Friday, October 15, 2010

Clay Aiken Concert Takes Windy City by Storm

Clay banters with audience during Chicago Concert.
Click to enlarge photo by Cotton.

Next Stop: Champions Gala in Raleigh

Concert Debuts T&T Winter Tour

Clay Aiken breezed into the windy city and kicked off the Tried & True Winter Tour with a fabulous, sold-out concert in the intimate Park West Theatre Thursday night.

With stars in perfect alignment and through the magic of technology, the cellcert beaming from the Chicago theater literally evaporated miles and transported countless Clay Nation fans from around the globe to Thursday's very special event.

Through photos, recaps, and (later) video clack, here are replays of the premiere performance of Clay's Tried & True Winter Tour. Special thnx to the visual artists and to wandacleo, ncwannabe, sugrbugr, and thesmlpkg for their thorough accounts.

STRIPED SOCKS have become Clay's trademark.
Click to expand photo by Cotton.

wandacleo: Fantastic show! Clay came out with "Mack the Knife" wearing his sharkskin suit. Total Rooster Hair. He said he had done it himself. This I believe! Lavender tie, white shirt, striped socks.
Clay took a phone from someone and talked to a woman (Deb) in Ohio, ragged on her for not coming to the show, snapped the phone shut, and then started singing, "Who's Sorry Now?"

The look on his face was priceless, although he later whispered to the woman holding the phone and asked if she'd gotten Deb back. She had.
claysweetea (insert): RE the Deb-on-the-phone incident, just before Clay snapped the phone shut, he said, "Oh, what a shame!" Then SNAP, held the phone high for all to see and, with the cutest snark on his face, segued into "Who's Sorry Now?"

Clickable by Fountaindawg
Photos by dc4clay, farouche

wandacleo: When Clay asked if anyone had NOT been to one of his shows, an older woman volunteered that this was her first show but that she watches and listens to Clay four hours a day on her computer.

He asked her to come up to the stage, and he came down to meet her. She immediately grabbed him and wouldn't let go. The look on Clay's face was priceless!

Once Clay got away from her, he said he'd never been molested on stage before and told the woman she needed to stay off the computer.

Then he quipped, "Where was Jerome? We're going to have a staff meeting later!" Jerome was standing over on the side laughing like the rest of us. Clay said the reason he'd asked about first-timers was because he needed new people to join "the cult.

Clay couldn't remember the order of the songs and borrowed the program outline from one of the band. He said he had some of the lyrics written on the floor, and he screwed up one song, singing about how he didn't know the lyrics. He was really funny.

I noticed some in the band were pretty sober in the beginning, but they were cracking up later. There was a mini-orchestra (violin, viola, cello, horns), two guitarists, keyboards, and drums.

Casey Thompson was the evening's backup singer, and together they sang the "Crying" duet. UM ended the show and if that were the only song he'd sung, it would have been worth the $250 ticket!

A very special evening!
Click to enlarge photo by Toni7babe.

sugrbugr: I was sitting next to a table of Not.Just.Us fans. A young lady had bought tickets after her mom had seen the show. They loved it, especially how funny it was.

There was a teacher in the audience who taught public speaking that Clay couldn't hear. He cracked a joke about how for someone who taught public speaking, she sure was having trouble projecting her voice!

The NJU gal burst out with, "That's exactly what I was thinking!" Her mother kept looking over her shoulder at her daughter during all the funny parts. After the show, they said how much they enjoyed it and were talking about buying his albums.

thesmlpkg: I am the public speaking teacher. Clay heard "college" well enough! Somehow when he calls on you, you go into the Aiken Fog. That happened to me in Hammond, too. When he called on me there, I momentarily forgot what I was going to say!

An evening of beautiful music!
Click to enlarge photo by toni7babe.

Chicago Concert Intimate, Cozy, Fun

ncwannabe: The music started, the curtain came up, and out Clay strode from our left, walking the special way he does with his bendy knees. He proceeded to belt out "Mack the Knife" and we were off to the races!

It was the same program from the OMG concert. We had a "do over" on "Suspicious Minds." Clay came in singing the second line, couldn't get his mic in the stand, just looked at Ben and said "let's start over." We didn't mind; he was amongst friends.

