David holding the microphone for Emily … and another fan who shall remain nameless but is still in shock. :) (Photo credit: Pam Pike. Click pic 4 source.)
In the Moment
I am basically a shy person, a longtime practicing introvert. However, things changed a little last week, and if I had the opportunity now… OK, I would still need a sack to put over my head, but if I had the chance, I would shout to the world about David Archuleta’s triumphant return to performing. It was “glorious,” including the concert where he could not sing at all.
There is no argument that David took a lengthy and mysterious hiatus. In fact, he seemed to take it to a new level. Why so long? What about us? What in the world was he thinking? Turns out he was thinking plenty.
Last spring, when concert announcements began to pop up, hibernating fans erupted into a predictable frenzy. Venues sold out and the anticipation began in earnest. I invited my 17-year old granddaughter—the lovely Emily—to join me for a September road trip across Idaho and into Utah. We simply had to wait for September to arrive; and unless there were two Julys this year, it was the slowest summer in recent history.
Finally, September 17. We were ready! Bags packed. Check. Wilhelmina (the car) with a full tank. Check. The lovely Emily with her favorite travel snacks (Gardetto’s, grapes, water). Check. Contingency supplies considered (blankets, road flares, defibrillator). Check. We left our little oasis in western Idaho, aka Boise, and headed out across the desert for the four-hour drive to Idaho Falls. Thanks to the generosity of Abrra from “The Voice,” we had seven hours’ worth of David’s music to play over Wilhelmina’s capable speakers. The lovely Emily sang along and knew every word.
We were not the first fans to check into our Idaho Falls hotel, but we all found each other quickly. There were hugs and/or introductions all around, along with some impromptu “fandemonium.” Close to concert time, the hotel provided a shuttle to the venue, and suddenly this was it! This was real. This was the night. We were there, and David Archuleta was in the house!
The concert began with an opening act, Gracie Schram, a sweet 17-year old girl with a sweet talent. She easily engaged the audience with her fun music, in spite of knowing exactly why all the seats were filled. After a longer-than-necessary intermission, the lights dimmed and band members began to take their places on the stage. David waited in the wings. Just imagine that moment: the excitement, the nerves, the fear, the silent prayer, the pounding heart… Yes, I was a mess. Who knows what David was feeling.
Suddenly, he bounded onstage and flashed a tentative smile. The crowd roared. Yeah, that’s pretty cliché to write, but roar they did. Many fans simply stood to applaud his presence, a classy gesture of support and appreciation. It was another moment, and a tender moment at that.
When TOfan asked for a recap, I didn’t know where to start. Most fans have seen the videos and the music speaks for itself. Maybe I could write about my favorite songs, but seventeen seemed too many. Maybe I could write about what David’s voice can do for a song, but that would take forever because it is too close to indescribable. Maybe I could write about the concert experience on Saturday night in Layton. It was profound, even spiritual in its own way. What could I add to that? Isn’t there a tariff on superlatives? So, what you are getting here is a few more “moments.” (Remember, this is free of charge.) They are a motley collection of off the cuff, random, unfettered and unorganized thoughts and impressions that have stuck with me since that amazing weekend. Here we go:
~ When David sang “Somewhere Only We Know,” he totally owned the stage and the audience. Period.
~ “Everybody Hurts” on Thursday made me weep, but I was not alone in doing so. There should have been a tissue concession. I even saw a couple of burly men wiping away a few tears.
[Sidenote: “I’m going to do another couple songs for you guys” … have there ever been sweeter words spoken in the English language??]
~ David mentioned up front that it had been almost four years since he had done a full show. Several songs into the set list, I suddenly realized that the music and chitchat in this concert was planned to tell his story, answer questions that had been swirling around, and announce his future plans. Awesomesauce.
~ David’s stage banter was easy going. Oh, there was still some trademark rambling there, all of it enlightening and entertaining of course. If the rambling ever went away completely, things would not be the same and I would be incredibly sad.
~ I will not forget the audible gasp from the audience when David told us he had called his manager at one point to say, “I don’t think I want to do this anymore.” Within seconds, the same shocked audience managed a collective sigh of relief when he told us the rest of the story. I knew I should have brought that defibrillator.
