Sunday, October 28, 2007

Feels Like The First Time

I would climb any mountain
Sail across a stormy sea
If that's what it takes me baby
To show you how much you mean to me

You know how too much of a good thing can make you forget how much you liked it at the beginning. How that chicken parmagiana from your favorite restaurant still tastes good but maybe a little too familiar? Or that long time favorite vacation spot that still has a beautiful view but one that may not take your breath away every time?

Friday night, I traveled with friends to New York City see a tribute to Neil Sedaka for his 50 years of hits. We knew Clay Aiken would be performing so we decided it might be a fun evening all around. We met up with friends from all over including Canada and New Orleans and I know there were people who had come from the West Coast. And while that might have created awe in year's past, it didn't seem out of the ordinary any more.

We'd heard Clay sing Solitaire many times since Neil Sedaka night on American Idol in 2003. He returned to Idol on the following season and sang a bit of it there. He's sung it on TV. He encored with it during his 2004 solo tour. He does a great job with it but the song itself, while well written, can get old. It's not exactly your upbeat, pepppy song with a hook and a beat you can dance to.

So I went because I love the chance to see Clay live and I enjoy New York. The line up of guest acts honoring Neil Sedaka looked interesting and it turned out to be just that. Iconic acts like Connie Francis and Dion performed along with promising new acts like Renee Olsteed. But the funny thing is on the ride to NYC, we kept talking about what else we wanted Clay to sing besides Solitaire. It was like we were looking past the old, familiarity of Solitaire and hoping for something new.

David Foster teased us with a possible Clay entrance a couple of times and then introduced him to a nice hand. Clay walked out in an expensive pinstriped suit with great hair (always important)and a big smile. He adjusted the microphone higher, smiled at the audience and began to sing.

He crafted that song like a master painter works a canvas. He started out slow and soft, almost as if the sad storyteller has a wistful hope that the girl will return. He used his hands as much as he used his voice. As the song built, so did the anguish of the storyteller. He transitioned from notes that floated on air to notes that vibrated into your chest to notes that cut slivers from your heart.

The glory note was 12 seconds long and the fans rose to their well decked out feet. By the time he wailed that last ounce of pain and regret, the majority of the crowd was standing, including the entire Sedaka box.

And I guess it's just the singer in you
That brings out the fan in me
I know I can't help myself
You're all in the world to me

Perhaps words are not enough and you need to see and hear it for yourself.

And it feels like the first time
Like it never did before
Feels like the first time
Like we've opened up the door

The first time? You mean four and a half years ago?

Here's to many more first times, from his fun appearance on November 1st on a charity edition of Are You Smarter than a Fifth Grader to his Broadway debut as Sir Robin in Monty Python's Spamalot from January 18-May 4, 2008. And I think there's the familiar,warm blanket of his annual Christmas tour in between.

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Anonymous said...

Nice recap, but I would rather read something from Nanjeanne or Pink Armchair, since they know much more about singing and being onstage.

Corabeth said...

Thanks....I think.

Since my recap was from the viewpoint of an audience member, I'm pretty sure the only qualification required was my butt in the seat.

kfc-canada said...

And it feels like the first time
Like it never did before
Feels like the first time
Like we've opened up the door

You're right, does. The first time Clay sang this on AI2, he sang it as a 23 year old, calling on past hurts as a child to help stoke emotion. And he struck a chord in all of us.

This time, Clay sang it as a man, calling on deep personal hurts he's suffered in the last several years to provide the well of emotion. And, we were all there during a lot of it and we can empathize with him and really feel his pain this time round.

You don't have to know much about music to appreciate and marvel at Clay's awesome performance. This performance could be felt by everyone with a ear for music would just be redundant.

Well said, girl! I can almost see this performance as a turning point for Clay...the rest of the world is not going to just see Clay..the second-place winner of AI2 anymore...they're going to see Clay, the guy who 'bats all his songs out of the ball park', blows the roof off of stadiums and just won't accept 'second-place' status any longer.

Pink Armchair said...

I thought this blog was just really expressed what so many feel about how far Clay has come and how his miraculous voice affects the listener. He really is extraordinary.

And Anonymous 6:41, I really couldn't have said it any better than Corabeth did. I think she is quite knowledgeable about these things. Not to mention that she was actually there -- I wasn't.

Anonymous said...

Awesome as usual, would have perfered the OMG Screamer not to have ruined the recording.

The ConCLAYve-Nan said...

Great blog as always Corabeth and beautifully said. If I were to write a blog I'd probably just say "ditto"!

cincy said...

Very well-written and I love how you tied the song and the feeling of deja vu together...each time just keeps getting better (but that's another song for another day....thank God we are in for quite a few!!!)

Anonymous said...

Everytime Clay sings Solitaire it
sounds great. Would like him
to do more recording.

All Is Well said...

Corabeth, I just love your writing, it's smart and right on. Always look for your posts at the OFC as well.

I must say that I admire the way you conclave ladies stick together,
and speak up for each other like you all just did above.
That's what true friendships are
all about. Good for you all.

Anonymous said...

Corabeth,I'm one of your biggest fans. You are on my favorites list,
so when I sign on at the OFC, your latest posts is what I see first.

I like that you have a lot of business knowledge, you're bright,
you're fair, and you stick-up for our BF.
So, I was a little surprised that you were basing your opinions of the Wichita concert on a cellcert without at least waiting to see it
on vid or even hearing an mp3 version. But, I'm glad to read that today you wrote that you will take a wait-and-see attitude...
that's fair.