Tuesday Countdown: T-Minus 72 Hours to Kelly Clarkson

Well, this whole “Tuesday Countdown” thing was so much fun leading up to my front row seat Britney Spears experience, I figured I’d keep it going. Checking my calendar, I’ve got an event going on every weekend from now until the end of October, so it’s not like I’m going to run out of countdown subjects anytime soon.

Coming up next: the lovely and talented Miss Kelly Clarkson, live at the Champlain Valley Expo in Essex, VT (a far cry from Madison Square Garden).

This will be the third time I’ve seen Kelly Clarkson live in concert. By comparison, I’d seen Britney Spears in concert more than that before Kelly Clarkson ever debuted on “American Idol.”

Speaking of “American Idol,” I became a Kelly Clarkson fan in a much different way than most people. I didn’t actually watch “Idol” back then (and I don’t watch it now). I caught a couple episodes in August of 2002, when I was at core training for my first job out of college. I shared a hotel room with one of my fellow new employees, and his girlfriend was an “Idol” fan. She happened to visit for a couple days that coincided with “Idol” airings, so that was the extent of my Kelly Clarkson exposure at the time.

A few months later, when her album came out, I’d become familiar with “A Moment Like This”, since it was played on the radio non-stop. I bought the album, and thought “Miss Independent” was kind of catchy, but it never really caught on in my rotation.

When “Breakaway” came out, I didn’t even buy the album. I did, however, buy “Since U Been Gone” on the iTunes Store. I loved it. I repeated the process with “Behind These Hazel Eyes”, and by the time “Because of You” was cracking my regular iPod rotation, I figured it was time to buy the whole album.

It didn’t take long before I fell in love with the album. I was hooked on Kelly by that point, and bought “My December” the minute it came out (literally, since it was an iTunes purchase. I was in a hotel in New York when it came out, and happened to be awake at midnight, when iTunes prompted me that my purchased album was available for download. I love technology).

The first time I saw Kelly in concert, it was at Mohegan Sun, and I had pretty bad seats. The arena there is really designed for basketball, and I had what would be considered baseline seats in the upper level. Unfortunately, Kelly’s stage was on the other baseline, and my seat didn’t remotely face the stage. Still, it was a thrill to hear her live.

Then, last November, I saw her and Reba McEntire in the “2 Worlds 2 Voices Tour” in Bridgeport. My seats were better, but were pretty much on the side of the stage, so not great. Still, Kelly made my night when she performed “A Moment Like This” -- it was the first tour she’d performed it on since her Idol days.

Friday night, I’ll be center stage, 17th row, assuming the show goes on -- Kelly did cancel her most recent scheduled show due to illness. Thanks to the magic of the Internet (again, that thing is pretty awesome), I already know the set list. Understandably, it’s very heavy on her most recent album, but I’m more excited to hear the old hits again. I will admit, I’m a little sad that “Beautiful Disaster”, one of my five favorite Kelly songs, has been dropped from the setlist, but “Because of You” and a special acoustic version of “Behind These Hazel Eyes” should more than make up with it.

As always, I’ll have plenty of pictures and video to share with you as soon as it’s all over.