I Will Wait ... and Wait ... For Kelly Clarkson in Indianapolis
As one of Microsoft's go-to artists, Kelly Clarkson had a busy weekend at the end of June helping the company to promote two of its new Midwest stores - one in Troy, Michigan (near Detroit) and the other in Indianapolis. While the Troy concert was cut short due to heavy thunderstorms (not for lack of trying by a very wet Kelly to keep the show going), the Indianapolis show the next evening held promise for better conditions. Thus, while the Michigan concert was ending, I decided to "weather" (rim shot) the potential for more storms at Keystone Mall, where about 150 fans came out the night before to try to be part of the first 100 fans that would get to meet Kelly.
Just like in Cleveland in April, a group of fans spent about 13 hours in line (the majority of which was in a parking garage with conditions that would probably be frowned upon by a homeless prostitute) with the end goal of seeing a stellar outdoor Kelly concert and meeting her after the show. Our lives definitely sucked without access to clean toilets, but we stuck it out for the glory of a promised meeting with Kelly briefer than the career of a contestant from The Voice (ooh, burn).
In the end, us "lucky ones" got our wristbands for the show/meet and greet, and a few of us even got prizes from Microsoft, such as Surface tablets, an X-box, gift cards and more. As a result of a well-written and timed hash tag on Twitter, I was picked to win an autographed Fender guitar courtesy of the Microsoft social media team and Miss Indy herself. Clearly, I was thrilled (and I've already learned a few chords that will one day put me on track to play an entire pop anthem).
It turns out the weather was just as uncooperative in Indianapolis as it was Troy, but this time the Microsoft people had a backup venue planned (these people are pros. I guess you have to be with a brand as well-known as Microsoft, but I was constantly impressed by the staff, both in sight and behind the scenes, and its desire to make as many fans happy as possible; something that is never easy when you have a few thousand dedicated music fans in one place).
The concert went on as (sort of) planned at Latitude 39 down the street from the mall, and Kelly performed a full set in a Dave & Bustery-plus bowling alley setting that was much more intimate than any venue she's played in years. It was win-win for Kelly, Microsoft, the fans and that kid that hit the jackpot in the arcade and likely went home with a killer pencil sharpener.
Jason Halbert, keyboard player and musical director extraordinaire, was missed (due to a family emergency). As a result, instead of performing "Because of You," a concert staple since 2004, Kelly added a Mumford & Sons cover of "I Will Wait." Turns out that was a fitting addition for the fans who would wait nearly any amount of time to get a few moments with an artist who gets better and better every time she performs. There are very few people I would spend 13 hours in a parking garage waiting to see. But, don't worry, Kelly, a little hooker grime can't keep me away from you.
All my photos are here.
Full set list: