Archive => Jukebox Tour 2005 => Topic started by: Marilyn on October 20, 2014, 09:10:09 PM

Post by: Marilyn on October 20, 2014, 09:10:09 PM

« on: July 15, 2005, 12:40:01 AM »


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Toms RiverFest continues through Sunday. Country star Keith Urban headlines tonight, followed tomorrow by "American Idol" winner Kelly Clarkson. The rock band Maroon 5 closes the festival Sunday.
Post by: Marilyn on October 20, 2014, 09:13:19 PM
« Reply #1 on: July 31, 2005, 01:03:16 PM »

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Post by: Marilyn on October 20, 2014, 09:17:31 PM
« Reply #2 on: July 31, 2005, 01:10:23 PM »

Aiken admirers travel in time
News Staff Reviewer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Post by: Marilyn on October 20, 2014, 09:21:54 PM
« Reply #3 on: August 02, 2005, 01:58:11 AM »


Aiken shows 'Idol' talent

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-- Review by Rosa Colucci,
Post-Gazette staff writer
Post by: Marilyn on October 20, 2014, 09:25:37 PM
« Reply #4 on: August 07, 2005, 09:26:07 AM »


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

Friday, August 05, 2005
The Express-Times

He transformed from geek to chic in front of millions.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But it's also a story of religious faith.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How did that come about?

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

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

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

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

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

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

And something more.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He does.

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

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

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

He says that in a tone of maturity and experience.

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



Post by: Marilyn on October 20, 2014, 09:36:42 PM

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


Aiken takes fans through time

By Stacy Peterson
Staff writer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For Rod Edwards, seeing Aiken perform was nothing new.

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

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

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

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

That happened several times Friday night.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Post by: Marilyn on October 20, 2014, 09:40:13 PM
« Reply #6 on: August 10, 2005, 08:45:13 AM »


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

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

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

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

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

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

Dave McKenna

Post by: Marilyn on October 20, 2014, 09:42:50 PM
« Reply #7 on: August 11, 2005, 09:03:39 AM »


Aiken Leaves Crowd Aching For More

Thursday, August 11, 2005
The Express-Times

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

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

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

"He's hot!" Liros said.

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

It was.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Post by: Marilyn on October 20, 2014, 09:45:50 PM

« Reply #8 on: August 11, 2005, 10:51:51 AM »

Clay-mazing show for faithful fans

August 11, 2005

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Guess he knows who is making him rich.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Post by: Marilyn on October 20, 2014, 09:53:53 PM

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

From Concertgoer Reports

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

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

Here's a sampling:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Post by: Marilyn on October 26, 2014, 10:19:47 AM
« Reply #10 on: August 14, 2005, 10:21:34 AM »

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Post by: Marilyn on October 26, 2014, 10:25:17 AM
« Reply #11 on: August 14, 2005, 10:24:14 AM »

Are People Still Aching for Clay?
By Jimmy Gibbs

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

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

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

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

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

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

Post by: Marilyn on October 26, 2014, 10:28:39 AM
« Reply #12 on: August 14, 2005, 10:28:15 AM »


Aiken Puts On Fun-FIlled Show in Toms River

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Post by: Marilyn on October 26, 2014, 10:31:13 AM

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

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

By Keith Groller
Of The Morning Call

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Post by: Marilyn on October 26, 2014, 10:33:35 AM
« Reply #14 on: August 14, 2005, 11:22:43 PM »


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

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

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

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

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

Post by: Marilyn on October 26, 2014, 10:36:48 AM

« Reply #15 on: August 15, 2005, 02:01:40 PM »

Aiken croons and Claymates swoon at concert
Monday, August 15, 2005
By Misty R. Gower • 810.766.6338
Journal review

CLIO - In 2003, he captured the hearts of gals ages 7-70. In 2005, he's captured the soul of five decades of rock 'n' roll.

"American Idol" standout Clay Aiken brought his Jukebox Tour to the Clio Area Amphitheater on Saturday night, singing rapid-fire snippets of hits from the 1950s to '90s to a crowd of about 2,500 at the 3,100-seat venue.

Make that a crowd of about 2,475 women and 25 men, a lopsided fan base that didn't go unnoticed by Aiken.

"I know you've either been bribed, threatened or tortured to be here," he told the men in the audience.

From the time Aiken stepped onto the stage dressed as The Fonz, licking his thumbs and bumping a "malfunctioning" jukebox with his forearm, the Claymates were on their feet and screaming.

Fans sat silently only when Aiken belted out ballads, the only songs he sang in their entirety throughout a 21/2-hour show that felt like part Broadway musical and part rock 'n' roll history lesson.

Aiken - decked out in costumes from each era - introduced each decade of songs with a narration about what was going on in the world at the time and who touched the nation's hearts with their music.

Of course, the 26-year-old crooner wasn't shy to admit that his vast knowledge of each decade wasn't firsthand.

"Truth is, I was a fetus in the 1970s," he said to a roar of laughter.

Covering the 1950s and '60s during the first hour of the show, Aiken embraced the aw-shucks corny factor that made him a star on Season 2 of "Idol" - think judge Simon Cowell telling him to never dance again - and he ran with it, knowing that each shake of his tush and wink of an eye would send the crowd into a frenzy. A jump on the piano during "Great Balls of Fire" had women fanning themselves.

In addition to seeing Aiken's ever-improving dance skills and his ability to play the piano, fans got to hear quite the range in his voice, often amazing listeners with low tones that many didn't know he had.

He adapted well to the style and sound of each artist whose songs he sang, but in true "American Idol" fashion, he, well, made it his own.

He also unselfishly helped his fantastic band and three phenomenal backup singers make things their own, often singing backup for them.

But there was no doubt that Aiken was the heartthrob star of the show. His grinding dance with a backup singer during his version of Prince's "When Doves Cry" during the '80s segment had many swooning.

"This is too much for my heart," said Jean Roman, 65, of Toledo, who had never attended a concert until Aiken stole her heart on "Idol" in 2003. The Clio show was the third Aiken concert she had attended in a week.

It was Aiken's six-song set of his own works at the end of the show that garnered the biggest applause of the evening, proving that while he has built a 2005 tour around songs of the past, he's going to have plenty of fans in the future.

