Kelly Clarkson in Austin, Texas

And here we are !

Set Up/Venue

First off, I have to say that the venue, Cedar Park Center, was gratefully not as huge as I was afraid of. Granted, I wasn’t way up in the rafters, I was down on the floor, but I did take a good look around. I was somewhat disgusted that though there were empty seats of people who didn’t make it, or seats that simply didn’t sell, the Rafters folk were not allowed to move in. RULES should never be so anti-human. Especially at an Entertainment event!! Another stupid anti-concert rule was that only the very first row was allowed to get up in the open front area and dance. There was also a very typical, very what strikes me as extremely bad-business-marketing rule that event goers were not allowed to record. This strikes me as odd and dumb because the venue or its promoters were not recording the event. I would understand there: proprietary rights. However, in the absence of that, this is a very bad business move. If you allow the patrons to record the event for you, you will be promoting your venue for free all over the internet. Everyone who watches those subsequent YouTube videos will be seeing your venue and taking that in as well. If you are proud of your venue – Show it off! Show what large popular acts you have playing there, show off the look and feel of your venue. Show it all off – for free. It may be the promoters rule because they don’t want the show broadcast before people have seen it live, or maybe even Kelly’s own rule because she doesn’t want the shirt she’s wearing to perform in known already, or the set list given away. But both of those lose more than they gain. Everybody will still go see a favored artists in person, despite how many internet videos there are of them performing. It will never be the same. I hate to say it, but promoters really need to learn to think of terms of “what can we do to make the populace work for us, manipulate the populace into giving us more power” rather than in terms of prohibiting the populace from everything that could possibly allow fun. Too many “anti” rules always lose more than they gain for an entertainment event.

And there is one thing that made the heavily safety-first trained me cringe: when the shows started, the security guards stationed themselves in chairs inbetween the aisles. When I saw them pull up a chair and take position in the walkways, all I could think was “Wow – that is SO unsafe!”. Every Fire Marshall in the world must’ve been suddenly fidgeting around uncomfortable with no idea why…they can sense it, this terrible travesty of endangering the public. ;’)  Seriously, though: that is an extremely unsafe, public-endangering policy. I was so completely shocked to see them do it. I thought every venue would by now have had some common sense whammed into them by fire marshall inspections. If anything at all had gone wrong and we needed to get out of the building immediately, our path is instantly blocked by large burly obstacles.


Parachute has a new fan. They were great. They handled the event and circumstances well – being an opening act and there are still lots of empty chairs (even in front row) of people who skipped the opening acts on purpose and people rustling and fidgeting as they get settled or wait for Kelly. But they maintained a cool and cooth we’re-excited-to-be-here-and-see-you performance stance. Their set was fantastic. Well, their last song was actually their weakest and that was a little disappointing, but the rest of the set was great! I am hoping to see them here in Austin again – they would do well as a show at Stubbs or Emo’s or some similar Austinite venue. They should also really do ACL and the ‘fest if they have not already.

Eric Hutchinson

Eric did not enjoy Austin. He suffers quite heavily from “opening act syndrome”: the severe and crushing disappointment that you are not the main act. This shows heavily and unfortunately kindof ruined the experience of what otherwise was a very talented, great set. I can sympathize that Eric was with Kelly on her whole first short tour, and was asked back and is likely quite road-weary. However, whereas upon hearing about it I thought it was great that Kelly Clarkson asked her tour partner to continue on the second tour with her… I am now seeing this as a mistake. Eric has so long been under Kelly’s shadow that he’s getting fairly angsty about it, and it’s showing. I myself was actually excited to see both Parachute and Eric Hutchinson. But I am obsessed with music and love finding great new artists. I’m very open and was almost more excited to see them because I don’t know them and was going to get a cool live introduction to their stuff.

