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Saturday, August 25, 2007

New 2006 Vancouver David Foster Event Photo

A new photo of Clay at the 2006 David Foster Foundation River Rock charity event held on September 10 and 11, 2006 has popped up at Freedom to Move.

Rumor has it that Clay will also appear at this year's event, scheduled for this September in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

Orlando's "Because You Loved Me" - One More Time

So I went to YouTube today and searched for "Clay Aiken - Orlando". The first thing that came up was what I wanted to watch..."Because You Loved Me". I was there for that song...the last time sung at the last concert of this amazing tour. I wanted to watch it again and see and feel the special relationship between Clay and his fans. That relationship is personified in that Orlando song. The smiles on his face as he looks around and sees everyone waving the lightsticks, the emotion in his voice and in his eyes. It left me with an indescribable feeling as I watched it. Every smile on his face soared right into my heart. I found myself smiling, then my smile melting into a puddle of tears, then back into a smile again. Every time I saw a light stick in the audience, it made me proud to be a part of the best group of fans in the world. It made me proud to be a fan of someone as very special as Clay is.

So I wanted to share this YouTube video of "Because You Loved Me" with all of you to watch one more time. Or two or ten or, well, that's up to you. Its worth watching many times over.

Tidbits 8/25

  • We're a little light on news today.... so above is a YouTube clip of Clay's 2005 Jukebox Tour concert in Toronto - 2 years ago today. What great memories ... my first (and only) Clay concert so far...
  • Times News - article about a band that has performed with Clay -
    Led Foot has been making waves with their unique brand of country/classic rock and original music. The band's diversity has allowed them to share the stage with artists like Jamie O'Neal, Clay Aiken and Julie Roberts. In 2006, the band released it's first all original CD called The Long Road. The limited edition compilation contains twelve original tracks including "Always Be There."

A new photo of Clay at Cedar Point last month in between tour stops in Ohio.

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Friday, August 24, 2007

For Your Viewing Pleasure - My Pictures From Ashville

I never have given a summary of my trip to Ashville. By now you have all probably heard everything that happened there. So I just thought I'd share a few pictures that I took with you of the Biltmore Estates and of the concert.

The Biltmore Estates is absolutely gorgeous. We stayed in the Inn and the rooms were unbelievable. They grow their own flowers there, and in the lobby there are big sunflowers and other flowers from their gardens.

The estate itself is unbelievable. There are 250 rooms in it. All the furniture is the original furniture. Even the books in the library are original books. We took a tour of the house but were not allowed to take pictures, but here are some pictures of the outside.

Many of you have read about the long, long line of fans who waited for Clay to come shake hands with them after the show. Below is the field where the fans were lined up all the way around it. The field was huge. The picture doesn't do it justice. I didn't stay for this, but I hear it was a sight to behold!

Many of the clay fans got a package deal with the Biltmore which included staying at the Biltmore Inn, 2 tickets to Clay's concert in some of the better seats, tickets to tour the estate, and breakfast and dinner. There were so many people who bought the package that they decided to do a special barbeque meal for us at the River Bend Barn. It was lots of fun to be with only Clay fans and meet people I had never met before.

And then of course there is the concert. The wonderful concert! It was probably 30 degrees cooler at Ashville than it had been in Cary. The scenery was beautiful and it was a perfect night. From what I heard, the staff of the Biltmore was quite impressed with his performance and had never seen anything like his fans before. We're hoping he will be invited back.

My Summary of the Orlando Concert

Once again I’ve put off writing up my review of one of my tour concerts long enough. I reviewed Cary, but still haven’t done Ashville. But I think I’ll skip Ashville and go on to the last show of the tour, Orlando.

This is the first year I have been to both the first and the last shows of a tour. Now this is an awesome thing to be able to do. You get to see first hand what he is going to sing/do during the tour, not hear it online. Then, you get to see what goes on in the closing show, any practical jokes, all the emotion and tears. This year there weren’t any practical jokes, but there were plenty of emotions and tears to go around.

I was excited to be going to the Hard Rock Live Theater to see Clay. Especially since it was right outside of Universal Studios. Even without going to Universal, there is still a lighthearted, party atmosphere that is so much fun. A friend and I ate at the Hard Rock Café and then she headed off to her meet and greet. That’s when I got a picture with Jerome. Now I knew Jerome was tall, but standing next to Jerome for a picture made me realize just how tall. I look like I’m down on my knees!!

