It was a week to die for, and I did. It happened here in little ol’ Idaho, the home of taters so tasty they have their own brand. We also have people in Idaho; not many, but the ones I know are fine folks. Yet, mention Idaho and others seem to think of Iowa; or Ohio. This fact may explain why there was such an unusual commotion when The Archuleta showed up here and stayed for days! I shall not name names, but some of us went a little bonkers.
I have lived in Boise, Idaho (That’s BoySee, not BoyZee.) for maybe 150 years now, and doing it in relative obscurity. All of a sudden, Mr. Singing Sensation is putting us on the map, visiting and tweeting and vlogging about places and things I have seen and visited myself: Shoshone Falls, Epi’s, Deseret Book, Borah High School, The Basque Museum, etc. Oh, and Walmart; don’t forget Walmart. Obviously this is the proof I need that David and I are kindred souls or something, right? We should be hanging out together!
I am on the lookout when loyal David tweeters direct me to radio station KISS-FM where I hear that David will be joining the DJ’s at their tent booth outside Meridian’s Walmart, an appearance to support the “Toys for Tots” charity. Feeling instantly charitable myself, I take a 15-mile side trip to check them out. My ears are deathly afraid of KISS-FM, but it didn’t stop me from cruising through the parking lot and trying to act nonchalant at the same time. When I heard David’s late arrival would conflict with my schedule to stand in line at the signing event, I left. I also realized I had crossed the threshold into Stan-Land that morning.
Two weeks prior to David’s arrival, I learned the MKOC sales in Boise were not good. “Dismal” was the one-word report. I was heartsick; David deserved to see a full house; Boiseans needed to hear David. And how many people would be at the signing?
With a little design help from the talented @missbianca, I set about printing posters and promo cards. I recruited granddaughter Emily to help me distribute them to businesses and schools, etc. Emily convinced friends to assist and we went to work. I don’t know if our efforts had much impact beyond making me feel better, but imagine my relief and delight when Deseret Book began to fill up and the line snaked back and forth across the store until it was forced outside for lack of room.
Archuleta Waiting Lines are events in their own right, sometimes hours filled with fan connections, story swapping, and hilarious reactions to seeing David. Aside from the ever-popular “He’s so cute!” there were other favorite comments I overheard in Boise:
- ”He’s real! I just saw him move.”
- “Whoa! I love his hair! Is there a color that’s blacker than black?”
- “I want to take his picture, but I just keep shaking.”
- “If I tell my daughter how much I like David, she won’t like him anymore.”
- “Are you sure he doesn’t wear makeup? Look at him! Should we ask him?”
The line moves, and the moment finally arrives for each of us to be in front of David. This is when he looks at you with laser eyes and instantly wipes out memory banks in your brain. And then he smiles. Zap.
As much as I think I know David, he doesn’t really know me. He doesn’t ever recognize me, and I don’t remind him that he should just because I pay good money to fumble wordlessly through numerous Meets & Greets. In spite of my Twitter bravado, I am no extrovert (understatement). It isn’t David’s fault. Besides, he does let me stare at him for a few seconds, so I come out ahead in the deal.
I made no plans for a Meet & Greet in Boise. The poster and promo card project somehow earned me the right to escort 8 teenagers to the venue—2 believers, 5 on the fence, 1 meh. I was less concerned about concert attendance by then, but still surprised at the line that wrapped around the block. The girls joined the young and skinny set in the sardine pit; I was directed to another entrance where I ceremoniously fell on the stairs, injuring my pride and ruining any hope of being considered a cool chick. A woman and two LDS missionaries ran to help and got me on my feet again. I slowly found my way to the “skybox” and a welcome chair where I was cured by David Archuleta’s voice and an amazing concert.
My view from the top was fun. I could see the crowd, observe reactions and watch my girls while they group moshed to Zero Gravity. It was loud and lively, reminiscent of David’s Boise concert in 2009. Fans were both respectful and responsive to him and his music. When he began, I could hardly believe what I was seeing and hearing. Something was different. Oh, his voice was better than ever, but it was something else–his showmanship, his confidence, his banter, his dancing, his improvisations, his interaction with fans; something. Something really good. What was it? Well, perfectly fantastic for one thing; and the crowd agreed. They agreed after every song. They agreed with a resounding roar after the “Little Drummer Boy” encore. I left the venue with 8 girls—3 believers and 5 with giggling, gushing ODD.
Twelve hours later, Emily and I drove the 260 miles across southern Idaho to Blackfoot. We had plenty to talk about, much to anticipate. There were approximately 30 people at the Meet & Greet, a small group, including fans I was happy to see again, and others I wanted to meet. After some instructions from “Stix” the affable host, David walked into the room; and there it was again, that different something. David in charge.
Chatty David did the autographs and photos, which offered two opportunities to say something to him. Fortunately for me, Stix did not separate the coherent fans from the incoherent and I was able to participate with my usual lack of aplomb and not be noticed. Afterwards, we followed our host into the venue and waited for David to magically appear on stage and talk to us, which he did. Lucky fans were picked to ask fan questions. I knew the answers too. (I have an awesome and unique question for David that I have been saving since 2008.) Next, more magic; David sings.
Remember David’s tweet about a dream he had where he did a secret show for about 30 people? It happened in Blackfoot. David first explained that he was singing a particular song in the VIP sessions only, a song for his fans that expresses his appreciation and gratitude for their support and the opportunities they give him to pursue his dreams. I wish I could remember what he said verbatim because it was sweet and lovely and sincere; but I was already fighting tears at that point. He then sang “Good Place,” with Mark at the grand piano, allowing David to knock us dead with his vocals. When David seamlessly modulated into “Let It Be,” I lost it. As he finished with an ending only David can do, I momentarily wondered why VIP Nation had not provided us with seat belts.
David took requests for the second song and quickly settled on what he called “Chestnuts,” a completely gorgeous and impromptu version of “The Christmas Song.”
When the Meet & Greet ended, Emily and I found our seats to wait for the concert to begin. Wow! First row, just right of center, no barrier, stage not too high. There was time to chat—any fan of David’s is a friend of mine; I met some new-to-me David fans. I was also excited to see those four crazy road warriors from Utah, women I have come to love. They told 13-year-old Emily she looked all of 17, which made her love them too. Things finally got going with Jeff LeBlanc, a most suitable and talented opener for Mr. Archuleta. I enjoyed his music and did not once look at my watch.
David’s turn. You know what’s coming. It shouldn’t surprise you; but it does. The music constantly sat somewhere between fantastic and superb. The band was stellar. David sang and danced. He told jokes, he laughed, he flirted; he owned us. Before he finished the third song, he owned the building. Emily had her own “best moment of the year” when David moved to within five feet of her, looked into her eyes and sang the entire second verse of “Crush.” Aha! Boise wasn’t a fluke. The difference was still there and darned if he hadn’t amped it up again. I cannot pick one song over another, one genre before another. Each number was pure artistry and pure enjoyment, and the first half seemed to end in record time.
David returned for the second half with more Christmas fun and vocal goodies. They just kept coming, each performance exquisite in his longing to share all he had with us. At the end of “O Holy Night,” we were close enough to see the tears in his eyes; and as he finished, head bowed, he glanced quickly toward those sitting near him. I could do nothing but put hand to heart and hope he knew how it touched me and how it mattered. And then he was gone.
The entire house demanded an encore. David eventually returned with his rousing yet reverent, rock star rendition of “Little Drummer Boy.” If there are words to adequately describe this, I do not know them; but I had the unmistakable impression that David wanted to be sure we really understood just how it is going to be with him from now on, and why.
Viva la différence !