Clay Aiken Entertains New Jersey!

Vocal nuances in New Nersey -- Photo by Gerwhisp

Birthday Greetings for Sally!

Clay Wows Newark Audience

Accompanied by the New Jersey Symphony, Clay Aiken & Co. wowed a very enthusiastic audience at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center Saturday night with passionate, soulful, and entertaining vocals, as well as personable humor and charm interwoven throughout the two-act show.

Clay even added a tumbling segment to the Newark show as he jumped off the stage for some audience assistance on the song "The Way You Make Me Feel." Hopping back onstage proved to be troublesome, but the crowd loved his belly-flopping antics clamoring back up the five feet.

Here in the Piedmont, the plan to return home after a one-hour reception gig in time for the New Jersey cellcert ran into its own set of problems. LAP and LACIE welcome FLUTIE to the dialogue as the trio explains what went down ...

Tardy for Newark Cellcert

LAP: OK, FLUTIE, give. Your flute-violin gig was over at 7, and you had a whole hour to hustle 29.81 miles from Winston-Salem back to Greensboro. Why were you guys late for the cellcert?

FLUTIE: Would you believe that after the gig we got lost coming home? You know, this is the norm when we perform in Winston. Caro's BIL will absolutely love this story. They talked Saturday afternoon, and he joked that the best thing for her to do when going to Winston is to disregard directions, just get into the car, and drive. I believe it!

LACIE: The weather wasn't too pleasant either. We heard that downpour just when y'all left the house.

FLUTIE: Yep, the music and I were safe in the gig bag; but the stand and Caro got soaked. Thank goodness for A/C and those curls she inherited from Mama Mac. After a 38-minute drive, the black dress was dry and she still had a respectable "do." Different but decent.

LAP: So what happened to being home by 8? We wanted to hear Clay's "Here You Come Again" entrance in New Jersey, but he was into the American Idol shtick when she finally turned me on.

Name Change Throws Curve

FLUTIE: Caro printed Mapquest directions to get to the gig and thought all she had to do was trace them in reverse. Who knew that Fairlawn becomes Silas Creek Parkway? And the first time around we zipped right past it.

LAP: Sounds like she took her BIL's advice and just started driving around aimlessly.

FLUTIE: Well, she drove a long way on Reynolda before finally turning around. When she spotted a McDonalds, we made a dash for the drive-through where she ordered a small coke and told the man in the machine trying to interest her in a combo that what she really needed was directions to Silas Creek. Fortunately, we were about a block from Fairlawn. I'd say that's the best $2.07 she ever spent!

LACIE: So how was the gig? We know she's been spending a lot more time with you than us this week.

87 Tunes in an Hour!

FLUTIE: Well, she did need to work up her flute chops and get familiar with the play book. Would you believe that thing contains 87 different songs? On the other hand, I know that LACIE is up to 11 GB's of tour clack; and several files were added on Saturday before we left.

LAP: You're right, FLUTIE. The girl is a downloading fool. So how did you play 87 songs in one hour?

FLUTIE: We didn't; we just chose songs as we went along. We played such headliners as Bach, Handel, Vivaldi, Telemann, Mozart, and Haydn along with some blues and Broadway tunes. My duet partner is an excellent violinist, and we took turns playing lead during the reception, meaning we did a lot of sightreading, kind of like the Nashua Symphony in Clay's Meadowbrook concert.

LACIE: I guess all is well. Caro heard most of the cellcert, plus she's already downloaded the audio and listened to it twice!

PHOTO INTERLUDE: Among the many pictures posted from the Newark concert are these clickables by three photographers, including Denise Bernadette, 1 and 5; Toni7babe, 2 and 4; and Gerwhisp, 3.

Birthday Songs, Knoxville Tune-Ups

LAP: Sheesh, I don't know about Clay & Co., but I'm glad there's a little breather before the tour swings through California Thursday. Maybe we can do something around here besides clickity clickity clack -- though there's nothing like listening to Singer Man's pipes.

FLUTIE: I heard Caro tell the violinist she's having her car serviced Monday in preparation for the Knoxville concert, so you guys might get a one-day break anyway.

LACIE: Meanwhile, we need to tune up our vocal cords. This is a special day for a very good friend, Sally888.

LAP: Sally's not blogging anymore, but friends and readers can still access her OFC journal. She usually reads our entries, and there's a celebration going on in Clayversity's Paint Shop Pro Forum, which she founded.

LACIE: Many thnx to Cindilu2 for designing our card. Are you two ready?FLUTIE: I'm improvising an obligato, so hit it, guys.

ALL THREE (clearing throats, head joints, and hard drives):

Happy Birthday to you,
Happy Birthday to you,
Happy Birthday, Miss Sally,
Happy Birthday to you!

... and may you have many more!!!

