Miss Independent — that would be 25-year-old Texas pop-rock-gospel belter Kelly Clarkson — came to Toronto’s Massey Hall last night and blew the roof off the joint. Clarkson clearly knows how to make lemonade out of lemons and wrote a catchy song about the experience, Chivas, which ended up as a hidden track on My December.
Clarkson later had the audience judge a band pumpkin-carving contest in honour of Halloween that included one she co-designed that was inspired by Steve Carell’s chest-waxing scene in The 40-Year-Old Virgin and his now famous utterance “Kelly Clarkson!”
And can the girl ever sing, as she demonstrated on such pulse-pounding standouts as Behind These Hazel Eyes, Because of You, a gospel treatment of Patty Griffin’s Up to the Mountain, Miss Independent — with snippets of AC/DC’s Highway to Hell and Led Zeppelin’s Whole Lotta Love thrown into the mix — Breakaway, Walk Away, Sober, Chivas, and Since U Been Gone. The barefoot Clarkson dramatically opened the hour-and-20-minute show by recreating the album cover of My December, right down to wearing the same burgundy ball gown, which was quickly torn away to reveal a purple and black camisole and wide-legged black pants, while her seven-piece band maintained frozen poses
A white ruffled curtain sometimes acted as a barrier between Clarkson and her band and backdrop, which included a small staircase and a video screen, but it was really her connection to the audience and that powerhouse voice that was most impressive.
Even if demanding everyone “Jump!” as she did during Gone and Since U Been Gone didn’t always work.