Saturday, June 30, 2007

Clay Aiken is touring....v2007

Clay Aiken likes to tour. Since 2003, he's toured eight times and, in less than a week, is about to embark on his ninth tour:

2003 American Idol Tour
2003 Jingle Bell Balls
2004 Independent Tour
2004 Not a Tour
2004 Joyful Noise Tour
2005 Jukebox Tour
2005 Joyful Noise Tour II
2006 Joyful noise Tour III
2007 Hard Rock and a Soft Place Tour

Clay's a tourin' fool! And why not? His fans love him, he makes a lot of money on tour, he's one of the best live entertainers in the world, and, in his own words, "Singing is the single most joyous thing a person can do".

Before the tour starts, I thought I'd take a look back at Clay's previous tours. Let's take a trip down memory lane.

2003. The American Idol Tour. The excitement in the venues was like this giant ball of energy. As we enjoyed the other performers, it was Clay that we were waiting to see. As it came closer to his first song, the energy started in the back of the venue and rolled forward, gathering momentum from the fans until we were bursting with excitement. It was almost like the venue was rumbling or vibrating. Clay was so excited to be returning home to Raleigh he just about jumped out of his skin. Then that spikey head arose from the floor....

In December, 2003, Clay was a part of the Jingle Ball, a traveling minstrel show of pop stars and wanna-be's. He sang only a few songs to a backing track. Listen to 'Invisible' from Tacoma by Olyrose.....

Clay's very first solo tour, wasn't. It was a co-headlining tour with Kelly Clarkson. When both fandoms heard about it, none were too happy, they wanted their idol to share the stage with no one, but, in the end, it worked out very well. They sold out almost all the venues and each played an hour, alternating who opened and who closed. Clay choose 'Kyrie' to open his portion of the show, and what a freaking entrance it was!

Summer of 2004. Clay's FIRST Solo tour. The fandom named it two different names, The Solitour, combining 'Solitaire', Solo, and Tour, but the one that stuck, and the one that the Official Fan Club used was, 'NaT', ot Not-a-Tour. Why that? A few dates were picked, but Clay's publicist, when asked about a tour, said, this is not a tour, just a few dates. Which turned into a full-fledged tour. Go figure. This is his opening song, U2's 'Where the streets have no Name', courtesy of Aflack and Scarlett.

December, 2004 gave us Clay's first Christmas Tour. He called it the 'Joyfuol Noise' Tour, after that Bible verse, 'Make a joyful noise unto the Lord'. Don't take that literally, I'm not up on the Bible, but you get the picture. This is a partial video by Scarlett of 'Good News'. The Clackgatherers practiced stealth video'ing that tour and trying to find a really good video was very hard, but this is a beautiful close-up of Clay's face. You can really see the reverence he has for this song.

During the Spring of 2005, when we heard that Clay was doing covers through the decades, a lot of us thought the cheese would be melting all over the place, but Clay surprised us. Boy, did he EVER surprise us! What a tour-de-force that concert turned out to be. Song after song after song, most sung in 90-100 degree heat. It was a wall of sound that slapped us upside the head.

The 50's (thanks Tsunamimommy & DiamondJake)


The 60's

The 70's

The 80's

The 90's


Stump the Band, part I

Stump the Band, part II

December of 2005 brought us Clay's second Joyful Noise Tour. When he played Raleigh, his 'Papa' was in the audience and Clay sang a song just for him, and, by doing so, gave the fandom this very, very, very special treat. 'Oh, Beautiful Star of Bethlehem'.

In December of 2006, Clay did his Christmas show, but this time, he sang with an orchestra. He grew his hair long, sometimes grew a beard, but he entertained us with the songs and with his stand-up comedy routine. Clay? A comic? What? You don't believe me? Seeing is believing!

So.....what will Clay sing this summer? We don't know. We do know that he is singing with an orchestra, touring his CD, A Thousand Different Ways and it starts on July 4th in Frisco, TX.

All across the nation, through-out the Clay boards, the fans are stirring. There is a palpable energy surging from one message board to the other. Like a game of telephone, we are starting to hear rumblings from the Giant. And it is good. So we wait and we wonder and we speculate. The Giant is awakening from a long slumber and the fans are stirring.

It's going to be a terrific summer of Clay, version 2007.

Thanks to all the Clackgatherers, without whom this fandom would not be what it is.

