Clay Aiken – You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet

Clay Aiken, Raleigh, North Carolina, March 12, 2010 – oh my, what a night.  I’m going to come clean right off the bat and let everyone know that I am NOT good at recapping.  I get so caught up in what is on that stage that I cannot process little tidbits, so this recap will not be song by song, except maybe a few, but more my general feelings and impressions.

The pre concert excitement was palpable – sitting in an auditorium with hundreds of my closest friends waiting for the man who brought us all together to hit that stage.  It had been WAY too long.  Sitting in the 2nd row, the best seat I have EVER had for any concert I have attended, I almost couldn’t sit still.

First off, I must give a shout out to whoever it was who did the lighting and the set design for this taping.  It was magnificent, pure genius.  It set an amazing ambiance that complimented, but never overshadowed, the amazing talent on that stage.  I have been to hundreds of concerts, from symphonies to Metallica, but I have to say that I have never seen a show where every last detail was so well thought out and planned – from the chandeliers to the pretty little lights that looked like a star filled sky.

Mack the Knife.  It has been described so many times – Clay’s back to the audience in silhouette – perfection.  When he turned around, started to sing, and the lights flooded the stage, the audience, hell, it felt like the entire auditorium (and maybe half of downtown Raleigh), the impact was absolutely mind boggling.  Although we later learned that maybe the song wasn’t perfection, it sure felt like it was.  The arrangement, the lighting, the vocals, the stage presence – it was like nothing I had ever experienced before.  Clay literally took my breath away with the first song and I don’t think I got it back until after I left the auditorium.

Misty.  I have always loved this song, always.  But it became a song that I strongly associated with Clay after he came into a thread on the Official Fan Club site and wrote that a particular post had made him “Misty”.  Clay singing this song, and to perfection, made me just a tad bit Misty myself.  I still have “Walk my way, and a thousand violins begin to play” looping through my brain – but the voice singing these lyrics is now Clay’s voice – magic.

Crying.  My oh my oh my.  I am so hopeful that if there is going to be a single from Tried and True that it will be Crying.  I feel it has huge cross over potential and the vocal talent of both Clay Aiken & Linda Eder will leave even the most casual of fan (or non fan) speechless.  The marriage of two of the best voices in the business today, the arrangement, the harmonies, from the first note to the very last, was (crap, I’m running out of adjectives here) perfection.

And speaking of vocal talent, I’m going to go a little off topic here for a moment.  Clay said a couple of years ago that he does not consider himself a musician, and maybe that was true two years ago, but it is most certainly not true now.  Clay Aiken used that magnificent voice of his on Friday night like a fine tuned instrument.  The arrangements, orchestration, instrumentation and the vocal presentation complimented each other like nothing I have ever heard.  A lesser musician very easily would have been overpowered – but not Clay, he soared through every note, every key change, and every tempo change – with ease and power. So Clay honey, if you ever read this, please do not sell yourself short again – you truly are a first class musician and you proved it over and over and over again on Friday night.

(Back on topic here).  In My Life.  Honestly, what can you say?  This part of the concert was pure Clay.  Thanking those who were there for him, helped him through some rough times as he was growing up.  Giving a shout out to people who make a difference every day in the life of a child – teachers.  It could have been TOO sentimental, but it was just classic Clay.  It was presented with humor, heart and complete sincerity.  This has always been one of my Top 10 Beatles songs, and Clay sang it with an emotional impact that, well, took my breath away and made me tear up.

Ruben Studdard was also in fine voice on Friday night.  How fun to see the two of them on stage together again.  These two men MADE American Idol what it is today and the chemistry is still there after all these years.  There is true friendship there, true respect for each other.  The Medley with Clay, Ruben & Quiana Parler was FANTASTIC!!  So funny and yet it was believable – wonderful arrangements, great vocals and great interaction between the three of them.

There are just too many high points to list!  Build Me Up Buttercup – I was grinning like a damn fool through the entire song.  Clay kicked BUTT and, although he “thanked” Ben for making him sing higher than he’d ever sung before, it was completely effortless (and I hope his back’s feeling better real soon).

Suspicious Minds was also another show stopping song and it was like coming home seeing Clay & Quiana on stage together again.  Impossible, There’s a Kind of Hush, You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me, What Kind of Fool Am I, Who’s Sorry Now – all of them rich, lush, beautiful, all of them showcasing Clay’s amazing voice.

This leads us to Unchained Melody.  I am finding it impossible to describe Unchained Melody – I think I need to hear it again and again and again (if you get my drift) but here’s what I THINK I remember.  It started out lower than he has typically performed the song, it also seemed like it started out slower – more true to the version made popular by the Righteous Brothers and Clay was fantastic.  Nope, I can’t do it, I cannot explain it – I’ve read it likened to a 747 taking off or thunder that started in Clay’s toes and traveled through his body.   What I remember is that the word “I” (right before he would normally hit the falsetto note) was the starting off point, it was used as the catalyst, and the word itself was held and the note was built upon, until it crescendoed into NEED and at that point all hell broke loose on stage – the lights didn’t just move, they BLASTED onto him and bathed him in the spotlight and the rest of the song was pure, unadulterated vocal brilliance (I STILL wish they had to redo that song, I REALLY need to hear it again!!).  Let me give you a feel of the impact.  There was an usher in my section, she was sitting on a chair in the pit area.  She sat through the entire concert doing her job sitting in the pit.  At the end of Unchained Melody this woman leapt to her feet, screaming, cheering and applauding – she was completely caught up in the moment, it was real, it was organic, it was sincere.

Seven years ago, on this little TV show called American Idol, Clay Aiken performed Mack the Knife.  In her critique, Paula Abdul said “Clay you were so ultra cool, I’m scared of you boy.  You did an amazing job – so hip, so cool”.  All I can say is – Paula honey, you ain’t seen nothing yet.