~ “Shooby doop dobby dop dobby doop…” A delicious Disney-flavored scat from David. (He can do it all, can’t he?) I confess to watching the Tarzan medley more than 20 times so far. Do bop she doo whoo!
~ David’s famous “dry humor” was infused with a touch of sass at times. It wasn’t potent sass, rather gentle, but funny and effective.
~ “Numb” is anything but. Love it! Love it! Love it!
~ Humility intact. I cannot tell you how many times David thanked fans for being there, for supporting him, for returning to hear him. Wow, there were a lot of thank yous! He is probably still out there thanking someone somewhere.
~ Post-concert Commentary. No concert worth its salt goes without a post-concert meeting of the minds to discuss every facet of everything we have just seen and heard together, and then start all over and discuss it again. We cried and laughed, and laughed ‘til we cried. We even became borderline obnoxious at times, so we laughed some more. The lovely Emily was waiting for it all to end, but was patient, only commenting on the way to the elevator that we were much bigger fan girls than she realized.
~ Hail to the fans! I love you! What a great group of kind and generous people you are! And what fun to spend time with you. My only regret was not being able to meet everyone (I say that every time!). I wanted to match your beautiful faces to your online monikers. I did learn one thing though: I need to change my Twitter name back to “Archugeezer” so people will know me. My multiple personality explanation seemed to defy logic.
~ The hypnotizing, mesmerizing, dancing hands. (“You are in my power.”)
~ Singing man was also stylin’ man. Pretty much a unanimous “thumbs up” on that. #itbeginswithboots
~ A personal aside: the lovely Emily is a dedicated dancer, ballet five days a week. Every night, no matter how late we returned to the room, she exercised—squats, sit ups, stretching her limbs into next week, you name it. I was impressed. Not once was she distracted by me noshing on the random chocolate I discovered in my purse.
~ The Friday night crowd seemed a tad rowdier than the night before. Definitely more relaxed. Some of David’s LDS lingo produced sustained applause and “religious hooting,” I’m convinced there was a Mormon pep rally going on in the balcony. Pretty funny. #ldsyouthgroups
~ I think my heart actually broke on Saturday night in Layton when David’s singing voice finally disappeared and he had to talk his way through “My Kind of Perfect.” My mother instincts were in full gear and giving me fits until I realized that the entire crowd was sending waves of love to that stage. He has us, people. He has us forever.
~ The lovely Emily and I had the best time. She is a jewel of a traveling buddy who is inexplicably willing to show up in public with an old lady. David Archuleta deserves credit for creating some of our bonding time. Soon after we returned home, she sent me a thank you and “drew a little picture.” I have her permission to share a few of her written thoughts about the concerts:
The David Archuleta concerts were mind-blowing! David sang each song with such feeling, and every single song was incredible. My personal concert favorite was the Spanish song he did for an encore (Nunca Pense), and I really loved the Tarzan medley too. I attended the first three concerts and every concert was fantastic in a different way. David gave each song all he had.
The third concert (Layton 9/19) was hard for David because he had the flu, but it will always be a favorite for me because I got to sing with him! The coolest seven seconds of my life: singing my favorite David song with my favorite singer. He looked me straight in the eyes and gave me a HUGE smile. It was the most amazing thing to ever happen!
Those of you who have heard David Archuleta sing live already know there is a unique and beautiful timbre to his voice that is difficult to capture or replicate on a recording. It is a sound that seems to flow between ethereal and magical, a sound you can actually feel as you hear it. That is not to say his recorded music is somehow less; it is not, far from it. It is only to say that if you want to experience the whole of David’s talent, you need to attend a concert and hear him live. Do it! Unless you have to sell one of your children to buy a ticket, you have no excuse. Just go! Be there!
Oh, one more thing. Remember that little kid from American Idol? Well, he’s gone. I would bet dollars to donut holes he is grateful for the experience; but yep, the kid doesn’t exist anymore. He’s a man now, still handsome and delightfully disarming, but a little older, a lot wiser and definitely up for making his own decisions. Be assured, David Archuleta is performing again because he wants to. The man may be small in stature, but do not be deceived. He looms large on that stage, and in life.
~TaterZen aka Archugeezer
p.s. Thanks to the lovely Shelley and 8throwcenter for their amazing videoooooos.