Post by: Marilyn on October 26, 2014, 10:39:30 AM
« Reply #16 on: August 16, 2005, 01:59:35 AM »

Claymates enjoy night with Aiken
By Kim Margolis
Dayton Daily News

He has an audience that ranges from preteens to older ladies, and Clay Aiken put together a concert for all of them.

For some, there was a little nostalgia; for others, a little schooling.

Aiken performed songs from the 1950s to the present for his Jukebox Tour. If you're a hater, you'd say Aiken was ready for his Las Vegas show.

If you just want to have fun with the kid who made good on American Idol, you would have had a ball at Aiken's Fraze Pavilion concert on Monday.

The show started with Aiken in a black leather jacket dressed as the slimmest Fonzie ever seen. The giant jukebox on stage was skipping. Like Arthur Fonzarelli, Aiken gave it a pop and the music started. Twistin' the Night Away, At the Hop and Johnny B Good kicked things off.

A salute to Elvis featured Aiken playing the piano and singing Love Me Tender. His Hound Dog, Jailhouse Rock and other upbeat Elvis tunes showed the admittedly awkward dancer testing his feet with Elvis' moves.

He struggled with hoarseness throughout the evening, likely due to the wet weather, but pulled out strong vocals for Unchained Melody and Solitaire. In fact, his most difficult times were when he was singing quiet or up-tempo, but when it came time to sing out strong, he pulled it off. He hit his stride with a restrained I Can't Make You Love Me.

A gracious headliner who often seems like he's having as much fun as a kid in a high school musical, Aiken shares the stage with his background singers, especially Angela Fisher, who put together a rousing version of Motown's Think.

There was a bit of personal drama as Aiken, whose persona is squeaky clean, had a sultry performance of When Doves Cry (yes, Prince!) with Fisher. Then during Sailing (a much better version than that of Christopher Cross), the pair got close again.

This is how rumors start.

Aiken pleased fans as he performed music of this decade: He sung his own songs, including two from his eventual next album. It wasn't his way of saying this decade is his; it was a way of honoring the rabid Claymates. 


Post by: Marilyn on October 26, 2014, 10:41:34 AM
« Reply #17 on: August 21, 2005, 01:11:46 PM »


Clay Aiken's Jukebox Tour
by Linda Lanshe (2005/08/15)

Just who is Clay Aiken? Is he a ballad singer? Is he a pop singer? Can he rock out? That question was answered when I had the pleasure of attending two of Clay Aiken’s Jukebox Tour concerts, Darien Lakes, NY, and Wolftrap, VA.

I had watched a few videos from the Toms River, NJ, show so I knew what to expect, or at least I thought I did. But what I saw on that stage blew me away. Here’s a 26-year-old guy, just 2-1/2 years into his career, and the professionalism and complexity of his newest tour is that of a seasoned veteran.

Aiken covers the past 60 years of Rock N Roll, starting in the 50’s and ending in the future. I understand that he chose the songs based on Fred Bronson’s "Billboard Book of Number One Hits." Michael Orland, the Musical Director on American Idol arranged the songs with a cohesiveness that makes the entire concert flow effortlessly. The opening is rather simple, a lighted jukebox appears on stage, his band members nonchalantly walk out and asks the audience, "Should I put a quarter in it?"

"We Built this City on Rock ‘N Roll’." Aha! The Jukebox skips...

"On Rock ‘n Roll"

"On Rock ‘n Roll"

"On Rock ‘n Roll"

"On Rock ‘n Roll"

And out walks Aiken channeling the Fonz, dressed in a black leather jacket, black pants, escorting Laverne and Shirley, or perhaps the Pink Ladies, Angela and Quiana, his back-up vocalists. They pause at the jukebox, listen, then Aiken licks his fingers, stands next to the jukebox, up goes his arm, fist clenched, and POUNDS that jukebox into submission, letting it know who’s boss and the show begins.

The music hits you like a wall of sound, non stop, wave after wave of rock n roll, sung by a guy who maybe a lot of people didn’t know could sing rock n roll. Well, guess what? Aiken took the songs of the 50’s, revved them up and powered them out like a rebel with a cause, Aiken-style. Starting with Twistin the Night Away, to At the Hop, Johnny B. Goode, Rockin’ Robin, The Great Pretender, Mr. Sandman, That’ll Be the Day, Great Balls of Fire, and Rock n Roll is here to Stay, Aiken made his way through the 50’s as if he’s lived them. His Great Balls of Fire was sung atop the piano, with hip thrusts, on pointe, and was amazing to experience. I say experience, not watch, because one has to experience this performance to appreciate it, one can’t merely sit back and watch, it’s impossible, and Aiken won’t let you passively enjoy this show, he forces you to become as involved as he is.

The set quiets down as Aiken sings Unchained Melody, a hold-over from American Idol and a real crowd-pleaser, but he doesn’t let you get too settled in, oh, no, not Aiken. So what does he do? He takes on the King and he out-Elvised, Elvis. Sitting at the piano, Aiken accompanies himself singing Love Me Tender. Now, Love me Tender is a patented Elvis song, no one’s really ever covered that song, at least not on the radio that I remember, but does that stop Aiken from trying? The man’s got guts. His Elvis medley tackles a lot of Elvis’ major hits, the aforementioned Love me Tender, Hound Dog, Blue Suede Shoes, Don’t Be Cruel, Heartbreak Hotel, Jailhouse Rock, and the exquisite I Can’t Help Falling in Love With You, and ending with a full version of Suspicious Minds. I never would have thought that Clay Aiken would not only have tackled Elvis, but that he would channel Elvis so well. Aiken doesn’t imitate Elvis, Aiken becomes Elvis, Aiken out-sings Elvis, and Aiken makes you believe that he’s lived with those songs his entire life. Yeah, he’s that good.

Aiken continues with his version of Solitaire and makes his way through the 60’s, covering The Beatles, The Monkeys, The Turtles, and ends his first set singing a Motown medley. Then he lets us rest during a 20 minute intermission. We need it.

The second half of the concert isn’t as strong, in total, as the first half, but there are some gems that just won’t be ignored. Aiken’s 70’s set brings us audience interaction, some disco, some Bee Gees, the wonderful Bridge Over Troubled Water and a low-key, beautifully sung version of Manilow’s Mandy. My only fault with the 70’s set is that an entire segment of music was ignored. One critic asked in a review, “Didn’t Aiken ever own a Led Zeppelin album?” I also wonder why Aiken left out some of the most ground-breaking music of that era.

