Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Clay Aiken Fans Share NJU Tour Experiences

CLAY AIKEN IN ORLANDO: Click to expand Tried & True Tour blend of the singer by AmazingCA, photos by irishbookgal.

New iPhone Boon to Music Lessons

NJU Reports Rewind T&T Tour

Clay Aiken fans have always enjoyed sharing their favorite singer with others, and the Tried & True Tour presented many Not.Just.Us encounters.

This marks the third in a series of NJU stories by fans who first shared their "newbie" tour encounters with friends on CA message boards.

psparky: I had two extra tickets to last night's show, and I gave them to a woman I work with. She had no idea who Clay was, except for the fact that my office is plastered with his pictures. She was excited to go though and took her husband.
I walked up to her today, and she was "still under the Clay glow"! She loved him, thought he was adorable, sexy, and talented; and said she now understands why I love him so much.

Another bonus was her husband loved the show too! I loved the fact that she went with no preconceived opinion, just went with an open mind and LOVED HIM!

I mentioned his voice was a little hoarse and he had a few cracks. She didn't even notice them. She loved every song and every moment of the concert.

For the first time in eight years I got someone from work to go see Clay, and she was thrilled! The good thing is that she told everyone she saw that he was "wonderful." People who see him recognize the "magic" in his talent! Clay is still winning them over!

chasandpeg: We were sitting next to two sisters that had never been to a show and didn't own any CD's. They loved him and thought he was fantastic. They said their mom had passed away last month and they really needed that. He made them feel so much better and they were going to buy his CD.

Clay & Quiana sing Crying' duet in Cleveland Concert.
View video by Scarlett full screen at YouTube.
Download the high definition file at the Tried & True doc.

cindilu2: "Crying" contains some of the most beautiful sounds I've ever heard Clay sing; I love it beyond measure. At both my Florida concerts, Clay "went low," and I missed out on them.
So in Cleveland, all indications were that he was in the zone musically. He was going for (and reaching) everything. Seriously fantastic vocals.

Dare I hope? It was pretty clear leading up to "my part" that he was going to sing the high parts and I'm just sitting there chanting, "ohh, ohhh, ohhhhhh, he's gonna do it!"

I might have also squeed. Needless to say I got a funny look from the NJU sitting next to me -- a 60+ year-old man who was somewhat ... confounded.

But ya know, he applauded as hard as I did when it was over!

emerson: "If they hear him, they will like him"... I always play Clay in my car when I am running errands. I shop frequently at a place where you have to get a ticket as you go in. A guy who is almost always in the booth gives back the ticket when you go out.
Yesterday, the guy mentioned that I always seem to have the same singer playing in my car and that I always seem so happy. He asked who it was. I said, "Clay Aiken."

He said, "THAT is Clay Aiken? Wow, he has a great voice!" He almost seemed surprised as he said it. I don't know if we have a new fan or not. Maybe I will give him a Clay Aiken "On My Way Here" CD.

iPhone Keeps the Beat

A month and a half ago I took the plunge and purchased an iPhone. Not the latest version, but the 3gs on sale for $49 was still a giant leap into 21st Century when compared to my four-year old, stripped down cell with meager capabilities.

In addition to Tiffany at the AT&T Store, my friend Chris helped with the initial set-up. My first texts on Feb. 17 were to friend Scarlett, who had campaigned for months for the iPhone purchase, and to my daughter, whose generation much prefers this mode of communication.

Perplexed that Scarlett didn't immediately respond, I finally checked her phone numbers on my computer. Sure enough, I had sent the text to a "semi-retired" cell; so by the afternoon, I punched in the correct number and typed, "Joke's on me! Hello from my new iPhone!"

Texts Document Tour, Tar Heels

Today I scrolled back through our running commentary during Clay's Tried & True Tour -- various tidbits from concerts she was taping; the night she avoided the "camera nazis" and slipped into the balcony; clack rendering updates from hotel rooms, the back seats of cars, airports, etc.

Most recently, Scarlett joined me in cheering for the Carolina Tar Heels through their Elite Eight win, keeping tabs on the score via her iPhone. That story is under the subhead: March Madness Nabs New Victim in the March 21 blog.

When I bought the phone, I thought there was no way I would ever hit 1,000 texts in a month. Within a few days, I had to upgrade to the unlimited plan.

Students Teach the Teacher

From Day 1, my music students have been very involved with the new phone and "teaching" the teacher. While I tuned her violin, Erica, the first student on Feb. 17 snapped a photo of my piano keyboard and created the phone's wallpaper.

As photos of grandchildren Kai and Lia arrived, students rotated them into the phone's alternate displays. They have also emailed me photos for my growing camera roll.

Below are clickables of Kai, 3, playing with the Leapster his grandmother sent and Lia, almost 2, in her favorite Tinkerbell pajamas and the Tonga truck hat she has claimed!

Clickables of grandchildren Kai and Lia

Apparently there is an inbred chip in the younger generation because whether they own an iPhone or not, all my students seem to know how to get around mine. One wrote me an "assignment" in the Notes app so I would link to a website and analyze a certain chord progression he wants to use.

I have recorded music by my composers, Caleb and Joseph, as well as songs by students who have learned that the "red light" simulates a room full of listeners. Playbacks are especially good for noting if expression marks really were observed in the music.

Just this week I located a metronome app that has aided several pianists and violinists. Thursday afternoon I learned that Anna's father uses the app to tweak the timing of his golf swing.

