Views on pop culture through my eyes

Kelly Clarkson in Concert
Wednesday, August 19, 2015
Staples Center

Special guests: Abi Ann, Eric Hutchinson, Pentatonix

Piece by Piece Tour 2015

Merchandise purchased: T-Shirt

Songs performed: Problem, Telephone, Cheerleader, Rather Be, Can’t Sleep Love, Aha!, Michael Jackson, On My Way Home, Daft Punk (Pentatonix); Dance with Me, My Live Would Suck Without You, Catch My Breath, Nostalgic, Mr. Know It All, Invincible, Piece by Piece, Tightrope, Take You High, Behind These Hazel Eyes, Because of You, Breakaway, My Funny Valentine, Cool for the Summer, Sober, Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You), Heartbeat Song, Walk Away/Uptown Funk, Bang Bang, Miss Independent, Since U Been Gone (Kelly)

Comments: American Idol winner Kelly Clarkson made a triumphant return to the Los Angeles concert scene at the Staples Center the other night. She is touring behind her 6th studio album “Piece by Piece.” She had taken a few years off to get married and have a baby.Kelly Clarkson

Kelly is one of those artists that can sign just about anything in my opinion: rock, pop, soul, country, ballads, dance, etc. “Dance with Me” was the opening number, most recently featured in ads for this past season of “Dancing with the Stars.” It was the first of 7 songs off her most recent album.

The stage itself had a cool accordion partition that surrounded it, that could either be open, or closed with smaller video screens on it. And it was used to show supplemental footage during the show. So the backdrop was basically a wall of lights and colors. This was not a show big on special effects or stunts… when you have a voice like Kelly’s you don’t need them! Her voice is the special effect! Not many people have the range or power of her voice.

Besides the new album, the show contained all 5 singles off her landmark 2nd album “Breakaway,” as well as songs off of every one of her regular studio albums. What is remarkable is how many anthems the girl has in her song catalog at this point: Miss Independent, Stronger, Behind These Hazel Eyes, Because of You and more.

During the middle part of the show, she sang a few songs in stripped down arrangements, with just her and a piano accompanist. One of these was the title track “Piece by Piece.” She broke down and missed some of the lyrics as she sang it… and then said… I am so totally pregnant! What? Congratulations to Kelly and her husband… nice that she felt comfortable to share that with her fans in such a big way.

“Sober” was the Kelly Clarkson classic for the night…. those songs that might not have been hits, but are still good songs. She chose to cover her friend, Demi Lovato’s new single, “Cool for the Summer” as her cover song for the night. A tall guy with fuschia colored hair was previous chosen to come on stage for the open mic spot and he sang “My Funny Valentine.” Good vocals, if not the best song choice in my opinion.

She brought back Pentatonix to sing “Heartbeat Song” with her. The highlight for the evening for me had to be the mashup of “Walk Way” and Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars’s “Uptown Funk.” I just thought that was incredible. “Walk Away” is such a fun and sassy song, and to put it with one of the biggest hits of the year was genius.

Kelly has so many great songs, you know some had to be left out… the most shocking omission for me was ‘Don’t You Wanna Stay” her duet with Jason Aldean.

Abi Ann was the first opening act. A country pop girl with a decent voice. She sang 3 cover songs (Taylor Swift, the Band Perry, Miranda Lambert) in her set of 5 songs. He single was her answer to the bro country movement, how she didn’t want to be “Truck Candy.” Next up was Eric Hutchinson. He was very good, and reminded me of a pop-rock singer songwriter type like Gavin DeGraw or Andy Grammer. He had a very soulful and powerful voice. He played both keyboards and guitar in his set. I definitely want to hear more from this guy. I liked that fact that his stage banner read “Eric Hutichinson is pretty good”… he was more than that to me.

The final opening act was the acapella group Pentatonix. They are the group that came to fame off “The Sing Off” as well as their YouTube videos. They added a staircase on the stage, which they sat and sang on in their set. Their vocals were excellent… the 4 guys and one girl, add up to one satisfying sound mix. It seems like 2 of them do mostly the backgrounds, with the 3 others taking turns as leads. The crowd was really into them and gave them a lot of love. I can only see bigger things happening for them.

I would have dropped Abi Ann in my opinion… she came across as not quite sure of herself still as to what type of artist she wants to be.

Kelly let her backup singers do most of the leads on “Bang Bang” — the Ariana Grande, Jessie J, and Nicki Minaj song. She came out in the last verse and sang some of it. Then it was the 1-2 punch of “Miss Independent” and “Since U Been Gone” to close out the night! Kelly had wowed us with her voice, as well as endeared us with her relatibility too… she is one of us, and she seems like a really nice person too. Thanks to Kelly and her band for a fun night!

KiltManinSoCal is a Los Angeles-based writer and designer. Be sure to check out the latest T-Shirts for sale here, including Marriage Equality and Real Men Wear Kilts lines. They make great gifts for friends, family and loved ones.

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