Tuesday, October 09, 2012
Kelly Clarkson Conquers Perth
Two and a half years ago I went to Kelly Clarkson's All I Ever Wanted tour a mildly-interested casual fan and left preaching the gospel of Kelegend. There's something utterly compelling about her combination of raw talent and natural charm that just draws you in. Since then, the inaugural American Idol winner has had something of a career revival. She released the best album of her career in 2011 and returned to number one on the US singles chart with the double-platinum selling smash "Stronger". I was curious to see if her current success reflected in the stage show and was oddly relieved that it was just as low key as her last tour. Kelly doesn't fuck around with choreography, costume changes and lighting concepts. She just sings her heart out and wins the crowd over with her funny anecdotes and down-to-earth personality. I wouldn't have it any other way.
"My Life Would Suck Without You" eloquently describes how many of us were feeling when the perky pop star walked on stage singing what will inevitably become her signature tune. I love that Kelly just put her hair back in a ponytail, threw on a pair of old jeans and a sparkly top that she could well have picked up at Target. Your fave could never and you know it! That modern classic was followed by the equally stellar "Behind These Hazel Eyes", which still sounds better than just about anything on the radio. The Texan superstar then belted out a trio of songs from Stronger. "I Forgive You" - AKA the ultimate wasted opportunity - was always destined to be a massive single but I guess now it will have to settle for live favourite status. How shit. It really is a great song. I loved "Dark Side" went it leaked initially but I'm a little bit over it now and was vastly more excited to hear "You Love Me", which is probably my favourite non-single of last year.
Next up was her desperate "Halo" rip-off "Already Gone" (Ryan Tedder's fault, not hers) and a surprise rendition of her amazing Jason Aldean duet "Don't You Wanna Stay". I didn't think we'd get much country Kelly but we got a double dose when she announced that her fan request for the evening would be Carrie Underwood's "Blown Away". It just so happens that I went to the show with Australia's biggest Carrie fan and she howled through the entire song and couldn't move afterward because of "the emotion". Obviously, she is a crazy lady but I was only slightly less moved. Kelly's rendition of the haunting ballad was absolutely exquisite. She pared the song back to its bare bones and emphasised the dark lyrics, turning Carrie's American smash into an eerie lullaby. After the country detour, the famed football fan performed the best of Breakaway - belting out pitch-perfect renditions of "Because Of You", the title track and "Since U Been Gone".
The world's favourite girl-next-door then closed the show with "Stronger". I know it's one of the biggest hits of her entire career but I still think it sounds like a Cher B-side. Which should be a good thing but strangely isn't. After the shortest of breaks, Kelly returned in a stunning fitted dress for the encore. She looked adorable and nailed a beautifully-arranged ballad version of "Never Again". I need an mp3! "Mr Know It All" - another big hit I'm not overly fond of - sounded infinitely better live but I was more excited to hear "Miss Independent", the only song from her debut to make the setlist. Kelly ended the show with a rousing cover of Fun.'s "We Are Young" with support acts The Fray and Sarah DeBono. It was an refreshingly ego-free closing number (how many divas close their shows with a cover?) that underlines why the 30-year-old remains one of pop's favourite daughters. She's just here to sing and do her thing. Nothing else matters.