Kelly Clarkson, The Fray Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion September 7, 2012
Check out more pics of Kelly Clarkson and The Fray in our slideshow.
Friday was a night of literally hot fun at the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavillion. The heat didn't stop anyone, least of all the artists, from having fun, .
The Fray kicked off the evening with a nice set that included "All at Once," "You Found Me" and "Never Say Never." One impressive thing about pianist/lead singer Isaac Slade was that he was very interactive with the audience. He went out into the audience many times, including when he played the piano at a platform in the back of the pavilion.
During "Be Still," in a Us Festival/Bono-like fashion, Slade climbed the scaffolding near left-center of the pavilion while perusing the audience. He didn't get up that far, but had the audience eating out of the palm of his hands.
Slade reminisced about The Fray's 2009 Woodlands performance, and the Benedryl shots he needed due to an allergic reaction. He said the medication resulted in him not performing up to his potential, and a local paper called him a disgrace and said he shouldn't be viewed as a role model. [It wasn't us -- ed.]
The Colorado band's set spanned their career, from 2005 debut How to Save a Life through this year's Scars and Stories, and threw in surprising covers such as the Temptations' "Ain't Too Proud To Beg" and Cheap Trick's "Surrender." Slade made The Fray's performance more enjoyable by being such an energetic performer, and he's a pretty good piano player too.
When the barefooted Kelly Clarkson took the stage, she took it accompanied with the bells and whistles of a photo/video montage before launching into "My Life Would Suck Without You." She lamented that she had forgotten how hot it is in Texas by saying "it's gonna be a sweaty hot mess." For her cover of Fun's "We Are Young," she and her backup singers walked into the crowd and onto separate platforms.
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When Clarkson sings, her voice bleeds emotion, well-shown on such songs as "Mr. Know It All," "Because of You," and "I Forgive You." But the absolute highlight of the evening was when she sang "Don't You Wanna Stay" with a holographic version of country hunk Jason Aldean. Both the audience and myself loved it; it was a truly elegant portion of the evening.
Clarkson is a native of Burleson, near Fort Worth, and her home state was well-represented in her backup band, some of whom she introduced as from Houston.
For the request portion of the show, Clarkson performed a cover of Lady Gaga's "You and I." Prior to the show, her followers had been sending her song requests via her Twitter account. For each night of the tour, they would pick one song requested by a fan from that city.
The surprising thing about Clarkson is that not all her songs are pop songs. She seems to work well with any genre she tries -- pop, rock or even country. A great artist should be able to do that, and she does it well.
Clarkson closed out the evening with her signature hit, the rocker "Miss Independent." She has truly come into her own as a formidable artist.
Personal Bias: I remember liking Kelly Clarkson when she first came out back in 2002. Same goes for the Fray a few years later.
The Crowd: Teenagers and their parents along with women in their twenties.
Things That Make Me Feel Old: Teenagers at a Kelly Clarkson show. She won American Idol when I was a 16-year-old sophomore in high school. Has it really been ten years? Now I know how older folks feel when I start conversing with them about my love of classic rock.
KELLY CLARKSON SET LIST
My Life Would Suck Without You Behind these Hazel Eyes I Forgive You Dark Side You Love Me We Are Young (Fun cover) Already Gone Don't You Wanna Stay" (Jason Aldean duet) You and I (Lady Gaga cover) Breakaway Since U Been Gone
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Because of You Mr. Know It All Miss Independent Stronger