It was very, very intimate, which made it feel very cozy and very much at home. When he walked out, we felt like we were home. We know him so well -- his speaking voice and it's myriad of inflections, accents and tones. His mannerisms, his faces, his eye f*cks, his goofy antics, and his expressive hands on the microphone.

Oh, and the sparkling eyes, the charisma, and the sexiness that just oozes out of him. He's so familiar - yet still so much a mystery. He's a fascinating enigma.

"I'll Take Romance" is a goner. His favorite other than UM is "What Kind of Fool Am I." The concert newbie looked so innocent -- older, white- haired, walked with a cane.

Clay was truly a bit flustered, but he used it to his advantage. He admonished us for not warning him and chastised Jerome for his lack of protection!

New fan surprised Clay with her "enthusiasm."
Click to enlarge photo by Shamrock.

The Aiken Random Lyric Generator was out in full force, but he covers it well most of the time, and often the only thing giving him away is the twinkle in his eye and smile playing at the corner of his lips.

Casey sounded great on "Crying" with Clay -- plus we had a conversation about Size 2 and Spanks! Clay wondered how in the hell he lost Idol, this after killing on "Breaking Up is Hard to Do."

Casey Thompson and Clay perform "Crying" duet.
Photo by Snix links to video by toni7babe.

See the Toni7babe YouTube Channel for additional video clack. For downloads, see Clack Unlimited for a membership donation and Chicago PBS Benefit Concert for Thursday's performance.

Clay, backup musicians, fans enjoyed Chicago event.
Click to enlarge photo by Snix.

He had on new wine, gray, black thin-striped socks. The guy is very proud of his svelte new physique, showing us not once but twice how big his suit jacket is on him now. He was cracking up Ben and the boys in the band on a regular basis.

He introduced "In My Life" by saying it wasn't on the CD, but that he must have done it well enough since the PBS folks left it in the special. He again mentioned his many great teachers, but noted he failed chemistry and didn't invite that teacher to the concert in March.

When he hung up on Deb on the phone, he segued brilliantly into the start of "Who's Sorry Now," complete with his entire arsenal of looks, faces, body language, and mischievous grins.

All too soon it came to an end. Before singing the last song, he warned us that was it. He would't be coming back out. We could clap all we wanted; but too bad ... he was done.

Plus, he said that way we could go home because she (pointing to Scarlett) would have clack up we could watch on YouTube within the hour! He really does know us pretty well!

It was a great time, and I'm ready for Day 2 of my 3-fer. So shave my head and stand me on the corner passing out flowers cause if this is a cult, I don't ever wanna get out.

Foundation To Honor Champions

With the Chicago concert in the books, fans from all over the country headed to the next leg of this weekend's 3'fer, the National Inclusion Project's annual Champions Gala-Benefit Dinner at the Raleigh Convention Center.

The Gala, which annually celebrates individuals, corporations, and the National Inclusion Project’s impact on improving the lives of children and families across the country, gets underway with a VIP reception at 7 p.m. today.

Saturday's event will include dinner, recognition of the honorees, silent and live auctions in support of the foundation's programs, and a special performance by Clay, who co-founded the organization with Diane Bubel of Charlotte, in 2003.

For detailed information about the honorees, see the 10/9 Carolina blog -- Clay Aiken, Fans Plan Chicago-Raleigh Weekend -- and the National Inclusion Project website.

Have You Voted for Inclusion Today?

The full weekend calendar provides Clay Aiken fans unique challenges and opportunities for casting daily votes in the National Inclusion Project's campaign for a Pepsi Refresh $50,000 grant. NIP has slipped to #8 and must remain in the Top 10 to receive the October prize.

With Internet connection available in most hotels, fans should be able to access the voting links via Facebook, the Pepsi site, as well as mobile phone texts (#102308 to #73774). That's three votes for the National Inclusion Project with the remaining 27 spread among the charity's voting alliances and partners.

Replica of NIP Widget

Thanks to the widget created by Scarlett, the Carolina sidebar contains voting links for all the latest NIP partner updates. Following the alliance list, select from Groups A, B, and/or C to complete your daily votes.

Be sure to copy/paste a message similar to the one below so the organizations will know the Inclusion Project is supporting their cause:
National Inclusion Project just voted for you. Text 102308.

Have an awesome weekend, Clay Nation!

Thank you for for visits and remarks in the Carolina blogs. To leave a comment, scroll to the bottom, click on the "Post a Comment" link, and write in the box provided.

