On November 8th, the original American Idol Kelly Clarkson returned back to Vancouver after a long eight year absence. The beautiful new bride was the guest of honour for the Microsoft Store’s grand opening celebrations at Metropolis at Metrotown, and as a treat to her loyal and loving fans, she performed an outdoor concert at Swangard Stadium in Burnaby!
The last time Kelly was in Greater Vancouver was back in 2005 for her Breakaway tour (I was sixteen at the time and not a concertgoer yet). While Kelly has been to Northern BC, Vancouver Island, and Seattle since then, I had never had the opportunity to see her. So as soon as I heard that she was doing a free show in my city, my mind was already made up – I was going to be there. And, after hours upon hours of waiting in lines, I ended up being FRONT ROW CENTER FOR MY FIRST KELLY CLARKSON CONCERT!
Right when Kelly’s intro song (AC/DC’s “You Shook Me All Night Long”) started, the crowd of thousands began to get jittery, and then went absolutely wild when she stepped out (in that gorgeous hot pink Nanette Lapore coat and all of that bling!) to open with “My Life Would Suck Without You”. She performed for about 75 minutes and sang all of her greatest hits from her diverse discography, including “Behind These Hazel Eyes”, “I Forgive You”, “Dark Side”, “You Love Me”, “Catch My Breath”, “Walk Away”, “Already Gone”, “Don’t You Wanna Stay”, “Because Of You” (I was in tears when she got to this song because it is very meaningful to me), “Breakaway”, “People Like Us”, and “Since U Been Gone”, and an encore featuring “Underneath the Tree”, “Miss Independent”, “Mr. Know It All”, and “Stronger”. Her set served as a surefire reminder of the range and relevance of her music career thus far. It’s amazing to think that I’ve been listening to her music since middle school, through high school and university, and still am a fan today, singing along to every single one of her songs! I consider her songs to be an essential part of the soundtrack to my life.
What else can I say about the vocal powerhouse known as Kelly Clarkson? She is absolutely phenomenal live! Kelly performs so passionately, powerfully, and effortlessly. She was beaming with charisma and radiance (it’s that newlywed glow!) on stage. I loved how interactive she was with the crowd, getting everyone to sing along, giving smiles and waves to the audience, and even chatting with some of the very enthusiastic fans. We even shared a little moment during “Underneath the Tree”, which she performed for the first time in concert. I was the first fan she saw singing along and she pointed at me and gave me a big smile. I know how proud she is of her new Christmas album, Wrapped in Red, so it was cool to have that concert memory to cherish!
Kelly closed the show with “Stronger“, and preceded the final performance by saying “I have so many different stories from fans that tell me how this song touches them, and it’s the coolest thing as an artist to have a song in your catalogue that people can relate to in so many different ways.” Her statement sums up what it is that makes her a steady fan favourite. Whether she’s singing an empowerment anthem, an emotional ballad, or an energetic pop track, her signature has always been to make authentic music that people can relate to. She still retains that ‘girl-next-door’ persona that drew people in to root for her on Idol, and we still adore and admire her for those qualities today.
This experience was truly something special – it was well worth all of the years I spent waiting for her to perform in Vancouver and all of the time I spent waiting in lines for two days for this concert. I am hoping that Kelly’s people took note of the incredible reception she received from the crowd and won’t hesitant to book her here for her next tour. Needless to say, I will be back to see Queen Kelly in a heartbeat!
You can celebrate the holidays with Kelly by watching her NBC Christmas special, “Kelly Clarkson’s (Cautionary) Christmas Tale”, on December 11th!