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Sunday, June 24, 2007

Kelly Clarkson and Reba McEntire..together at last

I've seen Kelly Clarkson in concert twice, both time when she and Clay Aiken co-headlined for their Independent Tour in Spring of 2004. I loved Kelly on American Idol. I didn't buy her first album and because I heard so much of her on the radio, I didn't buy her second album. I do, however, have her third album, My December, and I'm going to buy Breakaway.

Recently, Kelly taped CMT "Crossroads" with Reba McEntire. Read the review at Here are some excerts from the review:

If you're not familiar with the series, "Crossroads" teams up two singers or groups together and encourages them to sing each other's songs.

The evening begins with McEntire and Clarkson dueting on a couple of the young singer's recent hits. While Reba does a solid job of singing songs such as "Since You've Been Gone," it's only modestly entertaining, and as I watched, I was preparing myself to be letdown.

But about ten minutes into the show, the pair find their groove, and the rest of the hour is a real treat for viewers. Clarkson and McEntire are obvious friends, and their all-too-short interview segments provide some real insight into their careers.

There are also some magical performances. Their take on Clarkson's "Because Of You," (which is included on McEntire's new album of duets) is good, but their rendition of McEntire's "The Greatest Man I Never Knew" is jawdropping. It's an emotional song, and both singers singer's subtle performances wring every last drop of sadness and pain from the words.

All too soon, the hour is over. And as if often the case with "Crossroads," I find myself wishing there was a CD of the performances available for viewers.

I'm not a country music fan, although I do like Reba, and I've never seen CMT "Crossroads" but tonight I think I'll watch it. It really sounds fantastic and I'm anxious to hear what both artists do with each other's songs.

This video of their joint effort is from YouTube. It really puts a different spin and meaning to Kelly's song, 'Because of You".

CMT CROSSROADS: KELLY CLARKSON AND REBA McENTIRE premiering Sunday, June 24 at 8:00 p.m., ET/PT.

More air dates:
CMT CROSSROADS: KELLY CLARKSON AND REBA McENTIRE will be retelecast on Sunday, June 24 at 11:00 p.m., ET/PT; Monday, June 25 at 7:00 p.m., ET/PT; Tuesday, June 26 at 6:00 and 10:00 p.m., ET/PT; Thursday, June 28 at 11:00 a.m., ET/PT; Friday, June 29 at 6:00 p.m., ET/PT; Saturday, June 30 at 10 a.m. and 9 p.m., ET/PT; and lastly on Sunday, July 1 at 2:30 p.m., ET/PT.

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Saturday, June 23, 2007

Clay Aiken and his....tush

Heh. Clay's got quite a nice one, too!


Saturday, June 09, 2007

A Tribute to Rocky

This was posted by RockysMom on Clayversity on June 07, 2007:

Rocky was supposed to be short for "Rock and Roll" because he was born on the night I saw Pink Floyd in concert but my mom hated the name. One day I drove past a baby consignment shop named "Rock-a-Bye Baby" so that became his full name instead. His grandmother's name was "Love Me Tender"

Rock-a-bye Baby

June 3, 1994 ~~~ June 7, 2007

I know I haven't been around lately, not that anyone's missed me. I never really contributed anything much anyway so who cares if I'm gone, right?

Anyway, this is just to let you know that my little Rocky's two-year-long battle with cancer has ended. He pulled through so many times when the vet didn't think he would. He really lived up to his name, he was a tough little fighter, even though he looked like a delicate little powder-puff. For the past seven years he was the only family I had, the one I shared my Thanksgiving dinners with...the one I watched rip open his presents on Christmas morning...the one who snuggled under the blankets with me on chilly nights....the who gave a little "grrrrr" when I nudged him with my foot during the night....the one who somehow managed to drag a package of toilet paper twice his size from the powder room and decorate the living room with it....the one always waiting by the front door when I finally got home from work....the one right beside me while I was planting flowers and weeding my garden....the one sitting next to me while I ate, sharing my ham sandwiches...the one sleeping at my feet while I spent too many hours on the computer.

The only living thing on this planet that truly knew me and loved me,unconditionally.

He used to sit up and wave his little paws and beg for treats.

He used to "dance" underneath this Queen Anne wing chair I have and actually bounce the chair up and down if he didn't get his Milk-Bone right away.

He used to love to sit on the end table in front of the window and watch everything that happened on our street and bark his little fool head off.