I appreciate your props for the contributing visual artists. Thnx for stopping by today! - Caro


Deborah Brand said...

I hope will be funny in March. I bet Clay wasn't to happy with the lady.

Anonymous said...

EEEeeee! This was almost more than what I had hoped for.....everything I had wanted it to be. He kidded with the audience, seemed to have a great sense of humor, and according to the pictures, looked amazing. I am so in awe of him. I can't blame the fan that latched onto him and wouldn't let go. Thanks for your wonderful blog. Lois

ImGranny said...

Thanks for the blog and the great pictures. I can't wait to see the clack. I listened to the concert and cracked up, but it would be nice if I could see what I was cracking up about!!!!!!

I hope everyone has a good time at the Gala and they raise lots of money.

Voting every day and crossing my fingers that NIP wins $50,000. We can do it!

Anonymous said...

Hi Caro,

I am so excitd to see this show, I'm not sure I will be able to wait patiently.....but I guess I will have too!! LOL I sure wish I were ther last night.

Thank You for bringing us all the photos, love the little lady, too cute!! Can't say I blame her.

Casey Thompson and Clay must have been great singing together....wonder if she is going to be in the show this winter.

Have a great weekend Caro.


jbc4clay said...

Listening to the cellcert last night was amazing. He was in top form!

Thanks for the links to the Pepsi voting. I, too am voting everyday.
Here is hoping that we stay in the top 10 for the $50,000.00. That would be 5 camps for some well deserving kids!

Anonymous said...

This blog is wonderful and it's fun to read the recaps.

Lisa said...

Thank you for the wonderful blog Caro!! I wish I could have been there last night. It sounds like Clay really interacted with the audience this time! Can't wait to see him in February & March! :)

Anonymous said...

Hi Caro,
Thank you for this wonderful blog. You're always so efficient :) I've just downloaded and seen all the clacks put up. I had so much fun just watching them. Clay looked fantastic and sounded great. The audience were so responsive and the elderly lady certainly made her money's worth. LOL! Not that I could blame her for her actions as Clay was totally irresistable.

Thanks again.


Aspiegirl44 said...

Hi Caro. Thanks for another great blog. The concert sounds like so much fun. I cant wait to see some clack. :)

So cute about the woman who would not let go of Clay. Love how Jerome laughed with everyone else.

((HUGS)) Kathy (cult member) heeee

LovesClaysVoice said...

Thanks for the great blog Caro! I was at the Chicago concert and he was amazing in every way! He looked and sounded gorgeous and was as charming and funny as ever! Just perfect in every way! Yeah, I love the man! But, don't we all! I have watched as much clack as is available and right click and saved every pic! Looking forward to the gala tonight! I wish I could have been there too! I hope they raise tons of money for the NIP!!!

Sandy said...

I have my sister visiting this week, so was unable to catch the "cellcert" on Thursday night. However after having read a few message boards and picked up bits and pieces of the events that took place that night and viewing a few videos, the conclusion was that once again the fans were treated to the time of their lives.

I just love Casey's and Clay's rendition of "Crying"! They really harmonize perfectly!

The video of the older woman and Clay was hilarious! I was watching it and laughing so hard, I am sure my sister must have thought I had gone bonkers! Clay's expressions are priceless!

Have a great weekend Caro and as always thanks for another wonderful blog!


MissSally said...

There was so much to love in this wonderful blog, but this was my favorite part:

"Plus, he said that way we could go home because she (pointing to Scarlett) would have clack up we could watch on YouTube within the hour! He really does know us pretty well!"

Thanks Caro, for an extra-special, most awesome blog!

claysweetea said...

Oh, it was just fun with Arlene. pfiff. What everyone's recount of the Deb-on-the-phone experience misses is that just before Clay snapped the phone shut, he said, "Oh, what a shame!" Then, snap! with it held high for all to see and the cutest snark on his face. Love the man1

Anonymous said...

Hi Caro

WOW what a night. That man can sing!! The acoustics in that small setting were awesome. Clay was at his snarkiest, he is such a cutie. That rubber face of his, it is so readable. He doesn't have to say anything to be funny but he does and it makes the moment even more hilarious.
He is just a treasure. Arn't we lucky to have found Clay?

Thank you for all the links, you do such a good job keeping us informed and entertaining us at the same time. You are also a treasure.

Hugs Margaret