A music flash card app is helping Mitch,
my youngest student, review new notes; and a violin tuning app sounds the pitches of the four strings.

So far the iPhone has proved to be a very interesting ride, teaching aid, and a whole lot of fun!

Have a wonderful week, Clay Nation!


Sunday, March 27, 2011

Clay Aiken Fans Embrace New 'OMG Unchained' Video

OMG Unchained - A magical night with Clay Aiken.
View video full screen at YouTube.

Clay Aiken: Tried & True ~ LIVE!

'OMG Unchained' Captures Magic

More than a year after the Raleigh taping of Clay Aiken's Tried & True ~ LIVE! PBS Special in Raleigh, a new video of the singer's signature version of "Unchained Melody" is back in message board headlines around the Net.

Arranged for Clay by Ben Cohn, the special "Unchained Melody" was unveiled at the March 12, 2010, show, dubbed immediately by fans in attendance as the "OMG Concert."

Saturday morning a simple post by cindilu2 spurred the song back into the spotlight when the tweaked version was quickly replicated onto boards throughout Clay Cyberspace. An appropriate headline might be the opening text from the tweaked video:
What it was really like ... to be there on that magical night

One evening this week the "anonymous" audio of "Unchained Melody" from the OMG Concert came up on my player. Still one of the most incredible experiences of my fandom, it got me to thinking again how they just did not capture it on that DVD/special.

I don't know what they did in the engineering of the song; but the sound, the feeling, the experience of being in that room just isn't there. I decided that I needed to see Clay singing what I know I heard that night.

Here's what happened then: OMG Unchained

Just in case it isn't obvious, I replaced the audio with the "OMG" audio, complete with the solid minute of applause at the end.

Clickable Tried & True ~ LIVE graphic by Fountaindawg.

A download of the "OMG Unchained" video will be available at Clack Unlimited this week. Meanwhile, here is a Sendspace video file and a link to the OMG Concert Audio page at CU. Be sure to stop by the Clack Unlimited home page and make a much-needed donation.

Uploaded to YouTube just four days ago, the "new" concert version of the song has received an outpouring of comments. Representative are these four:

A few minutes in time I will never forget.

The whole show, punctuated by this performance, was magic.

An experience I will never forget. Bravo, Clay and Ben!

I got chills all over reliving that wonderful performance. I was there for the filming of this concert, and it was spectacular. Especially this song!

Clickable graphic by Fountaindawg, photos by Jim R. Bounds.

Trio Describes Special UM Moment

Following the taping, concert goers shared glorious accounts of the premiered songs from the then soon-to-be-released Tried & True CD. A reprint from the 5/16/10 Carolina blog included vivid descriptions of the new UM:
luckiest1: I call it the airplane moment ... when he goes low then goes up and up and up in UM. I don't know how to describe it, but it's like nothing he ever did before. I can't wait for everyone to hear it!

cindilu2: And I call it the Supernova Moment. He goes from zero to "holy-#%&#-what-was-that???" in about five seconds. Awesome!

lilyshine: I just call it orgasmic.

Congratulations to the Kentucky Wildcats from this Tar Heel fan! Have an awesome week, Clay Nation!


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Tried & True Take 2: Clay Aiken Fans Rewind Mesa

CLAY AIKEN IN MESA -- Screen cap links to the complete Mesa Tried & True Concert recorded in high definition by Scarlett. The performance has been arranged in a play list on the Wowzers4Clay Channel on YouTube. Link to "Love Story, sit back, and enjoy the show!

Dancers Raise Dollars for Inclusion

Videos Replay Mesa in High Def

The intricacies of gathering, rendering, and uploading clack are beyond me; but, thankfully, they are mainstream for countless Clay Aiken fans who, because the singer generously allows videos and photographs during his shows, leave concert halls with memory sticks and tapes loaded to the brim and ready to share.

One of the most productive teams during the Clay's 21-city Tried & True Tour has been the duo of Scarlett videoing shows and Hope uploading completed files to the Wowzers4Clay Channel on YouTube.

During the February-March tour, they provided almost "instant" clack for fans back home. Ten days past the tour, their routine is as intense as ever but has switched to high definition videos, mp3 and mp4 files, all of which are linked at the Wowzers channel.

Tuesday night yielded a complete play list for the Mesa T&T Concert, the first of many to come. The opening Mesa screen cap links to "Theme from Love Story" and continues through the entire concert of high def videos.

Fans can download the files from the shared Tried & True Mesa HDV doc on Google, Clack Unlimited, or various message board vaults.

Below are two expandable screen caps from Scarlett's Mesa concert videos.

Fans Share Not.Just.Us Stories

During the tour, my Not.Just.Us file expanded almost nightly; but the concert recaps/clack more than filled blog entries. Fortunately, CA fans enjoy NJU stories anytime; so here is the next edition of the current three-part series. Claystruck created the accompanying clickable graphic.

peeko4clay: Before the Houston show started, I introduced myself to the ladies on each side of me. Neither one of them had been to a Clay concert before. However, they both came with friends that were CA fans.

The gal on my right was a joy to watch. First thing she said was "he's adorable." She kept on saying "I love this song" and clapped along to the more upbeat songs with a huge smile on her face. I could tell she was caught hook, line and sinker!

At one point she waved to Quiana, who waved back with a big a smile on her face. At the end of the concert, she told me that it was the best concert she had ever attended and she planned to go out and buy everything Clay has recorded! This statement was made with no prompting from me.