Clay Aiken, American Idol 2003

Clay Aiken - 2010 Tried & True (AP)

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Comments

  1. Great recap – thanks a lot! Reading it almost felt like I had been there and not in the middle of Europe! xxx

  2. It's so exciting to read the summaries of the event. The fans who attended did a wonderful job with your recaps. Really I've been feeling there. ¡IS INCREDIBLE!. just makes me want more and more to see the TV special and hear the new CD.
    Thanks to all for sharing with us this wonderful experience, and to leave us to know that Clay Aiken, "the only one", "incomparable", "wonderful artist"…. continues there, and this one in his better moment. I'm so happy.
    Rossy

  3. It's so exciting to read the summaries of the event. The fans who attended did a wonderful job with your recaps. Really I've been feeling there. ¡IS INCREDIBLE!. just makes me want more and more to see the TV special and hear the new CD.

  4. Well SueRue for someone that doesn't think she can recap well, you did one hell of a job. I think you captured the essence and spirit of what was going on in that building. I can't explain it myself, it was e l e c t r i f y i n g (tm. John Travolta) to say the least. Clay Aiken is at the top of his game and ladies I'm loving this man forever.

  5. Sue, LOVE your recap of Clay Aiken's PBS taping. You did a great job. Thanks for the tidbit about the usher jumping up all carried away with UM. Hearing how NJS react to Clay is wonderful. Thanks for sharing you experience seeing Clay's latest performance. His best yet, so I gather from all the Red Recaps. Bravo.

  6. Sue, you give good recaps and I realize it was a magical experience seeing Clay Aiken being heard in his true voice and free of all the **** at last!!

  7. So happy that I was able to be there to witness this wonderful concert. Before the concert we were told to be prepared to be blown away…we were, over and over with that perfect voice. Everything was first class from the tiniest detail to the last note.

  8. Sue, that was a GREAT recap, thanks you! I too have been trying to put UM into words. I too want to hear it again (x100) because the part where “all hell broke loose”, all I remembered was what happened? Where is the usual high note? There was a complete and unexpected twist, beautifully arranged and executed, then he just kept soaring and soaring till the end. If he was not breathless at the end, I WAS! I don’t remember the notes or the lyrics to that part because I sat there spellbound. Sue your explanation about him using his voice like a fine tuned instrument is spot on.

  9. Wish I could have been there. Your recap is the next best thing, thanks Sue. I cannot wiat to see Clay's PBS Special.

  10. I was there and I still can't find words to describe the evening and the music. The voice was just so magnificent that it remains indescribable. "Crying" and Unchained Melody" are in a class by themselves.

  11. Sue, absolutely agree with your entire recap. It was a stellar performance, possibly Clay's best ever….at least so far, LOL. When Clay hit that indescribable note in UCM I felt like fireworks had been ignited and I can't say anyone's voice has ever accomplished such a feat, at least in my lifetime. What a wonderful experience.

  12. I keep reading all of these wonderful recaps and I keep getting greener and greener with jealousy.
    Sinful, I know – but I am smiling as I type this. I cannot wait for this PBS Special to be televised!
    I want that CD in my hands! I want to hear his voice again! Thank you for a wonderful recap!!

  13. Sue, that was such a great recap. The more I recaps I hear, the more excited I get. June is never gonna get here. And please, please, please somehow let there be a tour 🙂 (but if not we'll at least have this great performance on video to watch over and over…)

  14. holy crap Sue, what an amazing recap!please Don't sell yourself short you knocked this detailed report out of the water.!!! I more than enjoyed it from start to finish!!!! WOW!

  15. You said, "There are just too many high points to list!" You are so right about that, but you did a great job covering so many of them. I'm a friend of MusicFan and it was great meeting you at the Marriot.

  16. This is such a wonderful recap. I wasnt there due to health reasons.
    These recaps have brought such emotion out in me. They are just beautiful
    and I feel I was there. Thank you so much to all the recappers.

  17. Hey, all! =D

    Jeez, Suereu, I felt like I was in the seat next to you. What a fabulous recap! [And you’re way fun to sit next to! But, stop poking me every five seconds!!!]

    I am SO looking forward to the “rebirth” of Clay Aiken, and am SO delighted and pleased that he seems to have found a path that’s most comfortable for him. I never felt he was content being a Top 40 guy, frankly. Square peg/round hole, for sure.

    The usual critics (amateur and “professional”) will spew their predictable crap, and to them I say, “Pfft. Here’s to not caring. Major meh.”

    Me? I can barely wait for the new and improved Clay; his obvious affection for really good lyrics and melodies is not lost on this long-time fan.

    Bring it, baby!

  18. What a great recap! I loved your report of how the usher lept to her feet, cheering, screaming and applauding after UM. Sometimes you get so caught up in emotion, you just can't help yourself! I don't think I've wiped the smile off my face ever since the reports and recaps started coming in. I am so proud of Clay and so happy for him!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  19. Wonderful recap Sue! It's impossible to totally describe the feelings that went coursing through us all during that show but you did a hell of job trying! Bravo to you, Sue. I could not have asked for more.

    It was so great meeting you and Musicfan and so many others. I felt certain I was going to have a heart attack when he started off with "Mack the Knife" as it made my dream come true. If I dropped dead tomorrow, my life would be complete ….. well maybe not until after the upcoming CD and tour!

    Thanks for your great recap, a trip back to Friday nite and a wonderful weekend with my fellow mates. Love to all!

  20. I wish I could have been there…but reading your recap Sue…I felt like I was there. It just makes me more excited to see the DVD and also attending his next concert. Oh yeah, can't wait for that delectable CD either. Gotta listen to Unchained Melody. Our man is a Super Stah for sure!!

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