Clay Aiken – A Night To Remember

From all reports, the concert, Bringing Broadway Home, was amazing Clay Aiken was in fine voice and all the performers added so much to the concert.  I asked a wonderful Clay fan, tnmtmama if I could post her review of the concert.  Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us.

I had been debating with myself about going to the “Bringing Broadway Home” (BBH) concert from the first time we knew about it. I had gone to the PBS taping, forever known as the OMG Concert, and was as blown away as everyone else by the strength and power of Clay’s voice. It was even better than his stint on AI. I wanted to go to the BBH concert to make sure that what I heard was not a one time fluke brought on by excitement, either because Clay was so excited, or because I was, just to see him again after two years away from a live stage. I finally bit the bullet and bought a ticket on Sunday night. I got a balcony ticket and took my binoculars.

After a long, lovely drive from Charlotte, I got to Raleigh with plenty of time for a burger at the McD’s just across from the theater. Sitting down at a table, mind completely on the coming show, I didn’t even notice the group of three people across the isle from me until I heard mention of a Broadway show. I took a good look then, and was staring at Terrance Mann! You just don’t expect to see huge Broadway stars in McDonalds! Unfortunately, Clay wasn’t with him.

I got to the theater and picked up my ticket at Will Call, got the program, called Always & Forever to give her the set list, and found my seat. The balcony is a great place to sit if you want a view of the entire stage, but not good if you are primarily interested in seeing Clay up close and personal. Binoculars are a great invention!

Clay opened the concert with “Home” from The Wiz. It was so appropriate because this show was all about the homegrown talent from Raleigh. I’ll admit now that I was a little apprehensive. I guess I just couldn’t believe that the voice I heard at the PBS taping was really as good as I remembered it. Well, it was, and then some. Rich, full, and so strong, that beautiful voice filled the theater all the way to the last row of the balcony. I forgot all about my binoculars because it didn’t even matter what the owner of that voice looked like, I just wanted to sit there and hear that music. Well, lucky for us, he is as beautiful in flesh as he is in voice.

Everyone on the stage was in such fine voice last night. I’m not a critic and not an expert, so I could just sit there and revel in the pleasure of the music, no need or desire to evaluate any of it, just grateful that I could hear it. The highlight of the concert for me was the trio of Clay, Lauren, and Terrance singing “Leavin’s No the Only Way to Go” from Big River. Clay has mentioned in the past that he would have loved to be in this show, but he is passed the age now where he could do the role. This may be true, but I would have loved to see the faces of the audience if he had sung this as a young kid.

Terrance Mann was everything you expect in a major Broadway star, including funny. He performed “Where’s the Girl” from The Scarlett Pimpernel while roaming around the stage flirting with the girls. After he ran out of women to sing to, he sat on Clay’s lap and sang to him! His next move was to the conductor of the orchestra, who was in for more attention than he expected.

I love vocal harmony, so the biggest treat for me, next to the trio number, was the duets. If you have ever seen Clay in concert, you know he loves to duet. Last night was a great night for duet lovers, because Clay and Quaina sang “Last Night of the World” from Miss Saigon, and Clay and Lauren sang “In Whatever Time We Have” from Children of Eden. I would love it if Clay recorded a CD of songs with Broadway Divas.

As we know by now, Quiana brought the house down. She was outstanding and held her own, and then some, with these powerful singers from the world’s best stage. She really needs to be up there with them.

The show ended with “Imagine” from Lennon, another beautiful combination of voices. It all ended too some for me. I could have stayed in that bliss for hours, but it was time to drive home. After that evening of music, being on the road alone at night gave me a chance to sort out my thoughts on Clay and his career. I know there are still many fans who long for the pop star, but the situation in music today doesn’t fit Clay and his talent. Pop stars are manufactured by record labels. They find someone with a “look,” dress them right, throw a ton of publicity at them, protool the crap out of their voice, record generic songs from the likes of Ryan Tedder and Kira D, and you have a teen pop star. They aren’t expected to last, and no talent or personality is needed.

I can look back and see that this is what they tried to do with Clay, ignoring the fact that he had personality to spare, talent like no other, and no need for protools. Clay was so right when he said that RCA didn’t know what the hell to do with him, and unfortunately, today’s critics are so tuned to the generic pop sound that they slammed Clay for not having it. How many times have we read “bombastic” and “theatrical” when they describe his music? RCA was handed a Rolls Royce and they used it to carpool the kids to school. Any minivan could have done the job, but only the Rolls is right to take you to the State Dinner at the White House. Like current top 40 pop, the minivan will sell a lot more, but 20 years for now the minivans will be on the scrap heap and the Rolls will just be hitting his stride.


Two Pictures From The After-Party


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