Thursday, August 23, 2007

A Handshake to Remember

Clay has always had a special connection with his fans. One of the things that he does to thank them for their support is the handshake line (sometimes called The Bus Line) after his concerts unless circumstances prevent it. One line this summer was over 1000 people long. It might be a quick touch, but it's become a tradition for fans to wait after the concert. It's just one more thing that strengthens the bond between Clay and his fans.

Be sure to check out the excellent busline video after the poster comments.

Some busline thoughts:

Posted by Pink Armchair about Columbus:

The bus line. Oh, God, what an amazing experience. A perfect understanding between Jerome and probably a thousand people. I am so impressed with him after seeing how effortlessly he directed us, and with such good humor. And I have enormous respect for Clay for making this kind of effort for the fans.

Posted by katt45 about Columbus:

My bus experience: I read somewhere between 2500 to 3000 that's right 3000 people stayed for the quick meet and greet at the buses. I know it was a whole lot more than 300. I would guess this similar to the first concerts in Cleveland at the buses. It was an amazing group. They were 10 to 12 deep around the buses. Jerome and the other security guards all kept shaking their heads, noone left. It took about an hour before they started getting the line ready. The line went around the building and I don't really know how far around the building because we stood on the edge of the sidewalk early on when it became apparent that's what was going to happen, so this huge crowd around the bus had to walk up a long hill and get in line. I heard estimates of a mile long line. I know we waited for about 15 minutes after we heard screams or it seemed that long and then suddenly he was was sweet, I think he looked good but I couldn't tell you what he had on, I went blind. lol I still felt him touch my hand with both of his, and even now that gives me chills and makes me smile.

Posted by GBB about Asheville:

The busline was a trip. You've already heard how it circled the entire perimeter of the courtyard and then some. Because of my back I couldn't stand for an hour or more while I waited for Clay to come out, so I walked to the fountain in the center of the courtyard to sit until Jerome started the preliminaries. I parked myself next to a very chatty frog (I believe you all met him on the cellcert) and just enjoyed the evening. I'm not sure I can express the feeling of sitting under the stars on a beautiful night, listening to the night sounds and watching this enormous group of fans wait patiently against the backdrop of the Biltmore. It was beautiful and a little surreal. Also waiting patiently were the 20 or so busses that would be used to transport everyone back to the parking lots after the busline was over. When we'd gotten on the busses earlier in the evening we'd asked if they would still be runing after the busline since it could take an hour or two after the concert. "Oh yes," the woman replied, "We've already been told all about that. We'll wait." And they did.

From Love of My Life about San Diego:

I stood directly across from the Japanese girls in the bus line. It was such a treat to watch them experience their first handshake! It doesn’t matter where we’re from or what language we speak….when Clay touches our hand we all have the same universal reaction! They EEEEE’d and SQUEEE’d and and hugged and acted all fangirly!

From xxx4clay about San Diego:

After the concert, and it is busline time! For reasons unknown to me, canuck apparently thought we would meet and discuss whether we would stay for the "line." I mean really, what is there to discuss?

We waited a long time for Clay as he had other obligations which meant there was time to meet and greet other CVers. I was tha-rilled to meet ilbun who had traveled a very long way, and the delightful SmartyPantsSuz, the special Clay's#1star, and mucho other people too numerous to mention. I never did find susandavis, gareem, or lovethatguy that night. Do you think they stayed in the porta potties all that time? Were other CVers avoiding me by hiding there too? I'd rather not think about that… hurts too much…

Finally Jerome had the line sorted to his satisfaction (anyone think Jerome entertains himself by making us move?) and it was Claytime. Clay moved through that line at the speed of light but he still took time to slowly stroke both of my hands. You may not remember but Clay's hands and my hands have a long term relationship that began back in Williamsport last Christmas. The relationship continued to grow that night. I'm pretty sure he loves me…


Here is an excellent montage made from the Orlando Concert handshake line (by Dreamlarge):

Monday, August 13, 2007

The Summer Tour: Asheville

Biltmore Estate
The stage area was on the left side of the mansion behind the trees

Clay Aiken played to a crowd of 3000 on the lawn of the Biltmore Estate against the backdrop of the Smokey Mountatins in Asheville NC on August 11th. From all accounts it was a very special night. Here are some fan reactions to the show:

From Farouche
...Tonight there was something both very sweet and sexy about him. He seemed very mellow and relaxed and connected. Sometimes, he can seem a bit manic or OTT in his deliberate "acting" etc. Tonight, he just hit the perfect balance. It seemed effortless, completely unforced.

