for a music writer who'd seen Prince and Rod Stewart — two tremendously engaging entertainers — in the same place within the same week as this show. 


GET OUT AZ




Quote
Live Review: Clay Aiken and Kelly Clarkson in Glendale, AZ

by Christina Fuoco
liveDaily Contributor 
 
April 05, 2004 01:35 PM - The Fox Network television show "American Idol" has been described by some as a glorified karaoke contest with mediocre talent vying for a much-coveted record contract--but fans who caught the Phoenix-area stop by first-season winner Kelly Clarkson and second season runner-up Clay Aiken know better.

During Friday's show (4/2), Aiken impressed with his buoyant stage presence and powerful, Broadway-ready vocals. Dressed in a fedora-like hat, an untucked, button-down shirt and baggy pants, he didn't waste any time getting the crowd into his performance. As his background singers performed the opening lines of Mr. Mister's "Kyrie," Aiken entered from the back of the arena and waded his way through the audience while singing the religious-based '80s hit.

He immediately went into "Perfect Day," from his debut "Measure of a Man," jumping and punching the air to the beat. He was clearly enjoying himself on stage. The audience--which filled about 75% of the arena--reciprocated. Fans, who nickname themselves "Claymates," screamed as he removed his hat to reveal his trademark tousled hair.

Claiming the audience didn't pay to hear him talk, Aiken kept the stage banter to a minimum, instead using his 60-minute slot to showcase material from his multi-platinum album, "Measure of a Man." Many of the songs tread religious waters--besides "Kyrie,"--including "When You Say You Love Me" and "This is the Night"--touched on religion.

Aiken connected with the audience, sitting on a step while bathed in turquoise light, singing "No More Sad Songs" to audience members in the first rows. He also chatted up a fan who claimed to be at his first concert.

A couple on the opposite side of the runway held up a sign insinuating that a hug from Aiken would save their marriage. He couldn't resist and gave the woman a hug. He then dedicated "When You Say You Love Me" to them. As he ended the weeper of a song, Aiken was handed a pair of panties, which clearly embarrassed him. "I've had them thrown, but not handed," he said. "I like this so much more, I think. It's a lot nicer."

The one down side of his performance was the thin cover of Prince's "When Doves Cry," which stripped the song of all its funkiness. It was accompanied by an awkward dance with a background singer, one of three who, throughout the show, copped Motown-like dance moves.

With Clarkson's set, however, there were many missteps. She performed a dance-remix version of her latest hit, "Trouble with Love Is," the love theme from the British comedy "Love Actually." The powerful, gospel-like song was watered down with techno beats and random shouts.

She strummed the guitar during the Sheryl Crow-like opener "Low," during which she showed her comedic chops by demonstrating "the lawnmower," a dance move that she recently performed on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show."

Throughout the show, Clarkson--who is pushing her album "Thankful"--annoyingly mumbled her lyrics as she signed autographs for those in the front rows. The singer needs to decide if her 60-minute closing set is a concert or a meet and greet.

When she did concentrate on her performance, Clarkson proved that she could be a talent to reckon with--if only she'd stop saying "cool beans" throughout the show.

While Aiken mainly strolled the stage calmly, Clarkson banged her head to her upbeat pop numbers. Often barefoot (and bragging about her pedicures), she sat atop a grand piano to sing a couple numbers. She also performed a medley of tunes from her box-office-flop movie, "From Justin to Kelly," with the help of a background singer who delivered Justin Guarini's spots.

She recalled her "American Idol" days by singing "Stuff Like That There," which she originally performed during the show's big-band-themed episode. That was one of a few highlights, along with "Miss Independent" and the moody "Beautiful Disaster."

Clarkson closed her set with the apropos "A Moment Like This," a number which finally showcased the vocals that propelled her to the top of her "American Idol" competitors.

However, during the encore, it was clear who the fans were there to see: Clay Aiken. Clarkson sang the first verse to Journey's "Open Arms" and as Aiken strolled out to duet with her, the screams were nearly deafening.


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Idols Clarkson and Aiken step into spotlight

by Nicki Escudero
April 08, 2004

Kelly Clarkson and Clay Aiken gave fans of "American Idol" a double dose of powerful vocals and a fun concert when they hit the Glendale Arena Friday as part of their "Independent" tour.

Aiken was clearly the favorite of the mostly teen girl crowd.

When he walked through the audience to the stage to open the show, Claymates all around swooned. Aiken performed many cuts from his CD "Measure of a Man," as well as some covers. Fans got a sneak peak at his duet from Kimberley Locke's new album, "One Love." Locke was the third-place contestant from the second season of "AI."

I loved Aiken's performance so much, I was planning on throwing my panties on stage, but some girl had the nerve to do it before me. Poor Aiken looked bewildered at the undergarments.