California 4-fer Opens Thursday

CA fans long ago tagged the coming week's Summer Tour concerts as the "California 4-fer." This is the schedule:

Aug 2: Embarcadero Marina Park South, San Diego
Aug 3: Pala Casino Starlight, Pala
Aug 4: Greek Theatre, Los Angeles
Aug 5: Fantasy Springs Casino, Indio

Below is a clickable of Gerwhisp's opening photo:

Have a wonderful week, Clay Nation!


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Meadowbrook Bugs Immortalized in Clay's Show

Wailing in New Hampshire -- Photo by LynninNJ

Clay Adds to Banter, Lyrics

Meadowbrook Insects Join Show

Meadowbrook is a beautiful setting for a summer concert; but on a hot New England night with high humidity, very little breeze, and a spotlight targeting Clay Aiken & Co., New Hampshire insects invaded center stage, attacked from all directions, and assured their legacy via the singer's famous spontaneity in banter and lyrical references all evening long.

Because of the bright lights, bugs of all varieties were especially interested in the three singers ... "up my shirt, in my nose, plus I think I even swallowed one!" Clay interjected. During "1999" of The Classics Medley, he sang, "The sky was all purple; there were mosquitos everywhere."

Another time Clay joked, "The mosquitos are breeding, and my music is getting them in the mood!" Just as he made lemonade with the insect onslaught in banter and song, the entertainer put to good use a can of bug spray handed to him mid-concert.

'The Bug Show'

Besides being remembered as "The Bug Show," Meadowbrook will go down in CA fan lore as the night the excellent musicians of the Nashua Symphony proved their merit. At 2:30 p.m., the discovery was made that all show scores -- as well as the stools for the three singers -- had inadvertently been left in Detroit on Monday.

Parts were faxed to the venue, and an abbreviated rehearsal commenced at 4:30. Clay applauded the Nashua musicians for learning the show in record time.

As he does at every performance, the singer encouraged the concert attendees to support their local arts organizations and showered the evening's orchestra with well-deserved kudos.

"If you live in New England and don't support them [symphonies], they will leave and we won't have anyone to play with ... unless these horseflies learn to play the trombone!"

A musician who has dodged many swarming mosquitos and moths, as well as competed with choruses of cicadas, I thought that was one of the funniest lines all night. Listening to the cellstream on my computer and reading the accompanying thread, I sat and laughed a long time about that line.

Glow Sticks Express Fan Love

When Clay fans decide to show their singer the love, they really do it well. The info below is paraphrased from recaps by Lylekira and Clayleen:

During the first few chords of "Because You Loved Me" and right after Clay thanked everyone --and their pet bugs -- for coming, approximately 1,000 red glow sticks amazingly appeared simultaneously. The faces of Clay and his backup singers were lit in wonderment.

The crowd waved them back and forth in unison to the music, and Clay smiled throughout the song. All three were obviously touched by the gesture. At the end, Clay signed "thank you," gave the audience a huge smile, and departed.

Compliments of LonelyNoMore44, a small WMV file of the glowing send-off by Meadowbrook concert goers can be downloaded here.

Link to a Meadowbrook Slide Show by clicking on the picture below. Photographers represented are LynninNJ, Tangerine, Gerwhisp, claytonsmyccf, claytonaiken43657, Tsunamimommy, and LonelyNoMore44.

Link to Meadowbrook Slide Show -- Photo by LynninNJ

Featured on the Meadowbrook website is a gallery of photos taken Wednesday by Joy Mark. You may need to press CTRL to bypass your pop-up blocker.

Columbus Reviewer Really Likes Clay

John Petric, reviewer for The Other, an independent newspaper based in Columbus, "gets it." Buckeye4Clay of the Clayboard provided the scans, which are gradually making their way through Clay Cyber.

The article, only available in print version, begins like this:

Clay Aiken is an utterly convincing singer. Deal with it.

The clickables of the scans are well worth the read. I kind of like the way Petric ended the review, too:

And I found myself trying to figure out how I was going to tell the world I didn't hate the guy -- that, indeed, I was somewhat touched by him.

Clickable Columbus Review

Tour Bus Heads to Newark

Next concert for the Summer Symphony Tour is 8 p.m. EDT Saturday at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark where Clay & Co. perform with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra.

New Jersey Performing Arts Center

Meanwhile, Puggmom, a music librarian for her band, and this former band/orchestra director just may need to offer our expertise in that department -- for the remainder of the tour, LOL!

Have a wonderful weekend, Clay Nation!


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New Fans Join Clay Train in Ohio, Michigan

Clay Aiken in Columbus -- Photo by Toni7babe

Ohio Concert Breaks Records

Men Rave About Clay's Show

A whopping crowd of 12-14,000 men, women, and children of all ages picnicking on the sprawling lawn or around one of 300 tables sold at a Chemical Abstract Service event that surpassed previous attendance records could easily have been the headline from Clay Aiken's concert in Columbus, OH, Saturday night.

