Last night we ventured out to the Clay Aiken show at Verizon Theatre. To be honest, I am not a big fan of his music, but I’m certainly a fan of him. We had a good interview for this piece in this week’s issue which started endearing me to him, but when he turned on the ‘tude last night and chatted up his elder audience, he had all the makings of a sassy queen. Several precious moments were to be had as he threw people under the bus, made fun of top 40 radio and took delight in the lack of men in the audience — or at least had fun with it when he cited only six men in the front rows.
“Did she drag you here?” he would ask. Pretty great.
My apologies to any people behind me as I tweeted the night away, but hey, I wasn’t holding my phone up videoing the guy. Here are my tweet-thoughts from the evening and current thoughts (in bold) the day after (after the jump) along with my colleague’s take on the evening.
Can’t explain the random applause that breaks out @ClayAiken show. Maybe I missed some moments, but seriously, the audience of about 500 would just start clapping in the middle of a song. I guess it’s a Clay Nation thing.
@ClayAiken just owned the couple that walked in late. #snaps “Show starts at 8, folks,” he snarked. I would totally love to hang out with the Aiken based on this comment alone.
Wow. @ClayAiken claims not to know the words to songs from “8 years ago”. Crowd WAY disappointed. #meh I don’t get this. I mean people wanted to hear “
Invincible” “Invisible”and he wasn’t gonna give it to them. Admittedly, we left before the encore so maybe he doled it out at the end. Nonetheless, moving into his new big band sounds isn’t reason enough to not do songs fans want to hear.
Keanu somebody skatting while @ClayAiken changes. The music isn’t my thing so much but some major precious moments. Two updates here — it was Quiana Parler and he never changed out of his blah outfit.
@ClayAiken just threw @ke$ha under the top 40 bus. #leftfieldburn. He called her the new voice of this generation, but in that sassy ironic tone. It was priceless but guess you had to be there.
“Turn your balls on” – @ClayAiken before he sings Miley’s “Party in the USA.” #whatthewhat Aiken joked with the audience who brought glowsticks and other similar items “to get his attention.” Yeah, they told him that and it worked. He started making fun of auto-tune and said any singer now doesn’t even have to know how to sing. And then he busted into the Miley Cyrus hit. The sass was on a roll and it was pretty hilarious — because he was also kinda right.
Respectable version of “Suspicious Minds” by @ClayAiken. But his blue jean outfit is unshowmanlike. OK, I don’t expect glitter and glam, but jeans and a frumpy sweater. And both faded for that matter? Not sure what he was going for. If he’s going for big band sound, at least put the look into it. But this was my favorite song of the night.
It just got Audrey Hepburn all up in here w “Moon River” as performed by @ClayAiken. #slowdown Yeah.
“Even Loretta Lynn didn’t sit down this much at her concert.”‘- Chance B. @ClayAiken. Colleague’s observations.
Musical suggestions requested by @ClayAiken. #Honkytonk made for an awkward racist moment. #maybejustme Aiken said his bass and drum guys were the backbone of the music and could make any song sound like any other genre. The two guys were black and for whatever reason, Aiken says something to the effect of, “I wouldn’t think you know what honkytonk is.” Kid you not.
Hmmm. @ClayAiken keeps talking about doing his songs big band style but he gotta 4-piece backing him up. #fouraintbig Yeah, this was annoying the heck out of me.
The concert never ebbed and flowed with energy. The songs weren’t too up or too down, but what made the show was more of his banter than his songs. The concert wasn’t bad necessarily, but it was blah. His just off the street appearance, the minimal set and the low energy never made it exciting and personally, his appearance was insulting. I’m harping on that because it felt like the equivalent of phoning it in.
But low energy is good for his fans of silver-haired moms and grandmas and that’s not a criticism. He just knows who his crowd is and gives them just enough of that safe good ol’ gay boy schtick. And they ate it up.
When asked to accompany RLo to the Clay Aiken concert, I’m not going to lie, I was skeptical at first, but was instantly reminded of the Kathy Griffin bit when she says, “No matter if you aren’t an American Idol fan, a gay man or a woman over 50, when Clay Aiken comes to your town, gooooooooo…it is possibly the gayest show on the face of the earth!” Since I had no pressing engagements, I decided to pile in and make the pilgrimage to Verizon.
As soon as I got a beer and got to my seat, which was near the back of the mid-section, I was almost immediately offered upgraded seats in the closest section. As much as I loved the upgrade, I was slightly saddened to leave the two Claymates I had found myself trapped between, were popping off about their disdain for David Cassidy. If that doesn’t give you an idea for the demographic I was dealing with, then I don’t know what will.
As soon as I got to my upgraded seat, I flipped on ye ol’ Grind’r and see what sort of representation we had there. It was meager…only three or four within 500 feet.
Finally, Clay takes the stage and though many of the maybe 500 Claymates in attendance were flipping their shit, none of them stood for the big reveal of Ms Aiken. As Aiken blasted out the classics, which were a bit of a yawn, I found more joy in people watching and enjoying how much others were enjoying the show.
Clay had a great sense of humor about himself and about the circumstance, so that was refreshing, but I will say his showmanship was lacking. He was essentially wearing an ill-fitting sweater from Gap and some meh-denim. Also he took multiple breaks to go off stage, for what I’m not so sure, while some other randar blasted out other unknown classics. Also, he sat on a stool a lot. I mean I’ve seen Loretta Lynn several times, and yes she requires a chair to sit during her performances, but I’m going to be bold and say Clay out-sat 78 year old Loretta.
All in all the show was generally precious. There were a few songs I mildly enjoyed, I’ll write this concert off as a bucket list item I wasn’t aware that I needed to check off.