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gfx  |  Archive  |  Indepedent Tour 2004  |  INDEPENDENT TOUR MEDIA REVIEWS

Author Topic: INDEPENDENT TOUR MEDIA REVIEWS  (Read 16829 times)


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« Reply #45 on: March 24, 2010, 11:49:01 PM »
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« Reply #45 on: April 14, 2004, 11:19:08 PM » 


Aiken, Clarkson give OK performances
'American Idol' duo likable but not standouts
By Matt Sebastian, Camera Music Writer
April 14, 2004

DENVER — Choosing an "American Idol" is sort of like electing a president.

Voters aren't really picking the best performer in the land; instead, armed with a pre-scrubbed slate of telegenic candidates, they tap the most likable performers available, slapping them with instant, pre-fab stardom.

It's the musical equivalent of representative democracy: Everyone can't possibly participate, so a few talented souls are chosen to stand in for the rest.

And what's so wrong with that? Judging by the giddy fan reaction at Tuesday night's "American Idol" double bill at the Pepsi Center, not much.

On the face of it, Kelly Clarkson and Clay Aiken — the winner and runner-up, respectively, of the Fox reality show's first two seasons — delivered exactly what was expected of them: soaring, over-the-top vocals; sappy, generic love songs; and vague, inoffensive declarations of self-empowerment.

Yet that's the problem with these two. While Clarkson and Aiken received tens of millions of votes during their respective "American Idol" runs, there's almost nothing exceptional about either star. And there's certainly nothing to justify either's status as overnight, arena-level acts.

Certainly, both "AI" stars can sing very well; they've each got strong, conventional voices that get the job done, but, in the end, don't really stand out.

In fact, the singers seem to have gotten to where they are by sheer force of personality rather than pure talent: geek-turned-hearthrob Aiken still trades on the "aw shucks" persona that made him last year's surprise stand-out, while Clarkson tempers her newfound role as a pop star with a bubbly brand of G-rated Texas charm.

Aiken opened Tuesday night's concert (the two trade off headlining chores), and appeared to be the favorite of the shrieking, not-quite-capacity crowd, a group ranging from face-painted, school-age kids to senior citizens.

Keeping with "American Idol's" karaoke theme, Aiken devoted about half of his hour-long set to covers, opening with Mr. Mister's'80s hit "Kyrie" before getting to a procession of treacly ballads from his debut, Measure of a Man.

Through it all, Aiken was in fine voice, confidently working the crowd while, seemingly, pouring himself into his songs with an almost palpable joy. After a medley of tunes by Sting, Leo Sayer and James Taylor, though, he made his only misstep of the night: offering a horrid, soulless cover of Prince's "When Doves Cry."

Dig, if you will, this picture: Clay Aiken, one of the whitest men in show businesses, turning the Purple One's stark, funk-pop classic — a song practically dripping with sex — into a bombastic and sterile number that sounded like it belonged in an Andrew Lloyd Webber musical.

After a quick stage changeover, Clarkson followed this travesty with an equally predictable set, mining last year's Thankful for a string of pleasant ballads and a few more up-tempo cuts, like her monster "Miss Independent," the highlight of the night. She wrapped her performance by playing to her teen fans' parents with another vintage nugget: Journey's "Open Arms," a duet with Aiken.

Like Aiken, though, Clarkson was, in the end, neither spectacular nor embarrassing, just merely adequate. And that's really about all you'll get by trying to fabricate a consensus-building candidate, "American Idol" style.



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« Reply #46 on: March 24, 2010, 11:49:46 PM »
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« Reply #46 on: April 16, 2004, 07:22:16 AM » 


Review: Kelly Clarkson and Clay Aiken
Special to The Star

The pungent aroma of peanut butter and cotton candy hung heavy in the air at Kemper Arena Thursday night, providing a portent of the empty musical calories to come in the evening's Kelly Clarkson/Clay Aiken concert.

The singing duo represent one winner and one also-ran from the hit television series “American Idol,” the participatory nationwide talent contest that is currently inching toward the end of its third season. Clarkson, the winner from the show's inaugural outing in 2002, was first out of the gate at Thursday's show.

Dressed in a black halter top over torn blue jeans, the singer demonstrated little stage presence in a 45-minute set that included a number of tunes from her debut “Thankful” disk.