To CA fans, however, the lead story had to be the number of "Clayversions" among men from multiple generations that occurred during the course of the evening.

Bloggers Write About Concert

On Sunday, Dannylion blogged about the event at MySpace: The Coolest Concert I Have Ever Been To.

Having attended his fair share of concerts -- Beastie Boys, Duran Duran, Fleetwood Mac, etc. -- this man accompanied his wife to the Columbus event to make her happy.

It isn't that I didn't want to go; it's just that I wasn't enthusiastic about it. I actually think Clay is a great singer, but he isn't really my cup of tea. My wife, however, was very excited about going.

If you haven't already seen the blog, go read his story. MySpace members can also leave comments. In addition to the music and the banter, Dannylion was very impressed with the fact that after the concert, Clay walked the enormous bus line shaking hands with his fans.

The entry concludes with this statement: That was the coolest thing that ever happened at any concert I have been to!

Another blogger exclaimed about the huge crowd and posted videos of the bus line in his journal: Hundreds and Hundreds and Hundreds of Clay Aiken Fans.

I took my wife to Columbus, Ohio, Saturday night to see her favorite singer, Clay Aiken, in concert. It was a "Picnic With The Pops" concert, and it was the largest crowd this program has ever seen.

Fans Recap 'Clayversion' Stories

A stroll through concert recaps at several message boards provides many more examples of male fans "getting it" where Clay is concerned. There were female first-timers, too. Special thnx to the fans quoted for sharing their "Clayversion" observations.

Buckeye4Clay: In front of us was a table filled with non-Clay fans who, as Columbus Symphony subscribers, said they attend all of the Picnic With the Pops Concerts. One man said he had never seen anything like the crowd last night for Clay. He said that the only concert receiving similar attendance is when the Ohio State Marching Band plays.

Young professionals in their early 30's, they were amazed at our devotion to Clay. They couldn't get over the fact that so many had traveled so far to see him. They compared us to the followers of Jimmy Buffet, the Grateful Dead, and Phish. We told them that they were in for quite a treat.

I was happy to hear them chatting among themselves at intermission: "He has a tremendous voice." and "Yes, isn't he awesome?" After the concert, one of them turned and said "You all were right; he is very good!"

At another table, the attractive 30-something males went from a facetious "Oh, boy, I can't wait" attitude prior to Clay's appearance to "standing with the rest of us, arm in arm, swaying to the music with big smiles on their faces" during the closer, "Because You Loved Me."

'That Guy Is an Entertainer!'

Laughnoutloud: During intermission, a complete stranger in his late 20's turned and said to me, "'Man, this is a great show, isn't it?' I smiled and agreed. He said, "That guy is an entertainer! I always thought he had the best voice. My wife made me go to the American Idol show when it was here, but I haven't seen him since. This guy is great!!'

He was very excited and animated, and he wanted to talk about the show. The man was Clay gushing right in front of me.

Cath6: The workers and the caterers were all lined up watching the show during the second half and really enjoying themselves. They also showed the orchestra musicians on the jumbotron, and they were having such fun. It was a great experience, and I think Clay made a lot of new fans in Columbus!

Bestillmyheart: One of the funniest things was sitting at a table with a lady who was at her first ever Clay concert. She stood up and cheered with us as he came on stage; but when everyone sat down to listen, I noticed she was still standing and looking at Clay through binoculars. I knew right then she was GONE!

OHIO PHOTO INTERLUDE: Thank you to Toni7babe for this clickable pictorial recap of the Columbus Concert. Enjoy!

Reviewer Cites 'Lover All Alone'

In her review for the Columbus Dispatch, Lynn Green noted Clay's entertaining rapport with the audience:

"One of Aiken’s endearing traits is his gently self-depreciating humor. 'We have more gentlemen in the audience than we usually have,” he observed. “Either the women in Columbus are strong-willed, or the alcohol tab is very high for the men here.”

Though she seemed to think the cellist was a guitarist, she also spotlighted one of the evening's most memorable segments:

"Aiken’s strongest moment was his performance of "Lover All Alone," for which he wrote the lyrics. In spite of jarring intonation problems from his guitarist, he loosened his grip on the polished, practiced stage manner and truly connected with his own soul.

And for those few minutes, the squealing fans, the strong-willed women, the devoted husbands, and the rest of the audience fell absolutely silent in appreciation."

A Magical Performance

Fans described Clay's "Lover All Alone" performance in Columbus as "magical" ... "a masterpiece." Rowdy picnickers became so quiet you could have heard a pin drop on the grass or as Sugarpie311 said: So quiet I could hear crickets chirping ... everyone just taking in those beautiful words straight from Clay's heart.