From RaleighLady:
Here's an NJU (Not Just Us) story. A lady on our row was a Rod Stewart fan and this was the first Clay concert she had ever attended. We looked over at her at the end of the concert and saw that she was bawling her eyes out. Just bawling, wiping her eyes with tissue. She literally could.not.stop.crying. She said it was just wonderful. She followed us all the way out of the venue, still crying. I put my arm around her shoulders and said, "Welcome to the club, honey."

From GBB:
...I just had to post and say what an AMAZING (in the good way *g*) concert last night was. Clay was on FIRE, the girls were on FIRE, the audience was on FIRE. The atmosphere could not have been more perfect, the temperature was just right, a light breeze stirred the air, the sun was setting over the mountains, and bats (aka swifts) skittered across the sky offering themselves up as props for the Clay and Friends Comedy Hour.

The audience leapt to their feet when Clay walked out on to the stage and they didn't stop leaping to their feet all night long. The audience was so engaged in the show that we/they became a part of it at several points during the night. We sang the "the facts of life, the facts of life" on cue and then sang the entire Brady Bunch theme. When Clay got tickled as the intro to "These Open Arms" began playing, we sang the first verse until he could get himself composed. In the words of Clay, we "kicked butt."

From IU Gal:
... Clay was supurb last night. Very relaxed. Very chatty and of course hilarious. But the weird thing was, after the concert I felt sort of numb, like I used to back when I first started seeing him in concert. I couldn't register how I felt about it. It was just too much beauty to take in at once, the setting among the mountains with the setting sun, surrounded by fans I have known for 4 years, and some new friends, my family there, and a large enthusiastic crowd.

From libbyC
Let's just start with the perfect sunset and the perfect weather to set up this amazing night. Clay was definitely SMOKIN' in the Smokies last night!! As diverse a crowd as I've seen. The couple sitting next to us were there for their 34th wedding anniversary. When we asked the gentleman who's idea it was to attend the concert, he said he was the Clay fan and wanted to come. The man directly behind us said he had never heard anyone sing "Mary Did You Know" as well as Clay and proceeded to sing every Clay song during the concert. Now on to the show...
All I can tell you, his voice was superb, the lower register was hot,hot,hot!!! Clay keep on sigin' loooow and slooooooow!!

From tdallasw:

I was sitting next to two young women from Wilmington, NC (opposite end of NC - on the coast) who had never been to a Clay concert and weren't very familiar with his shows and had no idea what to expect. Someone had given them the tickets and they asked if I thought the show would be any good. I told them, "You have NOOOOO idea what you're in for... he is going to blow you away!". Well... let it just suffice to say that by intermission they were gonners. Couldn't wait to go out and buy ATDW and they hope to see him again as soon as possible. I love seeing a true "Clayversion" in progress. It made my night.

From ClaytonClayniac:

It was just a "magical" night last night! Everything was perfect - the weather, Clay, the Girls - all in full voice (so so powerful!), the schtick, the energized (and totally respectful!) crowd - with so many unique and special moments - just as for every other concert Clay does!! We were in Row K on the right side of the stage, toward the middle - great seats! Clay was in fine "comedic" form as he "taunted" the girls relentlessly all evening about the "bats" flying around overhead (DH said they were actually barn swallows - but they didn't know that!). Just hilarious! They also had somewhat of a bug problem onstage, and a big bug flew down the front of Angela's blouse, and she screeched, jumped up and went behind the orchestra members on her side of the stage, turned around and shined her cell phone down her blouse to "attract" the bug out!! It was too funny! When she came back on stage, Clay made a few cracks about it - one of them being the "wrong choice of words," which embarrassed the fool out of him after he said it!! And the entire audience was pumped up, energetic and so enthusiastic, responding to his every wish to sing along with him (or instead of him)! He seemed to just love it!

From corabeth:
The show was incredible. We were at the end of the third row, right in front of the bass speakers. Clay and the girls were never funnier and it is amazing to me that they can make a five minute schtick about bats and another five minute schtick about a bug. Clay's serious face leading up to what you've heard whispers about.....I'm not cool is so perfectly crafted and acted, I almost forgot that I knew what he was going to say.

Love that girls have gone from following his lead to taking the lead from time to time. To me they are a modern day Tony Orlando and Dawn but with better vocals (obviously) and better comedy. Quiana laughed so much a few times that she snorted.

The crowd was full of energy and he sang the ever loving crap out of MoaM and the other songs. Loved when he was describing his 2006 album simply as “we sang....pause....other people's songs” with a very bemused tone of voice.


Saturday, August 11, 2007

Because We Love You

Clay Aiken has been ending his summer tour with "Because You Loved Me" as a thank you to his fans for their support. A lot has happened in the fandom over the four years, but the fans that have stayed for the ride on the rollercoaster are steadfast in their admiration and appreciation of a fantastic singer and a really good man. As a response to Clay's thank you, the fans decided to wave glowsticks as an expression of their love and support. It's always a moving end to the show, but none so poignant as when he sang to his hometown crowd (along with many of his travelling fan posse) in Cary NC on August 10th.

Because You Loved Me

For all those times you stood by me
For all the truth that you made me see
For all the joy you brought to my life
For all the wrong that you made right
For every dream you made come true
For all the love I found in you
I'll be forever thankful baby
You're the one who held me up
Never let me fall
You're the one who saw me through through it all

You were my strength when I was weak
You were my voice when I couldn't speak
You were my eyes when I couldn't see
You saw the best there was in me
Lifted me up when I couldn't reach
You gave me faith 'coz you believed
I'm everything I am
Because you loved me

You gave me wings and made me fly
You touched my hand I could touch the sky
I lost my faith, you gave it back to me
You said no star was out of reach
You stood by me and I stood tall
I had your love I had it all
I'm grateful for each day you gave me
Maybe I don't know that much
But I know this much is true
I was blessed because I was loved by you

You were my strength when I was weak
You were my voice when I couldn't speak
You were my eyes when I couldn't see
You saw the best there was in me
Lifted me up when I couldn't reach
You gave me faith 'coz you believed
I'm everything I am
Because you loved me

You were always there for me
The tender wind that carried me
A light in the dark shining your love into my life
You've been my inspiration
Through the lies you were the truth
My world is a better place because of you

You were my strength when I was weak
You were my voice when I couldn't speak
You were my eyes when I couldn't see
You saw the best there was in me
Lifted me up when I couldn't reach
You gave me faith 'coz you believed
I'm everything I am
Because you loved me

You were my strength when I was weak
You were my voice when I couldn't speak
You were my eyes when I couldn't see
You saw the best there was in me
Lifted me up when I couldn't reach
You gave me faith 'coz you believed
I'm everything I am
Because you loved me

I'm everything I am
Because you loved me

"Because You Loved Me"
Cary NC
~video by jojoct~


Monday, August 06, 2007

The Summer Tour: Pala California

August 3, 2007 Palomar Starlight Theatre in Pala, California

~Photos by the talented fans of ClayNation~

ClayNation highlights:

Posted by salterwaterdog at CV:
The two couples directly in front of my husband and I were newbies. One couple had seen an American Idols II show, but this was their first Clay Aiken concert. They all were interested and enjoying themselves early on in the show, but when Clay spotted the “Flat Clay” cardboard cutout in an upper hotel window, they were hooked. During “When I See You Smile” Clay sang to the image as if it were his true love and Quiana and Angela joined in with gestures to support him. At that point, the folks in front of us joined in the fun as if they were longtime Claymates. They laughed at Clay’s jokes and snuggled during the sweet songs. One of the men even kept a close eye out on “Flat Clay” all evening.