Next up was Clarkson. She cracked me up because, despite wearing slashed jeans and rocking out with a guitar on-stage, there is no way she will ever seem tough, especially since fake candles and flowing white sheets covered the stage.

Clarkson had an excellent set list, the majority of her songs coming from her "Thankful" album.

The show ended with a duet cover of the song "Open Arms" by both Aiken and Clarkson. I've seen Clarkson in concert before, so Aiken definitely touched my heart greatly, and I couldn't help shedding a few tears when he started singing.

Speaking of idols, the third season of American Idols is underway, and the "AI" judges, Randy Jackson, Paula Abdul and Simon Cowell, all seem to agree the current third season is the best ever due to the talent of the Top 12.

This seems to be a marketing ploy, though, because all 12 of them combined cannot come close to the charm of Aiken, who along with season two winner Ruben Studdard and Locke, undoubtedly deserve all the success they has received.

Yes, "AI" season three is entertaining (thanks to hottie host Ryan Seacrest), but there is some spark lacking that was found in the second season. With only four guy contestants, I don't have much eye candy; Jon Peter Lewis is sort of cute, but the "sort of" turns into "not at all" when he starts dancing.

The singing of the contestants also isn't that phenomenal. John Stevens, Camille Velasco, Leah LaBelle...need I say more? I predict the winner of the third season of "AI" will be La Toya London, with Jasmine Trias coming in second.

They are both amazing singers and will be deserving of their titles, but in order to be long-lasting in the entertainment industry, their personalities need to be a little tweaked-more energy would be a huge improvement.

Voting on "AI" is done entirely by the audience, so I encourage you to vote. If you don't care about the show, at least do me a favor and vote for my personal favorite, Jennifer Hudson. She is funny, sassy and can really sing.


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Attention all music critics and reviewers:  This is the Night is NOT on Clay's concert set list.  You need to adjust your antennae or something.  Please pay better attention!  Thank you! GAH!
 
 
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Re: INDEPENDENT TOUR MEDIA REVIEWS
« Reply #40 on: March 24, 2010, 11:34:59 PM »
Pamela
Assistant Webmaster
      INDEPENDENT TOUR MEDIA REVIEWS
« Reply #40 on: April 05, 2004, 11:11:01 PM » 

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Powerhouse duo show promise
Stepping away from their 'Idol' start, Kelly Clarkson and Clay Aiken display big potential at Pond concert.

By BEN WENER
The Orange County Register

Never let it be said that the typically tin-eared public can't spot a great voice when it wails gloriously at them.

Mind you, we're not so savvy at spotting much else in the way of genuine ability. Time and again we gleefully overlook mediocrity so long as it comes attached to a pretty face or a novel personality. Case in point: the curious popularity of current "American Idol" contestants John Stevens (catatonic crooner with zero rhythm) and Jon Peter Lewis (the spastic clown).

Or consider how it is that "Idol" reject William Hung, a talentless goof who even the tone-deaf realize cannot sing, has an album arriving in stores Tuesday, featuring his infamous version of Ricky Martin's "She Bangs."

So thank whatever musical gods were at work to help pop fans save face - by weeding through the dreck that fills each "Idol" contest to discover Kelly Clarkson and Clay Aiken. As the pair proved repeatedly during their sets Saturday night at Arrowhead Pond of Anaheim, they are powerhouse voices who deserve their devoted followings.

Yet, as with the mighty- piped Ruben Studdard (currently on his first solo tour) and better-than-third-place Kimberly Locke (who issues her full-length debut in May after topping the charts with the single "Eighth World Wonder"), Kelly and Clay are only now facing the true test: establishing themselves as bankable entertainment entities who can achieve longevity without "Idol" assistance.

Hence, the duo's aptly named Independent Tour, which stops again tonight at Staples Center in Los Angeles. Apart from Kelly dropping the show's name once and reviving "Stuff Like That" from her "Idol" appearances, everything we know and love/hate about the immensely popular Fox series was rightly absent. (For his part, Clay simply acknowledged that support from squealing, sign-toting, feverishly flashbulb-popping fans like those on hand is what brought him a career.)

Instead, this was just Kelly belting, Clay soaring, then the two together for a nicely harmonized duet on Journey's "Open Arms," all of it backed by a well-rehearsed band.

But, to steal Simon Cowell's favorite qualifier, if I'm being totally honest, I wasn't particularly moved by much of it.

No question both acts come across like seasoned pros and can top most contemporaries in the vocal department. Kelly, for instance, comes across like Christina Aguilera with more restraint, and she's skilled enough to fit her Texan holler into many styles - R&B-flavored pop, big ballads, torchy slink, even a saucy rethinking of Reba McIntire's "Why Haven't I Heard From You?"

Clay, of course, can effortlessly nail his attention-grabbing "glory notes," but he also has some dynamic capability. In other words, as shown in a pleasing segment of well- known material (Sting's "Fields of Gold," Leo Sayer's "When I Need You," James Taylor's "Carolina in My Mind"), he knows when to downplay his boom and hush.