Bottlecap summarized the moment like this: "Lover All Alone" was just gorgeous, and to see it live is just indescribable. I give Jesse mad props on his piano playing and his scoring for the whole concert, but I think this song really gives him a chance to shine, right along with Clay. The arrangement is spectacular, and the duet with the cello just resonates down to your toes. What a beautiful, rich, and warm tone the combination of Clay's voice and the cello achieve.

There were standing ovations, not just for the rip-roaring, crowd-pleasing "Classics" and TV medleys, but also for the quieter, more reflective songs -- "Lover All Alone," "Measure of a Man," and others.

For Clayneil, the concert was truly a family gathering. Surprised to see an old friend there, my middle son, asked, "And your wife picked this concert?" The reply was, "No, I did because this guy has a great voice!"

Below is a clickable of Toni7babe's lead photo:

The Columbus Symphony Orchestra has a blog in which concert goers can leave comments about the show with Clay. Sounds tailor made for Clay Aiken fans!

Michigan Loves Clay!

Recaps are still coming in; but even on the cellcert, fans at home could tell the highlight of Monday's Sterling Heights concert was the impromptu duet by Clay and Quiana Parler as they performed "Listen" for the ailing Angie Fisher.

Huskerfalcon's video of Listen can be viewed at YouTube and downloaded at Clack Unlimited. Here is a Sendspace for the audio: Listen.

The Freedom Hill Amphitheater website is showcasing "An Evening with Clay Aiken," concert day photos by Larry Garcia accompanied by a medley of CA songs in the background.

Photo by MeganAiken links to Sterling Heights Slide Show

The Michigan slide show features photos by ClayIzzaQT, LynninNJ, FiveGoldens, Shamrock, and MeganAiken.

MICHIGAN PHOTO INTERLUDE: A preview of the slide show is provided by these clickables from Monday's concert at the Freedom Hill Amphitheater. Special thnx to photographers LynninNJ, 1, 4, and 5; and FiveGoldens, 2 and 3.

Symphony Tour Rolls On

Next on the schedule are concerts with the Nashua Symphony Orchestra at 8 p.m. EDT Wednesday at the Meadowbrook Musical Arts Center in Gilford, NH, and the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center Saturday night.

Meadowbrook Musical Arts Center, Gilford, NH

New Jersey Performing Arts Center, Newark, NJ

Claystruck's clickable calendar graphic is a beautiful way to keep an accurate concert/cellcert schedule for Clay's Summer Symphony Tour ... and all its many "handles."

Have an awesome week, Clay Nation!


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New York Openers Feature Twists

Clay Aiken in Canandaigua -- Photo by Dylan

Chautauqua a Colossal Success

Canandaigua Entry a Surprise

Clay Aiken proved this weekend he really, really knows how to make an entrance. In the second and third performances of the Summer Tour's "New York Three-fer," he surprised Canandaigua and Chautauqua audiences filled with fans who know his concert set list as well as he does and -- at times -- the lyrics even better.

On both evenings, the entertainer's normal casual stroll onto the stage while singing "Here You Come Again" took decidedly ingenious twists. Friday Chautauqua concert goers watched Clay circle a high walkway behind the stage and eventually make his way down an aisle to center stage, all the while singing the opening number with the orchestra.

During the Canandaigua entrance Thursday, the singer encountered a few unexpected turns himself. In a report at the Clayboard, Imsnoqueen described the concert's opener this way:

Clay surprised everyone by entering through the crowd. It was pretty funny because there are box seats in Canandaigua. He later explained that Jerome told him there were steps going down from the box seat sections, but he was trapped because there were no steps down from that area.

So Clay kept going into a box seat section and turning around almost immediately. He did this three times. Finally, we could see Clay and Jerome running -- yes, running! -- across a walkway, making his way down the center aisle, still singing all the while.

PHOTO INTERLUDE: Clickables by three photographers replay portions of Friday's Chautauqua concert. Included are photos by WNYClayFan, 1, 4, 5; Mom4Clay22, 2; and ClayFaninMN, 3.

Stupendous Evening at Chautauqua

Anyone listening to the concert cellstream Friday knew before reading recaps or viewing video clips that "An Evening with Clay Aiken" at Chautauqua was a huge success loaded with excitement and energy between Clay & Co. and from fans who have followed the singer for years and those who were introduced to his talent that night.

ClayFanNC (CB), whose hometown is about an hour from Chautauqua, took several relatives and friends to their first CA concert. They were seated among Chautauqua "members" who also had never seen Clay perform. These are abbreviated excerpts from her report:

Before the concert, they [the newbies] had tons of questions for me. Someone mentioned Clay's being on "Idol," and one woman said, "Oh, he didn't win????" ... I just loved that!

The man next to me has seen many performers there, asked lots of questions, and loved the concert! He said, "I see why you like him so much; he has a beautiful voice." He also commented about how kind, caring, and gracious Clay is and was impressed with how he handled the whole easel/card mishap in such a humorous and calm way.