The other gal seemed to really enjoy herself as well, but was just not as vocal about it.

MagicalMusic: I want to share a NJU story that is no longer a NJU story because she's one of us now. Last weekend a college gal who's a new fan went to her first Clay concert.
This weekend she went to Westbury and Glenside with two friends and me. She had a PBS meet and greet and got a handshake by the bus. She told us she was afraid she was hooked and kept saying how great Clay was.

We played MOAM in the car several times during our travels, and she loudly sang along. Her boyfriend is also a big fan. He attended his first concert last night and remarked that he wished he had been to one sooner.

cablegirl: One of the first friends I ever made in the fandom joined me for the Minnesota concert. She had not seen Clay in 3-4 years. Not because of lack of interest but because of difficult family issues. She was thrilled to be going, and we were celebrating a sort of "reboot" of her life.
We had been to many concerts before and always had a wonderful time I glanced at her a few times during the show last night, and she just looked so happy.

When it was over she turned to me and said, "He's just as wonderful as I remembered him."

Raleigh Celebs Dance for Inclusion

In an annual benefit, the National Inclusion Project and Arthur Murray Dance Studio of Raleigh are co-hosting "Dancing Like the Stars" at the Southern Women's Show on Sunday, April 10, at 1 pm.

Local celebrity participants have been practicing with their professional dance partners to provide great entertainment for the show attendees. Complete bios of the celebrity participants and their dance partners, as well as each couple's practice video, are provided here.

DLTS participants include Joseph Callender (actor, model, comedian) and Erin Smith; Barbara Gibbs (ABC Eyewitness News) and Arthur Soroker; Donna Gregory (community relations manager, North Carolina Theater) and David Cox; Dan Schwenneker (meteorologist for ABC 11 Eyewitness News) and Stephanie Ferrell; Sharon Tazewell (anchor for NBC-17 Today) and Arthur Soroker.

After viewing the practice videos, use this link to vote for your favorite couple. Donations are 100 percent tax deductible.

Voting will end at 11:59 EDT Saturday, April 9, so make a donation to the National Inclusion Project. Every dollar donated counts as a vote towards the contestant of your choice (minimum online bid of $10).

DLTS concludes with an entertaining performance by the contestants at 1 pm Sunday, April 10, during the Southern Women's Show. The National Inclusion Project was co-founded by Clay Aiken and Diane Bubel in 2003.

Below is a clickable of Scarlett's opening screen cap:

Have an awesome week, Clay Nation!


Monday, March 21, 2011

Clay Aiken Claims New Fan In Germany; Tar Heels Win

Expandable graphic cindilu2 with photos by Diana Levine.

New Clay Fan in Germany

Tried & True NJU Stories Emerge

While Clay Aiken's Tried & Tour is in the books, the show still lives on in the sharing of video/audio/photo clack as well as concert experiences with new and casual fans.

This entry features the first of several Not.Just.Us editions that, hopefully, will inspire more concert experiences in the comments.

To add your remarks, (a) scroll to a linked line below the retweet symbol similar to this one from the previous entry: Posted by Carolina Clay at 11:42 AM 10 comments
. Click on "comments," and type in the box that opens.

Or (b) scroll through the comments to the line that reads Post a Comment. Clicking on this link opens the box for your remarks. Looking forward to many more NJU experiences!

'Where Do I Begin' opens Cleveland T&T Concert.
View high definition video by Scarlett full screen at YouTube.

NJU Fan Shares Tour Impressions

A two-part, two-continent NJU "happening" between cindilu2 and a new Internet friend in Germany is highlighted in this edition. Here is their story:

cindilu2: I have a friend in Germany whom I met through a non music-related fandom. Over the course of our emails, I told her a little about Clay but honestly didn't go OTT or even really explain much about him. She had not heard of Clay or Ruben.
After my excitement over Florida and Cleveland, she asked a little more about him, and I sent her links to "Love Story Theme," "Crying," and "Mack The Knife" from Cleveland. She was very complimentary about the videos, but didn't really say much more.

This morning I received another email from her that really made me smile. Keep in mind she is just learning English (from the message boards no less!).
I listened and watched once again to Clay's "Love Story" song. To listen a VT fan video over/by/at the iPad is surely not any audio quality time, but this doesn't matter at all! The atmosphere can be felt; he is so engaged, so in the song, and I just read now that this has been his opening in Cleveland.

OMG, he couldn't top this. Even as I don't know this guy, I must say I got tears in my eyes just from watching and listening via iPad. Wonderful. Absolutely!

To which Cindy added in her original post: Welcome to the cult, honey!

Expandable graphic by Claystruck from T&T Tour.

Before retelling the NJU story in the Carolina blog, Cindy asked her friend for permission to share the experience and received a definite "go for it."

The new Clay fan then asked about the singer's hair, inspiring a P.S. to Cindy's board post:
She is SO in the cult!!!

'In My Life' closes Glenside concert.
View video by farouche full screen at YouTube.

'Aiken Fog' Locates German Fan

The long-distance NJU adventure continued when Cindy asked farouche to upload her Glenside video for "In My Life" banter/song so she could show her new friend or -- in her words -- "ease her assimilation along a little more."

cindilu2: I sent her the link on Sunday, and this afternoon I received this email. Keep in mind English is not her first language. We call her version "Petish," lol. (Her name is Petra).
FINALLY I watched the video of Clay "In My Life." I am a bit biased because of you. I mean, I don't know the guy; but it's amazing. He is such another guy when he sings as when he talks. I could understand what he said mostly and laughed out loud. He is funny and charming and all natural. And so open.

