Why do I love this picture so much? And I do. I can’t stop smiling when I look at it.
It’s from the WKDD gallery from the Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, lounge event last night. I think I love it because it captures the essence of the David Archuleta we all know and love, and the one who was on full rambly view earlier in the day at the Q92 event in Canton, Ohio.
The David who walks through life thinking about what he can give, not what he can get. The David who treats every person he meets with kindness and respect.
I’m finding it more difficult than usual to put this weekend into words, but since I can’t take videos or great pictures, like so many other awesome fans (*cough*Pastel&Roberta*cough*), I want to do my best to at least describe how it felt to be there.
I was looking very forward to this weekend for many reasons. Seeing and hearing David sing, of course, but also spending time in person with so many great fans I usually only get to “talk” to online. I was also thrilled to be seeing Joannie Rochette skate … that she would be skating as David sang was beyond my wildest dreams. I had no expectations though. Didn’t know what the venues would be like, how many songs he’d sing at either event, or which songs he’d do. But as Refnaf and I drove into Youngstown, we saw a car with the license plate “SNOANGEL” … no really, we did … so I took that as a good omen for our time in Ohio, and boy was I right.
I still can’t believe we ended up at the Q92 event. As Refnaf described at the end of the last thread, even though we’d bought tickets for Skate for the Heart even before David was confirmed on the lineup, we never even considered trying to win the Q92 tickets. When YJfan told us she had a ticket but was going to keep calling into the station to try to win for us, we couldn’t get over her generosity. She told us we could listen online and try to call in ourselves (nerve-wracking to say the least), or win through Facebook, and next thing you know, Refnaf had won our tickets.
The DJ she spoke with over the phone, Nikolina, was so nice and friendly and excited that we’d be coming all the way from Canada, she asked us to make sure to find her when we got there. We wanted to thank her by bringing a pair of Olympic mittens for her (we knew David had already been given, ahem, a few pairs) … more about them later.
Monday was hot and sunny in Canton, so everything at Pete’s Grill was set up outside. It was like someone’s private patio. Like David would be dropping by for a backyard barbecue.
Sitting a few feet from the little stage was almost too much for my mere mortal synapses to handle. They told us he’d be out in another 20 minutes so people were getting pizza and snacks in the meantime. Pizza? SNACKS??? Like this was no big deal? Like David Arquette, I mean, Archuleta was not about to blow them away with his magnificent voice from that tiny pretend-looking stage???
Refnaf kept asking me if I was okay because I’m sure I looked even more dazed and confused than I usually do. So to calm myself down, I just kept repeating my favourite David inspirational sayings in my head, “things are gonna get better,” “hang in, hang on for the ride of your life,” and of course, “disco with the flow” … none were working though.
So I tried David’s pre-show ritual … I said a little prayer. I really did. A prayer of thanks on Canadian Thanksgiving for allowing me to be in that very spot at that very time with all those very people. And a wave of calm came over me just in time for David to bound onstage.
And once he was up there, he was so relaxed and chatty and happy, he made us feel like he’d just invited us over to hang out for a while. And that’s just what we did. Maybe because he talked about school so much, I felt like I was just sitting in a classroom while my favourite teacher regaled us with great stories. I don’t know if it was because he knew every single person there had made a concerted effort to win tickets to be there, to see only HIM, or if he had sugared cereal for breakfast, but he was more loose and confident than I’ve ever seen him. The crowd cheered every ramble, every aside and footnote. It was awesome. If he’d asked us to play “Simon Says” next, no problem, we’d have done it. I swear he could repeat that PSA about how he negotiated extra credit from his teachers (see first vid, below) on Jon Stewart’s show and still bring the house down.
And oh yeah, he also sang! 😆 And as always, he threw himself 100 gazillion percent into every song. Did not matter that it was a private gig at a tiny small-town pizza place, David Archuleta doesn’t phone it in. Ever. His tone on some notes literally made my ears buzz, it was the strangest feeling. A cool feeling but strange.
When he said the next song would be the last one, there was a huge groan from the crowd (which there usually is), but this time he couldn’t bear to disappoint everyone (or he was just having too much fun up there and didn’t want to leave), so he agreed to do an extra song. A lot of people called out MKOP and he tinkled the intro on the keys and almost wiped out a whole row in the front. But no, not yet, he wasn’t quite ready for that yet. And to be honest, neither was I. Hearing him sing it from far away while Joannie Rochette skated the night before dissolved me into a puddle… did not want to end up on the front page of the local paper, “Canadian rushed to Canton General with MKOP-related injuries.”
So ATM it was “for the little girls in the front” and then Crush, which he didn’t even need to introduce.
The photo/autograph portion followed and it was very fast-paced in order to get the more than 200 people through in good time. I had planned to tell David how much we enjoyed his singing at Skate for the Heart the night before and I wanted to ask him if Joannie had asked him to sing MKOP or if he’d picked it. Usually I’m able to say what I planned to say and as soon as he’s right there, I feel perfectly calm. Not this time. Refnaf told him where we were from so he wished us Happy Thanksgiving, then he signed my TOSOD CD. And as soon as he looked up at me with that wide open gaze, I said a heartfelt “Thank you, David” and then *tilt* … rien, niente, nada…like a shaken Etch-A-Sketch screen… completely blank.
We moved along and compared levels of spazzing with other fans who’d gone through the line. Then we saw Mike Krompass and went over to wish him a Happy Thanksgiving. He told us he’d never seen David talk that much on stage. He said it was hard to keep from laughing right off his stool.
We had a long drive ahead so we said our good-byes, and did start to walk out a few times but then somehow ended up right back looking on at the autograph/picture area, watching David be so patient and caring with each and every fan, especially the youngest ones. Mike walked by and said, “I thought you guys were leaving.” We told him we’d been trying to and he chuckled, “That’s Dave for ya.” Guess he’s seen that magnetic force in action for some time now.
Nikolina, the DJ, was close by so we introduced ourselves and thanked her for the tickets and gave her the Olympic mittens. She put them on right away even though it was hotter than a pizza oven on that patio. Nikolina thanked us and hugged us, and said her cousins live in Canada.
We thought that David might be staying afterward for an interview or something so we asked her if she could maybe take a picture of him later with the mittens. We figured that would happen after we left and she could send it to us. Nope. She marched over to the table, introduced herself to David and asked if he’d hold them for the picture right there and then. We were flabbergasted. In a good way. A great way. Hence, our brand new photo in the sidebar. David with Olympic mittens on Canadian Thanksgiving. Cheesy, I know. My kind of cheesy.
P.S. Sheesh, just noticed how long this is. Sorry, please make sure to get up and stretch midway through. 🙂
P.P.S.S. Two of Pastel’s amazing videos: