Clay Aiken – The Beginning of a Career

The Xcel Energy Center is a sports arena in Saint Paul, Minnesota. It is home to the NHL’s Minnesota Wilds and the NLL’s Minnesota Swarm. It is owned by the city of Saint Paul and operated by Minnesota Sports & Entertainment. The arena has four spectator levels: one suite level, and three general seating levels named the 100 level, the club level, and the 200 level. Its official capacity is 18,064.

The Xcel Energy Center opened in Fall 2000. It was built on the site of the demolished St. Paul Civic Center.  In 2004, the arena was named by ESPN as the best overall sports venue in the U.S.

On July 8, 2003, the Xcel Energy Center was the site for the opening of the American Idol,  Season II Summer Tour.

There had been a buzz in the Twin Cities for more than a week.  The entire cast of the Season II tour had been in the area, practicing for the opening of the tour.  They spent some time rehearsing at the University in Minneapolis and finally had their dress rehearsal in the arena.

The 2003 American Idol Tour traveled throughout the United States and gave 41 shows.  The concert tour ended on August 31st in Anaheim California.

No one knew what to expect at the Xcel.  The show and its performers were kept under wraps and so the performances were highly anticipated.

In the first half of the show, each Idol performed a solo song in the order they had been eliminated from the show. Clay Aiken performed in the number 9 position. Before his performance, they showed a short video montage of Clay as he progressed through the American Idol show.  Finally, Clay appeared on the stage from below in a cloud of fog and sang “This is the Night.” Dressed in a dark suit, white shirt and purple tie, Clay looked handsome and ready to thrill the audience.

The second half of the concert was much more informal and there was a combination of solos and ensembles.  Clay was very busy as he sang in many of the songs.

One of the highlights of the show was Clay’s duet with Ruben to “The Girl Is Mine.”  They had a lot of fun teasing each other and sang well together.

To the majority of the people in the audience, the most exciting moment of the concert was when the lights dimmed and Clay arose from under the stage, dressed with a sports jersey from the local team.  It was the first time that the audience saw and heard Clay’s popular hit, “Invisible” and they saw a performer who dominated the show with an exciting and dynamic performance.  And, the Xcel was the home of the first “tug.”

The program at the Xcel ended with the entire ensemble singing “God Bless the USA.”  It was a wonderful way to end an exciting program.

The Season II American Idol Tour went on to be a huge success.  Sponsored by PopTarts, the tour had an average attendance of 10, 446 and the capacity for the tour was over 89%.

Clay Aiken fans will always remember the Xcel Arena and the wonderful excitement of the evening.  It was just the beginning of a wonderful professional life for Clay.

The following is a video of Clay singing Invisible.  It’s a real treat to see the beginning of it all!!


The next video is This Is The Night from Raleigh.


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15 thoughts on “Clay Aiken – The Beginning of a Career

  1. Thank you!! I went to the AI2 tour, the only American Idol tour I went to – it was so much fun!!!! Clay Aiken really held the crowd in the palm of his hand.

    Loved the Invisible video – I don’t know what was better, Clay or the crowd (OMG OMG OMG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

    This Is The Night from Raleigh always puts a tear in my eye.

  2. July 8th, 2003………Just the beginning. Oh, how he has evolved and thrilled us with so many tours and songs. We need another tour.

    Soon, Clay, Soon!!!!

  3. Musicfan,

    Thank you for rewinding the AI2 Tour opener. I didn’t attend an Idol concert, so I especially enjoyed reading and viewing the Clay Aiken highlights.

    Many thnx for your support of all the Clay blogs.


  4. Awesome! Thanks for this blog of Clay Aiken’s beginning tour.
    Not having seen it in person, it’s such a treat to watch the videos. Clay ruled the stage, no doubt about that 🙂

  5. O.M.G. I didn’t go to any of the AI2 Concerts. But, by the looks of it…holy cow pandamonium broke out when Clay entered the stage. Gosh, I don’t think they screamed like that for anyone..not even today on the AI Tours. I thought they would never stop. Love it..and can’t wait for him to tour again.

  6. Thank you for the videos.

    “OMG! What is that move??”

    So funny! That was the start of something goood!

  7. I missed the AI2 tour. Thanks for the retelling of Clay Aiken’s first concert tour appearance! A wonderful recap and great videos!!

  8. I didn’t get to go to the AI tour, but I watched every video I could find. What wonderful memories of Clay Aiken’s first tour! Thank you!

  9. This is great…I did get to go to the AI2 tour stop in Toronto at the Air Canada Centre.

    Never in my life have I heard such reaction, when everyone knew Clay was coming up…It was incredible. The roof could have blown off the place…. This is from a person who saw The Beatles back in the 60’s….. It was a great show..and Clay was just Clay….you could hardly hear him, but I watched every move with my binoculars….

    After the concert, was my first bus experience….All the busses were leaving…but Clay’s bus got held up at the stop light…..He was the only one that came to the front of the bus and waved…. I was absolutely hooked….He still had on his “I Love Toronto” Tshirt…. It is an experience I will never forget…ever since then, I have gone to the busses…and I would not miss it for the world….

    Thanks for letting us relive this all over again…..It’s classic…


  10. I was able to go to the AI Tour at the end of the tour. Clay was amazing. Thank you for sharing this with us.

  11. I was fortunate to be in the 2nd row for the AI2 Wilkes Barre show. I only show that one show, but I’ll never forget the magic I experienced when Clay was on that stage.

  12. I saw the AI 2003 tour in Anaheim ( in the nosebleed section) and I have never been more excited! It was obvious that most people were there to see Clay and he didn’t disappoint. Clay has never disappointed me, ever!

    Thanks for the great job you always do. I love reading, watching and listening to every Clay treat you bring.

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