The Fray And Kelly Clarkson At The Hollywood Bowl
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By Crystal Larsen
Generating enough sound to fill the Hollywood Bowl can be a daunting task. But Kelly Clarkson and the Fray made it look easy as they took the famous half-dome stage on July 30.
The Fray showcased their ability to deliver songs that encapsulate tragedy and loss in a way that's inspiring. The band opened with "The Fighter" from their most recent release, Scars & Stories. Strapped committedly to his piano, which was placed center stage underneath a soft spotlight, Isaac Slade cried out to the audience, "Maybe we don't have to be all alone," an assurance that the thousands of concertgoers likely kept with them all night. What's unique about the Fray is their talent for crafting songs that expose some of humanity's deepest and darkest emotions, which are often influenced by the band's own tragedies, and delivering them with the pop-perfect harmonies of Slade and vocalist/guitarist Joe King, not to mention Slade's infectious dance with his piano. The audience was mesmerized by soul-baring songs such as "Never Say Never" and "Ungodly Hour," the latter of which was marked by a haunting performance from King.
As many in the crowd were wiping tears from their eyes after "Ungodly Hour," Slade began the opening verse to "Happiness" as he headed toward a catwalk that served as his psuedo wedding processional as fans stood up one by one and turned to watch him head into the crowd. By the time he was singing "She'll be home, she'll be home," Slade had made his home in front of a piano that was placed among the Bowl's bench seats. Slade stayed there to perform "Be Still" to a mute crowd. The audience seemed comforted as Slade sang, "Be still and know that I am here."
The Fray finished on a high note with performances of the GRAMMY-nominated "Over My Head (Cable Car)" and the drum-heavy love anthem "Heartbeat," which was enough to kick everyone's heart rate back up for the evenings co-headliner, Clarkson.
Following a short intermission, AC/DC's "You Shook Me All Night Long" rang through the speakers as Clarkson emerged singing the conflicted love tune, "My Life Would Suck Without You." If the Fray proved they were staying strong amid themes such as loneliness and loss, Clarkson was here to prove that what doesn't kill her only makes her stronger. Up next was "Behind These Hazel Eyes" from her GRAMMY-winning album Breakaway. Singing about heartbreak is de rigueur in the pop music world, but Clarkson has re-written the rules with lyrics that aren't forgiving in the least. "Swallow me then spit me out," she sang.
But Clarkson isn't only tough at love, she likes to have fun, evidenced by her performance of Fun.'s hit "We Are Young," which brought the crowd to its feet. Shortly after, a surprise guest took the stage in the form of GRAMMY winner John Legend for a performance of Clarkson's GRAMMY-nominated country duet with Jason Aldean, "Don't You Wanna Stay." Legend stayed for a performance of the pop standard "You Don't Know Me," which has been recorded by the likes of Ray Charles, Emmylou Harris and Elvis Presley. Clarkson eventually made her way out into the crowd to sing fan-favorites such as "Breakaway" and the jump-worthy GRAMMY-winning song "Since U Been Gone."
A quick wardrobe change brought Clarkson back to the stage in a dark flowing gown for an encore that began with the regretful "Because Of You," which Clarkson penned at the tender age of 16 and performed on the 48th Annual GRAMMY Awards in 2006. Clarkson subsequently pulled the gown off to display a shorter, sexier dress (a clever wardrobe choice) for performances of "Mr. Know It All" and "Miss Independent."
She closed the evening with a performance of "Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You)," singing, "Doesn't mean I'm lonely when I'm alone/What doesn't kill you makes a fighter." And with that, the 15,000 fighting fans left the Bowl hopefully feeling stronger and not a bit lonely.
(Check back soon for GRAMMY.com's exclusive interview with the Fray backstage at the Hollywood Bowl.)
"You Found Me"
"Turn Me On"
"Never Say Never"
"Here We Are"
"All At Once"
"Look After You"
"How To Save A Life"
"Over My Head (Cable Car)"
"My Life Would Suck Without You"
"Behind These Hazel Eyes"
"I Forgive You"
"Mercy" (Duffy cover with Jason Farol)
"You Love Me"
"We Are Young" (Fun. cover)
"Don't You Wanna Stay" (featuring John Legend)
"You Don't Know Me" (cover featuring John Legend)
"Since U Been Gone"
"Because Of You"
"Mr. Know It All"
"Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You)"
To catch the Fray in a city near you, click here for tour dates.
To catch Kelly Clarkson in a city near you, click here for tour dates.