When he sings, he kinda transforms. To say he closes up isn't exactly right. He seems as if being in his own closed up world, as if he is shutting all around out.

You see his artistic mood, which I can't point out so good. Maybe it is the interaction with the fans, the way they move while Clay is just sitting there. Don't know if you can understand at all. Now it's not because of petish; I couldn't explain it any better in German.

It's nice to see that the fog permeates right through the computer screen and a language barrier, isn't it? He's magic!

March Madness Nabs New Victim

Just like clockwork, March Madness has again taken over my life; and so far, my team, the Carolina Tar Heels, are still in the big dance.

During the course of the first two games, I have even recruited a new Tar Heel fan in
Scarlett. On Friday, she assimilated online streaming with an evening of rendering high definition Tried & True videos, mp3, and mp4 files.

On Sunday mornings, Scarlett videos the 11 a.m. service at her church; and, due to the tour, this was her first time there in two months. The Heels were scheduled to play Washington at 12:15 EDT. With the time difference, she wouldn't be able to check on the score until halftime.

Sure enough at 12:57 p.m., I received a text asking how the game was going. Carolina was behind 43-40, so I told her we needed her cheers.

Eeek, driving home now!

Your kind of game! (She prefers close contests.)

I'm going to swing by Walmart for a wok and juice, but our final hymn was "My Blue Boat Home"; so I figured I should go help cheer! Go, team! Hang in there!!!

Skillfully, Scarlett googled the words for what could become Carolina's new theme song, Blue Boat Home.

By now, it was almost halftime; so I told her this was a good time to stop at Walmart. She promised to be quick and encouraged me to breathe. I didn't hear from her again until the game was down to five minutes.

Any news?

Three points behind ... now one .. four minutes to go ... +2!


Sing that last hymn again!

Wow, staying on phone, can't move!

Photo links to Carolina-Washington slide show.
Charlotte photos by J.D. Lyon, Jr.

I assured her I had pulled up the live stream so I could send her the link the minute she arrived home. Since the stream runs a bit behind the telecast, it provided excellent instant replays on my laptop.
Three minutes to go ... we are at the line.

What's the real score?

78-76, Carolina!

OK, good!!!

Texts zoomed back and forth through several time-outs and foul shots. Scarlett debated about going to the store's TV section but decided baseball would be on instead.

I encouraged her to sing the "blue" hymn again and asked where she was. "The Walmart food section!"

Finally, I was able to send the message that we had won!

By 3?

Yes, 86-83!

Wheeee!!! OK, I can drive now!

The Tar Heels are Sweet 16 Bound, and I never imagined I would find a basketball buddy in one of the CA fandom's most well-known clack goddesses. Rest assured, Clay fans, she is an adept multi-tasker and has been rendering high def T&T video and audio files throughout the tournament.

The files, which are making their way into board vaults and to Clack Unlimited, can also be viewed/downloaded at the Wowzers4Clay Channel on YouTube and at her Tried & True Tour doc.

Have an awesome week, Clay Nation! Yay, Tar Heels!!!

Tar Heel graphic by Linda (ABM)


For other Clay Aiken blogs, see these entries:
All Things Clay Aiken: The Wisdom and Wit of Clay Aiken

Clay News Network: Stepping up to the Plate for UNICEF

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Clay Aiken Fans Recount Tour Blessings on St. Pat's Day

Clay Aiken sings 'You Don't Have To Say You Love Me.'
View montage by molino79 full screen at YouTube.
Download video with this Sendspace file.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

CA Fans Rewind Tried & True Tour

The curtain closed on Clay Aiken's 21-city Tried & True Tour five days ago, and fans have begun the inevitable ritual of posting favorite recollections in what has become a tradition following memorable performances and extended runs.

In addition to wishing all a very Happy St. Patrick's Day, this March 17 blog features a special tour rewind by
ymarie. Appropriately, the opening montage by molino79 spotlights the tour through video/photos by farouche as Clay sings "You Don't Have To Say You Love Me."

Whether you attended a T&T concert or experienced the show via cell stream and clack on YouTube, ymarie's essay will no doubt resonate with all fans of Clay Aiken:

Where do I begin?

From the first soft strains of these words wafting through the darkened theater in Miami, to the final lone microphone sitting on the empty chair in San Francisco, this tour has been one amazing experience after another.

The passionately powerful vocals of "Love Story" and "Unchained Melody" with the clenched fists, and strong arm movements that encompass the audience and draws everyone in; the playful and campy “Mack the Knife” with its finger snaps and jazzy moves, and the note that goes on forever; the laugh-out-loud hysterics of the “Who’s Sorry Now” variety of genres, proving the man can sing anything; and the soft melodies of "It’s Impossible," "Breaking Up Is Hard To Do," or "Misty"; the gentle caresses of the mic stand and wistful looks, or the closed eyes when he goes into that other-world to sing these songs.

No one will ever convince me he’s thinking about dinner when he sings.

Looking back at some of the recaps there have been a lot of descriptive words used: charming, funny, powerful, personal, familiar, gracious, perfect, fabulous, vocally stunning, adorable, awesome, passionate, playful, spontaneous, witty, emotional, sentimental.