Posted by clight at CV:
I took my niece to her first Clay concert ever at Pala and she was definitely clayverted. she loved the his voice...she had ATDW so she knew that, but was unprepared for his interaction with the audience and just how wonderfully funny he is. She's the same age as Clay and her birthday is only a few days apart so I was so glad she loved the concert. She called her husband on the way back to my house to tell him just how great it was and
how she wished he had come. She raved and raved. Then when she got home at midnight she called me to thank me and say that she had listened to the CD all the way home...couldn't get enough.

Thoughts from the cellist that played on stage:
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.

Posted by artquest at CH:
Clay hit the stage last night like lightning. From the first instant it was clear that this was no San Diego. His voice held up nicely for most of the concert, but his wit has never been sharper. It was reflected back to him by his partners in crime. Quiana and Angela seem to tease him about who will duet on IWKWLI. In San Diego he thought it would be Angela, last night it was clear he thought it would be Quiana. He whipped around when Angela started singing and grinned. Then they got to talking about the casino and playing the slots and finally Angela pointed out Flat Clay in the hotel window.

Posted by raquelsg at CV:
Clay was unbelievable last night in Pala--pure magic and hysterical. I watched grown men around me dying of laughter. We spoke to one couple in front of us who hadn't been to a concert before and they were surprised we had been to a concert the night before and were back. We tried to explain how great they were and they were all different..... Well as the night progressed and they were laughing hysterically or smiling non-stop or standing and cheering, the husband kept turning around to say "He's fantastic".... "He's hysterical".... "Now I see why you go to multiple concerts!" Yes, it was a magic night for all of us, including Clay. You could tell how much he and Q&A appreciated the "energy" and response from the audience. They both mentioned how great the audience was.

Posted by yaknelle at CV:
My most personal moment at Pala came with Clay singing Lover All Alone. I don't remember anything but his magnificent voice reaching the deepest part of my soul. I, as many of you, have had that moment where love seems impossible, the loneliness unbearable, and the thought that love might never be a reality at all. When I heard this live it hit me square in the heart. I could not breath and that moment Clay always takes to come out of a song was needed by me. If I never attend another concert, I believe, I have had the moment when artist and a fan have a melding of souls.

Because You Love Me is the perfect ending to the concert. In my opinion, he loves us because we care. He loves us not because we are crazy, or sport tattoos and wear tee shirts, but because we know the truth, that he's a good person, a real person, that his soul is in the right place, that he is stronger than all the garbage that has been thrown at him. He loves us because we love him.

Posted by spotlightlover at CH:
Clay was hysterically funny tonight. The "slooooow" banter before TWYMMF was just hilarious. I can't begin to remember all the best moments without reviewing all the Clack. Another great one was when Clay was late getting onstage for the second half and had to run from the wings to his spot to get to the mic in time. Lover All Alone was especially ethereal and heart-tugging.

Some funny moments at Pala:

~Part 1~

~Part 2~


Thursday, August 02, 2007

The Summer Tour: Newark

~Photos from the fantastic photographers of ClayNation~

Clay performed with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark on July 28th. The following are excerpts from fan recaps to give you a feel of what the concert experience was like for the Newark show.

Concert musings:

Posted by 43dudleyvillas at CV/CH:

"Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word" was ****ing incredible. Clay's performance of it was completely and totally committed, his vocals were beyond gorgeous -- that honeyed tone of his that I absolutely adore was in full evidence, his control and modulation were really, really good.

Posted by toni7babe at CV/CH:
OMG my fav concert so far!!!!!! He was great...... When he jumped off the stage and sang "The Way You Make Me Feel" at one point I was on aisle he sang right to me **DIES** The stubble was so fricken hot tonight!!

Posted by corabeth at CH:
The end of the Classics where he acts almost like Pinnochio's astonished "I'm a Real Boy" except this was "Wow, I'm cool". He stood there in (mock) amazement that he was now cool, then he pretended to not even be able to stand there but just collapsed back into his stool, Stunned at his coolness. Bwah worthy and great acting. The whole new narrative of this part is excellent.

Posted by NYmom4Clay at CB:
Anyway, it occurred to me last night that I've never seen Clay in finer form. His voice sounds beyond amazing, the free ranging discussion of whatever topic comes to mind is enchanting and entertaining, he holds the audience in thrall just by his presence on the stage. The experience just defies description. But it's one that you want to repeat over and over and over... And then comes what has to be the most perfect ending ever to a concert. Clay's sincerity when he speaks of his appreciation of the local talent, his joy at being able to go out on the road and spend time with his dear friends and all of us, and his gratitude for having it be possible just spills out and into the closing song Because You Loved Me. He might be singing but the experience is a shared one and the bond is one of mutual appreciation and love.