“What's Up Lonely” offered a funky, hip-hop beat, backed up by a toothy lead guitar solo from the hard-working, five-piece band that accompanied both singers.

While young fans hurled a flurry of stuffed animals at her feet, Clarkson plopped herself atop a piano for a stripped-down arrangement of “Beautiful Disaster,” an emotionally charged love song that seemed well beyond the emotional reference points of most of her audience.

“Why Haven't I Heard from You” was a sassy, attitude-filled cover of the Reba McEntire original that provided a welcome change-of-pace from such hopelessly sappy ballads as “Timeless,” which was performed as a duet with one of her backup singers.

But Clarkson was back firmly at center stage in the solo spotlight for her signature power ballad “A Moment Like This,” which she performed while signing autographs for audience members at the edge of the stage.

Aiken took the headliner's slot, emerging at the back of the arena and making his way through the crowd (with the help of a phalanx of security guards) while performing an infectiously percussive arrangement of Mr. Mister's “Kyrie.”

The singer, who could be the gawky lovechild of Barry Manilow and Anne Murray, has a pleasant if unremarkable voice. Sporting an eggbeater hairstyle and a few day's growth of stubble, Aiken was earnest and eager to please throughout a sunny set of ballads, syrupy love songs and bubblegum pop.

Prowling the stage and a runway built out into the audience, the singer offered up a steady stream of bland, connect-the-dots melodies that included “Perfect Day,” “Invisible,” and “Measure of a Man.”

He fared somewhat better on a medley of cover songs delivered with his musicians and backup vocalists clustered around him in a tight circle. Included in the brief acoustic set were Sting's “Fields of Gold,” James Taylor's “Carolina in my Mind” and Prince's “When Doves Cry,” the latter marred by Aiken's tiresome interruptions to trade quips with his backup singers.

The ostensibly sincere performer thanked his fans for their support, and dedicated the love song “The Way” to the loyal crowd sporting the “Clay Mates” t-shirts all around him.

Clarkson reappeared for the finale of “Open Arms” decked out in a Tina Turner fright wig, spiked heels and black mini-dress, which apparently was as much of a surprise for Aiken as it was for the crowd. Her curtain call getup was about the only unpredictable element in a largely forgettable evening.

Reviewed: April 15 at Kemper Arena
Attendance: 8,000 (approx.)

KANSAS CITY.COM (registration required)


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« Reply #47 on: March 24, 2010, 11:51:07 PM »
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« Reply #47 on: April 17, 2004, 01:53:43 AM » 


Concert review: Aiken's star quality shines in St. Paul

Jon Bream, Star Tribune
April 17, 2004

"American Idol" is about that one shining moment when a singer has to prove if he or she has it -- whatever it is.

A concert is about that hour or so when a singer has to prove if he or she has the voice, the repertoire, the moves, the presence, the presentation and the indelible personality that will bring concertgoers to their feet and compel them to stand in line to buy a T-shirt, CD and a ticket for another concert.

"American Idol" stars Kelly Clarkson and Clay Aiken are new at this concert business. And their Independent Tour Friday at the Xcel Energy Center suggested that, despite their obvious talents, both still have a ways to go.

Aiken has it -- that undefinable star quality. He commanded the stage in front of 11,783 screaming fans. There was a bounce in his step, attitude in the tilt of his fedora, drama in his gestures and a twinkle in his eyes.

A natural performer who used to be a special-ed teacher, the North Carolinian, 25, manifested a special way of reaching out and touching people. He just didn't sing into a fan's cellphone but rather carried on a conversation with a surprised woman. He had a sense of where he was, mentioning that St. Paul had been the site of his first-ever concert last year with the American Idol II Tour, and now it was the site of his final show on his second tour.

However, Aiken was clueless when it came to the visuals. His blue-and-gray outfit was as drab as his stage set, and his lighting was as bland as his band's all-white outfits.

Musically, the strong-voiced Aiken showed a sense of style, walking down the middle-of-the-road with big, sentimental pop ballads. He delivered the songs with more dynamics and drama than they have on his best-selling album, "Measure of a Man," but, frankly, his material is unremarkable beyond his hits, the catchy "Invisible" and the schmaltzy "The Way." His choice in covers was hit - and-miss, with James Taylor's "Carolina in My Mind" being as prudent but his interpretation of Prince's "When Doves Cry" was as misguided -- as his dance during the song with Clarkson was awkward and stiff.

