Tuesday, July 11, 2006

The day I met Clay Aiken

My signed copy of Clay's Rolling Stone coverIn honour of the third anniversary of Clay Aiken on the cover of Rolling Stone, I thought I'd share with you the story of The Day I Met Clay (and when he signed my copy of "his" Rolling Stone).

Living across the other side of the world I would never in a million years have considered travelling across the ocean to see Clay in the American Idol 2 Tour if it hadn't been for the People's Republic of Clay - and most especially my dear friend artquest.

She's the one who responded to my message-board question "gee I wonder how easy it would be to get tickets to see the Clay Show at this late date" with "there's a room ready and waiting for you at my house if you do decide to come over....". I booked my flight from New Zealand to Los Angeles the next day.

Mr artquest was amazing really. I think he was definitely somewhat wary of me at first, and rather surprised that his lovely wife had invited a complete stranger over to stay, but they both made me feel so welcome - it was lovely.

PRoC banner
After a few days in LA I flew up to Sacramento for my first concert, and had arranged to meet message-board friends mel ladi and agape at the airport. Although we had never met before, we recognised each other straight away (I think it was the PRoC T-shirts and the squealing!) and headed off into town. agape decided we should stop off at the Arco Arena on the way there so she could pick up her tix at Will Call, so we all went in for a look-see. There was a bunch of people hanging around waiting, and we realised they were the Meet & Greeters.

Someone suggested I should try to talk my way in (seeing as I'd come all that way), so I did just that. It turned out the guy I collared was Ned (their English tour manager), and that he was exactly the right guy to talk to. I explained I'd flown all the way from NZ to see Clay, and he told me he'd have to see if there were any spare passes, and to wait here.... So of course I did! After a while I saw him go outside for a cigarette, so I though I'd go out too and do the ciggy-bonding thing. He turned to me and said "Oh! I was just looking for you! Here you go!" – and handed me a Meet & Greet pass.

My signed ClingleI was in!!!! Incredibly enough I'd brought my copy of Rolling Stone with me, and a Clingle, and present from NZ for Clay (a little furry kiwi) in a little bag, and a card, so I crouched down on the floor and wrote the card, and was immediately surrounded by other PRoCers giving me advice, and stuff to give to Clay – it was so exciting! Spotlightlover gave me a huge box of Krispy Kremes to give to all the Idols, Jerome did his speech, and then he led us away through the darkened corridors of the arena to MEET CLAY.

Ohmygodohmygodohmygod. I was so totally nervous - my mouth was so dry I thought I wouldn't be able to say a word! The room was laid out with a bunch of tables in a large square shape, with a big space in the middle. The Idols sat behind the tables on one side of the square, and we all had to file around the other three sides of the square to get to the head of the line - which was CLAY! Poor Roooooben had a cold that day, and he didn't show up, so Clay was first, with the other Idols arranged in order down the line.

Clay looking happyIt took a while for us to arrange ourselves around the square, and some of the Idols were a bit slow in coming into the room, so there was plenty of time for us to gawk at them all as they sat and chatted to each other. I wondered if they felt a bit like animals in the zoo... It turned out we were waiting for Clay, and when he finally arrived it felt so weird that here.he.was! Oh yes! He was really real!

He looked a little pale and washed out (I think I was too used to his AI-bronzer-from-hell look), but very happy and smiley and laugh-y. And his eyes are very green. And he has freckles. Oh, you knew that already. *g*

Clay signing my stuffIt was such a mission trying to carry everything, and I was shaking like a leaf, and when I finally got to the head of the line, I presented him with the box of KKs and said "I bring you Krispy Kremes - butyou'llhavetosharethem witheveryonelesecossomeofthem arechocolateones" and then I think I gabbled something gushy like "I've come all the way from New Zealand just to see you, Clay" - at which he looked slightly surprised (or possibly started backing slowly away *g*) and began doing the signing thing with the RS and the Clingle.

While he was signing my stuff, KimL said something like "Oh New Zealand! We were just saying the other day how we'd love to visit New Zealand" and I said "ohwellyoumustboth comeandstayatmyhouse whenyoucomeover" and gave Clay the stuffed Kiwi and the card... God how funny. I'm laughing at myself just writing this.

I took a couple of pictures of Clay signing my stuff, totally forgot to shake his hand (because we were actually allowed to do that!) and eventually moved on down the line to the other Idols. They were all so nice and friendly - I told each of them I'd come all the way from NZ to see them, which seemed to please them, and eventually I reached KimberMe and Julia, who were sitting together.

KimberMe and JuliaIn response to my NZ intro, Kimmy spoke the now immortal words "Oh New Zealand! Did you fly or did you drive???" – at which point Julia and I fell about in disbelieving hysterical laughter as Julia tried to explain to her exactly where NZ was...

Ah, good times, good times.

And now I've written so much that the actual concerts I went to (Sacramento, San Jose, and Anaheim) will just have to wait for another blog on another day. I never did get round to writing a review at the time.

You know the best thing? (Well, not the best thing, Clay was the best thing, but a really great thing). When I'd been getting my stuff ready for my trip, and telling my incredulous workmates where I was going and what I was doing, I mentioned something about how some people had actually got to meet Clay and how great would it be... At which point they all ROTFLTAO and told me to get a life...

So the first thing I did when I got home was race into work with my signed Rolling Stone and Clingle yelling:


Bloody brilliant.

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Changeit said...

So, can you compare life in New Zealand to life in the US?

Vox Vixen said...

I loved your story of meeting Clay. I've been following all the stories at the CH about the AI Tour and I must admit I felt a little left out. In my stupidity, it did not even cross my mind to go. I wasn't on the internet for Clay then so I never knew what I was missing. I'm glad that so many had such a wonderful experience with it. Even living in the states, I've only been to two Clay concerts since Clay "hates" Texas, but I would not trade those two for 100 concerts of anyone else's.


The ConCLAYve-Nan said...

What a wonderful story. Thanks for telling it. And yes, Kimberme's comment is part of PRoC history for sure!

How lucky MrNan and I were to get to meet you in NH. Here's to more good times!

Mee-eh-gan said...

That was awesome. And way to show those co-workers. Ha! =)

webweaver said...

Thanks for the great comments, guys! I do like telling my IMETCLAY story sometimes... *g*

So - Nan - let's hope we all get to meet up again SOON eh? I had such a great time hanging out with you guys last time...

Anonymous said...

What fun to read this story and remember the "good old days!"

"Did you fly or did you drive ...." YES -- one of the classic pieces of PRoC history!!

Miss you!