He used to bark like crazy when ever he heard a door bell on TV, especially those pizza delivery commercials (I could never hit the mute button fast enough)

He loved those fuzzy stuffed doggie toys. He had one that was a train and it made all sorts of "choo-choo" sounds. He'd push it with his nose to make the sounds over and over until he wore it out and I had to buy him a new one. I kept his toys in a little foam doggie bed he'd out-grown and he'd root through, looking for just the one he wanted to play with that day. He'd even pick the bed up in his mouth and dump everything out and carry it across the living room.

He loved to un-wrap his toys, too. Ever since his first Christmas he just adored ripping off the paper and seeing what new thing he had to play with. He ripped open his last present Tuesday night, a belated birthday gift of a tiny stuffed teddy bear. A few hours later,he started to go downhill, almost as though he was waiting for us to have that last little birthday party together before we had to say good-bye.

We had almost 13 years together....ever since the first time I saw him strutting around that puppy pen carrying a big fuzzy ball bigger than he was. I don't know what I'll do without him...he certainly deserved a better mommy than I was.

How can the absence of one little heart beating and one little body breathing make a house so quiet and so empty?

Clay has an incredible voice

He's developing into an amazing all-around live performer

He gets more handsome by the day

I continue to hope and pray that he is the man I believe him to be....not perfect, but trying his best to be good and make this world a better place.

I hope and pray that someday soon (and hopefully not by his definition) he will once more have a place in my heart....but right now that heart is too broken to hold anything but grief.

To all who love and have loved their furry children:

By the edge of a woods, at the foot of a hill,
Is a lush, green meadow where time stands still.
Where the friends of man and woman do run,
When their time on earth is over and done.

For here, between this world and the next,
Is a place where each beloved creature finds rest.
On this golden land, they wait and they play,
Till the Rainbow Bridge they cross over one day.

No more do they suffer, in pain or in sadness,
For here they are whole, their lives filled with gladness.
Their limbs are restored, their health renewed,
Their bodies have healed, with strength imbued.

They romp through the grass, without even a care,
Until one day they start...and sniff at the air.
All ears prick forward, eyes dart front and back,
Then all of a sudden, one breaks from the pack.

For just at that instant, their eyes have met;
Together again, both person and pet.
So they run to each other, these friends from long past,
The time of their parting is over at last.

The sadness they felt while they were apart,
Has turned into joy once more in each heart.
They embrace with a love that will last forever,
And then, side-by-side, they cross over… together.

My friend is hurting. That means I'm hurting, too.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Clay Aiken: King of Controversy

It doesn't seem as if Clay can escape that moniker. First it was the tabloid crap, then the Kelly Ripa debacle, now it is a venue where he is scheduled to perform.

Clay is scheduled to perform a Christmas concert at the Central Christian Church in Wichita, KS., on November 26th. The church has a 3,000 seat auditorium with state-of-the-art sound system and video monitors. Steven Curtis Chapman is playing there, also. Clay has often said how he admires Chapman.

At first, the fans thought that having a Christmas concert in a church was OK. That is, until some of them started realizing what that church stands for. You would think that most churches preach tolerance and respect for your fellow humans. I think that most churches do, at least I hope so, but this particular church? In my opinion, this particular church preaches hatred and intolerance and, in fact, has gotten involved in secular law-making. Churches are tax-exempt, but once they start affecting public policy laws, their tax-exempt status should, in my opinion, be revoked.

I'm going to present opinions of the fandom by using quotes found on various message boards. I will do my best to not let my personal opinion of this church interfer with this blog. I will not mention the names of the posters, nor the boards where I found the quotes.

I can't even fathom that that WalMart looking building with a big-ass cross strapped to the front of it is considered a "church". WTF? It reminds me of those creepy evangelist shows on Teevee.

I am anti-organized religion - especially of the Loud And Proud And Better Than You variety... but this is just a venue/building with a kick-ass sound system and big-ass jumbotrons. I rather like the thought - as someone put it on another message board - of heathens sitting there enjoying themselves.

Shoot, I am a practicing Christian, but there is no way I would set foot in that church or let alone give it any of my money. Sorry Clay—not even for you. Their sociopolitical thinking is so against everything I believe

Totally respect those people that say they rather skip this concert because they don't want to support this church and their political stance with their money. I say everyone must follow their conscience on this. I also totally respect Clay's right to sing in this Church. One appearance does not define him and his own politics.

