Massey Hall, Toronto - Apr. 16,
Tiny Texan Clarkson real big on
By JANE STEVENSON -- Toronto Sun
TORONTO -- Kelly Clarkson, the
twentysomething Texan who won the first season of
American Idol, might as well be an
At her Canadian concert debut on Saturday night at Massey Hall, two of the
best songs, Breakaway and Where Is Your Heart, were written by two of our
country's biggest musical exports, Avril Lavigne and Chantal Kreviazuk,
The newly blond Clarkson liked to call
each of them, "one of your girls!"
The likable pop-rock-soul-blues singer, whose incredibly big voice combines
the bluesy grittiness of Bonnie Raitt with the soulful precision of Mariah
Carey, was clearly excited at having finally crossed the border.
"Well, I like Canada so far. Y'all are cool!" said
Clarkson, who was greeted by
enthusiastic screams for every one of her 19 songs, including covers of the
Janis Joplin-style Piece Of My Heart, B.B. King's The Thrill Is Gone and
Eurythmics' Sweet Dreams.
At first, she stood with her back to the sold-out crowd, a wildly diverse
group of tweens and teenaged girls, their guardians, young couples,
twentysomething and thirtysomething men, and older women. She began with three
energetic pop-rockers that showed off her powerful pipes, Since UBeen Gone,
Walk Away, and Gone, all from her 2004 sophomore effort, Breakaway.
was less successful when she returned to material from her 2003 debut,
Thankful, such as the ballad Just Missed The Train, which was followed by a
bluesy trio, What's Up Lonely, the title track, and the Trouble With Love Is.
In the latter, her four-piece band joined her at the front of the stage and
later two violinists were added.
The newer songs -- such power ballads as Addicted, Because Of You and another
notable pop-rocker Behind These Hazel Eyes (the next single) -- are simply
better suited to her singing style. The exception was the rocking Miss
Independent, the biggest single from her first album, which was the undisputed
standout of her 70-minute set on Saturday night.
A petite thing, Clarkson showed off her cute frame in a halter top that
exposed a tummy punctuated by a diamond in her belly button. Later she changed
from hip-hugging black pants to an equally low-riding, multi-colored, ruffled
The stage was decked-out like a Bedouin tent with plenty of flowing fabrics
and hanging lamps. Clarkson reworked some of the more popular tunes from
her first album like Beautiful Disaster, which featured her backed solely by a
violinist and electric guitarist, and the schmaltzy ballad A Moment Like This,
which became a full-on rocker during the encore.
"That song is so much fun for us now!" Clarkson said of the latter.