|All photos by Kevin Norris|
It would be really easy to write Clarkson off as just another manufactured pop singer. (Easy enough that I got a chuckle from nearly every person I told I was going to this show.) While it may have been a tv show that made her famous, her voice has brought her to where she is today.
As a singer, Clarkson displays a range you don't see too often, moving seamlessly from pop to country and rock, with a voice that could make the hairs on your arm stand on end. This was best demonstrated during stripped down portions of her set where a piano was the only thing dueling for the audience's attention.
A highlight of the set was when the band abandoned their places and gathered around the center of the stage for an acoustic medley that kicked off with the bluesy "The Trouble With Love Is."
Clarkson spent a good portion of her set paying respect to other female singers and songwriters, covering songs from Florence + the Machine ("Heavy In Your Arms"), Sara Bareilles ("Gravity"), and her fellow Idol winner Carrie Underwood ("I Know You Won't").
Clarkson was chatty with the crowd and almost self-deprecating in that she kept sarcastically saying how awesome she is. Many of her songs come from a place of anger or revenge (toward men, particularly) and she owns it. Before one song, "I Forgive You," she noted that she never could have written that one herself, given its title.
One amusing moment came during "Don't You Wanna Say," a bonus track on Clarkson's latest release and duet with country singer Jason Aldean. A sheer curtain dropped, featuring a Godzilla-sized projection of Aldean singing his part as a backing track played. While technically, the effect worked (and received joyful screams from some of Aldean's fans in the audience), the more immature side of my brain wondering if Aldean was about to crush Clarkson with his VW Beetle-sized hat.
I would be remiss if I didn't mention that Clarkson's fellow Idol alum Clay Aiken was in the audience Tuesday night. The Triangle resident received quite a bit bit of attention when he arrived in his seat a few minutes before showtime, as fans stood on chairs and craned to snap a picture. I never though I'd say this, but I kind of felt bad for Clay Aiken last night and hope he gets to roam the aisles of Target with a little more peace.
Kelly Clarkson set list
Behind These Hazel Eyes
Since U Been Gone
Heavy In Your Arms (Florence + the Machine cover)
Gravity (Sara Bareilles cover - audience request)
Medley: The Trouble With Love Is, Walk Away, How I Feel, I Want You
I Know You Won't (Carrie Underwood cover)
Don't You Wanna Stay
Let Me Down
I Forgive You
You Still Won't Know What It's Like (written for for Houses of Hope Africa)
What Doesn't Kill You (Stronger)
My Life Would Suck Without You
Because of You
Mr. Know It All