Kelly Clarkson’s Emotional Roller Coaster Meaning of Life Tour Hits Chicago

In a music industry filled with artists that seem to be content with the ‘fill in the city’ sort of mentality when it comes to interacting with fans during their live show, Kelly Clarkson is a breath of unfiltered, hilarious, relatable, real air.

Oh, and she also has one of the finest voices in all of music.

As Clarkson seemingly appeared out of nowhere Friday night (Feb. 22) in Chicago — bathed in one single white spotlight and surrounded by her loyal fandom in the middle of the packed arena — it was evident that this was not going to be a phoned-in sort of live show.

Paying homage to her 2002 American Idol win that took her from waitressing in Texas to superstardom, Clarkson launched into “A Moment Like This,” followed by “Meaning of Life” before joining her band and backup singers on the larger stage.

Though there were no less than four stylists under her dress trying to fix a wardrobe malfunction, Clarkson didn’t miss a step as she stepped into a rocking version of “Walk Away.”

“Literally, like, something happened when I made a change — I unhooked my pants and all during the ‘Meaning of Life’ and I was like ‘you are about to see the meaning of life in your face,” Clarkson quipped.

She quickly got down to business, and she had a purpose.

“There’s a lot of division in our country,” she told the crowd assembled at Allstate Arena, shifting gears. Thankfully, all involved seemed more than ready to put any differences on hold for a night in favor of a night of unity and music.

Clarkson led an incredible ride, from 2017’s “Love So Soft” and “Whole Lotta Woman” to past hits “Breakaway” and “Behind These Hazel Eyes.” She slowed down with songs a ballad break she called “depressing,” but the crowd seemed to consider more therapeutic — “Piece by Piece,” “Because of You,” “Beautiful Disaster” and “Sober.”

And in what has become somewhat of a tradition on her Meaning of Life Tour, Clarkson then took her shoes off for a cover song, this time Shawn Mendes’ “In My Blood.”

The rest of the show played like a virtual pep rally of life for her fans, as people sang too loud and danced with the people next to them during songs like “My Life Would Suck Without You,” “Heartbeat Song” and “Miss Independent” a song Clarkson sung alongside openers Kelsea Ballerini and The Voice winner Brynn Cartelli, who both delivered opening performances worthy of attention and praise.

In the all-but-certain encore, Clarkson stunned the audience with a moving Hamilton cover “It’s Quiet Uptown” before turning things up again with “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)” and “Since U Been Gone,” two songs that put the crowd into a downright frenzy.

At the end, you could sense that the crowd didn’t want to leave. They didn’t want the music to stop or the ‘nothing can touch me’ feeling to go away. But maybe, just maybe, they were different people than when they had first walked in.

That’s the power of music — the power of artists like Kelly Clarkson.