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From the Country Standard Time Archives

Clay Walker throws a party

Fred Kavli Theatre, Thousand Oaks Cal., April 8, 2000

By Dan MacIntosh

THOUSAND OAKS, CA - Clay Walker's most emotionally moving song urges listeners to not "let the chain of love end with you." But the overriding point this hunky Texan puts across in concert has more to do with not letting the party train leave you behind, like some lonely loose caboose, because much of this nearly two-hour show was jam-packed with party favors.

Oh sure, there were also party treats of the musical sort this night; Walker and his seven member band mainly stick to straight ahead country music, and Clay steps up to the mic and sings his songs Strait - as in George Strait.

But when his songs strayed ever so slightly away from traditional country - as with the pseudo-Calypso of "Live, Laugh, Love" - Walker let his concert production team help him get this party started, since he's certainly no great dancer or MC.

During this song, for example, streamers shot out into the audience. And when he got to "Then What," approximately 10 beach balls were thrown out into the audience, creating the feeling of an outdoor beach party within this civic center.

All the while, though, one was never left with the feeling Walker was trying to cover up anything with these distractions. With ballads like "The Chain Of Love" and "Holding Her And Loving You," for example, he proved beyond the shadow of a doubt that he knows his way around a country song.

It's just that many of his songs, such as "If I Could Make A Living," are lighthearted and upbeat. Walker just wants to match the mood of his performance with the tone of his songs, and it works.

The only low points in his show came when he leaned too heavily upon the rock elements of "Cold Hearted," and when he unwisely decided to sing the overly bland "Once In A Lifetime," a song that goes nowhere lyrically or musically in addition to being a party killer of an encore.

But for the most part, Walker lived up to the "Live, Laugh, Love" title of his most recent album, and the red streamer taken home is evidence of that. It's just one more reminder of how Clay Walker sure knows how to throw a great party.