During her set, the very casual Clarkson showed a better sense of visuals, her stage decorated with large ersatz candles and colorfully lit sheets of fabric. And halfway through her set, the Texan, 21, changed out of her T-shirt and jeans and brought some much-needed sparkle to the stage with some rhinestone jewelry.

Her powerhouse voice was showy, too, and that's her style, as she jumped from R&B to cabaret to country to pop. Especially impressive was a new, unrecorded ballad, the snarling and spirited "Don't." It could join "Miss Independent,"Low" and "A Moment Like This" in her hit parade. But it was clear that Clarkson, who had an anonymous personality, is more about hits than about it.


POP MUSIC REVIEW: Clay finding way; Kelly may go another

Pioneer Press
Posted on Sat, Apr. 17, 2004

You could call "American Idol" a triumph of democracy. After a presidential election that went to the Supreme Court, America turned on the radio and found tiresome predictability, with large media companies dictating playlists in every metropolis and small town nationwide.

But the "American Idol" TV show allows music lovers to throw off the bonds of the music industry. Instead of just accepting the flavor of the month pop radio serves up, they have the opportunity to choose their own stars by popular vote, with not an electoral college to be found.

On Friday night, St. Paul hosted a celebration of this relatively newfound form of musical democracy as the first-season winner, Kelly Clarkson, shared a bill with last year's runner-up, Clay Aiken. And what 11,783 fans at Xcel Energy Center found were two talented singers who may be headed in opposite directions.

The elfin Aiken embraces the role of star yet seems uncertain how to fulfill its duties. Clarkson knows the expectations, has plenty of star power and stage presence, but seems to have the confidence to change career directions from the pop queen persona designed for her.

Even Clarkson knows that in the year since she released her debut album, Aiken has eclipsed her in popularity. His first single broke the all-time first-week sales record (previously held by Elton John), and his debut album opened at No. 1.  The special education teacher from Raleigh, N.C., has an astoundingly faithful following for a new artist, and the power-pop ballads he leans on play to his strengths.

On Friday, Aiken did everything in his power to come off as a man of the people — just another awkward guy who happens to have a great voice. Hence, he made his entrance from the back of the Xcel floor, running through a string of songs from his album and selected covers while dressed in Converse All-Stars and a dangling dress shirt.

He seemed out of place amid the flashy pop professionals backing him, but tried to prove his mettle by holding notes longer than his backup singers and engaging in a series of ultimately irritating last-night-of-the-tour practical jokes.

Clarkson opened her set strumming an acoustic guitar, clad in ripped jeans (and not designer-ripped, either) and a black T-shirt reading, "Simon says I'm good." Looking more like the waitress and movie-theater employee she was in Texas before "Idol" beckoned, Clarkson's one-woman declaration of casual Friday was refreshing and left one wondering if she wasn't going to throw off the pop and become a folkie.

But the material from her debut is pretty poppy, so she soon changed costumes to the black spandex of a gangsta queen. However, don't be surprised if the funky diva of "Miss Independent" doesn't declare her own independence and settle into a smaller and more comfortable following.

When she and Aiken performed Journey's "Open Arms" at evening's end, it seemed more his style than hers, and their final embrace seemed like goodbye and good luck to Aiken as he continues down the path from which she may now detour.

TWIN CITIES.COM (registration required)


By Brigit - Contributing Writer
and Lindsey Reed - Contributing Writer
Friday, April 30, 2004

Thousands of screaming teenagers. Hundreds of overpriced souvenirs. Six gratuitous key changes. Three fresh-faced, cynical Oles. Two American Idols.

On April 16, three fairly musical St. Olaf students, representing the
bachelor of music major, the Cantorei Choir and the St. Olaf Band, left
campus in their best teenybopper tops and glitter makeup, prepared to
scoff at some of the newest representatives of the pop music world.

Destination? The "Independent Tour, in which Clay Aiken and Kelly
Clarkson, made famous by the popular reality TV show "American Idol",
showcased their bubblegum-pop repertoire before fans whose phone-in votes brought about their initial success.