Prince’s When Doves Cry has to be mentioned even though Aiken already covered this song during his Independent Tour in the Spring of 2004. He and his back-up vocalists start the song off in choir robes, fooling the "Un-Clayed" in the audience that it was a religious or spiritual song, until those robes are ripped off and Aiken turns on the sensuality with back-up Angela Fisher, doing a bit of dirty dancing that have the women in the audience swooning, for want of a better word.

The 80’s set includes a terrific Rock with You by back-up Jacob Luttrell, who not only sings this song wonderfully, but dances and entertains us with Michael Jackson-esque moves that are a real crowd–pleaser. Aiken sings a powerful Alone by Heart, and ends the set with a softly sung, 4-part harmony on Christopher Cross’ Sailing.

The 90’s set surprises us, once again, with Aiken’s song choices. You Can’t Touch brings out Aiken’s rapier wit and personality, Black Velvet showcases Angela Fisher’s command of this song, and End of the Road is a masterpiece of soaring harmonies by all four singers. The next two songs are, perhaps, the most surprising, The Goo Goo Dolls Iris and Ricky Martin’s Livin' La Vida Loca. Both songs garner screams from the audience, yet Aiken does a fantastic job singing what could be outside his comfort level. This set ends with the haunting Bonnie Raitt song, I Can’t Make You Love Me. Aiken sits alone under a spotlight and plaintively sings the shiznitz out of this song, evoking a longing for a love that just won’t or can’t love you back. As the spotlight dies on Aiken, Quiana Parler quietly takes the stage for what could be a career-making performance of Whitney Houston’s I Will Always Love You. You can hear a pin drop during her rendition of this song and at the end, the crowd surges to its feet, giving her a well-deserved standing ovation.

As the show closes, Aiken sings a few of his songs from his multi-platinum album, 2003’s "Measure of a Man,"
 and introduces a few new songs. The crowd loves Back for More as evidenced by the head-bobbing and the fist pumping. The two new slow to mid-tempo songs he introduces are Just You and 1000 Days. These songs are perhaps a bit harder for the audience to get into, as they come after the crowd-pleasing Back for More, but Aiken, again, sings the shiznitz out of them. Aiken ends with his hit song, Invisible and the crowd soars to its feet, loving both the song and the singer.

Some observations about this show: The energy that Aiken brings into a venue is absolutely amazing. From young girls, to teens, to the twenty, thirty, forty, fifty, sixty, seventy and older-somethings, to husbands, to the families, Aiken brings something for everyone. The diversity of an Aiken crowd is truly a phenomenon in my concert going experience. Not only can Aiken sing, he nails his songs with passion and professionalism, yet not only does he have fun on stage, he makes his audience participate in the concert as if they were a part of the show. Aiken is not just a singer, not just a performer, but he is truly an entertainer. This show is the best of his short career and if this is any indication of what is yet to come, hold on to your hats because we ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

Post by: Marilyn on October 26, 2014, 10:46:56 AM
« Reply #18 on: August 21, 2005, 01:17:51 PM »

Aiken's 'Jukebox' covers the basics
By David Lindquist

Clay Aiken is putting in the work that's likely needed to maintain his status as a star.

Although he has no recording to promote, the former "American Idol" runner-up sang dozens of hits from the rock 'n' roll era Thursday night at the Indiana State Fair.

Aiken's "Jukebox Tour" spotlights each decade from the 1950s to today, with his own material capping the 21/2-hour journey.

The concert scored points as a showcase for Aiken's durability and flexibility, not to mention as a bargain for his highly devoted fan base (about 60 songs for a $35 ticket).

Meanwhile, it raised questions about the public's taste in music. Why did some of these songs -- Heart's "Alone" and Petula Clark's "Downtown," for instance -- become chart-toppers?

For Aiken, "Jukebox" brings the risk of reinforcing an easy (and valid) criticism of "American Idol": Karaoke singers don't deserve to be celebrities.

At least his theatrical reworking of "When Doves Cry" added a gothic twist to Prince's original version. Randy Jackson and Paula Abdul surely would rave to see Aiken stretch out.

The show's art direction would have benefited from similar inventiveness, as the backdrop curtains designating each decade were a low-rent disappointment.

Wardrobe did its part, outfitting Aiken in a leather jacket, a leisure suit and a casual vest as the years rolled on.

But he looked or sounded his best when sporting a basic black suit and offering a string of Motown classics.

Supporting vocalists Quiana Parler, Angela Fisher and Jacob Luttrell helped approximate the sound of the Supremes, the Miracles and the Temptations.

Aiken himself brought the intensity and purpose to the Four Tops' "Reach Out (I'll Be There)."

If "Jukebox" were to be interpreted as a competition among eras and approaches, send the trophy to Berry Gordy at Hitsville, U.S.A.

After an intermission, Aiken meandered through the '70s, '80s and '90s. Momentum stalled during selections popularized by Barry Manilow and Christopher Cross.

Luttrell and Parler actually kept things lively thanks to spot-on tributes to Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston.

Finally, in an odd bit of 2005 fair trivia, Jerry Lee Lewis' "Great Balls of Fire" has been performed by three Grandstand headliners: Rascal Flatts, Garrison Keillor and Aiken.


Post by: Marilyn on October 26, 2014, 10:49:11 AM

« Reply #19 on: August 21, 2005, 01:21:24 PM »

Guest Concert Review
By Sandra Elliott

A zoo might not sound like a promising concert setting, but the amphitheatre at Toledo’s zoo is one of the most beautiful venues I’ve ever been to. There are none of the smells you fear you might be subjected to, the sound quality is fantastic and the stage is ornate enough to compete with the performers for your attention. The floral landscaping alone is worth the trip. Add in perfect weather and Clay Aiken and you might as well be in heaven.