Eric Hutchinson is an extremely funny, charismatic and highly intelligent guy.. or that’s how he came off in general. He’s obviously very very funny and probably extremely fun to have on tour with you. Toward the of end his set, he did this hilarious, probably planned, but impromptu-madeout song of “How many of you wish right now I was KELLY CLARKSON/I am not KELLY CLARKSON..and I NEVER will be…”. It was hilarious and actually very savvy because it did instantly win the crowd over – humor does well for that. The crowd was cheering and laughing. Had that been his only comment on the subject that would have been Great and I would be writing a fully positive review right now. However, before we ever got to that, and after that, and pretty much all throughout his set were frustrated comments about the fact that we were not on our feet and hyperventilating like the more excitable KC fans would be later. Eric’s set was filled with humor, and he was doing the *constant* name-dropping of KELLY CLARKSON just to get a rise out of the audience and try to do his job of warming us up. However, it ended up just coming off as pathetic and by the 20th or so time of you’re-not-uber-excited-to-see-lowly-me comment I actually said out loud “Get over it.”. Good gods. I’m sorry, but yes you are an opening act. You are an opening act for a huge popular artist and shit I’d think you’d be so, so excited and proud of this because it means you get to personally introduce yourself and talent to a bunch of people who possibly haven’t heard of you. A lot of people there did not know who he was. The woman next to me had to lean over and ask me. A harsh fact of the world is that people less-crazed about music in general as I am, do not care enough to know what the opening act is. They are there to see Kelly. I am sorry. However, if you handle it well they can walk out new fans rushing over to the table to buy your album, and telling everybody they know about you. I believe on Eric’s talent and humor alone alot of that will have happened (I’m hoping). However, the artist definitely should cool it a little on the amount of disappointed comments that he’s not the main event. Keep the I’m-not-KC song but for the rest of the set focus on who you are and make us excited to see and get to know you.

A funny thing happened on the way to Kelly Clarkson…

Ok something that took me by a happy surprise was the sheer diversity of Kelly’s crowd. This crowd would never be seen at a Britney, Christina or even a Madonna concert. It was not a full crowd 13 year olds, which I was quite relieved of. And I knew already that Kelly has a very across-the-board appeal. However, even going into it knowing that – there really is just no preparing for standing there seeing HOW across the board this woman’s appeal is. There were quite literally people of absolutely every age, genre, religion, culture, prestige class – everyone, there. That alone both made me want to get up, go backstage and give Kelly a huge congratulatory hug… and also filled me a great swell of sympathy at oh-my-god how much harder putting together her set must be. Because of the extreme diversity of her crowd, Kelly has a much harder job than most pop singers. Putting together a set list that will have a toss-out to as many of the goers as possible, at the same time as pleasing herself, must be hands-down the hardest part of her job. Fun, but still tough. There were 80 year olds (who were not there accompanying some grandchild…but there in groups together to see Kelly…), there were goth, grunge, preppy, heavy metal.. 13 year olds, 20 somethings, 30 somethings and on up. The woman may not always be on the top of the pop charts, and may sometimes even have some empty seats, but it is clear she has the hearts of anybody just liberal enough to be Open. Standing there, I understood more than ever that Kelly will weary of being a famous artist long before the world is every ready to give her up. She has such cross appeal she’s got at least several albums she can totally screw up, and “we” will take her right back the moment she hits catchy again. I myself am as musically diverse as Kelly is, so I’m going to love every diverse thing she delves into (or at least respect it), but I understood right there that the rest of the we-want-the-cheese-give-us-the-cheese populace will be more patient with her than any other artist. Kelly has sheer, bold-faced, broadsiding talent, and bases herself and her show on this fact more strongly than shooting for Sex Appeal like absolutely every other artist out there. Kelly *is* sexy… you’ve seen my comments on that I’m sure… but I am just one and that was definitely not the reason that vast diversity of crowd was out there to see and hear her.

In the background of the inbetween acts stage setup (and aka mass female potty break…), there was various music playing. I heard some John Mayer, Reba McIntyre (“Strange” her new single..which I admit I thought was great of Kelly to promote), a bunch of hits of the day. The crowd is fussing, settling, chatting. Then, something funny happened. AC/DC’s “Shook Me All Night Long” came on and I kid you not: the crowd sent up a cheer and got up and rocked out. I burst out laughing. I mean…think about it: a crowd that is here to see pop singer Kelly Clarkson, is excited and rocking out to AC/DC. That’s friggin hilarious. I was on my feet singing as well (of course). Great song, forevermore. I did note that the only people seemingly bewildered and confused were the 13 year olds. They were not “there”. A few of the younger 20-somethings had no clue. Anybody from mid-20’s and on up were rocking out. Hilarious. Hell, who needs an opening act to warm up a crowd… just play AC/DC’s “You Shook Me All Night Long” and you’re good to go. LOL

At this point, I am very much hoping to be able to catch the show again…either in Corpus or maybe in Nola… and I will be very interested to see the crowd there. Hell I’d love to be wealthy enough to just follow the tour and note the crowd. lol.  Her record company would be much the wiser.