That said, both sets were more interesting for the potential displayed by these overnight sensations than for the music they're currently making, which is largely bland and forgettable. For as much as they are indebted to the show and style that gave them a start, both clearly want to escape trappings designed to win them a teenage audience.

Barefoot and bubbly Kelly proved that desire right away by revealing guitar skills (she did some basic strumming for two cuts). Here, she seemed more inclined to follow in the footsteps of Jewel than to keep churning out more Aguilera knockoffs like "Miss Independent." (Another sign: She was more comfortable bouncing in a tank top and tattered jeans than strutting in a club- hottie get-up, the high heels of which lasted only one song.)

Goody-goody Clay - whose charm is infectious but whose zipper-studded outfit made him look as ridiculous as Ryan Seacrest - well, he clearly wants to rock out more. This night, he was surer on Beatlesque bits like "Perfect Day" and "No More Sad Songs" (strangely reminiscent of Radiohead's "Karma Police") than on fluff like "Invisible." And though some selections were vapid (Mr. Mister's "Kyrie") or misguided (a sexless take on Prince's "When Doves Cry"), his willingness to explore is commendable.

I still insist it's too soon to tell whether Kelly or Clay will blossom into interesting artists whose creative endeavors are worth noticing. Given that they didn't sell out the Pond and tickets for Staples are still available, this very well could be their zenith - their first and last "Idol"-less hurrah.

Or it could be the start of a promising future. Really, if William Hung can get 15 minutes, aren't Kelly and Clay worth at least a decade?


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'Idols' are human, but louder

Though Clarkson's and Aiken's limitations are evident, screaming throngs adore the show.

By Richard Cromelin, Times Staff Writer

When you start out at overwrought, there's only one place to go — into the rarified realm of unmitigated pop bombast, staked out by mighty-mite people's choice pop star Clay Aiken at the Arrowhead Pond in Anaheim on Saturday. What would you call it? Über-wrought? Ultra-wrought? Maybe there is no word for it.

In any case, it's what "American Idol" hath wrought. Aiken is the hit TV talent show's flagship star (even though he was not a winner, losing a close race to Ruben Studdard in the viewer voting last year), and he's the headliner on a national tour that pairs him with first-season champ Kelly Clarkson.

It's a dream team for "American Idol" fans, whose intimate observation of the contestants and participation in the outcome has given them a proprietary relationship with the performers. The Pond audience wasn't one to sit back and clap politely. They screamed and shouted and waved signs that said such things as "Taken With Aiken" and "Kelly Rocks."

Both artists played their determined roles, making sure to be appropriately modest and grateful. But while Clarkson was casual and down-to-earth in her opening set, Aiken fancied himself a more theatrical figure, role-playing to his songs' emotions with melodramatic pauses and heavy glances. If he had a mustache he would have been twirling it.

Striding to the stage from the rear of the arena while belting his version of Mr. Mister's 1985 hit "Kyrie," Aiken immediately set the tone for his hour-plus set, in which his songs — mostly power ballads that sound designed for uplift scenes in "The Lion King" — were spewed with a flat forcefulness that could pin you to the back of your seat if you weren't standing up waving a sign.

It was enough to make Celine Dion seem restrained. But at least Dion has the equipment to make her over-the-top approach technically impressive. Aiken's voice is thin and pinched, with uncertain pitch and little versatility, as one awkward attempt at soul-style embroidery showed on Saturday. His one tool is volume, an appropriate expression of the go-for-it theme that underlies every "American Idol" story line.

And of course the flaws and limitations are part of the appeal, the things that make him one of us even as we send him into career orbit with our votes.

The concert actually reversed the expectations created by their hit albums, Aiken's "Measure of a Man" and Clarkson's "Thankful." On record he at least sometimes seems a slightly eccentric character, while she comes off as a somewhat slick genre-hopper.

But on Saturday she was the one who was easygoing, even a little feisty — as when she criticized the production on her recording "Beautiful Disaster" and proceeded to sing it with bare piano backing.

The giggling and the whooping between songs and the signing of autographs went a little over the top, and nothing she sang suggested she's more than a modest talent aglow in the fairy dust of "American Idol," but as its resident girl-next-door, the pop world could probably do worse.


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Re: INDEPENDENT TOUR MEDIA REVIEWS
« Reply #41 on: March 24, 2010, 11:38:20 PM »
Pamela
Assistant Webmaster
      INDEPENDENT TOUR MEDIA REVIEWS
« Reply #41 on: April 06, 2004, 09:14:48 PM » 

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MTV Concert Review - Cutielicious: Kelly And Clay's Live Show Heavy On The Sugar
Are these performers from "American Idol" or "Last Comic Standing"?