If you’ve only experienced ‘The Aiken’ via American Idol, his cheesy Christmas special, or a Kathy Griffin monologue, his live show is one colossal shock. He’s smart, sly, goofy, poignant, and sexy (yeah, you read that last word right.) And he doesn’t lip-synch once in two and half hours. He does pause for breath a few times, letting each of his three background singers take over lead vocals for one solo each. You won’t mind. The man isn’t afraid to surround himself with talent. The girls, Quiana Parlor and Angela Fisher, put Whitney Houston to shame—and I’m talking pre-Bobby-&-crack Whitney. He doesn’t worry about the competition because he doesn’t have to. As good as they are, he blows them off the stage without even trying. Live, with no studio augmentation of any kind, he actually sounds better than he does on CD. It’s jaw-dropping. Even given that voice, his interaction with the band and audience is the best part of the evening. The stage banter changes with every performance, but it’s always endearing and usually funny as hell.

On the ‘Jukebox Tour’ he does a set, one medley followed by one full song, for each decade in the rock era, plus one set each for Elvis and Motown. The songs are chosen to charm, rather than to represent a time or idea. The format exists solely as something to hang a lot of cover songs on because his new CD is not yet ready for release and he didn’t want to repeat the set list of his last tour. Since there’s no hope of the Claynation growing bored with him any time soon, perhaps he’s changed things up for sake of stoking his own interest.

In any case, Clay & Co. cover everything from Jerry Lee Lewis to the Goo Goo Dolls, accompanied by vintage clothing and dance styles. Yeah, he dances. Sometime between “Grease night” on Idol and the start of this tour, he has learned how to move and groove. Admittedly still a little stiff and goofy, his dancing will never again make anybody cringe for him. Smile, yes—even laugh out loud—but if you do it’ll be intentional on his part. Did I mention he’s funny? Because he is. Also, don’t be surprised if you spot more than a few women drooling. Did I mention he’s turning into quite the sexy beast? Because he is. They really ought to start selling bibs at the souvenir stand.

Ahhh… I had such a good time.

Post by: Marilyn on October 26, 2014, 10:53:57 AM

« Reply #20 on: August 26, 2005, 06:07:45 PM »

LIVE: Clay Aiken Turns On His Jukebox
Friday August 26, 2005 @ 05:30 PM
By: Staff

Molson Amphitheatre
Toronto, Ontario
August 25, 2005
By Brian Wong

It was only two years ago that Jesus-lovin' super-nerd Clay Aiken went from Raleigh, North Carolina-nobody to first runner-up on American Idol, then sold a kajillion copies of his 2003 debut, Measure Of A Man. Already, the 26-year-old singer looks poised for a Vegas stage next to La Celine.

Aiken isn't packing venues weeks in advance yet — only three-quarters of the Molson Amphitheatre's seats were occupied for his show, while geese frolicked in the lawns. But his current Jukebox tour, in which the singer aimed to cover pop hits of the last 50 years, would make a decent casino musical revue.

There were certainly enough middle-aged women to rival a Wayne Newton concert. And Aiken seemed to take the estrogen fest in stride.

"How many gentlemen are proud to be here tonight?" the chatty singer asked. "They're probably watching Canadian Idol or something."

When Aiken found a "gentleman" who admitted that he was dragged to the show by his wife and daughter, the singer stepped down into the stands to speak with him.

"You don't like me?" Aiken inquired. "I thought everyone in Canada would be nice."

If this singing thing doesn't work out, the guy has a pretty good career as a talk show host.

Or musicologist. As the astounding two-and-a-half-hour concert (plus 20 minute intermission) went through rock 'n' roll, schmaltzy pop and power balladry decade after decade, Aiken gave bite-size history lessons on the respective eras of music.

With a seven-piece band that included three back-up singers — Kiana Parlor, Angela Fisher and Jacob Luttrell, who all deservedly received lead solo time — the skinny Aiken with the musical-theatre-ready voice pulled out several medleys.

The '50s section included the chirpy "Rockin' Robin," the jolly swaggering "That'll Be The Day" and "Great Balls Of Fire," for which Aiken jumped on top of the grand piano.

An Elvis tribute (complete with stiff, pelvic thrusting) was followed by the bright '60s, represented by tunes like The Monkees' "Daydream Believer" and The Beatles' "Can't Buy Me Love," where the enthusiastic Aiken looked like a crazed bobble head.

He then asked the crowd about what impacted in Canada in the '70s and when one fan replied, "Trudeau-mania," the singer looked back at his band and shrugged his shoulders in bewilderment. The culture shock continued when he picked up a fan's poster that read 'Clay, you are an honourary Canadian,' and Aiken replied, "You spelled 'honourary' wrong."

The rest of the show was pretty much like Idol karaoke; many of the songs Aiken performed were showcased during the rounds of his Idol journey: the overblown, gospel-ish take on Simon and Garfunkel's "Bridge Over Troubled Water," Heart's '80s power ballad "Alone," Barry Manilow's "Mandy" and Bonnie Raitt's "I Can't Make You Love Me."

It's those ballads, and his own material like "Invisible" and "The Way," where Aiken thrives. Whether or not you feel any affinity for him, his voice and ability to hold a note is undeniably strong — a case that's similar to that of Ms. Dion.

Of course, like Dion, a lot about Aiken is icky. There's that eerily sparkling stare, the flung vest during his take on Ricky Martin's "Livin' La Vida Loca," or the intimate caressing with his back-up singers during Prince's "When Doves Cry." A lot of it, however, ends up pretty funny when you see the geeky Aiken wooing his divas, Parlor and Fisher — two bodacious black women who could snap him like a twig.

But they wouldn't do that; even with cheesy medleys Aiken is just too cute — in a very weird sort of way.

Post by: Marilyn on October 26, 2014, 10:57:16 AM
« Reply #21 on: August 27, 2005, 12:20:10 AM »

Lounge star
Too much cheese spoils mostly competent Clay Aiken show

THERE'S A showroom in Las Vegas with Clay Aiken's name on it.

At least judging from his medley-heavy and costume-friendly show last night at the Molson Amphitheatre.

Aiken's so-called Jukebox tour -- marking his first-ever solo concert in Toronto -- covered pop music from the '50s to the early 21st century.

And I do mean covered.

At last count, Aiken -- the second season runnerup of American Idol -- and his nine-piece band performed over 60 songs, mostly snippets mind you, although some got the full treatment.
It often felt like an exhaustive, decade-by-decade examination -- as the show dragged past the two-and-a-half hour mark including a 20 minute intermission -- when it had all the makings of what could have been a decent night of music.