He loved the way Clay bantered and interacted with the audience and said he is a great entertainer. It was fun watching all the "members" dance and sing through the entire "Classics" segment.

Since this was the first concert for my hometown friends, they took their cue from me. The whole row jumped and screamed right along with me!

Chautauqua Institution

Recaps Replay Cananadaigua

Many of Thursday's concert attendees also made the trek to Chautauqua for Friday's concert, but some shared their thoughts in quick recaps before they left.

Also included below are random reactions by cellstream posters who listened to the Canandaigua performance. Whenever possible, the fan's screen name and message board are given.

All in all, it was a great concert. Clay seems to be having so much fun with it, that it's hard not to smile right along with him.

Most sublime moment for me: "Lover All Alone" with piano, cello, and the rain coming down hard. Magical! -- Dylan (Clayversity)

My friend couldn't believe the "network" of people and how we know each other, but never have met in person until the concert.

I've watched tons of clack from last night and just loved it! Clay is so funny and engaging and I sure noticed the women, especially, in the orchestra, loving his banter. I think Clay had a lot of fun too and that always translates to the audience and their enjoyment. -- Canuck2010 (CV)

PHOTO INTERLUDE: These clickables by three photographers recall memorable scenes from the Canandaigua concert. Included are pictures by LynninNJ, 1; KarenEh, 2, 3; and Fivegoldens, 4, 5.

Bus Line Impresses Security

Good posts travel from board to board, and this description came from CB's buscert three times removed:

A security guard came out and asked why everyone was standing around. The fans explained to him that Clay would come out to shake hands. When Jerome came out, the guard couldn't believe all the fans were calling him by name.

The security guard, who spoke to us on the cellcert phone, said he enjoyed the show and that he was trying to keep the crazy Clay fans in line out there. The security guards took pictures of Jerome with the fans.

Here's the story about Jerome's new hat: My daughter and I gave Jerome a cap with "LINE UP" printed on it. We told him that those are our favorite two words from him. He wore it the whole time. -- ClayFanNC (CB)

Earlier Concerts Still in 'News'

Previous tour concerts are still in the "news" throughout Clay Cyberspace. These remarks, memories, and blog notes relate to performances in Syracuse, Philadelphia, and Tulsa.

Word from the Syracuse Symphony via my friend is that they are "very very happy" with the concert attendance and the way everything went. -- SnarkyStripes (CV)

AileenEP (Clackhouse) reported this observation from the Philadelphia concert: I had so much fun watching two 20-something girls having the time of their lives. They totally loved Clay, and they also loved the show!

During the TV medley, it was like "Name That Tune." Each one knew every TV show, and it was a race to see which one screamed out the title first. During the "Classics" portion, they were up dancing along with each and every song. They knew the them immediately.

During intermission, three of their friends came over, and they were all gushing. They all put on their just purchased concert tee shirts and took numerous pictures of each other. Watching them made me happy.

Below is a clickable of Dylan's lead photograph:

Two Excellent Blog Reads

If you are a member of the Official Fan Club, look up the current blogs by Vibajajo and Nance.

In the first, Vibajajo relates an experience in Philadelphia during which she was among several who met Clay after the concert. She was there to push the wheelchair of a friend invited to join the singer for a few minutes before he departed for Syracuse. Among those present was a woman who had flown from Iceland for the show.

In her blog, Vibajajo wrote: Clay was very nice to my friend, and I see why God gave him a job to 'use his voice.' He speaks for the people who can't speak for themselves and takes the time to talk to 'special' people, who most people just walk away from.

Be prepared to laugh out loud when you read Nance's entry. This lady, who spends much of her time in a wheelchair, received her first cellcert ever from OFC member SOUTHERNAIKEN during the Tulsa concert.

Anyone who has listened to a cellstream knows that at times you feel as if you are in the same arena with Clay & Co. while other moments, Singer Man sounds like he's under water.

As the reception varied, Nance ended up playing her own version of the game Twister. She was on the floor trying some of the most hilarious positions I've ever read described ... and in walked her husband.

Go read both of these blogs. I think you'll be glad you did!

Have a wonderful weekend, Clay Nation!


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Curtain Rises on Aiken's New York 3-Fer

Reflections from Philly -- Photo by Solitaire30

Philadelphia Welcomes Clay

Curtain Rises on New York 3-Fer

With Clay Aiken's Summer Tour embarking on five consecutive concerts, my three-day blogging routine may have finally met its match trying to stay current, partake of all available cellcerts and clack, as well as teach this week's music student schedule.

A look back at Tuesday night's concert by Clay & Co. at Philadelphia's Mann Center for the Performing Arts plus early recaps from Wednesday's shindig in Syracuse have already propelled this blog into a revamp royale.

Below the Philly coverage are a Syracuse slide show, reviews from The Post Standard/ and a new male fan, as well as a Sendspace download and links for "The Classics" medley.