By now, everyone knows that Clay Aiken and Kelly Clarkson "can blow," as Randy Jackson would say. But who knew they were such comedians? As the Independent Tour hit the Staples Center Monday night, Aiken had his fans rolling in the aisles throughout his hour-long set, particularly over a mid-performance cell phone routine.

"I wanna know who all these people are, talking on their phones," he mused. "I mean, you pay all this money ..." With perfect comic timing, he interrupted himself and reached out to a fan a few feet away: "Give me that phone."

Aiken then proceeded to talk to the person on the other end of the line, cracking jokes about the show and imitating her ecstatic screaming. "Here, let's take a picture," he said, holding up the picture phone for other fans to photograph.

He also charmed the crowd with ad-libs. Later in the set, Aiken mentioned being eliminated in an early round of "American Idol" (before voters rescued him in the wild-card round), and the crowd booed. "It's OK, I'm doing fine for myself," he deadpanned. Eventually, his smirk alone garnered laughs. And when he did a few dance moves, hysterics ensued.

But that's not to say he didn't wow the crowd with his singing as well. Clay had plenty of opportunities to show off his pipes, and he started before he'd even taken the stage: He entered by walking from the back of the arena, through the crowd, to the stage while singing his opening number, a cover of Mr. Mister's "Kyrie" that was perfect for his mighty voice.

Dressed in a blue-on-blue tie and shirt combo and a fedora, Clay segued into "Perfect Day" and "I Will Carry You" before crooning another cover, Steven Curtis Chapman's "All About Love."

Although it was his first tour apart from last summer's "American Idol" package trek, Aiken showed the comfort of a stage veteran, interacting with his band and the audience as he seamlessly transitioned from song to song.

And while he was sometimes compared to Barry Manilow on "American Idol," Aiken showed just enough edge to bring Neil Diamond or even Rod Stewart to mind on Monday.

For "Without You," he was joined by backup singer Quiana Parler, a fellow Carolina native Clay met while auditioning for "American Idol." (The song will appear as a duet on Kimberly Locke's upcoming album, which Clay gracefully plugged.)

After getting the crowd on its feet with "Invisible," Aiken slowed it down for an acoustic set of covers, including Sting's "Fields of Gold," Leo Sayer's "When I Need You" and James Taylor's "Carolina in My Mind." "This is my favorite part of the show," he said, as if it weren't obvious by his smile.

The final cover in the set was Prince's "When Doves Cry," which was slowed down to a crawl before exploding into a sexy rave-up. The crowd gasped as Clay grinded on one of his backup singers, who responded by yanking his tie and pulling him closer.

For his finale, Clay explained how "The Way" was about not being able to express feelings — and said he's having a hard time saying how thankful he is for his fans. Performing the sing-along was good enough for them.

Kelly, wearing ripped jeans and a black tank top, opened her set playing guitar and singing "Low." "What's up, L.A.?" she followed, holding the "Aaaaay" to segue into her next song, "What's Up Lonely."

After Aiken's antics, the crowd seemed more eager for Kelly to goof around than sing. "Do the lawn mower!" a fan screamed, prompting Kelly to show off the corny dance (she even wiped her forehead as if "mowing" in the summer sun). "That's why I'm still single," she quipped.

The stage was littered with gifts thrown by audience members, and as Clarkson meandered around it, she picked up gifts and commented upon them: "Thanks, but I've got clothes," she said, picking up a scarf. "And I can't put these panties on!" (They must have been left over from Clay's set.)

But the emphasis was always on the music, some of which was performed in renditions markedly different from the album. For "The Trouble With Love Is," Kelly began the song as it is on the LP, but the band suddenly turned it into a techno rendition. And later she described the album version of "Beautiful Disaster" as having "too much production, and I don't like it." She sat on a piano to sing a scaled-down version and then took center stage for a cover of Bette Midler's "Stuff Like That There."

Later, for the title track to Thankful, the video screens on each side of the stage showed slides of a younger Kelly with her friends and family. Although it was a bit like a graduation party or wedding reception, the crowd loved it. "This is what got me here," she said, introducing "A Moment Like This," during which she spent most of the time signing autographs while singing.

For the final number, Kelly began Journey's "Open Arms" — and just as some audience members started heading out to the parking lot, they were stopped suddenly by the voice of Clay, who slyly strolled onstage to duet with his co-headliner.

"You're so cute," Kelly told him, putting an end to a concert best described as ... cute.

—Corey Moss


MTV REVIEW (pictures at the link!)
 