After the picture I headed over to Margaritaville to be with some other Clay friends. There’s nothing like sharing time with some of the best friends in the world. It’s still all about Clay…going to the concerts, enjoying clack, helping with his foundation…but it’s become about as much about the dear friends I’ve made as him. Of course, my thanks go to him for making it possible to make so many friends and share these concerts with them.

It was now time to head over to the Hard Rock Live to take our seats to see Clay. The marquee at the front of the theater blinked the various artists who would be performing there, including "Clay Aiken"...."August 19". It took me several tries to snap my camera just at the right time to catch both signs!

Little did we know that we would have to turn in our cameras and then later pay $3.00 to get our own cameras back. What is wrong with this picture? I was afraid that they would not be allowing pictures since my tickets said, “No cameras”, but I wasn’t prepared for having to do this. $3.00 to get my own camera back?? The lines were long. Thankfully a friend of mine who was already in line took my camera and checked it with hers. The concert started late because of the long lines.

Our seats were up in the balcony, but on the far right end right next to the stage. We were at a table for four and 4 of our other friends were up above us in the high back chairs. This is the first time I’ve been in the balcony for a Clay concert, but I must say, these were excellent seats! And the binoculars I bought gave me a great close-up view of that gorgeous face and green eyes! We also had servers at our tables. We could buy drinks and food if we wanted. I settled for a diet coke.

When the show started, I already had a sinking feeling in my stomach. I know I shouldn’t, but seeing Angela and Quiana come out waving, and knowing this would be the last time we would see them all for a while, well, it is like saying goodbye to good friends. And then when Clay walks out on the stage singing, “Here You Come Again”, it really starts to sink in. The show was fantastic as always. There seemed to be a lot of emotion in their voices tonight. Angela and Quiana were on fire singing their songs. I believe they hate to say goodbye as much as we do.

The song "When I See You Smile" was fun tonight. Everyone brought yellow smiley face lights to wave as Clay sang this song. And, it couldn't have been planned better. Right before he sang the song, Clay said something like, "Everyone needs to have a smile on their faces", something close to that. And when he began singing, up went the smiley faces swaying to the music! I think he was quite surprised and touched by this. He never knows what his fans are gonna do.

I believe that the TV Show Medley and Classics Medley were the best I had ever seen. Before the Classics Medley, a lady named Regina yelled down at him about singing Invisible and Bridge Over Troubled Waters and that started a long banter with her. Regina was sitting right in front of my table, so we were able to see straight on into Clay’s face as he talked with her (and thank you for binoculars!). He was hilarious. He’s a natural at coming up with the craziest things to say and do on the spur of the moment like that. And he was absolutely into all the dances during the medley. You can tell he loves doing these medleys. And I love watching him have such a great time! What an entertainer!

Somewhere during the show, Clay asked if anyone had a sharpie. Someone on the 1st or 2nd row threw one straight across the stage for him! No eyes were put out thankfully! Then Jerome brought more out. Clay, Quianna, and Angela signed the stools they had been sitting on for the whole tour; Jesse and Sean will also sign them. These stools will be auctioned off later on, two for BAF and one for UNICEF. I can say this, I looked at the stools with my binoculars. The biggest signature by far is Clay's! If I could afford one of the stools, I'd buy one for sure! Start saving your pennies right now!!

The last song, "Because You Love Me", has a lot of meaning at every show. But this last show seemed to hold even more emotions for it. There were tears in Clay’s eyes I believe when he sang it. He really meant those words, especially on the last night I believe, making certain the fans knew just how much they meant to him with the words he said before singing the song. And it seemed extra special this time when the fans waved their light sticks to the beat of the music. I was so proud to be a part of that. Maybe it also was special because there were still fans that had light sticks. The venue took up bunches of them as the fans entered the theater, and a man came by and told us to put ours in our purses or they would be taken up. How could we not have our light stick tribute to Clay? And on the last night? Thankfully enough fans still had theirs to make a beautiful tribute to Clay.

