Clay Aiken – An Anniversary of Importance

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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  1. I have no idea why we didn't get to the concert – but it was a huge mistake!! When it played
    Cleveland it was said that Clay came out to thunderous applause!! More than anybody else.
    It makes me sad to think we weren't there. What were we thinking??!!! 🙁

    Thanks for the two videos – they are great!

  2. WOW! these were great videos of Clay, seems the crowd couldn't get enough of him, neither can I, thanks musicfan, you sure know how to make my morning.

  3. Wow! Those are a couple of really great videos. Both appearances were extraordinary. The "Invisible" "what was that move?" continues to be a well remembered highlight. Also, I loved when, toward the end of "This is The Night", Clay became caught up in the moment, and "let loose" by roaming the stage with gleeful abandon. It was such a wonderful and heartfelt reaction from him. A definite smile maker for sure and the audience just couldn't contain themselves.

    Thanks musicfan. I truly appreciate revisiting those exciting moments. Happy 9 year Anniversary to Clay and his fans.

  4. Goodness, I had tears in my eyes just watching these again!! What great memories!! It's no wonder Clay's kept us mesmerized and coming back all these years!!!!

  5. Just listen to the crowds in those videos! It is hard to imagine how Clay must have felt hearing and seeing the crowds reaction.

    Love all the info on the concert and arena.

    Yesterday, it was posted by USAToday that there were about 5,000 people at the opening of this years AI tour…that is about 1/4 of the crowd for season 2's concert. Clay and Ruben brought people into the seats.

  6. I didn’t start watching Idol till season 4 so I didn’t know too much about Clay till the season 5 finale. I’ve been hooked ever since so I love seeing these videos of great moments I missed. Thanks for a wonderful post. 🙂

  7. OMG..OMG..OMG! Never heard so much applause and screaming in all my years. I think Clay was a little overwhelmed for a while there. They just couldn't get enough of him. I still can't get enough of him. So, nice to see these again. Thank you so much!

  8. Thanks so much for sharing both of those videos. I cherish my memories of the excitement and thrills of the early days in the Clay nation. While it's still exciting now it's not quite the same.

  9. omg i have never herd so much screaming and applause un al my years eather and it seemed like the fans couldnt get enough of him and i myself cant get enough of him eather and it was verry nice to see these allover again thanks

  10. It was an exciting time and I loved it then and now! He got an equally great reception when he returned later with Kelly. I was in the audience and it was a great show. I also agree that it's one of the best venues! Clay still claims St Paul to be one of his favorite places. Thank you for sharing and bringing back great memories!

  11. I was silly enough not to realize that Clay was going to be the star of the tour. I loved him but thought because Ruben won, he would be the star…so I didn't go to the concert. I didn't even know there were Clay fan boards. I think I have made up for that in the last few years.

    Thank you so much for the info, pictures and videos. I love seeing it all!!

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