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Re: INDEPENDENT TOUR MEDIA REVIEWS
« Reply #42 on: March 24, 2010, 11:41:38 PM »
Pamela
Assistant Webmaster
  INDEPENDENT TOUR MEDIA REVIEWS
« Reply #42 on: April 08, 2004, 08:08:31 AM » 

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SAN JOSE


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A runner-up proves his princely worth
Joel Selvin
Chronicle Senior Pop Music Critic   
Thursday, April 8, 2004
 
Clay Aiken bounces when he walks. He has a foxy smile and tiny features that make him look slightly cross-eyed from certain angles. The "American Idol" runner-up also has a glorious set of pipes and among the worst taste of any singer this side of Engelbert Humperdinck, although that jacket with the stripes across the back was so bad, somebody else must have told him to wear it. Nobody would choose to put on something like that.

Teen idols like Aiken get a bad rap. Sure they're callow, dumb and marketable for reasons that have nothing to do with talent, imagination, vision or wisdom (theirs, anyway). But that's no reason to loathe them. Everyone likes a catchy tune now and again or can enjoy the kind of overwrought, show-offy singing that amateur contests like the worldwide hit TV show inevitably encourages. These "Idols" are just the willing puppets.

But behind the scenes, "Idol" entrepreneur Simon Fuller is truly an evil genius. The man who invented the Spice Girls knows something about the pop process. With "American Idol," he has turned dreams of stardom into a television spectator sport. The television show, in turn, creates a constituency for these acts (all, of course, signed to his management company) before they are even handed over to the record business. Families that agonized over Clay's ordeal for all those months on TV shifted the scene Tuesday from their living rooms to the HP Pavilion in San Jose, where the newly anointed pop prince took a victory lap with a sold-out concert co- starring last year's winner, Kelly Clarkson.

Fuller's diabolical scheme is working. The debut album by first season "Idol" Clarkson has sold more than 2 million copies, with Aiken's album (released in October) not far behind. Second-place winner on this season's show, Aiken came under the ministrations of veteran hitmaker and chairman of his record label Clive Davis, who personally produced the young Southerner's album, full of songs from teams of professional songwriters, little committees assigned to develop the perfect pop gem for the maestro's new protege.

First-place winner Ruben Studdard also has an album and a tour, but neither is selling in the same league as Aiken's.

The San Jose audience was a testament to TV's ability to slash through demographic groups. Two moms with their teenage daughters in the row behind me reminisced about seeing Journey in a "Day on the Green" concert. In a rare cross-generational cultural accord, young girls and their mothers alike screamed their approval as the squeaky-clean kid with the haystack hair made his way through the arena singing the 1985 Mr. Mister hit, "Kyrie."

Fans brought hand-painted signs and took thousands of snapshots, along with all the other typical signs of teen mania. They liked Clarkson fine -- she and Aiken have been switching off closing the show over the course of the tour -- but they loved Clay.

Perky Clarkson puts her husky voice equally to overblown ballads, generic dance pop and insincere acoustic folk. Aiken sticks with middle-of-the-road pop. He can go up to frothy and down to solemn, but that's pretty much the emotional range of his material at this point. He seemed only slightly less desperate than Clarkson to be showered with the audience's abundant affection.

Neither was truly contemptible. They did their prefabricated, well- rehearsed parts to perfection, almost too eager to please, too humble and grateful for all the blessings that TV has bestowed upon them. But they were only playing the part. They aren't real musicians. They're TV stars, and they're doing a fine job.

Simon Fuller, on the other hand, apparently has nothing less than world domination in mind. He has "Idol" shows in 20 countries as far-flung as Norway and Poland, Australia and South Africa. There may come a time when all the world's pop stars are selected this way.

 
SAN FRAN CHRONICLE



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Clarkson is just fine, but Aiken shines at `Idol' show.

By Sandra Gonzales
Mercury News

Kelly Clarkson and Clay Aiken shared a concert stage Tuesday night, but it was Aiken who shone like the true pop star.

Just the mere glimpse of Aiken -- who's co-headlining a national concert tour with first-season "American Idol'' winner Clarkson -- sent the audience into a frenzy at the HP Pavilion in San Jose.

With dramatic rock-star flair, Aiken, who played second, opened his set by coming through the crowd singing Mr. Mister's 1986 hit "Kyrie.''

"Idol'' judge Simon Cowell once said he simply didn't "get'' Aiken's popularity or see him as a star. But America's favorite runner-up put those doubts to rest Tuesday as the diverse crowd, ranging in all ages, seemed to get it plenty.

Many of those on the arena floor stayed standing during his hourlong set that included most of the songs from his triple-platinum debut album, "Measure of a Man.'' He sang several covers, from James Taylor to, surprisingly, Prince's "When Doves Cry,'' a crowd favorite as Aiken gyrated with a backup singer.

While the HP Pavilion was not sold out, it was fairly full except for the top tier, half of which was cordoned off.

And, true to "Idol'' form, concertgoers brought signs, lots of them, showing their "Idol'' love -- gestures both singers acknowledged to the squeals of their fans.

Musically, Clarkson proved to be a powerful belter, particularly with her huge radio hit, "Miss Independent,'' which really brought the audience alive, and, finally, to its feet.

