Thursday, July 26, 2007

The Summer Tour: Columbus

~Photo Courtesty of toni7babe (CV/CH)~

A very nice review in The Other of the Columbus concert that took place on the The Lawn of Chemical Abstract Service on July 21st. (Note: Review is excerpted. Full review is scanned and posted at end of typed portion. Click to enlarge)

Clay Aiken is an utterly convincing singer. Deal With it.

By John Petric

If you haven’t suspected it by now, this ought to confirm it. Yours truly is over the hill.

I liked Clay Aiken.

* * *

So yes, Clay Aiken. He’s a piece of work isn’t he? A cross between John Edwards and Paul McCartney, he mines the emotional veins dug by Streisand, Manilow and Celine, yet without the soul, severe schmaltz or extreme hysteria of those three.

* * *

And yet, let me tell you …..he can sing like a son of a gun. When he isn’t sounding like God’s most precious choirboy, he approaches Luther Vandrossian levels of soul pop.

So the first half of the first half was just that. Even the songs that weren’t about self-affirmation sounded like they were. And then everything suddenly coalesced a few tunes later for what would turn out to be the master stroke. “These Open Arms.”

“What if everything you ever took for granted was gone?” … “And everything you thought was right was wrong?”

Those very questions might be on Michael Vick’s mind right now. But our boy Clay was singing from the fist-sized organ in his chest. He’s no dummy. In fact, I figure him to be quite shrewd. The placing and pacing of “Arms” woke me up and won me over.

Aiken sang those soul-numbing lyrics with every ounce of focused emotional force he could conjure. Every hurt, every slight, every deep yearning to be loved when he wasn’t came out in that song. And let me tell you, we’re talking utterly convincing. I would’ve dabbed his eyes myself if he’d been teary.

* * *

With violins and cellos and violas caressing the melody, Aiken had the force of Oprah’s entire universe behind him. It was pure pop beauty, and I was awestruck by the moment.

Having achieved that level, Aiken returned to it frequently in the second half, but not before he had some fun with golden oldies and whatnot. He had a fine sense of humor, often self-deprecating and a little bit wicked, like when he mentioned the “Chemical Contaminated” grass.

His goofy, well-executed medley (with awesome symphonic accompaniment – mustn’t forget that) included dead-on snippets of Michael Jackson, Madonna, Prince and even “Achy Breaky Heart.”

After “These Open Arms” my favorite song was “Without You” a not-so-minor pop masterpiece. Aiken didn’t quite nail it as perfectly as Harry Nilsson, who was nowhere near the technically accomplished singer Aiken is. But he nailed it nonetheless, in his own patented I-die-for-your-sins-every-night way of performing.

And I found myself trying to figure out how I was going to tell the world I didn’t hate the guy—that, indeed, I was somewhat touched by him

Click to expand


Some fan comments about the Columbus Concert:

From laughoutloud (CV):
It was the most unique venue I have ever attended. Clay commented on the food and the drink everywhere, but you had to be there to really get a sense of it...on the sides and the back were people on the lawns with coolers and such, throwing frisbees and having FUN. The center (tables) was different fun...candlelight and flowers and wine glasses and food everywhere! I was sitting in the middle of some symphony people and it was tres' cool. The age make-up of the crowd was all over the place...from a little girl who stood up on her seat at the end of "Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word" holding a little candle and shouting, 'I love you Clay' in her little 10 yr old voice, to the 30-something guys who were goofing around at the beginning and totally into the show by second half. 30 yr. old executive looking guy to my left was dancing along to the Classics with Clay and smiling and clapping. Our table represented the concert demographics I think...One 'not old enough to drink, but almost' girl...three 20-somethings, two 30 somethings, one 40-something, one 50-something, and two 'older than me I think, but I hate to guess', husband and wife. I saw more than one entire table of all guys. Some were a bit rowdy at the start and then all of a sudden they're into it. I read from another poster that the table guys near her were betting on who can name the TV tune the fastest. Freakin' wild.

From cath6 (CB):
Prior to tonight's concert the most tables that had been sold at Chemical Abstract was 240. There were 300 tables sold for Clay tonight and an unbelievable number of people sitting in the lawn seating. The workers and the caterers were all lined up watching the show during the second half and really enjoying themselves. They also showed the orchestra musicians on the jumbotron and they were having such fun! It was a great experience and I think Clay made a lot of new fans in Columbus!!!!!

From a male blogger:
Clay came out to perform, right on time, at 8:15. He started to sing some of his regular fare and I was thinking it was sorta boring. After a couple of songs, he took a break from singing and started talking and making jokes. He joked with the crowd and made fun of the venue and I started to really get into it. He was very funny and extremely likable. No wonder my wife likes him. Anyway, I began to really get into the show at that point and I was very glad I went. Later, he made fun of himself for "not being cool enough" and playfully attempted to remedy it by singing covers of Baby Got Back, Bringing Sexy Back and, believe it or not...You Down with OPP! If you weren't there, it might sound corny, but it wasn't. It was done to be funny and it was very entertaining. He also has one hell of a voice.

From Gambie (CV):
The two tables behind me were locals and they all seemed to be enjoying the show. The were a bit subdued but probably were showing the level of excitement that an average symphony attendee would show. I heard a lot of wonderful comments from the table directly behind me. One of the woman at the table said she hadn't ever seen a crowd that large for any of the shows held there. They LOVED Lover All Alone. Listening to the people talk on the walk back to the parking lot just put a smile on my face. So many upbeat comments.

From xxx4clay(CV):
I thought this was supposed to be some kind of low attendance concert. But no. There were people all over and everywhere! Lots and lots of people! Of all shapes and genders and stripes. Like lots of people. And what’s funny is, as many people as I was amazed to see at that time, when intermission came, I was amazed at how many more people there were then! Clay’s a magnet I tell ya. I know “we” all like to see Clay up close and personal but this venue was proof for me, that if given an opportunity and a cheap price, all manner of “not just us” folks will gladly fork over a few bucks just to hear him. Something to keep in mind..

Also from xxx4clay:
I know I haven’t really talked much about the concert except to say I loved it but I will share my non-Internet friend’s review. Now understand, she is not the over the top addicted fan that I am. But she surely is an over the top addicted fan of a sort. She knew almost nothing of the concert beforehand. Her favorite parts? The TV Medley for one. Now I haven’t mentioned that much. I don’t watch much TV. I knew only three of those tidits I think. I enjoyed the medley though -like hearing new music for me. My friend does watch TV and she loved loved loved it! She also went a little nutso over the Classics medley. Now, remember I told you she is not internet connected. She does have ATDW, of course. And I had shared Lover All Alone with her. But she later asked me about “that song he wrote.” She did not remember it. But she was so impressed with it. Loved it. Of course.



At 5:07 PM, Blogger Carolina Clay said...


As you said, great minds ... and all that. *g*

Excellent blog with lots of good reviews from the independent newspaper, as well as fans.

Thank you for sharing!


At 8:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

this was the best Clay Aiken concert i've been to i live in Columbus and go to the picnic with the pops all the time in the summer and love it hes amazing and i've been a fan since 2003 and i love him so glad he came and i hope he does it again


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