While it's not my taste, Aiken does have a No. 1 album, 2003's Measure Of A Man, that he's numerously toured in support of in the U.S.

He said he felt compelled to do a different show this summer but I might have waited until his sophomore album was released.

The real revelation was Aiken himself, the self-professed nerd from Raleigh, N.C., who is quite charismatic in a live setting, friendly and funny and in complete control of both his band and the audience, while not at all willing to take himself too seriously.

When he introduced the Canadian executive producer of his next album, Jaymes Levy Foster (sister of David Foster) in the audience, he said of the delayed disc: "It's going to have Canadian flair to it when it comes out in 2025!"

Another funny bit saw him taking requests from the audience -- everything from Guns 'N Roses Sweet Child O' Mine to O Canada -- while fighting against the noise from competing fireworks courtesy of the CNE.

But the first clue the cheese was coming was the way the concert started: Three of Aiken's musicians asked for quarters to put in the small jukebox on stage.

Of all things, one of the worst songs in rock history, Starship's We Built This City, came blaring out and then started skipping crazily before a black leather jacket-clad Aiken appeared on stage and pounded the jukebox to make it stop.

From there it was non-stop '50s classics such as Twistin' The Night Away, Let's Go To The Hop, The Great Pretender, etc., plus the obligatory Elvis tribute.

A wardrobe was also dragged on stage so that Aiken could literally change clothes with each new decade of songs -- the white polyester suit for the '70s, spandex for the '80s.

Maybe Aiken's just pandering to his wide-ranging audience, given the cross section of women of all ages, families and the occasional couple -- one was celebrating their 25th anniversary and let him know it -- in the seats.

When he did stop long enough to deliver a song in its entirety -- Unchained Melody, Love Me Tender (which he performed solo on piano), Suspicious Minds, Solitaire, Mandy, Bridge Over Troubled Water, When Doves Cry, I Can't Make You Love Me, and his own hit Invisible -- he had the vocal goods.

And some much needed soul was injected into the evening by his two astonishing female backup singers who took over lead vocals on such standouts as Midnight Train To Georgia, Rescue Me, Think, I Feel The Earth Move, and I Will Always Love You.

Naturally, this review will not go over well with Aiken's devoted fanbase, apparently not as healthy in Toronto given the low-turnout, estimated at around 5,000 people making for the smallest audience I have seen at the amphitheatre this summer.

But I'm sure I'll hear from all those Claymates (females) and Claydawgs (males) -- and even Claynadians -- who feel their beloved Aiken can do no wrong.

I just think he can do much better.

Post by: Marilyn on October 26, 2014, 11:00:00 AM
« Reply #22 on: August 27, 2005, 12:26:07 AM »

Ladies, you sir, here's Clay 
BYLINE: Vit wagner, Toronto Star

Time was when U.S. presidential elections defined the gender gap. That was before Clay Aiken came along.

And, if last night's performance by the former American Idol to a half-empty Molson Amphitheatre is anything to go by, Canadians are as divided as their southern counterparts where Claymania is concerned.

The show was part of Aiken's so-called Juke Box Tour, which saw the 27-year-old North Carolina native chronologically canvas hit songs from the past five decades. After a heavy emphasis on the 1950s and '60s, Aiken and his supporting cast broke for intermission.

"The best song so far tonight was 'Midnight Train to Georgia,'" a man sitting in the row behind pronounced to the woman beside him.

"But Clay didn't even sing that song," his companion protested.

"Precisely," the man retorted emphatically.

That particular song, presented during a tribute to Motown, had been ably executed by a backing singer doing her best Gladys Knight impersonation. And, yes, it was easily the high point of the evening to that point - which, all things considered, wasn't saying much.

Not since Matchbox Twenty visited the same venue a couple of years back has an Amphitheatre audience been so visibly divided along gender lines.

On one side, there were deliriously enthusiastic women, many of them the self-styled "Claymates" - or, on this occasion, "Claynadians" - who helped the singer's 2003 debut album, Measure of a Man, charge to the top of the charts. On the other, a much smaller contingent of men, most of whom were far more restrained, if not altogether befuddled.

None of this was lost on Aiken.

"Gentlemen don't like to be at the show for some reason," he announced.

The singer went so far as to comb the audience for proof of this assertion, eventually finding a Hamilton man who sheepishly allowed to having been dragged along by his wife and daughter.

The reasons behind the division are anyone's guess. Aiken's supposedly ambiguous sexual preferences have been a source of public speculation. Frankly, who cares? Plainly, he presented himself as straight on stage, demonstrably romancing his female accompanists at every opportunity.

Aiken's repertoire also leaned heavily toward swooning romantic balladry. In a medley-packed show littered with scores of songs, he managed to get to the end of the 1980s without so much as alluding to punk, new wave or Bob Dylan, preferring instead to make show-stopping meals out of "Sailing" by Christopher Cross, and "Mandy" by Barry Manilow.

Blame it on chromosomes - or anything other root cause you might want to identify - but by that point he had already lost me last night. 

©TORONTO STAR (registration required, but I wouldn't bother) 

Post by: Marilyn on October 26, 2014, 11:02:13 AM
« Reply #23 on: August 30, 2005, 10:45:32 AM »

Clay Aiken tries to be an Idol to everyone
By Christopher John Treacy/ Music Review
Monday, August 29, 2005 - Updated: 12:35 AM EST

Just in time for Boston's "American Idol'' tryouts at Gillette Stadium on Wednesday, Clay Aiken's Jukebox Tour pulled into the Bank of America Pavilion to remind potential contestants of what's possible if you make it to the show's finals.

Rather than touting a new disc, Aiken's tour is in support of his miraculously extended 15 minutes of fame. And it's also a showcase for the vocalist's vivid imagination. In it, Aiken fancies himself a '50s teen heartthrob, the Elvis incarnate, a Motown star, a '70s soul singer, a choirboy with keen falsetto, a young Casey Kasem.  He does all this while being soundtracked by some of the biggest pop hits of the last 50 years; taken for what it is, the show is entertaining.