We all have this sense of wonder at how this simple yet complex man can have and keep such a hold on us for eight years and counting. He doesn’t need pyrotechnics, dancers, or a loud rock band. He can just stand there in a sweater and jeans, sing his songs, and make us go from laughter to tears in an instant.

We can cringe one minute at a picture of a goofy hairdo and be speechless the next by cheekbones, lips, and eyelashes.

Something seemed different this time. Maybe it was the intimacy of the venues. Maybe he feels more comfortable around us now. Whatever the reason, it was a very welcome feeling.

So many got to meet him and whether it lasted 30 seconds or a couple minutes, whether it was the first time or the fifth time (‘cause we all know once is not enough), everyone seems to have come away in that fog that only he can create. He gives you his undivided attention, and for that brief moment you two are the only ones in the room.

If you were lucky enough to attend in person, were following along on a cellcert and reading "red" reports, or just catching up via YouTubes later, he managed to make us all feel special and loved.

So, while there is a tinge of sadness at the end of a tour, I am cautiously optimistic. He said he wasn’t quitting. He has "irons in the fire."

Clay, take all the time you need. Rest, relax, and regroup. Bask in the glow of a job well done. You don’t know me, but you showed me that you love me. In my life, I love you more.

The three photos by farouche are from the Glenside (PA), Towson (MD), and Minneapolis (MN) Tried & True concerts. All are expandable.

UNICEF Seeks Aid for Japan

Not everyone in the world can celebrate the joys of March 17. Thoughts, prayers, and assistance continue for the families impacted by the epic disaster caused by the recent earthquake and tsunami in Japan.

To support UNICEF in disaster relief for the children of Japan, visit the organization's website. A one-time donation of $10 will be added to your mobile phone bill by texting JAPAN to 864233.

For more information and avenues of assistance, see the article at the UNICEF link.

ALL THINGS GREEN -- Clay Aiken graphic by Amazing_CA.

March Honors Irish Traditions

Everyone's a little bit Irish on St. Patrick's Day!

This blog commemorates March 17 with a splash of "Spamalot" green, signature color of Sir Robin, Clay's celebrated role in the Broadway hit musical.

St. Patrick's Day, the most well-known March observance, honors the patron saint of Ireland, the man who brought Christianity to the Irish in the 400's A.D. March 17 is truly a day for celebrating Irish history, ancestry, traditions, and customs.

Around the globe, St. Patrick's Day festivities are generally themed around all things green and Irish. The secular version of the holiday is marked by wearing green or orange, eating Irish and/or green foods, imbibing Irish drink (usually Guinness), and attending parades.

Irish colonists brought St. Patrick's Day to North America. The event was first commemorated in the 13 colonies in Boston, MA, in 1737.

Below is Sally's graphic of an Irish blessing, one of many you will no doubt read today!

Have a wonderful week, Clay Nation! Blessings on St. Patrick's Day!

St. Pat's signature by Linda

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Clay Aiken Frisco Finale 'Fan-Flippin-Tastic'!

Final Tried & True show begins with a twist!

Magical Vocals, Lots of Laughs

San Francisco Finale a Treasure

Closing concerts are generally sprinkled with playful antics, but Saturday's Tried & True finale in San Francisco's Warfield Theatre will also be treasured for the magical vocals, quick-witted banter, and intimate dialogue.

SueReu's "Fan-Flippin-Tastic" description is not only perfect but headline worthy.

The concert opened with Clay singing "Theme from Love Story" offstage, but the spotlight that normally propels him into view surprisingly revealed burly Jerome Bell lip-syncing the song.

A few minutes into the personable bodyguard's pantomime, Clay strolled onto the stage, dismissed Jerome, and completed another powerful performance of "Theme from Love Story."

Glow Sticks Applaud Clay & Co.

Backed by five talented musicians -- Ben Cohn, Adam Fallen, Del Atkins, Felix Pollard, and Quiana Parler -- the singer presented a memorable final concert that audience members are still praising.

In a special "thank you" gesture, Internet fans organized a glow stick salute for Clay & Co. during "In My Life," final selection of the Tried & True Tour.

SueReu: That was FAN FLIPPIN TASTIC!!! I think Clay was genuinely touched when the glow sticks were lit.
As I was leaving, I looked at the security guard and had to do a double take. Sure enough, the woman had tears streaming down her face - our man had moved her to tears. She said he was fantastic.

Copingincali: It was like the closing night of "Spamalot." Clay was shown the love tonight with lots of Standing O's and hoots and hollers ALL NIGHT LONG!
I sat next to a lovely 20-something gal on one side who was having a great time and the other 20-something gal on the other side was from Japan. She literally left the day the tsunami hit. She knows all his songs, but this was her first concert.

We had a great time being 12 together!
In one of the most entertaining segments of the show, "Who's Sorry Now" was performed in five genres: psychedelic, bollywood, Sesame Street, hip hop, and Disney.

Video of the Disney style is below. View all of
Scarlett's videos at the Wowzers4Clay YouTube Channel. You can download them from the San Francisco doc.

Clay & Co. perform'Who's Sorry Now' in Disney style.

susandavis: The show was wonderful, and Clay was in great voice. "Unchained Melody" was flawless, and Clay wore the mic stand out.
He was so cute talking to Blaine, who was four and had a front row seat. He complimented Blaine on his behavior and was so funny about how four must be a good age.

Jerome standing behind the mic lip syncing was unbelievably funny. He is a good sport.

Clay sings signature version of 'Unchained Melody.'

