I have absolutely no excuse for not blogging in 2 months. None of interest anyway. But – I’m back.

And so is, after an indeterminable dry spell, Clay Aiken.

I had begun to lose interest until I found out about Clay’s one-night show scheduled for March 12. My interest slowly gained after tickets went on sale but I did not buy them until after experiencing an excruciating 20 minute “I Shot the Sheriff” guitar riff by Eric Clapton at Madison Square Garden. [I had gone with husband and a friend. ]

The next morning, I ordered Clay Aiken tickets. Payback? Perhaps.

Clay’s show highlighted “Tried and True”, his soon-to-be-released CD , which was taped by PBS for airing sometime this summer. And man, was this a production.

So, we get to the concert hall (nice place – Memorial Auditorium in Raleigh), and we wait in the packed lobby and I notice we are standing next to a cute guy talking to a middle-aged woman. Hmm, I have seen this guy’s picture before. He is thin, he has a head of curly black hair… I nudge husband, whisper “That’s Clay’s boyfriend!”  Husband says “No, that is some guy on a date with a cougar.”

Um. No. People start coming up to him to take pictures and get his autograph. It is the boyfriend, Reed, and the cougar is his mother. Ha. 

Anyway, we finally go upstairs to our top left corner balcony seats – Ticketmaster’s “best available” – and it does not take long to realize that we had been had. No way were these the best available, the balcony was virtually empty, and the sides downstairs were only half full. The usher that approached me to see if my binoculars were a not-allowed camera said he was surprised because he had heard the concert had been sold out.

Something went  awry with ticket sales to this show. I am still pondering – what. Unsold broker tickets? Clay fans throwing away balcony tickets for better seats? Whatever it was, the concert started late because the staff was trying to move people to fill the side seats.  We moved to the front center section of the balcony, where the TV camera crane no longer obscured our view. 

Finally, the stage lights up in an array of color. Purple, gold, pink.

The orchestra swelled.

And there is Clay, his back to us. The crowd cheers. And he turns to face the audience. And opens his mouth to sing. “Mack the Knife?”

He looked great. He was thin, his hair looked good. His suit was a tad too shiny, and a tad too baggy. [Not sure who dressed him, but velvet is just not right.] 

His voice was amazing. He used his lower register like it should be used – smooth and deep and chill-inducing. Now I knew why I came to this show, now I remembered what I did not know I was missing. Wow.

He sang the songs from his new CD, which has a Johnny Mathis vibe. Old songs from the 60’s era. Beautiful melodic songs I had not heard in forever. Moon River [which, by the way, Clapton did in his concert as well, what is this Moon River resurgency?]  It’s Impossible. [Yes, that is Perry Como, but I don’t care, he wrapped his voice around this one, it was amazingly good.] Unchained Melody [off the charts fantastic!] The Beatles’ “In My Life.” “Misty.”

There was a surprise guest …… Ruben Studdard!  Ruben sounded great, and looked great, he lost over 100 lbs. They will be performing together this summer.

The best thing about a concert that is being taped for TV? Do-overs! After the show ended, Clay was instructed by the music director to redo 4 songs. We got to hear them again, yay!

 It was a great night. I have only one nagging regret, that we did not wait outside for him after the show. I figured, there are no buses [this is in his hometown, this is not a “tour”], so we just left. I was wrong. He came out and shook hands, so I hear.

Oh well, I guess I am just gently dipping my toe back into the whole Clay scene.

It was well worth it.

Maybe next time…

[photo by Jim R. Bounds, AP]


7 responses to “Back

  1. Loved your blog and I’m glad you are coming back.
    I’ve seen many Clay Aiken concerts and this was beyond anything I have ever seen him do.
    One slight correction–it wasn’t a velvet suit. I was sitting a few rows directly behind the lucky “bus” lady and got to see him close up for several minutes. The suit was very shiny–not satin, not sharkskin–it looked like a heavy material. I have read some say the style with the baggy pants harkened back to the era of the songs he was singing.

    I agree about the mess-up with the ticket sales. I think a lot of scalpers had to eat their tickets but that doesn’t account for all the empty seats. I tried searching TM a few times the afternoon of the concert and there was nothing available.

    I’ve read several accounts by fans attending and I didn’t read anyone comment about Clay coming out to shake hands. What I did read was that after most of the audience had left the curtain came up again and Clay posed for press shots on the stage.

    It was a great evening!!–I’m glad we’ll get to relive it when it’s aired on PBS.

  2. Nice write up about Clay’s PBS special taping, I’m glad you’ve discovered him again.

    It was a wonderful night and I’m excited about getting the CD/DVD in my hands as soon as they are available.

    There is nothing like Clay Aiken in concert. So hoping that he is able to tour and that we have the chance to see him live again and again.

  3. I was there, too. It was way beyond unbelievably wonderful. The best voice on the planet singing beautiful classic songs — and the fabulous “Mack the Knife!” I thought the suit was gorgeous and he was gorgeous in it. The man is back.

  4. Love you blog — Welcome back! I attended also and Clay was amazing! PBS did this show up right with the lighting, the musicians, Linda Eder, Ruben — the whole shebang! No one sings like Clay Aiken — UM was fantastic — his low notes all evening were sigh inducing. Show incredible.

    Love the suit — baggy pants were the thing in the 60’s — I think they were going for that.

    Can’t wait for the Special and Clay’s new CD “Tried and True” — releasing June 1st!

  5. It was a great show. Thanks for reading the blog.

  6. Just curious, Michele…. what other Clay concerts have you attended & how did this one (music, production, performance) measure up in comparison?

  7. I have been to all of his concerts. And to Spamalot.

    I loved this concert, it was different than the others. Not sure if better though. I think I liked his first best – in 2004, MOAM. But this one was certainly up there.

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