But despite an exhausting 100 songs (most in medley format) spread over a two-hour-plus show and presented in chronological order, he isn't all that well equipped to deliver from so many different musical corners. It was when he jumped on top of the piano during "Great Balls of Fire'' that the hilarity first hit home – Aiken's nondescript sexuality just doesn't have the necessary "balls of fire'' to pull off such a stunt. The same went for the Elvis tunes, the Bee-Gees' selections from the '70s, and an attempt at Prince's "When Doves Cry'' from the '80s. He saved a small offering of his own songs for the new millennium segment at the end.

It's the backup singers who really carry this charade. Angela Fisher, Quiana Parler and Jacob Luttrell provide amazing vocal support, without which Aiken would simply fall flat. Each was given their own individual chance to shine, particularly Parler during Gladys Knight's "Midnight Train To Georgia,'' misplaced in the '60s segment of the show despite it having been a hit in 1973.

Moving by decades up to present day, Clay Aiken bent over backward to show us all the things he does nicely. But "nicely'' is a bland word, and really he'd do much better to pick just one or two things he's extraordinarily good at and go from there. Preying on beloved pop hits is easily crowd-pleasing, but it doesn't add any personality to what was already a pretty bland offering. And someone really ought to have told him "Solitaire'' will always belong to Karen Carpenter

Post by: Marilyn on October 26, 2014, 11:04:57 AM
« Reply #24 on: August 30, 2005, 10:47:44 AM »


Clay Aiken plays Gilford

GILFORD — Second season American Idol runner-up Clay Aiken both wooed and wowed a large crowd at Meadowbrook Musical Arts Center.

"He's a great entertainer. I was rooting for him all along," said Cheryl Moody of Farmington who attended Saturday's concert with her sister, Judi Aubert of Rochester. "I think he's just awesome. I just love his voice. If he comes back I'm going to bring my 10-year-old daughter," said Aubert.

Aiken's good looks coupled with his family values and charitable work was a common theme among concertgoers, predominantly 40-ish something women. "That's what I admire most. He is a good moral role model. Kids need that," said Frank Downing of Malden, Mass., who said he is a substitute teacher who works with autistic children.

Downing's wife, Fran, characterized herself as an avid "Claymate," the name taken by his most rabid fans saying she had tickets to attend Aiken's Sunday night concert in Boston. She has previously traveled to Indiana twice and once to Michigan to see his shows.

A 2004 Christmas album, "Merry Christmas With Love," followed Aikien's 2003 debut, "Measure Of A Man." "He has an amazing voice. One that comes along once in a millennium — the range, the volume and he call hold a note longer than anyone," she said of Aiken, 27, who hails from Raleigh, N.C. "And it's not just his singing. He connects with people and does a lot of work for charity," she continued.

"He was the best singer. He should have won (Idol)," asserted Rachel D'Onfro of Westminister, Mass. She said she saw Aiken's Christmas show last year. "He was my number one pick from the very beginning (of American Idol)," she said. D'Onfro said she's downloaded all of Aiken's songs, even an early demo album. "And I'm not even a Claymate. There are (fans) here from Hawaii," she said. Aiken started the night with a medley of 50s and 60s songs, doing some covers of such classic artists as Chubby Checker, Elvis Presley and the Everly Brothers classic "Unchained Melody."

Aiken is working with Canadian producer Jaymes Foster Levy on his sophomore effort, which he hopes to have out by next spring.

Post by: Marilyn on October 26, 2014, 11:07:51 AM
« Reply #25 on: August 30, 2005, 10:49:59 AM »

Aiken sticks with stale 'Idol' formula

By Marc Hirsh, Globe Correspondent | August 30, 2005

If you were a newly autonomous artist, released from the contract foisted upon you by ''American Idol" and one of the few unqualified successes to come out of the Fox phenomenon, would you stage your summer tour as though it were an amusement park rock 'n' roll revue? Clay Aiken did, and his Jukebox Tour, which hit the Bank of America Pavilion on Sunday, showed all the imagination, professionalism, and depth of the cheesy group numbers performed on the show from which he's supposedly trying to distance himself.

The evening's tone was set at the start, as a jukebox played Starship's ''We Built This City," recently named the worst song ever by music magazine Blender. As the record started to skip, Aiken came out dressed as the Fonz and hit the jukebox, at which point a backdrop reading ''The '50s" unfurled and the band started up. Medley after medley followed, as Aiken (with substantial help from backup singers Quiana Parler, Angela Fisher, and Jacob Luttrell) sang the most recognizable parts of hits from the past six decades. Some strange moments resulted, as when Aiken sang in front of a backdrop reading ''ELVIS" in huge letters, prompting the question of who exactly the crowd was supposed to be applauding.

The Claymates had no doubt, screaming their devotion. One couple carried a sign informing the singer and the world that this was their 100th Aiken concert. Aiken acknowledged them and many others from the stage, showing an ease with audience interaction and stage patter, even when it was simplistic and moon-eyed commentary like, ''The music of the 1960s paints a portrait of lightheartedness and fun."

Aiken occasionally broke from the medley format to perform an entire song from start to finish, though ''Mandy," ''Solitaire," and a surprisingly pretty version of Christopher Cross's ''Sailing" were truer to his middle-of-the-road pop stylings than ''When Doves Cry." By the time he closed with six of his own songs -- and the Claymates responded as though ''Invisible" wasn't actually a creepy stalker anthem -- Aiken was left to sink or swim on his own merits. The rest of the show suggested that you can take the boy out of ''American Idol," but you can't take ''American Idol" out of the boy.

Post by: Marilyn on October 26, 2014, 11:09:44 AM

« Reply #26 on: August 30, 2005, 01:01:34 PM »

Post by: Marilyn on October 26, 2014, 11:12:13 AM
Assistant Webmaster
« Reply #27 on: August 31, 2005, 07:39:20 AM »
Lorraine, this one should make you feel better!


After Dark: At play with Clay

Published: Wednesday, August 31, 2005
By Erica Jacobson
Free Press Staff Writer

ESSEX JUNCTION -- I ran into my first Claymates on Monday night as I walked past the green wooden doors that separated a Champlain Valley Fair parking lot from the backstage area at the grandstand.

Two women had waited outside the doors, trying for a glimpse of the night's headliner, Clay Aiken, a runner-up from reality show "American Idol." A third woman, 25-year-old Angel Smith of Baltimore stood off to the side holding a purse bearing Aiken's image and ticked off the states where she had seen the singer perform since the end of July. New York, Connecticut, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and, now, Vermont.

