Sunday, December 3, 2006

A Thousand Screaming Claymates

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Hundreds of obsessed Clay Aiken fans -- called "Claymates" -- endure sub-freezing weather to get a close-up glimpse of their American Idol.


As I mentioned, I took my wife to see Clay Aiken in concert at the Star Plaza Theater last night. It was a Christmas show in two parts. The first forty-five minutes was Christmas music performed by the Bill Porter Orchestra. The Bill Porter Orchestra is a consortium of musicians from the Northwestern Indiana/Chicagoland area that performs every Wednesday evening at Green Dolphin Street Jazz Night Club in Chicago. Porter, who played trombone with the orchestra during Aiken's second half of the show, made the orchestral half of the show more appealing to the "Claymate" fans by adding his own blend of humor to the show, keeping patrons laughing as they eagerly awaited their Idol's entrance. Though some of Porter's humor was admittedly a bit risque for a family crowd at a Christmas show, any offense taken seemed to melt away easily.

After a fifteen minute intermission, the American Idol runner up took to the stage crooning out the carols in the unique style that has quickly made him a multi-platinum recording artist. In rare form for the night, Aiken also tossed in some humor of his own, engaging in banter with the "Claymates" in the audience and, after a two week silence, revealing what he really thinks about the recent controversy between himself and Kelly Ripa while guest-hosting on Live With Regis and Kelly.

"Was I rude?" Aiken called to the hoard of screaming fans, who roared back in unison, "No."

"It was intended to be," he confessed. "A little." Aiken later returned to the topic when heckling one of his fans who, in her excitement, had pushed aside a fan sitting in the row in front of her: "That was worse than what I did to Ripa." The crowd roared approval. And again later when he threatened to put his hand over the mouth of one of his fans, the "Claymates" erupted.

Aikens playlist included such popular Christmas songs as Sleigh Ride, Mary Did You Know, My Grownup Christmas List, and Don't Save It All For Christmas Day, and "Claymate" favorites All Is Well and Merry Christmas With Love (all of which can easily be found and viewed on YouTube). Aiken -- who is very involved with fans through blogging and online chat -- put on a good show, both singing and joking with fans in the crowd.

What was most surprising came after the show, as hundreds of "Claymates" lined the parking lot in sixteen-degree weather waiting for their American Idol to come out of his behemoth bus and pass in review. He did so, briefly, and as you can see in the embedded video, the "Claymates" loved it. For most of the fans in attendance this was not their first Clay Aiken concert. In fact, many attendees had seen the same show the previous night in Waukeegan, Illinois, and more than a few find their way to every concert Aiken performs. While it was my first Clay Aiken concert, I'm sure my wife won't let it be my last.

Is Clay Aiken the new Elvis? The last time I've seen fans so devoted to their Idol was when Elvis was King. Is there a new King in town? While Aiken calls himself the "King of Controversy," I'm sure millions of "Claymates" the world over call him king of their hearts.

Joe

22 comments:

Anonymous said...

"Is Clay Aiken the new Elvis? The last time I've seen fans so devoted to their Idol was when Elvis was King. Is there a new King in town? While Aiken calls himself the "King of Controversy," I'm sure millions of "Claymates" the world over call him king if their hearts."

You, sir, did a great re-cap for a new Clay fan.

And yeah, you're right...he is King of our hearts.

P.S. Hang on to your wife. She's a keeper!

Anonymous said...

Joe - Loved your story about the Clay concert. Your wife is in good company and has good taste. I'm going to assume you are good looking and sexy, too!

Jean said...

Thanks for the neat review and the video. He is good, isn't he?

Anonymous said...

Hi Joe,

Thanks for sharing your story! I'm sure we will see you and your wife at more Clay shows!

BGTY!

Anonymous said...

Great recap -- loved seeing the bus video -- doesn't surprise me one bit about fans waiting in the cold to see Clay. He is an amazing singer with a great sense of humor. What a guy --!

Anonymous said...

JOe thanks for the recap it is good to see a non-fan pont of view. Just to let you know this concert was a triumph of the spirit for Clay and his fans. We love him to death and felt bad the night before when he missed a couple of notes rather badly. Nerves I think. If you wondered why the fans were so thrilled at the end with All is Well that is why. He got the last note thank God. Thanks for the video
Marge NJ

Anonymous said...

I love this! Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for the bus video---I live on the west coast so I was not at the concert last night. Thanks to the ClayNation I was able to listen to it live. Oh what a night! Love Clay Aiken

Anonymous said...

Joe, your The Man! Somebody not afraid to say another guy is good, you go!

Anonymous said...

