American Idol Pioneer Kelly Clarkson Still Going Strong

in SF Concert Reviews by

Kelly Clarkson may be a mom now, but she’s showing no signs of slowing down. With the release of her eighth studio album “Meaning of Life,” the singer turned talk show host has embarked on a US tour that kicked off last week at the Oracle Arena in Oakland and will take her all across the U.S. For this tour opener the bubbly singer was electrifying, and combined with the uncontainable energy inside the Warriors arena the mix provided the perfect stage for Clarkson’s first tour in three years. What accounted for the lengthy break? “I was too busy making babies ya’ll,” chuckled the singer early in the performance.

She brought that same sense of humor and charm throughout the entire show last night at the sold-out venue, kicking things off with “A Moment Like This,” a touching song which had everyone’s cell phones out and lit up like the lighters from back in the day. Backed by a 12-piece band that consisted of a full horn section and four back up singers she continued with “Meaning of Life,” and the megahit “Walk Away,” before slowing everything down with “Piece by Piece.” A song which she described as the bummer song. “You know, you write something because you want to get it out and get over it,” she joked. “What you don’t realize is that you have to relive them and sing them again for the rest of your life. How cruel!”

To cover all her bases she made sure to string a few of her biggest hits together in a medley, before taking a break to introduce her new talk show, “The Kelly Clarkson Show.” A natural at this latest endeavor, she introduced us to a local hero from the Napa Valley fires, which acted as a perfect teaser to the life-affirming format of her new program.

Highlights of the evening included a cover of the Miranda Lambert song “Tin Man,” as well as a finale of “Miss Independent,” which brought out openers Kelsea Ballerini and last season’s The Voice winner Brynn Cartelli to the stage. Then, after a whopping four encores, the show was sadly over.

Kelly Clarkson is doing it all. Pop singer, talk show host, talent show judge, all on top of motherhood. But what sets this performer apart from the rest is her ability to remain humble and down to earth. It’s this charm that connects most to her audience. It’s her emotive singing that moves us, but it’s her anti-diva country girl persona that most explains her longevity.

Having released albums under Digital Nations, a label founded by Steve Vai, music critic Louis Raphael has remained deeply connected to the pulse of the San Francisco music scene. Following his tenure as the San Francisco Music Examiner for and, he embarked on creating Music in SF® to authentically highlight the vibrant offerings of the city's music scene.

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