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Kelly Clarkson adorable - and loud - at WaMu
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Kelly Clarkson adorable - and loud - at WaMu

by Albert Rodriguez - SGN A&E Writer

Kelly Clarkson
November 24
WaMu Theater


How many musicians can Kelly Clarkson fit on a stage? A lot - and she used every one of them during her 90-minute set Tuesday night at WaMu Theater.

The two-time Grammy winner opened her show with "All I Ever Wanted," the title track from her latest album, standing next to the drumset at the back of the stage, then walking down a ramp that extended to the front. Next, she belted out "Miss Independent," the second hit following her American Idol win several years ago.

"I love the weather. I love the rain," said Clarkson to a near-filled house. Dressed in black bellbottoms, lime-colored top and a short black jacket with sparkles, the pop star was immediately greeted with shouts and whistles from the crowd, which included a significant percentage of well-groomed Gay men.

A mash-up of Alanis Morissette's "That I Would Be Good" and Kings of Leon's "Use Somebody" was an interesting mix. Clarkson wove the two songs perfectly into each other at the end.

"Breakaway" from Clarkson's 2004 CD of the same title was terrific, though like everything performed on this night it struggled from being drowned out by an excess amount of sound. About 10 band members, ranging from trumpet players to a DJ - not including backup singers - provided more than enough support, and the louder they played, the louder Clarkson sang.

"If I Can't Have You," also from the new record, ignited a huge clap-along, while "Never Again" from the singer-songwriter's sophomore effort My December brought out the true rocker girl in Clarkson.

There was definite energy coming from the artist, who just two nights prior had performed on the American Music Awards, but she appeared a bit worn out as opposed to her fresher and sharper performance at White River Amphitheatre in 2006.

Another cover, a re-do of "Lies" from indie act The Black Keys, was satisfactory, yet it absorbed time that could've been devoted to an original number. Later in the show, Clarkson included a bluesy version of Patsy Cline's "Walkin' After Midnight" and a poppish rendition of "Seven Nation Army" by The White Stripes. The Cline cover was nice and swingy, but I don't know what Clarkson was thinking when she decided to tackle a Jack White tune, and a modern rock classic at that; it just didn't work.

On the contrary, an acoustic run-through of "Behind These Hazel Eyes" was gorgeous, a better version than on the album. Ditto for a pleasing rendition of "Because of You."

"Walk Away" featured the native Texan's vocals at their prime, and again the crowd joined her in singing each and every word. Clarkson then closed out the main set of the program with "Since U Been Gone," her most recognized hit single.

A four-song encore included her current smash, "Already Gone," and an exuberant version of "My Life Would Suck Without You," which allowed nearly the entire main floor to bounce up and down feverishly. The final portion of the show found Clarkson in a slight costume change, pulling her strawberry blonde hair in a ponytail and slipping into a lavender shirt with a glittery jacket.

There's something very cute and honest about Kelly Clarkson that reeled me in as a fan since her appearance on American Idol, and the fact that she's made something of herself from that opportunity is quite commendable. While there was too much sound coming from the stage - a 10-piece band, Kelly? Really? - and it came across as a little crazed and overwhelming, it was still a great concert given by this spunky, talented go-getter who continues to impress and go that extra mile.

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