Nice blog entry. One little correction: After Clay said "It was intended to be," he next said, "I'm kidding, I'm kidding." Then, only after that, kind of under his breath to be funny, he added "A little."

Anonymous said...

Hello from Toronto,Canada. Thanks for the great recap of the show and the terrific video. My picture was quite clear and crisp. You certainly have a way with words. Your writing flows very naturally and made for an extremely enjoyable read.

Anonymous said...

You wrote 'in rare form for the night Clay tossed in some humor of his own'-this is NOT rare for Clay. Clay always 'tosses in' his incredible knack for snarkiness and humor. He stage presence is one of the best in show business. I have not seen any other AI alumni have the stage presence that he has. In fact, most musical performers now-a-day don't have 1/2 of the stage presence that Clay has. This is part of the reason he will be around for a long time. The other part: his incredible voice (one or two bad notes -pfft!!).

Anonymous said...

Don't be surprised about the crowd waiting for Clay after the show. There alway is a crowd when he travels by his bus. And he is always gracious to them; many times giving autographs and handshakes!! This is not unlike many other performers, either. After Broadway shows there is always a crowd waiting at the 'back door'.

Anonymous said...

Another Torontonian checking in here to say thanks for your blog. Enjoyed reading the comments of a "hubby." You sound like a keeper to me! I also think you "get Clay."
Thanks too for the video. I've also been to the buses to see Clay, but not on such a cold night. Great to see the good turnout at Merrillville.

Anonymous said...

The new Elvis? You are kidding, correct. You have to be gaining a fan base to do that, not losing one. Where did you get the figure of millions of fans from. No doubt, a Claymate. They are just about as honest as Clay is. Clay sold around 200,000 copies of his CD the first week, and we all know his fans make multiple purchases. You can do the math as far as his fan base. Five copies each is a conservative figure. They post about multiple purchases on their boards.

Many fans have left because they found out what a phony Clay really is. He's a fraud and a liar. Reports of the bad way he treats people are out there over and over again. Hey, he even admitted he was intentially rude to Kelly Ripa.

Last, but not least, Clay seems to be losing his voice. It would have helped if he practiced before begining his syphony tour. He knows he doesn't have to because his Mates will accept anyting from him. It's one, big C.U.L.T. with only the most extreme Koolaid drinkers left.
Given enough time, the truth will win out.

Anonymous said...

The next Elvis?? You have to be kidding. Millions of fans?? Some Claymate is feeding you the wrong info. Look at his latest CD sales.
And the Mates do multiple buying, at least 5 copies each, some buy 50 and more copies each. He has an eroding fan base.
He is like Elvis in one respect. With his drug use, he's half way there. But Elvis didn't sleep with men, did he?

just my two cents said...

Oopsie. One more little correction, Joe. You said:

"Aiken -- who is very involved with fans through blogging and online chat -- put on a good show, both singing and joking with fans in the crowd."

Clay is NOT very involved with blogging and online chat with his fans AT ALL. He has stopped by the chat room on his fan club site a couple of times for a couple minutes, and that's only been in the past few weeks. He rarely ever blogs, even though that's one of the things his $29.95/year fan club membership promised. When he does blog, it's generally to ask them to buy something or to make him look good in some way or other.

Just keepin' it real here. Obviously the person(s) who has been giving you this information is a Claymate, and they do tend to sugarcoat things.

Average Joe American said...

Get a life, man. If you don't like Clay Aiken, get over him already, instead of spending all of your time and money reading his forums and blog and posting about him on other people's blogs.

Joe

Anonymous said...

Even as cold as it looks, I'd love to be squeezed into that crowd waiting on Clay too!
Thank you for this nice mention.
Your wife is lucky.

Anonymous said...

The clowns are back to amuse us. With so much hate for Clay, that they would pay to join his fan club, just to harass his fans and twist every word he says. The same clowns who point fingers at those who buy multiple when they themselves have been known to buy multiples of their own Idol's discs. One such clown of Kelly Clarkson's, spent three thousand dollars on his buying binge, but they don't remember that fact I see. They follow Clay and his Claymates like their life depended on it....or do they fear something? These same clowns that recite the tabloids like it was their bible.....LOL.

Anonymous said...

Hey Avgjoe. Great blog,
( another Canadian stopping by. although Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan isn't as well known as Toronto)

Great to see someone who isn't afraid to say what he thinks. as some would merely try to tear down someone, others are viewed with an open mind. Oh, and by the way....about the idiots comments, Nicely done JOE, nicely done. they could learn a few things from you.

Anonymous said...

I want to know where I can get an Average Joe! Your wife is lucky to have you. =)

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