IML banter: 'It's like a Radio Shack [here] tonight.'

Singer dedicates 'In My Life' to his fans everywhere.

artquest: When Clay began to sing "In My Life," the glow sticks appeared. Looking back from the front row, I was really impressed.
Hundreds and hundreds of beautiful lights, moving in the darkness, saying, in their own way, "We love you." He kept looking around at them. You could tell he liked it very much.

I'm still blown away by "Unchained Melody." I can't even figure out how he finds his note to begin with. Hits it every time, though.

What a great night. Thanks to my friends and, most of all, to Clay, I had the time of my life.

Below are four expandable photos by nickiwiki accompanying an image of the Warfield Theatre. View more photos on at Niki's Facebook wall.

Fond memories from the 21-city Tried & True Tour are plentiful and show little sign of fading in the near future.

Have a wonderful week, Clay Nation!


Friday, March 11, 2011

Clay Aiken Thrills Crowd at Mesa Tried & True Concert

Clay & Co. open Tried & True show with 'Theme from Love Story.'

Powerful Vocals, Humor, Charm

There Is Nothing Like Clay 'Live'

In Thursday night's Tried & True Concert in Mesa, AZ, Clay Aiken proved once again he is a consummate performer, charming the audience with his powerful vocals and quick wit.

In the next to the last show of a two-month tour that has freely allowed video sharing of concerts on YouTube and other outlets, there were very few surprises for die-hard CA fans.

Recaps, however, read as if they are describing the tour opener. An underlying theme is that clack serves its purpose, but there is nothing like experiencing Clay Aiken in a "live" performance.

Copingincali: Clay Aiken was born to be on the stage! Clack is helpful to get a feel for a show and certainly to capture the tours he does. However, he has to be seen live. He is so much more than an album, a YouTube video or an interview.
Clay was really upset about the review that said he was pitchy. Call this man anything you want, but pitchy he is not. His voice was top notch and filled the venue.

It's hard to describe what it is like to see him sing live. The voice broke in a couple of songs, but the power with a capital "P" of his voice makes you forget that.

I got the whole package tonight, and I am spent. Waow!

Singer calls out Dallas reviewer over pitchy label.

'Pitchy' Review Becomes Shtick

A Dallas review labeling Clay's Tuesday Grand Prairie performance "pitchy" was discussed by the singer during Mesa concert banter and later on fan boards. For a replay, be sure to watch the above video by Scarlett.

skybar22: This was a great show! Clay, the consummate performer, gives his all. He has a gift I have seldom been privileged to see. His humor, charm, and wit were all on display.
His voice was beautiful, and I thoroughly enjoyed watching all the nuances of his facial expressions. The sensuality of this man's performance coupled with the glorious vocals took me somewhere I have never been before.

UM was divine. He carries the audience with him, and we all soared together.

The pitchy shtick was great. Never tell Mr. Aiken he is pitchy when it is so far from reality. Pitchy he is not. He may crack on a note once in a while, but he is so good and covers it up well. His minor imperfections are nothing compared to most performers.

Quiana is a classy gal. I thoroughly enjoyed her too. She is pure joy on that stage, a friend and a gift to Clay. They are so comfortable with one another.

The Klezmer shtick was hilarious with Clay doing the Yiddish accent and Quiana "oying" and "mazel toving." This Jewish gal loved it!

Clay is so gracious to all of the performers on stage with him. He gave each their props. I really loved watching Felix do his thing. They are all a talented bunch and Clay appreciates each one of them. It shows.

Throughout the Tried & True Tour, Clay & Co. have performed "Who's Sorry Now" in a wide array of audience-suggested genres. At the Mesa concert, the musicians performed the song in boogie woogie, Klezmer, Gregorian Chant, mariachi, lullaby, and beat box styles. The first two are shown in Scarlett's videos below.

'Who's Sorry Now' a la Klezmer genre.

Who's Sorry Now' in boogie woogie style.

NJU Fans Reconnect with Clay

According to Internet message board reports, a large contingent of Not.Just.Us fans was reunited with Clay at the Mesa Arts Center.

: I talked to several NJU tonight and, though they have loved Clay since Idol, they have not seen him much since.
Needless to say, they were blown away tonight. Two of the older couples had seen PBS special and then and ad in the paper so they were very excited about seeing him again.

Two of the ushers a man and a woman were anxious to hear him as they had never heard him sing. One lady said she had a whole new respect for him.

I saw people asking the ushers if there was anything for sale after the concert, and they were disappointed there was not a merch table. I have a feeling a few CD's will be selling on Amazon.

"Unchained Melody" was unworldly. WOW! WOW! WOW!

Clay sings signature version of 'Unchained Melody.'

Kool Radio Applauds Clay & Co.

Kool Radio posted an excellent review and photo slide show -- Clay Aiken in Concert -- on the station's website. Below is the opening paragraph of a story fans won't want to miss:
Tonight’s show was just more than a concert; it was a performance like no other!

Combining soulful music and personal story telling, Clay Aiken displayed his matured voice and why he’s been successful so many years since he made his national debut on American Idol.

View concert videos by Scarlett at the Wowzers4Clay YouTube Channel, and download them at her Mesa link. In addition to these expandable photos by SmartyPantsSuz, you can view the complete set in her Mesa gallery.

Thoughts and prayers are with Japan and all who have loved ones affected by today's devastating earthquake and tsunami.

