Meeting the Queen at the King

Today was a very special day. As you see in the photo above, two co-workers and I met Aretha Franklin in front of a Burger King in Toledo, Ohio (you cannot make this stuff up). While the meeting was mostly random (with the help of my friend, Ashley), it was nonetheless exhilirating. Aretha Franklin is the reason I love music the way I do. She was my first love, and I am forever indebted. Next strawberry smoothie is on me, Ms. Franklin.

Sugarland Puts New Tour in Fans' Hands: Toledo Review

Sugarland kicked off their "In Your Hands" tour this week with a sold out show at Toledo's Huntington Center. The tour is designed to put decisions in fans' hands and to encourage interaction; the first show, as expected, was filled with a lot of energy and fun surprises.

In addition to singing several of their hits, Sugarland took requests from the audience (through their website, Twitter, texts and homemade signs in the crowd) to fill out their setlist. For example, two fans, one of which had waited in line since 2 a.m. that morning to get a front row spot in the "sugarpit," asked the band to play "County Line," and "One Blue Sky," deep cuts from Sugarland's 2006 album, "Enjoy the Ride." Jennifer Nettles, lead singer, had a binder full of lyrics in case of older requests because, as she put it, "we have a lot of songs!"

Say My Name, Say My Name

Kelly Clarkson's career began with the interaction of her fans, who voted her winner of the first season of American Idol. Ten years later, as part of her current Stronger Tour, Kelly has brought to the stage yet another interactive and exciting experience for her fans. Each night, after singing a cover song of her own choice ("Heavy in Your Arms" by Florence & the Machine), she sings a unique "fan fave" selection (requested through tweets with particular hashtags). On the tour so far, she has covered artists such as Coldplay, Etta James, Sara Bareilles, Heart, Pat Benatar, the Rolling Stones, The Beatles, P!nk, Patty Griffin, Brandi Carlile, Radiohead, India.Arie and many more. Before singing the song, she gives a shout out to the fan who requested that night's pick.

In Indio, California Saturday night, Kelly chose a song requested from someone very close to me ... ME! She sang "Secret Garden" by Bruce Springsteen (a song that, admittedly, Kelly has mentioned in the past is a favorite of her own) and gave her very best effort in pronouncing my very Jewish last name.

Check it out below.