Comfortable Chat With Music

Several fans have summarized the Philadelphia concert experience as a comfortable chat among friends interspersed with the sharing of music -- old and new favorites, some easily categorized as "Clay Aiken music," some that is not, but all of which he has proved he can sing.

Through it all, Clay is the consummate entertainer, ably interacting with audiences in any given situation, some planned and some not. Below are memories from the Mann Center performance Tuesday night. Most were taken from cellcert replays; however, some reflections are credited to fans.

To the delight of the Philly concertgoers, Clay used the catwalk or circular walkway on several songs and got close to many in the audience.

Throughout the night, there were several references to the FBI, one to someone near the catwalk: "If you hit my foot one more time, I'm going to call the FBI on you."

* * *

He was in fine voice -- very strong and powerful. The "snarkometer" was off the charts.The show flies by so fast -- it leaves you truly wanting more.

I love Clay Aiken -- he is not afraid to be himself, and he loves us enough to let it all hang out. The orchestra seemed to enjoy being up there with Clay, smiling and laughing at his jokes. -- Jars9022

* * *

Following "Lover All Alone," Clay's speaking voice was cracking a bit, so he drank quite a bit of water, saying, "I'm going through puberty (spreads his arms) ... FINALLY!" Eyes slightly down, he added in a very deep voice, he added, "Now I'm a man." Looking at his audience, he said, "And you were all here to see it." The place went crazy!

* * *

Describing the origins of the popular Classics medley, Clay said, "I called Jesse and told him I wanted to do "Sexy Back."

About 30 minutes later after he stopped laughing, he called me back and went to work on the arrangements. Give him another round of applause!"

PHILADELPHIA SLIDE SHOW -- Link to a slide show of images from the Philly concert by clicking on this graphic by Claysmelody, photo by FiveGoldens. The slide show features photographs by Solitaire30, Invisible926, and FiveGoldens.

Clayversion at the Mann

We were sitting next to a husband and wife. She said she heard Clay was coming to the Mann a few weeks ago on tv. She jokingly said to her husband that it would be a nice anniversary present. He went on Ebay and got the tickets for her as a surprise.

They had never been to one of his concerts before. She just loved it and he said he didn't know Clay was sooooooooo funny. He was also in awe of his voice, how powerful it was. They both said they would Love to go to another show whenever Clay comes close again. -- JUDYL

* * *

The show ended with Clay singing a “song love” to his fans. “I’m everything I am because you love me.” I felt this was so appropriate because we as his fans have been behind him in every triumph and every crisis.We follow and care for him as a singer, entertainer, a man of great personality and character, and a sincere, loving benefactor. He is our friend, our brother, our lover, and our role model. -- Romys

* * *

It was a wonderful concert, and I was thinking of you and gave you a birthday toast! -- Marlyne

SYRACUSE SLIDE SHOW -- Link to a slide show of photos taken by LynninNJ and Shamrock-Pat at the Summer Tour Concert in Syracuse Wednesday night. The above photo is by LynninNJ.

New York 3-Fer Opens in Syracuse

From early fan reports, the Syracuse concert Wednesday night was another awesome performance by Clay & Co. Glowing descriptions about the acoustics, the lighting, and Singer Man, were, unfortunately, tempered by the perseverance of the venue's camera security.

Setting for the performance was the Crouse-Hinds Concert Theater, the largest of three halls in the John H. Mulroy Civic Center.

Below are highlights from a review by Chuck Klaus appearing in The Post Standard/ Decent Set with SSO Thrills 'Claymates'. The full review can be read at the link.

[Mr. Aiken] has an interesting voice, fairly well-used within his chosen field of pop ballad singing. There's an interesting combination of elements making up his style: a touch of blue-eyed soul, a bit of modern country, some strains of soft rock and, perhaps the most dominant influence of all, contemporary Broadway.

His voice is on-pitch, he treats most of his material in a fairly spacious manner, and his work is pleasant and fairly polished, in an extremely informal way.

This ease on stage, as well as a constant barrage of self-deprecating humor, may be one of the secrets of his success. Aiken, forever putting himself down, can hardly be seen as a threat to his female audience, and they evidently love him for that. He is the beloved singing teddy bear placed near a young girl's flouncy canopied bed. [snip]

Aiken had the chance to perform a ballad for which he served as lyricist, which offered the SSO's cellist, Lindsay Groves, the chance to contribute a sonorous solo. Here was one instance where the Clayemotion of the audience paused long enough to allow Aiken to truly be heard, which turned out to be a source of further Clayelation.

New Male Fan Recaps Syracuse

The review below is by a male who watched his first Clay show in a "cheap balcony seat" and emailed a friend with this report:

I DEFINITELY enjoyed the show. And, he is a FUNNY guy! Those comments about the plane incident and the 'hand over the mouth of a yakkity woman" were priceless!! It seemed to me that Clay and the two girls really, REALLY enjoy doing the show. It was loose, relaxed, and just plain fun.