Making certain she didn't forget her "Idol'' roots, Clarkson sang, "A Moment Like This,'' a tune she made popular during the end of her "Idol'' run two years ago.

Clarkson, who performed first, was exceptional with a cover of Reba McEntire's "Why Haven't I Heard From You.'' And the crowd cheered her loudly as she rejoined Aiken for a closing duet of Journey's "Open Arms.''

Still, Clarkson never quite established the rapport with the audience that Aiken did. And, in the end, the show was all about Aiken.

MERCURY NEWS



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Clarkson appeases Clay-mates

By Jim Harrington - CONTRIBUTOR

TWO weeks ago we reviewed Ruben Studdard's uneven show at The Warfield in San Francisco.

In response, we received loads of letters from readers, many of whom had found the story on the Internet in places as far away as Ohio and New Jersey.

A few folks thought the review should have been kinder to the man who won last year's "American Idol" competition. But the vast majority came from fans of runner-up Clay Aiken, congratulating us for what they saw as getting it right. To these rabid followers, who go by the moniker "Clay-Mates," the review was just further evidence of who should have been crowned the "real 'American Idol.'"

Despite finishing second, Aiken has certainly stolen the spotlight from Studdard. He's sold more records, drawn more publicity, attracted bigger crowds and developed a fan base that rivals Phish-heads and Trekkies in terms of crazed passion.

Tuesday, Aiken brought Clay-mania to the Bay Area for a show at the HP Pavilion. While much of the attention has been focused, perhaps unfairly, on Clay vs. Ruben, co-headliner Kelly Clarkson made the stronger showing in San Jose.

With long drapes covering many empty seats, the arena looked much fuller than it actually was -- roughly a half-full house. But the fans made up for the vacancies with their loud enthusiasm. That was especially true for Aiken, who received a welcome fit for The King (Elvis, that is).

Following a solid set by openers, the Beu Sisters, Clarkson took the stage for a 50-minute set that nicely showcased her dynamic vocal range.

Clarkson, who won the first "American Idol" contest back in 2002, is a refreshing young pop star. She's no Britney or Christina. She came out dressed in a black T-shirt, worn blue jeans and with her hair pulled back, looking more like the girl next door than a platinum-selling artist.

She came across as very genuine and likable as she greeted the fans, gave a birthday hug and collected stuffed animals. She laughed at herself when appropriate and charmed the audience with her post-song chatter.

Plus, she's got one of the best voices in the industry.

If there's one knock to be made, it's that she tried to do too much in too little time. Her set moved from urban dance tracks and slick power ballads to country numbers and swing tunes. The result felt scattered.

But there was plenty to like during her set. She glided gracefully through the soulful dance number, "What's Up Lonely," and the gospel-tinged "Just Missed the Train." She performed a tastefully hushed version of "Beautiful Disaster" using just her voice and piano -- far more enjoyable than the production-rich rendition found on her debut album, "Thankful.

She jitterbugged her way into a great take on the old standard "Stuff Like That There" before closing her set with a triumphant double-shot of the uplifting "A Moment Like This" and the rocking "Miss Independent."

Aiken couldn't match Clarkson's natural charisma, better song selection or graceful voice. But he still delivered a decent show of popular cover songs and tracks from his debut, "Measure of a Man."

Entering the playing field from the back of the arena, which forced him to walk through his throng of admirers, Aiken quickly showcased his love for gooey inspirational tracks by moving earnestly through "I Will Carry You," "Perfect Day" and "No More Sad Songs."

"I Survived You" sounded like a too-obvious makeover of the "I Will Survive" theme. And the fan-favorite "Invisible," despite the lyrical twist, carried a bit of a stalker element with the line, "If I was invisible, then I could just watch you in your room."

The man needed better material then these numbers, which often read like fortune cookies, and he found it by delving back into the classic pop songbook.

He did a great job following in the footsteps of Leo Sayer, Celine Dion and Perry Como with his tender version of "When I Need You." He brought the house to its feet with an upbeat rendition of the old Mr. Mister number "Kyrie." He also turned in heartfelt performances of Sting's "Fields of Gold" and James Taylor's "Carolina in My Mind."

Following an ill-suited take on Prince's "When Doves Cry," the show came to its conclusion with Clarkson joining Aiken for a splendid duet of Journey's signature ballad, "Open Arms."

It was an appropriate closing number because that's exactly how these fans greeted the two American Idols.



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Re: INDEPENDENT TOUR MEDIA REVIEWS
« Reply #43 on: March 24, 2010, 11:45:42 PM »
Pamela
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     INDEPENDENT TOUR MEDIA REVIEWS
« Reply #43 on: April 09, 2004, 06:56:25 AM » 

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SEATTLE



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Idol' stars Clarkson, Aiken light up KeyArena

By GENE STOUT
SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER POP MUSIC CRITIC
Friday, April 9, 2004

Hearts were achin' for Clay Aiken Thursday night at KeyArena.

