Saturday, August 04, 2007

Aiken's West Coast Concerts Special

Visual Symmetry of Clay -- Graphic by Amazing_CA, Photo by Pink Cocoa

On Tour with Clay Aiken

West Yields Special Moments

Like most fans, I am vicariously experiencing the "California 4-fer" of Clay Aiken's Summer Tour through the impressions of those attending the San Diego, Pala, Los Angeles, and Indio concerts.

A cellstream connection can either transport a listener to the concert venue or send one off to watch some of the remarkable clack our videographers have captured and shared.

In recap after recap, fans have relayed their impressions from this weekend's adventure on the West Coast.
Below are stories that won't make print media reviews but no doubt will hold special meaning for the CA fandom.

Pala Cellist Becomes Claymate

Luvmysalsie, a new member at Clayversity attending just her second CA concert ever, posted her recap very early Saturday morning. This is part of her discussion with a cellist following Friday night's performance at the Palomar Starlight Theatre:

You know that look Clay fans have after seeing him live -- bright eyed, animated, joy written all over our faces. That is the look the cellist had, plus she was talking a mile a minute, just like we fans do.

She said that Clay really has the "chops," meaning his voice is incredible; but what really makes him special is the magical interaction with the audience. He had us eating right out of his hand, and that is what makes him a great entertainer.

Anyone can sing, but not everyone can have that relationship with an audience. She said it felt great to hear the applause because most of the time, they don't even know if their audiences are awake. The orchestra really seemed to enjoy Clay, as they were laughing right along with all his jokes; and he was in rare form tonight.

I asked the cellist if she was a Clayvert? Of course, she didn't know what this meant. I explained to her after seeing Clay in person that most people fall in love with him.

She said, "Oh yes! I'm going to go out and buy his CD's and bring my children to his concerts." Her children had asked her to get Clay's autograph, but he was surrounded by people backstage and she couldn't get close enough.

According to my friend Sally, who attended Saturday's concert at The Greek, the Pala cellist followed through. She purchased tickets and went to her first concert as a Claymate!

Link to an ever-expanding California 4-fer Slide Show by clicking on the picture below. Photographers represented are Invisible926, Toni7babe, Lindylo, FiveGoldens, Riversend22, Mad4Clay, and SmartyPantsSuz.

Link to CA 4-fer Slide Show -- Phoby by Invisible926

Japanese Fans Meet Another 'Star'

During Thursday's San Diego banter, Clay welcomed contingents of international fans from Japan and New Zealand. Seated near the back, the Japanese fans were dressed in yukatas or summer kimonos.

According to Clayrin, a new OFC blogger from Japan, the group is not only attending the Aug. 2 - 4 concerts in California, but also those in Clay's home state of North Carolina, Cary and Asheville. Their story is being chronicled on The New Clay Aiken, a Japanese fan club site.

As fans who connect from afar, the Japanese group have become well acquainted with downloads at Clack Unlimited. Thursday night they also met a videographer special to Claymates everywhere. In a post at the Clack House, Spotlightlover described her chance meeting with these fans.

Clicakble by mel ladi

Comrades From Half a World Away

As we were preparing to leave the venue, I noticed that 20 or so Japanese ladies had gathered at the front of the stage in their kimonos. They had taken the set lists from the stage and were "oohing" and "aahing" over them. I took a little footage of them and then asked if anyone spoke English. A couple of tentative nods; then the woman who was serving as translator introduced herself.

I told her I had a big souvenir of the entire concert, and there were a few gasps. We exchanged cards and I said I would be in touch. Then I talked a little more with a few of the women who spoke English. I asked if they were on the Internet. One of them replied, “Clack Unlimited?” So I told them my board name. And the eyes of these wonderful women from a far country widened with recognition because they knew who I was.

For me, meeting these women was the most magical moment of the night. No, not because they knew who I was, but because across the vast Pacific Ocean, culture differences, and a language barrier, we have all become a part of this awesome phenomenon. I had shared something with them, not even knowing it; and that made us comrades from half a world away.

I think now, for me, that’s what this is really all about. It’s no longer just about a skinny kid from North Carolina with an incredible voice who got the chance of a lifetime. It’s how his effect on us has brought us together into a big family, and every concert is like a family reunion.