The singing was wonderful. loved hearing those big notes again -- and in person for the first time! The fact that he covers just about any genre you can think of was also great fun. The TV themes -- Michael Jackson and Madonna??? Unbelievable! He did some GREAT MJ singing there.

I just wish the boy would get the beat into his feet! If he had done the moonwalk on those MJ songs, that place would have come crashing down! The screams and noise -- I thought Elvis had just appeared on stage!

All in all, a GREAT time! I really enjoyed it and definitely hope he comes through here with the Christmas show! I'm kicking myself NOW for not seeing it the last time!

Syracuse 'Classics' a Must See

In case you haven't seen "The Classics" medley a la Syracuse, small and large wmv files by ClayFaninVA and Scarlett are available at Clack Unlimited. Here is a Sendspace download for the smaller version.

The above photo of a Syracuse billboard has been shared throughout Clay Cyberspace by the photographer, ClazyChristina.

Among the excellent promotion for the concert was an interview by BoNhia Lee that ran in The Post-Standard/ on Monday: Clay Aiken To Perform with SSO.

Rochester, Chautauqua Next

The New York Three-fer is off and running. Excitement level is high, both among the many planning to be present in the three locales and those who will be in touch via cellcerts, cellstreams, and clack recaps.Remaining concerts in the New York Three-fer include:

July 19 Rochester, NY - Constellation Performing Arts Center
July 20 Chautauqua, NY - Chautauqua Institution Amphitheater

Below ares clickable of
Solitaire30's lead photo, as well as the image by LynninNJ linking to the Syracuse slide show:

Have a wonderful week, Clay Nation!


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Philadelphia Fans Achin' for Aiken

ON TO PHILLY -- The curtain rises on "An Evening with Clay Aiken" in Philadelphia's Mann Center for the Performing Arts this Tuesday. -- Houston photo by xxx4clay.

Only Two More Sleeps (Now None)!

Philly Fans Achin' for Aiken

"Three more days ... two more sleeps until July 17!" are some of the salutations and headlines resounding in Philadelphia threads throughout Clay Cyberspace. BOD & HEART actually thought the hoopla was for their birthday, but readers surviving the Houston intermission can read how LAP & LACIE set them straight.

Following a week's hiatus, Clay Aiken's Summer Tour 2007 hits the road again with an 8 p.m. concert Tuesday at the Mann Center for the Performing Arts in Philadelphia.

Promo at Mann Center Site

Below is an excerpt from Marty Franzen's piece in the weekend's Philly Blurbs:

Clay Aiken has been doing a lot of charity work for UNICEF, but he still manages to tour once or twice each year. Tuesday night, the “American Idol” TV show runner-up will be backed by the Mann Festival Orchestra at the Mann Center for the Performing Arts to sing tunes from his mostly-covers album “A Thousand Different Ways” and his debut CD “Measure of a Man.”

In other publicity, Philadelphia Daily News/ ran this in the week's events:

Clay Aiken: One of the biggest success stories from "American Idol" (and he didn't even win!) performs with the lavish Mann Festival Orchestra. Mann Center for the Performing Arts, 52nd and Parkside, 8 p.m. Tuesday, $39-$69, 215-893-1999.

Tuesday's concert will take place at the Mann Center, pictured in a clickable below.

The Philly concert is sandwiched between the tour opening "Texahoma Three-fer" July 4-7 and the fan-dubbed "New York Three-fer" July 18-20: Mulroy Civic Center Theater, Syracuse, NY; Constellation Performing Arts Center, Rochester, NY; and Chautauqua Institution Amphitheater, Chautauqua, NY.

N&O Features 'Idol: The Musical'

Matt Ehlers of the News&Observer posted a story about "Idol: The Musical" in the Raleigh newspaper Sunday. In my opinion, An off-off Broadway Clay is worth the read. Below are some excerpts:

For years, there have been those who think Clay Aiken could kill 'em on Broadway. [snip]

Aiken, the Raleigh native and "American Idol" runner-up, has yet to appear in a Broadway musical. But his fame is such that his physical presence is not needed to produce a play about him. At least one of the off-off-Broadway variety. [snip]

Aiken has a reverential fan base, says [Bill] Boland, the writer, and in a way, there's reverence in producing a musical about it. "If you have a musical written about you, and so many people are investing their time and money in it, I guess it says that your fame has exploded beyond a normal level," he says.

Las Vegas Radio Interviews Clay

On July 10, Sunny 106.5 FM Las Vegas ran this story on the station's website: 'Idol' Star Sets the Record Straight on Airline Altercation. Listeners and readers clicking on the article can view Clay's "A Thousand Days" video.