Posted by kmh135 at CH:
Hearing Clay live in a venue with good accoustics always makes me fall in love all over again. And Newark was no exception. I am very very glad I decided to go. I thought his voice was in excellent form, and the venue accoustics were great (at least where I was) overall.

He was very high energy last night as was the crowd, and the energy translated to a fun show. I thought the tv theme songs worked much better thanks to 1 ) a somewhat broader comedic interpretation by Clay 2 ) Clay's bringing an enormous amount of energy and personality to the set and 3 ) a very well trained charged up Clay-fan-heavy audience who helped keep the energy going.

Posted by shadylil at the CH:
Clay sure does love him some TV medley theme songs. He doesn't stop moving. To every note. Either he's singing, mouthing, dancing, conducting, playing air piano, or air-conducting, there's some part of him that's continueously moving. The George Jefferson dance was great. I just wanna take him to a Prom or a bar and dance with him, ya know? Quiana was funny doing Clay's TV intro, and the looks that Clay was giving her were funny.

More from shadylil:
The nuances, the haunting tonal quality, his facial expressions, all combined to give this song the feelings and emotions that it was meant to have. It was exquitsite. MoaM was, in a word, incredible. You know how Clay usually shuts down any extended audience applause? Well, he tried. Three times he tried. The first time, he flailed his arms, trying to get us to sit down. It failed. The second time he did that, not only did he fail, the cheers and screams got even louder. The third time, he started to succeed in shutting us up *g*

Posted by playbiller at the CH:
I was on a far side and could see everyone entering and leaving stage, but the sound guy was on my side which gave me the advantage of seeing Clay constantly signal to the sound guy to up and lower the feedback monitors. I also got to see Clay signal Quiana to sing the lower notes in "I Want to Know What Love Is" so he could riff with Angela. It was funny, he used two fingers around his mike to suddenly point down and Quiana nodded and he nodded back. Then Quiana's voice dropped at least an octave! Maybe they do need a guy in the "family".

Posted by CantGoADayWithoutClay at CH:
I don't remember what song Clay was singing, but I could see the wheels grinding in his head. Doesn’t he always seems to be looking for a new and exciting way to get closer to his audience? Remember, he walked "the pit wall" in Philly.... and then sang from the stage "wings" in Syracuse? Well this time, he ventured a walk while singing, across the very, very tippy tip edge of the stage in FRONT of the speaker boxes and floor lights (I was only half hoping he'd end up in my lap heh) But seriously, he wasn't even looking down! Just walking and singing... one, honkin' big foot smack in front of the other, with literally inches between the edge of the equipment and end of the stage.... all the while singing and looking straight ahead.

At one point, the toes of one shoe were right in the loop of a circle of coaxal cable, and as he lifted his foot (without looking) the woman to my right, and I both gasped aloud, in unison, for fear he was about to catch his foot and fall smack on his face .... or off the stage. Without so much as a downward glance, we could not believe he backed that foot out of that looping mess and OVER the wires. Unfreakin believable! As if he has eyes in his shoes. She and I just looked at each other in amazement.

Posted by care4clay at CB:
I have to say that aside from the beauty of Clay's ballads, my favorite parts of the show were the two medleys, because they brought out Clay's comical energy and set a feel-good mood for the audience. I was laughing so hard at Clay's banter. He is probably one of the funniest people I've ever known or known of. His timing is phenomenal and the way he improvises at times just shows how down to earth he is. It is really such a pleasure to watch. When the TV Theme Song Medley began with the Full House theme song I couldn't help but sing along. I love that Clay wants to involve the whole audience in his concerts. He understands that we are all sharing the experience and we are all united by our love for him.

Performances from Newark

"Lover All Alone"

~Video from bigappleforclay~

"Because You Loved Me"

~Video from toni7babe~

"These Open Arms"

~Video from toni7babe~