Oh and on that note – Kelly did comment in her show to the effect that her ongoing arm wrestling match with the record company has not ended … “I work with a bunch of jerks. I work with some really nice people to. But also with a bunch of jerks” who will not let her record what she obviously really really wants to: more soul-filled music… more bluesy, more indie and more even southern rock sounding. In short, more diversity. It is clear that someone should take Clive Davis, and the rest of her record company execs, to actually see one of her shows. Turn them around and make them take a good strong look at the crowd. If they did this, it’s possible they might grow 2 cents more intelligence and give the woman her freedom. It’s quite clear in the crowd she has plenty of room to breath.

Kelly Clarkson

I will rely on a set listing from here because I did not carry pen and paper to write it down and have shyt memory for such things. Kelly and band took the stage after the AC/DC song and that was perfect planning. We were already on our feet. I am not going to give you a rundown of each song, this blog is already a novella, but I will say and stress this one fact: if you have not seen Kelly sing live, you have NO IDEA how well this woman can sing. I mean it. I was an admirer before, now I’m simply flabbergasted at how amazing one human being can be blessed. Kelly can SING. She can sing ANYTHING. She made the White Stripes “Seven Nation Army” sound sexy for fucks’ sake. I didn’t even cringe when I heard the medley compilation song and I HATE that kind of thing. I don’t like medleys at all…I’m like sing This song or sing That song. But I was too busy amazing at Kelly’s voice and performance to even mind. What also took me by surprise was how good of shape her voice is still in. This was not something I expected. Honestly, she just came off of a tour and we’re already several shows into this one so I expected to hear a slightly hoarse voice that misses some of the stronger, higher notes. I have no idea what past life Kelly got God on her side in but the woman is Blessed. Her voice was still spot-on. She did a fantastic job. By the end of her World tour she will sound like a boy, I’m sure, but to even be in this good of shape this far in is really very impressive. Her stage presence was fair and I was among the happy to see her turn and shake her ass at us near the beginning of her show. A toss-in for those of us who love her “big booty”. lol.  Now if she could just get Kate to come forward to do that as well…and hey why not the whole band…a big ass-shake moment for us, it would be perfect. ;’P  (and very very funny of course *snicker*).

Kelly was very, very excited to be “Home”. She stated her sister was there and they were going to drive HOME after the show… “I get to see my Cat! my Dogs! I get to sleep in my Own bed tonight y’all!!” She was a happy camper, so to speak. I say her stage presence was “fair” because I admit I did feel something lacking. She didn’t seem to put as much effort toward really connecting with and talking with her audience as I have heard she does. And that was a large part of what I was looking forward to. Kelly only made brief statements here or there, we were not blessed enough, apparently, to get a good Kelly-Rambling. I still think the woman has no clue that her rambling is not a Bad concert thing…it’s something her fans adore and look forward to. A good Kelly-Rambling spree would be worth the ticket right there.  We in Austin just didn’t get much of that connection. Could be she was just so excited to get to drive home that night that she was anxious to get it over with.

I would have to say for me the top highlight of the show was Kelly singing a bluesy version of Patsy Cline’s “Walking After Midnight”. This is something that everyone really should buy a ticket to experience. You don’t have to be older and more diverse to enjoy it. Even the 13 year olds who had No Idea who Patsy was and had never heard the song, seemed very impressed by it. This is where  Kelly just hands-down wins all arguments. The woman can sing. Her soul is deep and she allowed it to flow freely into her song. She is talented beyond even what I was expecting. The second top highlight for me, apparently her entire band and all of the crowd minus the 13 year olds, was “If I Can’t Have You”. Wow her band really loves this song as much as I do, and it shows. They were completely into and having a GREAT time and that made it all so much better. If the crowd’s reaction doesn’t teach her (or her reps) that this song is Prime Suspect for a great and long-life’d Single, I can’t imagine what would. Yes it’s true the 13 year olds were not as into it. They were at their most excited for “Breakaway” and of course “Since U Been Gone”. I was quite happy to hear “Miss Independent” live, not only because I love that song but also because I consider it a good earmark for how well Kelly’s voice is doing/how well she is live. That song is quite a challenge: it’s got highs, strong belting it out parts, as well as  more soft, heartfelt tones. She did GREAT.