"I never used to travel before he came along," Smith said. "I've flown for my second time the other day because of Clay."

It was then, a scant 30 minutes before the spiky-haired singer took to the stage, that I realized that I had been living a lie.

Contrary to everything in my musical past and my planned future purchases (the "La Dolce Vita" soundtrack, the new Franz Ferdinand album), I really, really like Clay Aiken.

"It's his voice, his looks," Smith said, explaining her Aiken fascination. "He just gives you a look out in the crowd and your heart just stops.

"It's like a high school crush."

Aiken, I sense, knows this all too well. His truly enamored fans wear rhinestone pins proclaiming "I luv Clay" and carry cell phones that chirp Aiken's hit "Invisible" with every call. They follow him from venue to venue, crossing continents and, in some cases, oceans to swoon as Aiken croons for a few hours on stage.

What I discovered Monday night is it's hard to blame them, really.

Aiken is an entertainer. Whether he's playing to a half-full fairgrounds show in Vermont or sold-out casino shows in New Jersey, he's out to please. His voice skipped across the decades, at home belting out everything from a few lines of Bobby Day's "Rockin' Robin" to Prince's "When Doves Cry" in its entirety. As Aiken approached the '70s portion of his multi-decade review, he admitted things were about to get a little messy " 'cos this skinny white boy can't dance so well."

"These feet are too big to dance around so much," Aiken said in his North Carolinian drawl.

Unlike other personalities born out of the reality TV revolution, Aiken seems down-to-earth. A trio of North Carolina women who had won tickets -- both plane and concert -- to see Aiken fanned themselves with $6 souvenir Aiken fans and gushed about his down-home charm before the show. During the concert, Aiken didn't demand adulation from the crowd, it just happened.

He also acknowledged Monday night that there might be a few nonfans in the stands.

"There are also gentlemen in the audience who did not want to be here," Aiken told the crowd, asking women to point out the boyfriends, husbands and dates who had begrudgingly tagged along. "They would much rather be eating a corn dog."

Now, as a no-frills concert purist, I thought the jukebox format of the show was a little risky.

Make it too choppy and the songs become unrecognizable. Make it too drawn-out and it turns into little more than spending a night at a karaoke bar watching friends belt out drunken versions of Elton John's "Don't Go Breaking My Heart." Aiken managed a nice mix of hits, slow ballads as well as the occasional song sung entirely by one of his three back-up singers. And even Aiken's costume changes through the decades -- skinny tie with suit for the '60s, white leisure suit for the '70s -- weren't too excessive or frequent enough to confuse Aiken with a Ken doll.

As the last notes of "Invisible" echoed off the grandstand, I folded up my notebook and walked out to my car.

It wasn't supposed to be like this, I thought. I was supposed to see Aiken in concert, exorcise my infatuation and move on. Don't get me wrong, I'm not rushing out to buy his "Measure of a Man" CD. Whatever music of Aiken's I come to own will be between me and my iPod. I will say that I'm still wondering just where to get one of those handbags ... .

Post by: Marilyn on October 26, 2014, 11:14:46 AM

« Reply #28 on: August 31, 2005, 04:26:59 PM »


LORRAINE:  As they say, "That's Show Biz!".  I'm sure Clay isn't that upset over those reviews.  He probably knew at the onset of the JBT that the critics would be accusing him of being nothing more than cheesy, dorky karaoke singer. I suspect he realizes that as long as he has his amazing fan base, he'll do just fine in spite of the nay-sayers!
Post by: Marilyn on October 26, 2014, 11:25:01 AM
« Reply #29 on: September 01, 2005, 07:53:32 PM »

Clay Aiken’s tour strolls through decades     
Written by KELLY VON EBERS / Photos by BARRY BRECHEISEN     

They call themselves Claymates. They are the swarms, the masses, the women who save their vacation days to road trip from city to city catching every show imaginable and becoming no less enthusiastic with each passing song… they are the fans of nerd-gone-pop-star Clay Aiken, currently touring the States on his spanning the decades “Jukebox Tour.”
The summer tour, just over a month long, features upbeat medleys and jaw-dropping performances of hits from the ’50s, ’60s, ’70s, ’80’s and ’90s by Aiken and his overly talented backup singers Jacob Lutrell, Quiana Parler and Angela Fisher, all of whom have the potential to be successful solo recording artists.

Aiken came into the spotlight with the second season of American Idol, where he lost the “Idol” title in what was quite possibly the closest reality show race to date. Apparently, being the runner up isn’t so bad. Aiken’s debut album “Measure of a Man” soared to the top of the charts and become double-platinum, which is more than can be said for any other runner up on Idol, much less any winner. Not to mention landing on the cover of Rolling Stone that year three months ahead of the winner, Ruben Studdard.

As illustrated by the sold-out crowds throughout the tour, people of all ages will – and do – enjoy Aiken’s energetic yet intimate, empowering and humble performances. From my 9 year old “Clay rocks my world” little sister to my 70 year old “I came along for the ride” grandmother, the show truly has something for everyone and is a must see for anyone with an ear for music of any kind.

The show began with the hits of the 50’s, well before 26 year old Aiken’s time. Proving that even dorky guys can pull off a tight leather jacket if they twist and turn *just* right, Aiken took the audience back to the Elvis decade complete with a hip-shaking performance on top of the piano. The Motown classic 60’s had whispers of “She is the luckiest girl EVER” buzzing through the crowd as Aiken did some serious bumping and grinding with backup singers Quiana and Angela during Jackson Five hit “Candy Girl”. For someone who persistently reminded the audience that he can’t dance, Aiken sure kept the crowd on their feet love struck with his every move. (And guys, his fans are NOT just lonely women, there were males dancing with just as much enthusiasm as the rest of us). Aiken also performed Neil Sedaka’s “Solitare”, which he re-recorded and dedicated to his father on his debut album.

After a short intermission Aiken grooved into the 70’s with “Oh What a Night” and his own rendition of “Mandy”, made famous by his idol, Barry Manilow. Bringing back his days on Idol, Aiken treated the audience to “Bridge Over Troubled Water”, which he performed late in the competition, leaving the entire nation convinced we had a winner, but only giving him the second place title. Perhaps the most powerful performance of the night, 80’s hit “When Doves Cry” illustrated perfectly that Aiken can take a song from any genre and make it his own.

