Along with tour openers Abi Ann, Eric Hutchinson, and Pentatonix, singer songwriter Kelly Clarkson brought her Piece by Piece Tour to the Austin360 Amphitheater at Circuit of the Americas on August 29th. It was a steamy Texas night but thousands flocked to see Kelly Clarkson, or ‘the original American Idol’ perform onstage.
Young and accomplished singer-songwriter Abi Ann returned to her home state to perform on tour with Kelly as the opening act and certainly moved the crowd as they arrived at the venue. At only 18, Abi Ann’s incredible voice has received recognition and she recently toured with Jesse McCartney on ‘In Technicolor Tour’. Following Abi’s lovely performance, Eric Hutchinson’s killer vocals, bright teal suit (a brave choice considering the sweltering Texas heat), and quick wit took newcomers by surprise as they entered the amphitheater, by which he greeted them with “Hello and welcome to those just arriving. I’m Eric Hutchinson and I know what you’re probably thinking right now: ‘He’s pretty good,’making referencing to the large banner behind him which read, ‘Eric Hutchinson is Pretty Good.’
YouTube-originated group Pentatonix, who although performed at Austin’s ACL Live last March, came back to Austin to perform to their large fan base. Men, women, and children of all ages sported colorful wigs, wore fun ensembles, and modeled their favorite artists’ paraphernalia. Pentatonix is a Grammy-winning American a capella group originating from Arlington, Texas. They reached star status through their feverishly popular YouTube channel. The group’s members: Kristie, Mitch, Scott, Avi, and Kevin, were absolutely stunning and gave a goosebumps-inducing performance of some of their most famous medleys, such as Evolution of Michael Jackson, Daft Punk, Cheerleader, and even 2 original songs from their new album that will be released on October, 16, 2015.
At 9:30 a barefoot Kelly Clarkson strutted onstage and officially got the party started. The powerful and sassy 32-year old singer-songwriter looked as beautiful as ever in a bouncy dress sprinkled head-to-toe in sequins. Her goal of the evening was to have everyone sing until they couldn’t sing anymore. The “Stronger” singer carried on with her powerful performance while maintaining a super personable connection with her audience, pausing to engage them throughout the show as though she was having a conversation with her close friends. At one point, she addressed her fans behind her by reassuring them, ‘I promise I’ll give you more than my butt back there. It sure is nice though,’ followed by laughs, hoots, and hollers.
Originally known for her more solemn songs recollecting her difficult past in a broken home, Kelly Clarkson jokingly admitted, ‘I’m like the Joni Mitchell of music. Here to make you cry,’ but ‘I love depressing music so that’s okay. I don’t know what that says about me sooo…’Having recently announced her 2nd pregnancy, Kelly laughed through her tears trying to get through some songs, especially a toned down version of ‘Piece by Piece’ which was accompanied with just the piano. Prior to attempting the emotional ballad , Kelly explained to the audience that she would try really hard to finish the song because she hasn’t succeeded in getting through it without getting emotional due to her hormones. Kelly had to collect herself multiple times in order to finish the song, by which time the entire amphitheater rose to their feet to applaud her, which she tearfully responded with, ‘I cry at everything so if you could stop being so nice, that would be great.’
One of Kelly’s personal favorite moments on this tour is the open mic, where she introduced a lucky individual ‘to perform and show us what they’ve got.’ Kelly brought Jim Fredly from Austin, Texas, to the stage to sing ‘Hey Jude,’ which got the whole audience to sing along. The show was full of energy, which managed to escalate when Clarkson brought back Pentatonix to the stage to sing ‘Walk Away/Uptown Funk’ and ‘Heartbeat Song.’ She came back after a brief time to conclude the night with a cover of Jessie J, Ariana Grande and Nicki Minaj’s ‘Bang Bang,’ performed by her and her lovely supporting ladies. They succeeded in getting the entire amphitheater on their feet and singing at the top of their lungs. ‘Miss Independent,’ followed and lastly she closed out the night with ‘Since You’ve Been Gone,’ which had everyone jumping up and down and dancing.