When the show was over, we all gathered outside in front of the venue and formed a long line for Clay to greet us and touch our hands. This has become quite a tradition. Clay has to go quickly through the line, saying ‘Thank you for coming…thank you very much” as he grabs hand after hand in the line. But he does it because he loves the fans. He does not want to miss a night of doing this for us. And we are forever grateful for that. Venue after venue has been amazed at the loyalty of the fans and at how Clay is willing to do this. Our relationship with Clay is one of a kind.

The tour was over much too soon for me, but aren’t they always? Another 3 months and the Christmas tour will be upon us. All I know to say very sincerely is this, “Thank you Clay for the most amazing tours anyone could ever put on. I wouldn’t miss them for the world!”

Clay Wins (Another) Insider Poll

Clay won another Insider poll last night about which celebrity you'd like to see on Dancing with the Stars. Renee in Arizona said that she saw Clay on tour this summer and that guy can dance!

Update 11 PM - we can confirm that this was from the CB's renee4clay. A photo cap has been inserted at the top of this post. A video cap is available at SendSpace from the CB's gerwhisp.

Clay's "5th Grader" Taping Time Listed at Website

The "Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader" website has listed the time when Clay's show will be taped.

Clay will tape his show on Tuesday, August 28, at 11:00 a.m., followed by Kellie Pickler. Then Regis Philbin will follow Kellie on Tuesday at 3 p.m.

Just a request to those who will be attending the taping, please mark any posts with a great big "SPOILER" so that none of us will find out how Clay did. In fact, it might be even better not to reveal anything on the boards more than what he wore and what his hair looked like. I think most people, like myself, are looking forward to finding out when the actual show is shown.

Good luck to Clay. Here's hoping he wins the million!!

eBay Auctions to Benefit TBAF

Three eBay auctions, approved by the Bubel Aiken Foundation, is underway to raise money for the TBAF. On the auction block are 3 tour memorabilia from the 2007 Summer tour and the 2006 Christmas tour.

These items are signed by Clay and/or Jesse Vargas (Clay's musical director and arranger) Faye Parker, and Diane Bubel. Bids are being accepted until August 30.

  • Original score of The Classics medley (Jesse Vargas called it the "Unexpected Medley") ... click here to see the eBay page.
    By special donation to benefit The Bubel Aiken Foundation, Jesse Vargas, musical director and arranger for Clay Aiken, has generously donated his ORIGINAL "Classics Medley" score for singers and orchestra. Arranged by Jesse Vargas, as performed by Clay Aiken with back up singers Angela Fisher and Quiana Parler; also with local area orchestras. Autographed by CLAY AIKEN & JESSE VARGAS.

    Jesse actually titled the medley "The Unexpected Symphony" and UNEXPECTED is right, as we will never be able to think of big butts, tractors, beating IT, bringing sexy back, and virgins the same way ever again. You could be the owner of an original piece of what has became the "get out of your seats and boogie" HIT of this summer's nationwide Clay Aiken blockbuster tour.
  • Clay Aiken purse, signed by Faye Parker, Diane Bubel and Clay ... click here for the eBay page -
    What Clay fan wouldn't want a cute, hand-crafted, cigar box CLAY purse? Especially one signed by Clay himself! Decorated with a picture of Clay taken during the American Idol tour, artistic appliqué ribbon, and glass bead handle, this is a versitale purse that can be used every day or for special occasions. The original owner of the purse asked both Clay's mother Faye and Diane Bubel to sign it at the "Clayvention" held in Raleigh in March of 2004. The only missing element was Clay's signature.

    When the purse was donated to the Inclusion Revolution Brigade for auction to raise funds at our chapter's Pala pre-concert party for the BAF, we knew that if we held off on it's sale until we obtained Clay's signature we would have a real "Clack Keeper" for sure that would merit it's rightful place in our first Inclusion Revolution Brigade fund raising charity auction.

    We were thrilled when Faye herself helped us get the needed signatures for our items while she was in southern California for the 2007 summer tour. She knew, as we did, that the monetary value of our items would raise exponentially with the addition of Clay's autograph, and since we are a BAF Voices of Beta Alpha chapter, she graciously took our items to Clay for him to sign.
  • 2006 Christmas tour conducting baton signed by Jesse Vargas ... click here for eBay page -
    When asked to donate items to raise funds for The Bubel Aiken foundation, Jesse Vargas, Clay Aiken's tour director and musical arranger, went far and beyond hero status. Not only did he generously donate the ORIGINAL SCORE to the "Classics Medley" performed at the 2007 "An Evening With Clay Aiken" summer tour, but he also provided a special item from the 2006 "A Joyful Noise" Christmas tour. In this auction we are proud to offer the BATON used to conduct the orchestras that accompanied Clay during the 2006 Christmas tour.