The most amusing costume change of all, Aiken’s crew was decked out in spandex, overly bright jackets, vests and half unbuckled supersized overalls for the ’90s. Attempting the “cabbage patch”, Aiken pointed out “this is what we call a conniption fit in the South!” With songs that took me back to the days of elementary school dances and a too close to the real thing for comfort version of “Livin’ La Vida Loca”, Aiken truly kept the audience engaged and entertained straight through the show.

Showing his recognition of their talent, Aiken was sure to share the spotlight with Angela, Quiana and Jacob, all of whom performed solo numbers. Aiken also performed songs from “Measure of a Man” as well as selections that may end up on his next album, set to go into production shortly.

For the entire 2 ½ hours of the show, never once did Aiken bore the audience, miss a note or fail to make a song seem as if it had never been performed better before. Criticized from day one for his style and appearance, Aiken has undoubtedly surpassed expectations and become more successful than anyone could have imagined. Still enjoying the success of “Measure of a Man”, Aiken has proved that “Idol” judge Simon Cowell was clearly wrong when he stated back in season two, “Clay, you don’t look like a pop star.”



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Post by: Marilyn on October 26, 2014, 11:29:21 AM
« Reply #30 on: September 11, 2005, 01:52:19 PM »


The Fraze Pavillion is "All Shook UP" by Clay Aiken during his stop in Kettering, Ohio August 15th on The Jukebox Summer Tour 2005
Staff Writer:  Teresa Nichols
"Seen any good CLACK?" asked Clay Aiken at the Fraze Pavillion in Kettering,Ohio Monday night.  Clay Aiken went on to demonstrate just how "Clack," worthy he is by performing songs from numerous eras for over 4,000 screaming fans. Whether he was putting his own twist on Elvis songs, belting out a tune from his upcoming CD, or taking us through the 50's, 60's, 70's, 80's, 90's to today, Clay rocked the house.

As fans poured into the venue, so did the rain. The Fraze took on the appearance of a rainbow as fans donned ponchos of many different colors. Aiken kicked off the show with "Twisting The Night Away," and quickly sent us through the 50's. The highlights of this era were demonstrated by Aiken's romantic and emotional version of "Unchained Melody," and his expertly executed Elvis Medley. I think even The King himself was smiling down on Aiken. He took us from "Love Me Tender," "Hound Dog," "Blue Suede Shoes," (of which he wore one blue shoe), "Don't Be Cruel," "Heartbreak Hotel, " "Jailhouse Rock," "Can't Help Falling In Love," (My personal favorite), to "Suspicious Minds." Any thoughts that Clay could not dance (and I liked his Grease Shake), were put to rest as his hips swiveled and legs shook.

His ability to reach his audience is unsurpassed, something I had the pleasure of witnessing in person last year when he played The North Carolina State Fair. I had the thrill of my life, the infectious combination of his talent, his tuneful songs, his ability to reach the audience and his stage presence lingered with me long after the show had ended.

Clay seems to be able to bring something unique to each new show, for this show, it was recruiting an audience member to join, Jacob, Quiana, and Angela as a "Pip," on "The Midnight Train To Georgia." He also treated us to some pretty fancy footwork, I have to say. I was very impressed. Prior to this, he moved quickly through the 60's Medley, which included "DayDream Believer," "Downtown," "Can't Buy Me Love," "Sugar Sugar," "Happy Together," and his own version of Neil Sedaka's "Solitaire." He hit all those incredible notes with the pure powerful sounds known to be that of Clay Aiken.

We were also treated to the exceptional talents of Quiana Parlor, Jacob Lutrell, and Angela Fisher. Each one of them are talents in their own right. Jacob rocked us with "Rock With You," and from what I saw, Michael Jackson has his work cut out for him. Quiana brought the house down with her rendition of "I Will Always Love You." Why is this girl not signed to a record label ? The show would not be complete without Angela who displayed her own incredible voice with "Where Did Our Love Go."  Clay graced all three of these talented artists time to shine. Duets were aplenty, some of which included: "Mr Sandman," (Angela/Quiana), and "Ain't No Mountain High Enough," (Clay and Angela).

It appears on this tour, it was Angela's time to be the center of Clay's attention. He even wore a T-Shirt with her picture on it, told her he had a crush on her, and even kissed her. Then he made mention that the T-shirt and her
CD were on sale in the lobby. Was all this to help Angela? From where I was sitting, the rumors started to fly.

The audience also enjoyed the time he took to sit and ask people what they had done the night before. One audience member shouted out, "Played Cornhole!" Clay responded, "I don't even want to go there." This was hilarious, as all Ohioans know it's a game similar to horseshoes, but it uses small beanbags and 2 slanted boxes with holes toward the high end of the slant. He also asked everyone what was important about the 70's. He got many good responses, but the correct answer was "Clay was born."

We enjoyed hearing abbreviated renditions of "Car Wash," "Oh What A Night," "September," "Nights on Broadway," and there were longer versions of "Mandy," and "Bridge Over Troubled Water," after which he really heated things up with "When Doves Cry." The dance moves on this showed us a" naughty" side to Clay. Who said he can't dance ? Somebody tell me, who taught him those moves ? I was already sweaty from the poncho.

Many Many fans took repeated opportunities to shout out " I love you Clay!" He was charming, he was sexy, and he was spectacular. Aiken definitely left the audience wanting more. How appropriate to introduce one of his new songs " Back For More," off his upcoming CD. The first time we heard him perform this song was on Good Morning America, but the loyal fans knew all the words. I am predicting that this song will get him the airplay he deserves, and shoot straight to #1. It contains everything a hit song is made from and the one artist that will make it a hit. He would not give us a release date or a title for the CD, but mentioned it's hard work and they're working on it. And so, fans will have to continue to light up the message boards in their continued search for more "Clack."

This show would not have been complete without a medley of songs from Clay's Measure of a Man CD. Everyone sang every word to every one of these songs, with Aiken's hit song, "Invisible," closing the show. This concert was hands down the best I've ever seen. I think it's his sense of humor and clear delight at having a faithful audience that contribute most to Aiken's winning personna. Many fans were heading to Toledo for his next show. Further testament to Clay's appeal along with the fact he put on a magnificent show.