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Clarkson sings the blues

Kelly Clarkson
The Milwaukee Theatre
Milwaukee, WI
Oct. 23, 2009
Kelly Clarkson Kelly Clarkson Kelly Clarkson

Review and photos by Jeannette VanKanegan

Kelly Clarkson, the original American Idol, played The Milwaukee Theater, Friday night to a less then capacity crowd. The show started off strong, but didn't stay that way. Clarkson opened with a snip-it of the perky "All I Ever Wanted" the title song on her newest album and then into one of earlier singles "Miss Independent." Clarkson wearing a black jacket, a glammed up t-shirt, and jeans, looked very casual and confident.

She gets a lot of crap from the media, for being, so called "overweight," but she looked happy and healthy. It was nice to see that she doesn't give in to the Hollywood hype of being disgustingly skinny or what their perception of beauty is. Clarkson sang a cover medley that featured an oldie, but a goodie, and a popular song on the radio right now. The first song was "That I Would Be Good" by Alanis Morissette, and the second was "Use Somebody" by the Kings of Leon. Those two songs were also labeled as Clarkson's "favorite songs ever." She went on to say "This is my favorite tour with cover songs. I love making others songs my own." Her takes on both numbers had her distinctive and often beautiful voice make them her own.

Another cover song was "Lies" by the Black Keys. The song was sung a capella and showed off her vocal range beautifully. She also sang an incredible version "Walking After Midnight" by Patsy Cline. Soulful songs like that fit her voice well. In between the cover set, Clarkson talked about her love for soulful music, and how she doesn't get to record those types of songs on her albums.

Of course, Clarkson sang some of her biggest hits, including "Breakaway." "Never Again" and "Hazel Eyes." The small but intense audience sang along to all the choruses. The introduction to "I Want You" included her saying "I usually don't write really happy songs, usually depressing ones. I wanted at least one happy one on this album, and its one of my favorites."

Clarkson was very casual on stage and almost seemed board and distant at times. There was also a lot of time spent between songs talking to the audience. She introduced every single song, and sometimes that can be too much. She said a lot of crazy things like: "You can't yell at me, I have ADHD." (When some fans screamed "We Love You," during her introduction to one of her songs.) and "I need Therapy" (when talking about her songs being so depressing).

Clarkson went back to singing some more of her popular hits. "Because Of You" a song that she had to fight to get on her album, this is where things started going badly. She had a hard time hitting the notes during that song, so she had the audience sing the chorus for her. During the song "Walk Away" Kelly wasn't reaching the notes very well at all. Certain notes in her falsetto voice were fine, and lower notes were no problem. The full voice power notes were the ones she was having a difficult time with. She seemed to push her self to recover at the end of the song. "Since You've Been Gone" was another sing along, trying to hide the fact that she really was having a hard time singing her own songs. She actually sounded better on the cover songs.

After a long break, Clarkson came out and sang her newest single, "Already Gone," from her latest album. The ballad was sung with a mini grand piano, backup singers, and a lone guitarist. After another break, a DK DJ was mixing some beats for the audience. The lights matched each beat, and a Kelly Clarkson Mega Mix was being mixed on stage. Then the band joined in, and Clarkson appeared on stage, after a quick wardrobe change. She was wearing a metallic blue coat, with hot colors splattered all over the jacket. A plain t-shirt, some chains on her neck, and the same jeans as before, with her hair pulled back.

She ended the show with the single off of her new album "My Life Would Suck Without You." Not being able to even finish the notes, she would hold out the microphone to the audience, so that they could sing for her. Not a very good way to end the show. While it seems that the 27 year old's voice can wow you on the radio or on record - she certainly seemed to struggle live.

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