As the three students representing St. Olaf took their seats in the
crowded stadium of the Xcel Energy Center, they were dissonantly greeted by the opening act, Beu Sisters.

The seeming claim to fame of this group was their ability to perform
endless gyrations in skimpy tank tops while failing to blend vocally or
remain on pitch. For the three Oles in the audience, the situation looked grim.

Luckily, hope materialized in the form of the backup singers for Clay
Aiken's set, who began the cover of Mister Mister's "Kyrie Eleison." The
crowd rose to its feet as Clay's powerful pipes soared through the
Center.  Entering from the audience, Clay made his way to the stage through thousands of screaming teenyboppers, soccer moms and three (now excited) Oles.

Aiken performed a diverse set of music that included selections from his recent album, "Measure of a Man," as well as covers of artists ranging from Sting to Prince. His warm, winning voice wrapped around the notes with ease, showcasing his impressive range.

Aiken's musical choices, especially a medley of covers in which he
ridiculously embellished several other artists songs, seemed like musical
grandstanding. Overall, however, his performance went off without a
hitch, and he more than won his audience over with his undeniable vocal
talent and boyish Southern charm.

Kelly Clarkson's set came next, and she, too, gave a winning  performance.  Particular highlights included a slower, piano accompaniment-only version of "Beautiful Disaster," as well as a new song from her second album, "Don't," which spoke to the millions of people who have ever experienced unrequited longing in supposedly platonic relationships.

Clarkson was at her best in these slower, contemplative moments. Her
fans know she can belt, but in this concert, Clarkson showed them that
she can connect with them on a personal level of shared emotion and

Although the cynical St. Olaf musicians had come to the Independent
Tour expecting to have fun with Clay and Kelly, they had not expected to
be impressed with the Idols musical integrity. Yet, in the end, even they, musical Oles that they are, had to admit that the two displayed
commendable vocal technique in a genre that is too often tainted with
misguided attempts at vocal agility and sexual affectations.

Their musicality, combined with their approachable, winning stage
personalities, made Clay and Kelly's concert an event worthy of the musical Oles time.



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« Reply #48 on: June 14, 2010, 08:25:12 PM »
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« Reply #48 on: April 24, 2004, 02:23:21 PM » 

Concert Data
LOCATION............GROSS.........ATTN.......CAPACITY.......% CAP
Charlotte, N.C.......$367,875......8657.........8959................96.6%
Duluth, Ga............$417,642......9166.........9636................95.1%
Tampa, Fla............$323,247......7198.........7829...............91.9%
Miami, Fla............. $245,818......5395.........6204...............87.0%
Raleigh, N.C..........$586,230.....13538.......13538.............100.0%
Philadelphia, Pa......$368,378......7934.........9229...............86.0%
Uniondale, N.Y........$565,198....12501.......12769...............97.9%
Washington, D.C....$458,128.....10627.......12102...............87.8%
Wilkes-Barre, Pa....$321,470.......7660........7898...............97.0%
Detroit, Mich..........$431,584......9654........11767..............82.04%
Grand Prairie.........$287,306.......6094........6094..............100.00%
St Louis, MO..........$375,595.......8195.......10298...............79.58%
Chicago,IL ............$436,250.....10002.......10724.............. 93.27%
Omaha, NE............$320,957.......7081........7526................94.09%
Salt Lake City........$280,235.......6561.......10119...............64.84%
Las Vegas, NV.......$286,109....... 5859.......7199................81.39%
San Diego, CA.......$254,072.......5301........8215...............64.53%

Total Shows: 20
Total Sellouts: 4
Total Gross: $7,635,637
Total Attendance: 170,938
Average Gross: $381,781.85
Average Attendance: 8547
Average Capacity: 9580
Percent Capacity: 89.2%
NOTE: There are some discrepancies between Pollstar and Billboard.

You can see that SLC and San Diego really bring down the % capacity. It'll be interesting to see what numbers Billboard reports on that.

BUT, overall, these numbers are GREAT. To be playing Arenas at this point in his career is amazing. Lots of bigger named acts are playing much smaller venues.... Speaking of smaller venues, there wasn't any new data on Ruben's "tour", but as soon as Pollstar has it, I'll report on it.[/quote]

Data compiled by hockeydonna at the Clackhouse.  Thanks!

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