Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Whatcha Doing Tonight?

Sony is releasing a number of “Best of” collections, including one for Clay Aiken. There are some of my favorite songs on there but also some songs that I would replace with others I consider favorites. But no collection of Clay’s would be complete without Invisible.

Invisible was his first pop release after the Idol semi-coronation song This is The Night (which debuted at #1 in 2003). Often mocked as a stalker song, it still is catchy and in concert it is great fun. This week, Entertainment Weekly named it one of their choices for an "Ultimate AI" playlists and said

"Aiken's shamefully addictive first single abuses every tool in the pop canon short of a key change (and really, why doesn't it have a key change?) to make you feel the pain of the poor boy's unrequited love. That high note he wails under the final chorus? Goosebumps."

The song has a special place for fans. When Clay performed it on the American Idol tour in 2003, we hadn’t yet perfected the hidden camera techniques that have served us well in the later years. (I know of video from venues that had a metal detector!) A fan managed to get a shaky, sometimes sideways view of Clay dancing and singing. An accidental pull on his shirt became affectionately known as as the “tug”. The fan’s reaction “Oh my God, what is that move?” has become part of the Clay Nation lexicon.

My personal favorite performance was in Jimmy Kimmel’s Pontiac Garage concert in 2006. I had actually flown out out to LA to attend that taping/showing. Clay had debuted a great hairstyle that was part shag part Beatles for the album promo. I remember calling ConClayve-Nan after the concert and teling her “the hair can rock”. The performance exists on youtube (with some less than stellar camera work) but you'll have to visit there as the blog code is unavailable.

Clay ends most of his pop concerts with Invisible. I love when he ends a concert with this, dancing all over the stage with such joy. The shirt tug followed by the knowing look or the roll of his eyes at the expected screams. (Our own little secret handshake with him.) The way he really changed it up during his 2005 JukeBox Tour created a version that was much better than what was originally written. He once said in an interview that he will never get tired of singing it. Here’s the last show of his 2004 solo tour.

And a montage of his JukeBox Tour

The fans are dreaming about what’s next for Clay as he takes a break for the first quarter of this year. The album comes out on March 31st and then Clay returns to television for a special episode of his pal Tyra’s show. I’m looking forward to seeing (and hearing) what’s next. Clay is well prepared to take advantage of all of the new business models out there with all of his Fifty2Thirty corporations covering entertainment, touring, publishing and merchandise. The only thing sexier than a handsome singerman with a big voice and a bigger heart is a smart and savvy version of the same.

Photo by dancerdad, taken at Spamalot stage door

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