Fans sporting "Claymates" T-shirts and holding handmade signs gave the "American Idol" runner-up a big Seattle welcome during his co-headlining concert with fellow "Idol" Kelly Clarkson, who drew her own contigent of enthusiastic, supportive fans.

Aiken and Clarkson have been alternating sets on their cross-country tour. In Seattle, Clarkson performed the closing set in a three-act concert that opened with vocal-pop quartet the Beu Sisters, who performed songs from their debut album "Decisions."

This wasn't a show for couch potatoes. Fans rose to their feet and cheered as soon as Aiken, surrounded by security guards, strolled through the crowd and up to the stage for a 70-minute set that opened with "Kyrie," the 1980s Mr. Mister hit.

Wearing a fedora, striped shirt with tails untucked, matching tie, baggy trousers and sneakers, the singing star explained the hat was a handy prop on a "bad-hair day."

Aiken was charming and animated during a set that included such favorites as "I Will Carry You," "Measure of a Man" and "The Way." Though he doesn't push the creative envelope of popular music, the 25-year-old from Raleigh, N.C., is a natural talent with a powerful voice and a flair for engaging his fans.

His second song, the powerful, hook-filled "Perfect Day," was performed against a watercolor-sky backdrop. Backing him were a five-piece band and three vocalists in white outfits. The simple, two-level stage featured a staircase, balcony, extended platform and stainless steel paneling.

Aiken's voice soared during "I Will Carry You" and "Love, All About Love." During the latter, Aiken harmonized beautifully with his three backup vocalists on the upper balcony.

Aiken often performed on the extended stage that jutted into the audience. When a fan held up a cell phone, Aiken took it from her, hoping to surprise the person on the other end of the line. "I think she passed out," he quipped when he discovered no one was there.

After a stirring version of "I Survived You," Aiken, his backup singers and several musicians settled into a row of chairs at the center of the stage for a trio of songs -- "Measure of a Man," "When I Need Love" and a beautiful version of James Taylor's sentimental classic "Carolina On My Mind."

Aiken and a female backup singer sang a spirited duet of Prince's "When Doves Cry" while the two danced in a tight, awkward embrace. Though not as funky as the original, Aiken brought his own sense of style to the "lite" version of the classic.

For Clarkson, the stage was reconfigured to include several clusters of artificial candles and five cloth panels illuminated with colored spotlights. Wearing a fashionably tight, tattered pair of jeans and a black Aerosmith T-shirt, Clarkson opened with "Low" while accompanying herself on acoustic guitar. Backing her was a five-piece band and a trio of backup singers dressed in black.

Though animated, Clarkson failed to establish a strong rapport with the audience. And much of her banter seemed forced. But her voice was often powerful and engaging.

Her new single, "The Trouble With Love Is" -- from the British romantic comedy "Love Actually" -- featured a throbbing beat. But a new, stripped-down version of the somber "Beautiful Disaster" was more satisfying. Especially fun was the powerful, big band-style tune, "Stuff Like That There," from "American Idol."

Clarkson's barefoot version of the Reba McEntire song "Why Haven't I Heard From You" fell flat, but "Bounce (the Luv)" from her movie with "Idol"-mate Justin Guarini at least got the crowd on its feet.

The sentimental "Thankful" was accompanied by snapshots of friends and family, a bit of self-indulgence that added little to the set. Clarkson continued with "A Moment Like This," her signature song from "American Idol," and her big hit, "Miss Independent."

The concert ended on a high note when Aiken joined Clarkson for the closing song, a crowd-pleasing duet of the Journey song "Open Arms."


SEATTLE REVIEW



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'Idol' duo gets crowd's vote at KeyArena

By Tina Potterf

Judging by album and concert sales, the success of "American Idol" stars Kelly Clarkson and Clay Aiken is no fluke.

Though both pop stars were sculpted and refined in front of a captivated TV audience of millions on "American Idol" — Clarkson was the show's first crowned pop princess and Aiken was last year's runner-up — they are a study in contrasts when it comes to their music and performance style. Clarkson's a little bit rock 'n' roll with a shot of soul and some spunk. Aiken's powerhouse pipes get a real workout in ballads and standard pop fare.

Without question, Aiken seemed to be the one most came to see Thursday night at KeyArena. His fans are notoriously loyal, known in some circles as "Claymates," and reflect a true cross-section of America: from children to tweens and teens, parents and grandparents, students and professionals. Every turn of his lanky body and every honey-glazed note was met with cries of "We love you, Clay," sing-alongs and signs like "Shakin' For Aiken's Bacon."

The boyish singer, sporting a sophisticated fedora-style hat (he said it was because of a "bad hair day") and a 5 o'clock shadow, crooned his way through an hourlong set that showed off his powerful voice and genial stage presence.