    This baton is a wonderful gift of musical memorabilia that will bring much joy to any Clay fan. The baton is signed by Jesse Vargas only. Clay was asked to sign the baton as well but decided not to because he feels the baton belongs to the musical conductor and thus, out of respect for this position, wanted the baton to bear only Jesse's signature. This act by Clay makes the baton even more special, as once again Clay displayed the qualities of a consummate performer who values the work of all of his fellow musicians.

Washington Post Answers Clay Question in Q&A Column

With the summer tour, and facing a 3 month Clay drought (aside from his appearance on 5th Grader), the Washington Post gave Clay some nice PR in their celebrity Q&A column today:

Bethesda, Md.: Hi Liz,

Clay Aiken's summer tour just ended, and he picked up some great reviews. Any chance it will turn into a television special? And what do you know about his next album?


Liz Kelly: Well, I have to confess that I'm not much of a Clay Aiken fan or follower, but a quick scan of the Web does reveal mostly positive reviews for the former "Idol" runner-up's latest tour. Good for him. Makes one wonder where Taylor Hicks is hiding himself these days. Anyone know?

As for a new Aiken album (maybe he could call it "Aiky Breaky Heart"?) the most recent reference I can find is a May Jimmy Kimmel appearance where Clay said he was interviewing producers for the project. But if you're really craving some Clay, you might want to try to score tickets to his just announced "Christmas in the Heartland" tour or make sure to tune in when he appears on an episode of this fall's celebrity edition of "Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?"

Tidbits 8/24

  • Palm Beach Post has some nice pics from the West Palm Beach concert.
  • Bella Online - on being a Clay fan -
    In September 2006, Clay released an album of what many might consider “just cover songs”. No. They are more. When he sang some of them this year as he traveled to play with various symphonies, he sang them to us, his fans. It was his love letter to us. We understood. His final song of every performance was a special and heartfelt thank you. Before each time he sang it, he told the audience about his fans, how we followed him, how we grouped together as friends, how we could be a little crazy, but most important, he told them how we stand together to give him strength and support. He gets us. We are a community, we are his community.

    I still visit the boards, just not as often. See, I’ve changed. Because of Clay and his community, I’ve made lifelong friends that have helped me to deal with some big issues. I also started using my voice again; I’m using it to write. Tonight, I write my own thank you to Clay Aiken and his community.
  • Clay mention on the syndicated John Tesh radio show, reports the CB's krisnclay:
    John was talking about flying and being respectful and he mentioned that if someone in front of you is using their arm rest, don't use it as a foot rest. Then he said "Clay Aiken just got in trouble for that". I laughed, it was to funny.
  • Rochester Democrat and Chronicle - review of AI concert ... "But for Osterhout and Frederick, the ultimate Idol remains Clay Aiken. Osterhout has seen him 14 times, Frederick six. Both whip out pictures taken of themselves with Aiken, as though he were the family dog."
  • - High School Musical 2 and Zac Efron - "For Zac. The 19-year-old singing phenom of 'High School Musical' and 'Hairspray' fame, the one sporting the fake tan and the Clay Aiken-inspired 'do."
  • Colorado Springs Gazette - Chris Daughtry ... "Of all the “American Idol” contestants the fair has brought in (Carrie Underwood, Clay Aiken, etc.), rocker Chris Daughtry has to be the most fun."
  • Orlando Sentinel - Taylor Hicks hits the Orlando Hard Rock cafe ...
    First, there was Clay Aiken last weekend at Hard Rock Live. Now, Taylor Hicks hits the same venue to unleash some of his blue-eyed soul. Hicks doesn't seem to command the insane loyalty that the ClayMates shower on their man, but his music has a welcome old-school R&B edge.
  • - tour mention ...
    This summer, NJPAC offered a summer concert series featuring pop stars like Smokey Robinson, Vanessa Williams, Clay Aiken and Diana Krall, as well as the Thursday night outdoor music events that draw thousands.
  • WorldNews - Clay to perform at Neil Sedaka event
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