Is there anything more potentially cringe-worthy than a duet? It often seems the two singers are duelling not duet-ing. Chalk up one point to the better singer; one to the better looking, or the more famous. And, more often than not, there’s no chemistry, which can made it uncomfortable to watch.
But sometimes it goes like this … A young man steps on stage with a cool confidence. A hint of a swagger. His sparring partner is armed with a piano, a number-one hit and the respect of his peers.
The young man uses the only weapon he has — a powerful, emotive voice that lifts the song into an anthem. He is more than an equal on that stage. It is the first time he shows the world that he is taking ownership of his talent. He is in charge. His rich, almost haunting voice blows away the ghosts of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Dolly Parton, and sends an important message — I am relevant, Simon Cowell. Truth is, David lifted Ryan Tedder 10 feet off the ground that night.
There was a lot of indignation among David’s fans about his “Hero” duet with Cook. There were cries that our David didn’t get to sing enough; that the song was deliberately chosen because it was better suited to Cook’s voice.
What I saw was a young man not yet comfortable in his own skin on stage; someone who literally and figuratively looked up to Cook; but someone who took what he was given and made sure that song was remembered as a duet — not as a Cook performance.
If you listen (without watching), it is clearly David’s voice that pushes back the walls in the Staples Center. He breathes power into the song and provides a steely backbone to which Cook is able to attach his tin-like vocals.
And when Cook sings the wrong word (“That world never change,” instead of “came”), a hint of a grin appears on David’s face. Priceless.
HYAMLC has become one of my favourites of David’s Christmas songs. The duet on the CFTH album was good; David singing it solo in Santa Rosa was special when he truly made it his own; then in San Francisco — a show I attended — came a surprise. I heard the crowd give a collective gasp and start to cheer, which almost totally drowned out David’s introduction of his mom, Lupe, before I saw Lupe walking onto the stage.
How lovely to witness the love and affection between them. Their voices blended beautifully and in wonderful harmony. Lupe’s vocal runs at 2:50-3:10 on the video show where David might have learned/inherited this aspect of his talent. He may have picked up on Lupe’s lovely relaxed stage presence, as well. They built the song well and the last chorus was outstanding. Two-armed hugs after the song and David’s huge grin as Lupe exited the stage said it all! A song to remember. I recommend just listening – many nuances to be savoured. [And check out his impromptu HYAMLC duet with his talented, but nervous, Aunt Char in Waukegan, IL, HERE; notice how he protectively guides her with subtle gestures, looks and a supportive hug.]
…Stay tuned for Part 2!…
P.S. A big thank you to Rabid for our snow-tastic new banner! Hope you all feel the snowflake love!