This looks like a wonderful place for a Clay Christmas concert! I wish I lived closer--I'd love to try for a ticket. Getting one might be difficult, but if all the people there become new Clay fans, it's all good!

I'm with another fan on this one. It's a bad move for Clay, especially given his beliefs about inclusion. I would imagine that he and/or his people are thinking "it's just a venue," but it's not. If he stands on that "altar" and performs, he is lending that church, and its espoused beliefs, creedence--the legitimacy of his good name--whether he means to or not. That church is a symbol of discrimination and close-mindedness and hate, things Clay says he rejects with every fiber of his being. He should reject them, and this church, now.

I don't have to believe in gambling to see Clay at a casino. I don't have to believe in drinking to see Clay at a venue that serves alcohol. And, I don't have to believe in the values of this church if I want to see Clay at a place close to me.

Anyone who knows me knows I'm not a fan of institutionalized spirituality, regardless of its name. I AM a fan of Clay Aiken and beautiful music, however. Clay's a big boy (heh)and I'll leave it up to him to either agree or refuse to play at any particular venue for whatever reason floats his boat. Just as I'm sure he leaves it up to everyone whether or not to pay money to be there if he does.

I should have clarified what I meant by "this." Obviously, a Christmas concert is about religion. What is not about religion is my reaction to his appearance at CCC. That response is not based on their religion, which they are welcome to, but on the fact that particular church acts as a political and public organization when it takes the lead on public policy that affects all citizens of Kansas regardless of religion. And that, IMO, has nothing to do with celebrating the birth of Jesus.

Abortion and gay marriage are two core issues for me, and I find CCC's stance on them abhorrent. That doesn't mean that I think that each and every person who goes to that church is bad or evil. It does mean, though, that on the whole, I think that church sucks. If they are doing good works that does not negate the damage they are causing by being advocates for an abortion-free, gay-marriage free world. One does not cancel the other. And maybe there are nice people who go to that church who don't subscribe to the hate. To them I would say, "What the fuck?"

Why do I get the feeling that a lot of the "principle"posting on that other board is from people who are not planning on going anyway? It's easy to make a stand when you are not really involved and don't have to be tested. I mean I have issues with blood diamonds and furs and don't buy either. Well the truth is I can't afford one and am allergic to the other but it sounds good

Churches don't make me feel uncomfortable and neither does Clay performing in one. I admit that I don't regularly research the venues I visit, but I'm also fairly sure that the majority of them haven't been in the national spotlight due to their intolerance-centered practices.

If Clay were to sing on the stage at the CCC, you could probably give me a thousand logical reasons to prove that it doesn't mean anything, and rationally I might believe some of them. But that's not going to do anything to stop the pain in my heart that image will cause. Just seeing the original post with his name next to the name of an organization I read so much about was a jab to the heart. If pleasure at seeing Clay is also mixed with pain, I have to decide how it balances out and when it's worth it. Judging by my feelings the past two days, it may no longer be worth it. That will make me sad, but there are other performers I can enjoy without having to deal with that baggage.

While I respect everyone's opinions about whether or not they'd attend a Clay concert in a church that promotes intolerance, I'm just glad that I don't have to make that choice. The round trip tickets are over $400.00. I don't know what I would do if they were reasonably priced. However, Clay is a religious man and I bet he'll love singing in that church.

The church is beautiful and has held many mainstream artist's concerts - it's an awesome venue - great acoustics - no bad seats! Seats 3000

Well, this venue kind of puts the kibosh on his 'lookin' at mah crotch' remarks.

Thinking about this show, though, it really sounds as if it would be a place to reach those teens that were swooning during his brief appearance at the Stephen Curtis Chapman concert in NC. ... and their parents... and their grandparents.

That church will probably be a really nice venue-looking at the pictures, it seems designed well for acoustics and sightlines. It is actually a similar design to the church I go to (mine's smaller, seats about 550) and we purposely used that sort of design to get the best possible acoustics for sound. I imagine that church in KS probably has lots of parking too, and is handicap accessible-it sounds like it could be a very pleasant place to experience a concert!

I find the Wichita concert venue exciting because of the state of the art sound and video available. Maybe we will get a Christmas Concert DVD out of that one. Hey, I can dream can't I?

Speaking as one who has never been part of any organized religion, I think Clay singing Christmas carols in church will be magical.