Backed by a live band and a trio of back-up singers, Aiken was smooth and polished on stage, his voice clean and loud as he sang of unrequited love, friendship, heartbreak and hope, subjects pervasive on his hit debut album, "Measure of a Man." Especially good was "Perfect Day," the heartfelt and snappy "No More Sad Songs," the dance-friendly "Invisible," which had the arena rocking, and "I Will Carry You."
A few surprises were built into Aiken's set — namely, his dancing and a believable cover of Prince's "When Doves Cry," which had the Aiken doing a little bumping and grinding with a back-up singer.
   
Equally impressive live was Clarkson, who added intensity and a rock 'n' roll bite to the night. Sporting an Aerosmith T-shirt and ripped jeans, sans shoes, to start the show, the pop singer's bluesy voice was spiked with an edginess that came across best when she slowed things down, as she did on the heartbreaking "Beautiful Disaster," accompanied only by a piano. On "Trouble With Love Is," Clarkson mixed up the song's original arrangement and made it into a dance club-style track, as she did with "Miss Independent."

For the night's finale, it was the best of both worlds as Aiken joined Clarkson on stage for a duet of Stephen Perry's (Journey) "Open Arms." Though the chemistry wasn't exactly white hot, the crowd was clearly feeling it.

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Re: INDEPENDENT TOUR MEDIA REVIEWS
« Reply #44 on: March 24, 2010, 11:47:33 PM »
Pamela
Assistant Webmaster

      INDEPENDENT TOUR MEDIA REVIEWS
« Reply #44 on: April 10, 2004, 09:04:38 PM » 

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SPOKANE



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Kelly Clarkson and Clay Aiken Spokane Arena, Friday evening
Kelly, Clay delight Arena crowd

Isamu Jordan
Staff writer
Saturday, April 10, 2004

During Kelly Clarkson's set at the Spokane Arena on Friday night, 14-year-old Natalie Petersen was on her feet the entire time, singing every lyric to every song.

It was Petersen's second time seeing the "Independent Tour" with "American Idol" stars Clarkson and Clay Aiken, and she was no less impressed.

She also attended the concert in Seattle on Thursday.

"It was amazing, exactly what I was expecting, just like in Seattle. Kelly has great range and stage presence and she's really sweet. I'm a huge fan of both artists but I like Clay more because he has great looks," said Petersen, who was sporting jeans with the names Kelly and Clay written in marker down each leg.

Judging from the response of Clarkson's and Aiken's fans, mainly middle-aged moms and their pre-teen daughters, the show was an undeniable hit.

With the energy of a superconductor, Clarkson took the starlit stage wearing a black tank top, ripped jeans, a spiked belt and bare feet. Sure, she looked plenty punk rock, but her demeanor was playful and friendly. She even posed for pictures and signed autographs while singing songs that had as much range as her vocals.

"Trouble With Love Is" started out bluesy enough, but suddenly ripped into a techno-lite beat reminiscent of Cher's "Believe." "What's Up Lonely" found Clarkson in the comfortable R&B setting that suits her voice as well as power ballads such as "Low."

Clarkson made a quick change into an all-black outfit with sparkling accessories for her performance of the sassy song that made her an "American Idol" favorite, "Stuff Like That There." This was the liveliest song of the night, next to her cover of Patsy Cline's "Why Haven't I Heard From You," which Clarkson growled and hollered through with tenacity and spunk.

Like Clarkson, there is no doubt that Aiken has the pipes, but he still needs to work on expanding his repertoire, not that anyone at the Arena seemed to notice.

From the moment Aiken entered the stage, fans were roaring.

Aiken looked as goofy as ever -- his hair was typically messy and he wore a tacky gray sport coat with mint-green horizontal stripes on the back while he sang his brand of chicken-soup-for-the-soul music.

There is nothing wrong with love songs, but after Clay's performance you can't help but wonder if that's all he's capable of, along with doing cover songs of hits from the 1980s, such as his opening number, Mr. Mister's "Kyrie."

The worst example was when Aiken sucked all the cool out of Prince's "When Doves Cry" by singing it as an acoustic ballad before the band joined in. That was just plain bad.

One area where Aiken has grown since his "American Idol" days is in his showmanship. While Aiken has a corny appeal that only he seems able to pull off (a mix of equal parts Barry Manilow, Radiohead's Thom Yorke, and "Footloose"-era Kevin Bacon) he seemed more comfortable than ever in his own skin.

Even with an apparent broken foot from tripping during his show in Seattle, Aiken limped around the stage, charming the crowd between songs.

Yes, a lot of Aiken songs are filled with cliche lyrics and generic melodies, sounding like Disney soundtracks, but with gifted voices like Clarkson's and Aiken's, you can get away with glorified karaoke.

Just ask Petersen: "Aiken was the best ever, he was hot and awesome."



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