Does any pop star have more fun than Kelly Clarkson? Maybe it’s the way she achieved success, via a competition voted on by passionate fans, but Clarkson’s established herself as the most humble, affable, good-natured superstar in pop music, and she demonstrated all those qualities during her excellent, if disappointingly brief, show at The Joint on Friday. Opening with the title track from her infectious new album All I Ever Wanted, Clarkson (along with her ace 11-piece band) ran through a set mixing songs old and new, along with an impressive range of covers, that only let fans down when it ended after 80 minutes.
- Kelly Clarkson
- Nov. 6
- The Joint
Clarkson’s TV competition-winning voice was deservedly the evening’s showpiece, but her gleeful attitude was nearly as enjoyable. She ate up the attention from the surprisingly diverse crowd, singing “Happy Birthday” to a fan up front, and later spontaneously complimenting another on her skirt. She shared her musical taste, too, covering songs by The Black Keys, The White Stripes, Patsy Cline, Alanis Morrissette and Kings of Leon (the latter two in a remarkably effective mash-up of “That I Would Be Good” and “Use Somebody”). She was sweetly self-deprecating, joking that she couldn’t wear the fan’s cute skirt because she has “a big butt,” but getting grateful applause during the line “Even if I gained 10 pounds” on “That I Would Be Good.”
Clarkson’s own songs were pretty impressive, too. She stuck almost exclusively to her singles, along with a few album cuts from All I Ever Wanted, but they all sounded fresh. Early hit “Miss Independent” got a bit of a rock makeover, while “Behind These Hazel Eyes” became a stripped-down, mostly acoustic number, and current single “Already Gone” went from stuttering, ethereal ballad to something more organic. She proved on The Black Keys’ “Lies” and Cline’s “Walkin’ After Midnight” that she could have been a heck of a blues singer if she wanted, and sold every line of her own anthems of heartbreak and redemption. Right before closer “My Life Would Suck Without You,” the DJ played a mix that included snippets of Clarkson tunes “One Minute” and “Gone,” only emphasizing how much more was held in reserve when the curtain closed.