Among my greatest and deepest…even somewhat angsty-leaving… disappointments is that Kelly did not perform “Whyyouwannabringmedown”. I cannot fathom the reasoning behind this. That song screams “GREAT CONCERT SONG” – it was the song that right from the release of the album made me say “Ok… I’m GOING.”. I cannot even express enough my disappointment at not getting to see her rock out completely to this fantastic punk-jump-around and kick song. Perhaps she’s just not feeling energetic enough or something, as to perform that song would take a great deal of energy. It’s not a song you could ever perform “halfway”. It’s far too energetic. I’m not saying her other songs were performed halfway,this woman was all-in at the mic… just that maybe she didn’t have it in her to do that one. I don’t know. But I was severely bummed about that.

One of her funnier comments was after “Ready”. She said that song has like, *no place* to breath (which I can see) and so she always has to burp during it. She tries to do it when her face is away from the mic a little…like tries to look cool about it and hide it… (and I had no idea she had burped anywhere in there)… but said “I’m just that girl… I burp.”. *chuckle* She also hit her front tooth on the mic at one point and laughed about that…saying “Wouldn’t it be funny if I like, knocked it out? Be like the girl with the missing tooth… not Attractive… but, funny”. LOL

As I stated above, she also made the White Stripes “Seven Nation Army” song sound…sexy. This was interesting. I love that song. I love the white stripes. But it’s not a song I would ever particularly put that adjective with. And it wasn’t because *I* think she’s sexy, either… there was just something about the rendition…something I couldn’t quite put my finger on. She wasn’t sexing-it-up or anything un-Kelly-like like that… but something about the rendition of that song came out sounding kindof… Sexy. Weird. But cool! I think a lot of reviewers don’t quite know what to do with that one. It’s not a song that’s supposed to be “sexy” and so they’re not sure what to think about it. Kelly performing it was just so different from the original artists that it’s hard for some to open up. But I thought it was fantastic and looking forward to (hopefully) getting to see it again. On a funny note, during the song “That I would be good” there is a line “…if I gained 10 pounds” and the whole crowd cheered and clapped. I could swear I saw a slight smile flicker across Kelly’s otherwise-intense face at that. We love her at any weight. We love her straight or gay-flirty. We love her depressed or chipper. Kelly is a rare artist who is simply accepted …with not only open arms, but an open hug, by a diverse audience. She can be as big a dork as she wants or shake her butt sexy. She’s Kelly, she can get away with it all.

A note on the band

Jill and Kate:

I was an admirer of Jill and Kate before the concert. Now, I am a fan. They are fucking fantastic. For those not in the know, Jill and Kate are Kelly’s backup singers (ahem, “vocal girls” lmao). Their backing vocals, while not overpowering Kelly of course as they’re not supposed to, do actually stand out as a “wow” point. The two really are quite talented, have beautiful voices. Oh and those two can move too! If they ever do their own show here in ATX, which I am now praying they will, I will totally go out dancing with them. They’re great.

There is an interesting and completely charming difference between Kate, and Jill. I was not really aware of it until this concert. Kate is a very crowd-loving, outgoing people-loving kindof person…or that’s who she is when she gets on a stage, anyway. Jill is more reserved, seems almost shy, but Jill is the blogger and twitter’r. She seems to blog and twit more than Kate (though they are both actually great at it).  What I found completely endearing is that Kate cannot *not* sing along with Kelly…even when she’s not doing backup. That was cracking me up. I’m not meaning she’s screwing up…she’s away from the mic and you can’t hear her when she’s not supposed to be singing… but she obviously genuinely does love Kelly’s music and she’s back there mouthing right along. I’m smiling huge just writing this. It’s hilarious and utterly and completely cool. I was like pointing and clapping. It’s awesome. It shows such a genuine love of the music and the stage. At the end of the concert Kelly finally lets loose her band and they all come forward. Kate is just as natural and commanding on the stage as Kelly is. She took center stage and was completely natural there. Kelly stepped to the side, it was beautiful. Both of them (J&K) have fantastic talent. Kelly really is doubly blessed for having landed upon such talent to back her up (as well as her band). Kate has a very strong and beautiful voice but (as is often noted, I have seen), Jill is the one that makes you do a double-take and sit down to listen. Jill has a stunning voice. I am now among the firm believers that JillandKate should definitely be an opening act for Kelly. It’d fit right in. However, it may be that they need a contract and I believe at this time they are independent artists.  Or perhaps Kelly doesn’t want that. Who knows? Maybe we one day yet we will get to see that happen.

The Band

Kelly really has a very charismatic band. They honestly seem to love her. I think any one of them not only seems to regard her as a little sister, but they’d be the first to jump in front of a bullet. They joke a lot, are snide and funny and sarcastic about it.. but when on stage all you can see is that a huge family is playing together, and loving each other. The love totally shows. How cool is that? That’s not something you expect to see at a concert show.. or that even would occur to me to note… if the respect, love and admiration of each other just wasn’t so cool and apparent in them onstage.That was like a gift in itself. They’re awesome.

On a funny note, Cory Churko seems to think he’s in AC/DC. There were definitely times when Cory is just hard-rocking out like he’s performing that “Shook Me..” song, but the music actually being played is just…not…There. LOL It’s a pop song. Kelly definitely did rock up alot of her popular songs and that was great – I had no idea those songs could get even better. But the times when Cory’s rocking out are not nec. the times the music is. And that’s just Funny. But you know it’s great too because hey…he’s giving it his all. He really is.

They all had the fans cheering for them individually and that was something cool – fans were just as pleased when a member of her band would come up to our side and give us some love. Because they’re just charismatic and fun-loving seeming. It would be great if Kelly had the time to give a moment of showcase to her band members more…but really all she does is individually introduce them. I’m glad she at least does do that. Granted, a moment of “meet [so-and-so]” would not be worth cutting a Kelly song for, but maybe a shorter or one less opening act for. Definitely. She even took the conscience to point out which was Kate, and which was Jill, instead of just saying “that’s Jill and Kate” like some artists would do. Kelly doesn’t seem to mind giving up some limelight for her teammates, even if she’s not really permitted the proper time to do so.

Ok – so I have been sitting here naked for 3 hours now blogging this (because I just got up). I will now go take a shower and wash Enchanted Rock off of me (ah yes…the continuing adventures of Gypsy Didn’t Take The Map…maybe, just maybe, more on that later). And hey maybe I’ll even put on some clothes. LOL


5 Responses to “Kelly Clarkson in Austin, Texas”

  1. Great review of the Kelly show! Love Kelly! And loved reading your blogs. And yes, Kate is hot.

  2. Yeah, You described her live concert superbly! It is hard to believe Kelly could be any better live but IT IS TRUE!!! How about you writing Clive at RCA Records??? WYWBMD is a good song to devote to Clive!!!
    I really want to go to another concert but probably won’t be able to till next year. The band & Jill & Kate are wonderful!!!! Kelly can sing any song and make it her own. I love the Alanis/KOL mashup song…. I am 60 , I sing and dance to Kelly’s music. What great exercise! LOL Can’t wait for her new album!!

  3. Kelly always plays You SHook Me All Night Long before she comes out to start her set – it’s always the last song between the opening act and her. It gets her pumped up. That’s why everyone started cheering – they knew Kelly was next. :)

    Great review. I really liked your observations on the diversity of the crowd and the relationship of the band.

  4. Thank you so much for your great review. I was there too, 4th row center. You helped me relive a wonderful evening. I too feel like I need another concert. Totally agree about Jill and Kate opening up for Kelly.

    Side Note, I was shaking it to ACDC and I’m 35 :) That is Kelly’s signature song.

  5. Yes what cracked me up most about the AC/DC is that everyone was shouting the lyrics, headbanging, dancing.. crowd so completely into the *song*! LOL It’s just great that a crowd that loves Kelly Clarkson, also loves and knows the *words* to AC/DC..

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: