Last Saturday, husband and I went to the Clay concert at NJPAC. First there was dinner with friends at the Spanish Pavillion – which means, there was sangria. And Claymates. At dinner, we saw 2 couples at a table who were headed to the concert – one of the women wore a T-shirt that said “I Love Clay.”
If you know me, you know that I have been to many Clay concerts before – 8, to be exact. But this one, this one was different because we had front row center seats. Not on the side, not 3 rows back – no the real thing, up close and personal. When we got into the concert hall, we rushed to the front, which was packed with people, plotting on how to fight it out if anyone dare take said seats. You never know…
We plop into our seats, and the girl next to husband began chatting us up. She came alone. She asked what Clay board I am on. She warned husband that she is a screamer. Husband told her, so am I [me, not him.] She started cell-certing to the board. [That is – reporting in and leaving the cell phone on for the whole concert so that the person on the other end can listen and post to the boards everything that is happening for those Claymates not at the concert so that they can experience it vicariously.]
A full orchestra was on stage. In front, there were 3 stools – one for Clay in the center, and one for each backup singer (Angela and Quiana) on the sides. Our seats were between Clay’s and Angela’s stools. Angela and Quiana entered, to screams. Clay entered, singing, and the screams were deafening. [I partook.]
It felt like we were in his living room, that is how close he was, and because the speakers were over our heads, when he sang, it was pure, and close, like he was just singing to you – no speakers, no sound mix – just there. And he looked right at me when he was singing “Everything I Have.” Swoon.
And then. He started to pace the stage. Right at the edge, and when he started to move toward us, husband grabbed my thigh in anticipation. And Angela saw and laughed. And he was this close – [I only used my cell phone camera cuz no cameras were allowed so this is not the greatest pic] –
Dear lord. Oh, the music, I forgot. He sang mostly songs from his latest CD, and it was great as usual. The orchestra and arrangements were really very good, especially for having gotten the music just that day. It was funny to watch the orchestra react to the Clay mania. I was a little disappointed to find out during intermission [from a mother and daughter who asked me to take their picture] that he would not be singing one of my favorite songs from that CD [“A Thousand Days”], but I got over it. Especially when he sang “Lover All Alone”. Amazing.
At one point he jumped [um, okay not very gracefully, he landed on his knees] off the stage and sang in the aisle –
He dedicated the last song to his fans. It was a cover of “Because You Loved Me.” And the whole theater was awash in waving glow sticks.
When he was done, there was the last standing ovation. He walked slowly, backwards, toward the stage exit. And I made my move.
I stood right up at the stage. And I yelled “WE LOVE YOU!”
And he smiled at me.