THE CITIZEN'S VOICE

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Clarkson delivers strong, but brief, set

Kelly Clarkson played to a crowd of about 4,000 last night at the Wachovia Arena at Casey Plaza, delivering a fine-tuned, but short performance.


The crowd even seemed surprised that the concert ended so abruptly.


The opening act was The Graham Colton Band, which delivered a half-hour long set of edgy guitar and introspective lyrics.

Colton is a great vocalist who sings with a lot of passion and did a superb job of warming up the crowd for Clarkson. Considering that his music is not well known in the area, he received a warm welcome from the audience and left them on their feet.

As a performer, he has the potential to eventually sell out arenas with his own band someday.

Clarkson "rose to the stage" via elevator at 8:30 p.m. and was greeted by an exuberant high-pitched squeal from the largely adolescent audience. She is clearly a pre-teen idol, capturing the hearts of many young girls.

However, she has matured drastically in every aspect since winning the American Idol competition. Her vocals are incredible, her stage presence has evolved and frankly, she has never looked better. She has mastered the art of vocal performance, incorporating subtle nuances that many of us can only dream about.

Enhancing her show was a unique stage setting with an intriguing light show, six top-notch musicians and two backing vocalists. The end result was a powerful showcase for her talent.

The crowd favorites were her biggest hits, "Behind These Hazel Eyes," "Miss Independent" and "Since You've Been Gone," which inspired the loudest audience singalong and drove the crowd into a dancing frenzy. That's probably because every woman who has ever been scorned can relate to the lyrics.

On the down side, Kelly just does not seem to have enough material to put on a long enough show. The fans seemed stunned when she ended with "Breakaway" at 9:30 p.m., and many voiced their disappointment on the way to the parking lot.

Another complaint was the sound, which seemed muffled at many points throughout the evening.

The Wachovia Arena tends to be a soundman's nightmare, and there were points when you could not understand what either artist was saying when they were speaking, let alone comprehend the lyrics.

Overall it was an entertaining, but short evening of music.