The original American Idol, Kelly Clarkson, kicked off her tour this weekend. USA Today was there to go behind the scenes of this crowd-pleasing event...
â€¢ The crowd: A diverse mix: teenyboppers, parents and their kids, plus Gen Y types â€¦ and Clarkson's recent duet partner, Reba McEntire.
â€¢ Stage setting: Very simple, with five screens that change color. Overall, the show had an intimate, direct feel.
â€¢The kickoff: Intro music: AC/DC's You Shook Me All Night Long. First we saw a girl in a red dress on maroon steps, sitting down. The Gothic tableau mimicked the My December album cover. Then Clarkson appeared in a black tank and black pants singing One Minute to Love from the current album.
â€¢ The music: Mix of previous hits â€”Behind These Hazel Eyes, Miss Independent, Breakawayâ€” and tracks from the current album: Sober, Don't Waste Your Time, Chivas, Be Still. She also covered Patty Griffin's Up on the Mountain, which she sang on the Idol Gives Back TV special.
â€¢ Audience reaction: They weren't responding nearly as enthusiastically to many of the December songs. But they were generally adoring of Clarkson.
â€¢ Onstage quotable: Introducing recent download hit Never Again, Clarkson said she gets made fun of because it's another song about a bad boyfriend. "I have to go through all the losers to get to the good one," she said.
â€¢ Memorable moment: Mega-hit Because of You, performed with the backing of just one keyboard â€” and the crowd singing along with every word. Clarkson's voice is highly impressive.
â€¢ Show closer: Since You've Been Gone stirred crowd frenzy and abruptly closed a shortish show.