Stay tuned to the Las Vegas site for possible audio of a Saturday interview conducted with Clay regarding the plane incident, as well as the upcoming taping of the ice-skating special. Descriptions of the interview were provided by Eleid of Clayversity:

They talked about what happened on the plane, and he basically said it was only his toe that wandered. They spoke about how the story got so blown up in the media and how surprised he was at that.

Asked if he always wanted to be in the business, he said that it was never anything he thought about. Are there times he wishes he hadn't pursued this career because of the media? Clay replied, "Honestly, there have been days I have felt that."

Show biz is not as glamorous as people perceive it to be -- limos, parties, etc. He added that he was home in Raleigh sitting on his kitchen counter in his pajamas.

They talked about the skating show, tickets for which went on sale Saturday. Clay believes the show will be very special with the skaters, whose artistic and athletic ability he admires, performing to beautiful Christmas songs.

These Digital Scapbooks

As a personal aside, my mother's cousin, still living life to the fullest in her 80's, emailed me this week asking why Clay had put his foot on a woman's armrest and his hand over Kelly Ripa's mouth. Apparently, the coverage in eastern North Carolina revived the latter story, too.

The incident was discussed in depth in the July 9 blog -- 'Aiken Fog' Captivates Fans -- so I sent her the Blogspot link and an explanation about last fall's Handgate. This was her reply:

I'm glad you enjoy Clay Aiken's music. I used to love his hair standing up; now his hair is flat on top. Years ago I had a crush on Ronald Reagan when he was a movie star and married to Jane Wyman. I had one or two scrapbooks of information and pictures on him. Naturally, I voted for him when he became president!

I reckon these hard drives filled with CA photos, links, and Clack are digital kin to her scrapbooks.

PHOTO INTERLUDE: This clickable interlude features some of the many handsome photos fans took during the Houston concert, including Toni7babe, 1 and 4; NoFancyClothes, 2; "Lover All Alone" graphic by Cindilu2, photo by Scrpkym, 3; and KSChristian4Clay, 5.

Some Early Birthday Celebrations

LAP and LACIE, resident laptop and external hard drive, respectively, have been known to take over writing duties, too ...

LAP: For anyone who survived that lethal Houston interlude, here's our story. Caro will officially notch another calendar year the day of the Philly concert, so every time we come across the "three more days ... two more sleeps" countdowns, we naturally think of a reason closer to home.

LACIE: Actually, the birthday celebration received a jump start weeks ago when Margaret5328 graciously offered Caro two tickets for Clay's Knoxville Concert. With a "thumbs up" from a June cath procedure and thanks to Margaret's generosity, she and good friend Sally plan to be there Aug. 12.

LAP: On Saturday, Sally zapped us right out of our collective "Aiken Fog" with a surprise package that will keep my DVD player warm for months to come. Sally, whom we suspect has DVR's in every room and a plethora of channels via Direct TV, decided the perfect gift would be to add to our movie library.

LACIE: So three days before the calendar toss, a box of 30 movies -- with "Little Miss Sunshine" to be taped later this week -- landed on our doorstep. Among the titles are "The Da Vinci Code," "Mickey Blue Eyes," "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants," "Elizabeth 1," "The Story of 1900," "Monster-in-Law," and "Annapolis." We're thinking that 31 new movies IS a library!

Surprise Intact Despite Daily Hints

LAP: We were all most surprised, even though Miss Sally has enjoyed dropping daily hints the past two weeks. Of course, the reporter saved many of them:

The gift is comprised of more than one piece ... I started the project because I was in pain [monster tooth-pulling about a month ago] ... There was definitely a learning curve with lots of mistakes along the way ... I mastered techniques I didn't know before ... I worked on the project right up until I mailed it.

LACIE: We pay attention enough to their phone calls and email to know that several months ago Sally expanded her photographic and graphic arts skills to the creation of videos. Naturally, we assumed she was making a super-dooper Clay Aiken montage.

LAP: She busted that theory when she dropped a later hint: "It has nothing to do with Clay."

LACIE: Come to find out, first thing each morning, Sally has been reading through various TV listings for movies and then scheduling her DRV's accordingly.

Movie Madness on the Horizon

LAP: There were occasional setbacks -- such as power failures, programming AM instead of PM, or setting the wrong amount of time. Not to mention, "Little Miss Sunshine" isn't set to air until after the 17th; so that will be a P.S. addition.

LACIE: You can see why the ole girl is feeling very blessed days before her birthday.

LAP: Guess that means when the tour fog fades, we'll be diving head first into around-the-clock movie madness!

A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart and can sing it back to you when you have forgotten the words.

In this corner, we are not counting days or sleeps -- just celebrating special friendships and life's seasons. Many thnx to Sally and Margaret for their amazing gifts and to the many CA fans who also recognize the song in my heart.

Below is a clickable of xxx4clay's lead photo:

Have a wonderful week, Clay Nation!


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