Final concert of the Tried & True Tour is slated for 8 pm PT Saturday at The Warfield in San Francisco, CA. Saturday's show will mark the one-year anniversary of the OMG Concert in Raleigh recorded for the singer's PBS Special, Clay Aiken: Tried & True ~ LIVE!

Have a wonderful weekend, Clay Nation! Catch you after San Francisco!


Carolina Combacks: I was on target to have this blog up at 11:30 a.m. in time to watch the Carolina Tar Heels in their noon ACC Tournament game. During a final edit, the entry disappeared into thin air, and I spent the afternoon
"listening" to the game, recreating the blog, and teaching lessons.

Carolina was behind the whole way until the buzzer-beater winning basket. Thankfully, I taped the game and plan to watch the comeback. Let's go, Heels -- maybe with a little less stress!!! *g*

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Clay Aiken 'Fog' Envelopes Grand Prairie Fans

Expandable photo by JMoody from Grand Prairie.

Clay & Co. Play Grand Prairie

'Aiken Fog' Descends on Dallas

From early reports, it is evident that the infamous "Aiken Fog" flourished before, during, and after the Tried & True Concert presented by Clay Aiken & Co. Tuesday night in the Verizon Theatre at Grand Prairie.

During the show, the singer talked to merrieeee by cell phone, though she remembers little of the conversation: "Hee, I just talked to Clay Aiken on the phone! I wish I could remember what the heck I said!"

I have it on good authority (blow-by-blow texts on my iPhone) that, after greeting Clay in the post concert bus line, Royalle, deemer, and Scarlett were stopped by a policeman while driving home.

The infraction? Missing an exit and making a U-turn at the airport entrance. While one was having to prove her sobriety, her partners were crossing their fingers and texting that they hoped the three would survive the "fog."

No ticket -- but this is one recap CA fans won't want to miss!

Dallas Concert Goers Replay Show

As he does in most shows, Clay bantered with the audience following the powerful opener, "Where Do I Begin/Theme from Love Story."

jclay: The show starts, and once again I have to say that although I cherish clack and worship all the clack gatherers, no way does clack do this concert justice. There is something about this concert that goes straight to my gut, my stomach, my heart.
I had told my husband that since we were close to the front, he might be part of the shtick. Sure enough, after Clay talked to the couple where the husband has been to 20 concerts, he came to our side of the stage and looked directly at us!

All is hazy, but I remember that my husband said we'd been married 30 years. Clay asked if there is a secret to 30 years, and my husband replied, "Go to concerts when asked."

Scarlett's video of the opening banter replays jclay's foggy recap, followed by the song "There's a Kind of Hush."

Clay banters with husbands at Grand Prairie Show.

'There's a Kind of Hush' in Texas.

EmeraldEyes: The comedy routines are so much more polished now than they were at the beginning of the tour. My jaw hurts from smiling so much. Clay truly is a funny man. I hope someone caught Quiana doing the heavy metal "Who's Sorry Now" because GF was working it and Clay was splitting his sides at the sight of her.
Vocally so beautiful, "Unchained Melody" was out of this world. He got several standing O's for various songs; UM was perhaps the biggest outside of "In My Life."

All of our clack-gatherers are a treasure. There are more people than just us that appreciate the videos they take.

I purposely didn't tell my non-board concert buddy anything about the show other than it was good because I wanted her to be surprised -- only to learn she's been watching T&T videos on YouTube!

I don't know what's next, but I can't wait to find out what the next Clay Aiken adventure will be.

Below are expandable concert photos by hosaa, 1, 3; and Invisble926, 2, 4, 5.

topcat: Clay was in top and full performance mode last night. He was in total control of the stage, and there was no question he owned it. That's no surprise, but I still marvel at how natural it is for him to work the concert stage like it's his living room. [snip]
Cutest moment: Clay and Quiana singing Disney. You can tell he really likes that one. So much awwwww and love between those two.

Most touching moment: When he put his arm on Quiana's's back. So sweet. He respects and appreciates his band deeply and the feeling is mutual.

Most rockin' moment: Felix. OMG, he plays drums like Clay sings, and he was so much fun to watch. The best part of "Can't Take My Eyes Off You" was watching Felix rock it.

I'm in a fog, so I'm going to have to watch the clack to remember the rest ...

Grand Prairie Set List
Where Do I Begin, Love Story Theme
Mack the Knife
There's A Kind Of Hush
You Don't Have to Say You Love Me

Jazzy Medley - The Way, This is the Night, Measure of a Man, On My Way Here, A Thousand Days, Invisible

Something About Us
Foggy Day In London Town (Quianna)

Auto Tune: Party in the USA

Suspicious Minds
Build Me Up Buttercup
It's Impossible

Who's Sorry Now - Genres: honky tonk, "chipmunks," Disney, heavy metal

It's Only Make Believe
Can't Take My Eyes Off You
Cry Me A River (Quiana)
Crying (Clay and Quiana duet)
Unchained Melody
In My Life

Check back for updates as recaps, photos, and clack are posted. Meanwhile, you can download Grand Prairie audio/video files at Clack Unlimited and Scarlett's Tried & True Concert Tour doc on Google. Her videos can be viewed at the Wowzers4Clay Channel on YouTube.

'Who's Sorry Now' in the Disney genre.

Clay Aiken's Back in Town with 'Mack the Knife.'

After greeting fans at the bus line, the Tried & True musicians hit the road for the 18-hour trip to Mesa, AZ. Next concert is at 8 pm MT at the Mesa Arts Center.