If you haven't seen or heard Spot's renderings of the San Diego "I Want To Know What Love Is" performance, video and audio downloads should be at the top of your list. Here are Sendspace links for both:

Small Video: IWTKWLI

When you visit Clack Unlimited, be sure to check out the Pala performances, too.

PHOTO INTERLUDE: Eleven visual artsts are represented in these clickable Summer Tour graphics, including Claysmelody, photo by Gerwhisp, #1; Amazing_CA, photo by Toni7babe, #2; Claystruck, photos by LynninNJ, Fivegoldens, Laura2, and Katt45, #3; Katt45, photo by PinkCocoa, #4; and Amazing_CA, photos by Snix.

Headline News in a Nutshell

This corner has been so wrapped up in show recaps and vehicle tune-ups that some excellent news links were temporarily shelved. In case you have also been into clack and cars, here in a nutshell are several tour interviews, behind-the-scenes reports, and happenings with The Bubel Aiken Foundation.

Aiken Keeps His Options Open

As prelude to Sunday's performance at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indo, CA, Judith Salkin of My Desert, Palm Springs, CA, interviewed Clay via email, providing a superb read in which the singer discusses his reason for performing with local symphony orchestras, his willingness to judge Idol, and what's next in his career.

Readers can register and leave comments, too.

Clay Aiken on Love Songs, Hair Dye, and Lenox

Previewing the Aug. 15 Atlanta concert, David Graves of The Constitution Saturday posted his article covering, in addition to love songs and hair color, the unusual tour medleys and a sentimental reminiscence of the Clay's successful AI audition in Georgia.

Clay Aiken is a riot. There's something genuinely comedic about the singer, care-free and, well, likable.

"I always have to get back to the corner on Spring Street where I spent the night for my ["American Idol"] auditions at Merchandise Mart. So I'll try to get back over there."

The Nashua Telegraph: Symphony and 'Idol' Make Unlikely Team

Clay & Company, as well as his fans, gave the Nashua Symphony musicians lots of props for their professionalism under difficult circumstances when they practically sight-read the Meadowbrook performance on a hot, bug-infested stage following a delayed, abbreviated rehearsal due to the late arrival of music scores.

A fun read and a great look behind the scenes of this summer concert!

Fans Protective of Star

In a related story by a Nashua newspaper photographer, Clay's fans informed the journalist in no uncertain terms to turn off her camera's flash before she hurt the performer's eyes. She claims to be a CA fan, but somehow she missed flash memo while "reading" the boards.

Clay Aiken To Expand Camps

Clay's goal to raise $1 million in less than a year will expand the Bubel/Aiken Foundation's "Let All Play" initiative to 100 camps inclusive to children with special needs in 2008.

Jerry Aiken, executive director of TBAF and Clay's uncle, spoke with UPI's Caregiving about the project's progress. This is the writer's summation paragraph:

In an era when many men in their 20s are only passionate about video games or have nothing else on their minds than perfecting their backhand, Clay Aiken talking about inclusion of those with special needs is enormously attractive to women of all ages, so I can understand why his fans are so devoted and why the foundation has such ambitious plans.

You can read and leave comments at the story link.

Blogger Takes Readers Backstage in Syracuse

Madaelynn, an OFC blogger related to the Syracuse Symphony oboist, not only presents some special backstage impressions of an orchestra musician who accompanied Clay on July 18, but she also was the recipient of an unexpected autograph from her favorite singer.

"The audience really liked him, and they screamed a lot. As you can well imagine, our regular audiences don’t do much screaming.

Clay’s group was quite adamant about not having people backstage, so I asked our stage manager to ask about an autograph. He spoke with Angela, and she arranged it."

If you are a member of the OFC, here is the link to Maddy's blog: Clay Grants a Favor.

Below is a clickable of Amazing_CA 's opening graphic:

Almost time to start packing for Knoxville -- or at least making some TO DO lists. Have a wonderful week, Clay Nation!


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Jennifer said...

Hiya Caro!

How are you? Geez, I miss chatting with you!

I let my OFC lapse and just havent had a chance to renew. I will soon tho.

I hope everything is going great and that you enjoy your time with Clay!

Miss you!
TommysMommy aka Jennifer

Vox Vixen said...

The Cali-4fer were an amazing set of concerts. Lots of memory- potential for the Clay fan. Thanks for summarizing the experience. The cellist story is one of my favorites.