Over the years Clay has sung in arenas and high schools; theatres and fairgrounds; symphony halls and casinos; band shells and amusement parks; and even zoos and soccer stadiums. Singing in church? Well hell, why not?

This particular church in Wichita is very clearly anti-choice and I imagine they may be against gay marriage as well. If my money is going to be funneled into any of these causes (or even the cause on their homepage which says they want to connect the "unconnected" to Christ), I wouldn't be able to look myself in the mirror the next morning. And it's not that anyone has to agree with me; I just need to do what I feel is right for my own conscience.

Clay can sing in as many churches as he pleases, but I'll have to pass up each of those opportunities to listen to him. *sigh*

While I wouldn't choose this as a place to worship, I wouldn't have a problem attending a concert there. Clay's performing in their venue, not preaching their beliefs. When I buy a concert ticket, my money is squarely aimed at supporting Clay. In any case, those who don't like the idea of Clay playing there don't have to attend, so it's all good in my book. And the idea of him attracting new fans is always a good one, to me. I liken this to the season subscribers at a symphony hall getting to see him for the first time.

I doubt too much of the income from a Clay concert would be going to those causes (hopefully mostly to the upkeep of the building and other related expenses), but if it were, I have to admit it would give me pause also. So you're not alone in that. I don't have any issues with him singing in a church, but appearing to support this kind of agenda -- or anything this controversial -- would be walking a fine line, that's for sure. I would hope this concert would be separate from any of that.

I only assumed the church would be getting a rental fee. That alone would keep me from attending this concert. They won't get one dime of my money. I found a link to one of their newsletters at the OFC, and it frightened me to no end. I wouldn't want my dime or dollar or whatever being used to spread their message of (IMO) intolerance and hatred.

Clay grew up singing in church. I, for one, think he has probably missed that experience. He loves Christmas, loves singing, loves his church.....I hope he thouroughly enjoys the experience. Those that are offended by his choice....should just find another venue they are more comfortable with.

This looks like an outstanding venue! I love getting news of Christmas concerts this early. It reaffirms that these tours are organized well in advance

I'm sure if Clay was not comfortable performing there....he would not. Why does everything turn so argumentative? geeeesh.

I personally can't take much of the angst about the venues. If people have good reasons for not attending fine. Just don't shove them in my face with 1000 posts about it. I'm trying to be careful because I know some here may not like that particular venue. No problem. But then I'm sure if people did research, there would not be many approved venues. Some will like it. Some will not. *shrug* I hope that those who don't will let the rest of us enjoy the concert and don't go into the tailspin I'm starting to see on a couple of boards.

So it's not bad enough that I'm female, over 40 and somewhat less than svelte, now my Christian cooties are holding Clay back, too? Well, crap...

Sigh..religious and political topics are difficult to discuss without stepping on some toes. That is why I was happy to look at this Church as just another venue.

So, although I don't agree with the politics of the church, I'll likely be there. I'm a Christian, but not a right-winger. I respect those that won't be going to the concert due to concerns about where the money will go, but I'm gonna be selfish if it's the only concert I can go to due to distance.

I will be the first to admit I hardly research who is profiting from each of Clay's concerts, but if I went to a venue's website and found public statements of their views and those views were in direct conflict with my own, as is the case with this church in Kansas, I could not in good faith give them any of my money. Its the same reason I refuse to buy Domino's pizza. This church has a newletter on their site that is filled with IMO so much hate and intolerance its, well, let's just say its not very Christian! And from things Clay has said, I suspect its not his kind of Christianity! If this church were in my own backyard, I would not go to this concert.

I think Clay already has enough far right wing conservative Christian fans. IMHO some of them are too involved in mothering , protecting, and fighting for him. To a point that it is hurting him. So I can't join the camp that thinks it is a good idea to attract more.

I guess I'd have to bow out of this one, too, if that's the kind of religion they practice. Oh least I won't be a pillar of salt after all

To me...Clay is a good example of an open minded Christian. He is a good role model for all kinds of young people. I would hope that by attracting young fans from fundamental Christians and extreme right...he can influence them to be more open to other belief systems and lifestyles.

Compromise - I have learned to live with it.

Unfortunately, I can't bring over posts from any boards that are private or require paid membership, but I think you get the drift of what the fandom has been discussing these past few days. I deliberately put the last quote in last place because no matter what your feelings are towards this Church, I think that respecting other's points of view is essential. Not to mention the right thing to do.

I removed two quotes because the poster asked me to.