Have a wonderful week, Clay Nation!


Monday, March 07, 2011

Clay Aiken & Co. Make Memories in Minneapolis

Clay Aiken opens concert with 'Love Story' theme.
View video by Scarlett full screen at YouTube.

Memorable Show in Minneapolis

Clack, Recaps Replay T&T Show

While I was cheering the Carolina Tar Heels to victory over arch rival Duke, Clay Aiken and the Tried & True musicians were presenting a memorable concert 1,199 miles away in the State Theatre in Minneapolis, MN.

Normally, I listen to the tour concerts via a message board cellcert; but there was no way to combine the two this weekend. I had faith there would be clack to tell Clay's concert story, so I waved Carolina blue pom-poms from my den and "helped" the Tar Heels win their final regular season game.

Fortunately, there is wonderful clack rewinding Saturday's show in the Midwest. Hope, who nightly uploads Scarlett's videos to YouTube, posted an excellent account of the performance.

Playlist Presents Complete Show

She has also arranged the Minneapolis videos in a playlist at her YouTube Channel. To view the entire concert start to finish, link to the Minneapolis set here.

The concert opener, "Theme from Love Story," combined with selected videos at the end provide a cliff-note version of the concert. Hope's recap will include an intermission of clickable Minneapolis photos by farouche and toni7babe.
As I expected, Clay knocked me back in my seat with his powerful vocals, touched my heart with his beautiful interpretive skills as a vocalist and artist, and made me laugh harder than I have in a long time.

I had viewed enough Clack to know that as soon as Clay hit the word “hello” in the song “Where Do I Begin,” that the spotlight would appear to highlight the solitary figure on the stage and signal the start of a wonderful evening with Clay Aiken. Still, knowing it and experiencing it are two completely different things.

From darkness to light, from quiet murmurings to thunderous applause, the moment was Clay’s and the moment was ours. It was a thing of sheer beauty.

And lest people think that I am just being "fangirly" in my poetic waxing, my husband, who is a big, burly, "macho" truck driver, had the exact same reaction.

Clay owned the stage and the audience. He was captivating, he was funny, he was beautiful, he was snarky. A highlight for me personally, was to see the concert from the vantage point of a 7th row seat.

It’s the closest I’ve physically gotten to "meeting" Clay, and it very much felt like I was at home in my living room spending a wonderful evening with an outrageously talented and comedic friend.

And as Clay himself once mentioned during a Q&A, Quiana Parler is/was his best kept secret. Like Clay, Quiana has terrific comedic timing. Quiana’s vocals on “A Foggy Day In London Town,” and “Cry Me A River” were saucy, sultry, and smooth.

All too soon the concert ended. After his drop-dead gorgeous performance of “Unchained Melody,” Clay talked for a bit about his career post-Idol; and about how much he appreciates his fans’ dedication.

He then performed a beautiful rendition of "In My Life," ended the song, flashed us one of his best Clay Aiken smiles, bowed and quietly left the stage, leaving those in the audience a lifetime memory.

The selected clips below highlight the Minneapolis Concert. View all of Scarlett's videos at the Wowzers4Clay Channel on YouTube and/or downloaded them from the Minneapolis doc.

Clay & Co. perform 'Suspicious Minds' in Minneapolis.

'Who's Sorry Now' in the yodeling/Alpine style.

Clay and Quiana blend on 'Crying' duet.

Clay's signature version of 'Unchained Melody.'

Singer closes with fan dedication, 'In My Life.'

Hope's Minneapolis story continues in the State Theatre parking lot and on the drive home. Many thnx to her for sharing her concert experience with Carolina readers.
I finally met Scarlett! We managed to get lost in the parking lot of all places, so we didn't get back home until close to 1 a.m. It was a quiet ride home.

When I asked my husband if he wanted to listen to the radio, he said, "You've got your iPod with 20-something performances of Clay's 'Bridge Over Troubled Water' on it, don't you?"

"Yes," I replied.

"What do you say you plug it into the cassette do-higgy there and we listen to all 20 of them? I'd really like that."

"Sure," I said. And so we did.

The photo below links to Clay Aiken at State Theatre, a 15-picture City Pages slide show by Sandy Schwartz.

Sandy Schwartz photo links to Minneapolis Slide Show.

Minneapolis, MN, Set List
Where Do I Begin - Love Story Theme
Mack The Knife
There’s a Kind of Hush
You Don't Have to Say You Love Me
What Kind of Fool Am I

Jazzy Medley - The Way, This is the Night, Measure of a Man, On My Way Here, A Thousand Days, Invisible

Something About Us

Foggy Day In London Town (Quiana)

Auto Tune: Only Girl
Suspicious Minds
Build Me Up Buttercup
Moon River
It's Impossible

Who's Sorry Now (Genres: Bollywood, yodeling/Alpine, Christian rap, Hawaiian)
It's Only Make Believe
Can't Take My Eyes Off You
Cry Me A River (Quiana)
Crying (Clay and Quiana)

Unchained Melody
In My Life

The Tried & True Tour heads west for three final concerts in Texas, Arizona, and California:

3.08.11 Grand Prairie, TX Verizon Theatre At Grand Prairie, 7:30 pm
3.10.11 Mesa, AZ Mesa Arts Center, 8 pm
3.12.11 San Francisco, CA The Warfield, 8 pm

Have a wonderful week, Clay Nation!