Between the time an LDS missionary gets his official call and is asked to report, there is a space of time to prepare. This prep period may include things like buying that last conservative tie, going to that last movie with friends, saying that last goodbye to loved ones. It almost never includes things like acting in that last TV miniseries, appearing in that last mall full of fans who scream undying love, or recording that last bit of music.
David’s protracted farewell is not only quite public; it is downright flail-inducing. In fact, it hardly seems like a farewell at all. Fans are gobbling up his goodbye goodies as if there were no end in sight. Oh, I know that last goodbye will happen; but I don’t want the fun to end either. Denial will serve me well for weeks to come.
I was there, heard him in person — David Archuleta announcing he had chosen to serve a full-time mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I was among those hundreds who spontaneously rose to applaud and cheer, so proud of him I nearly burst my squiggly pig button. OK, I cried a little too; but I am rarely in the presence of such remarkable courage.
Within hours, David’s announcement was publicized, analyzed, explained, praised, criticized, dissected, ridiculed, defended, sliced and diced… You name it. I will not add more, only to say I became convinced long ago that we would never see the whole of David Archuleta’s musical genius until he kept what was surely a prior commitment, to God and to himself.
Will I miss him? Yes. YESSS!! With all my heart and both ears!
In spite of the current Archuleta hubbub, the reality of his impending two-year absence hit home when I tried to revisit the “My Kind of Christmas Tour” on YouTube. It took less than five minutes before I was feeling downright dejected and decided to retreat. What the heck? I was happy for David, so what was this about? All about me of course.
Still, I am not one to leave David’s music alone for long, so I plunged in a few days later and purposely avoided the emotional trap of “Silent Night.” On this second try, my first video stop was Westbury and “This Christmas,” a huge favorite of mine from the tour. I watched it, and smiled. I watched it again, and then again. This I could handle, especially with David’s jazzy reassurance of “how much fun it’s gonna be together, yeah…”
David had to be a little nervous for the first MKOC show at Westbury, but you couldn’t tell. Little did we know that he was not only prepared, but he had secret weapons. He unleashed a few of them in rather timely fashion as he offered up “This Christmas” and killed off one crowd after another. Long before he got to the West Coast, Mr. Fancy Pants was struttin’ his stuff across the stage and singing “This Christmas” like he had groove to the bone.
I followed those videos from Westbury to Irving Plaza and had a great time — free admission, good seats — so I kept going and realized I might be able to get out of my funk by getting funky. It was my own kind of tour, a decision to watch every “This Christmas” video at every stop. (I missed seeing you there, Boise and Cedar City!)
Thanks to all those volunteer videographers, my one-song tour proved to be entertaining and somewhat therapeutic. I heartily recommend it to those who may suffer as they go through withdrawal from the “voice like buttah” and other more visual delights.
I am now in training for my next tour, but I can’t say I’m ready to tackle video memories of certain songs yet. That will take a while; maybe two years. However, if this method of marking off 24 months seems like it might work for you, subscribe to the vibe of “This Christmas,” an excellent choice for beginners.
For your additional information, a few notes from my tour journal are included below:
- A slower tempo to “This Christmas” for the second concert; it works. And I see you, you tall and burly adult male fans in Irving Plaza! Yes, I mean you men with the cameras, singing along with the Archuleta and hooting approval in all the right places. You cannot fool me anymore!
- The Band! The Band! The Band!
- Pretty sure the diva hand has its own choreographer for this song. There are numerous artistic man-hand moves to signal the band entrance, direct the vocals, express the passion and acknowledge audience reaction. Diva hand choreographer deserves a raise.
- Verona, New York: David, you do not need our permission to tie your own shoes. In fact, we will tie your shoes for you. We will even shine your shoes. You don’t want to bother with shoes? We will carry you wherever you want to go.
- More chitchat in Stroudsburg, all of it enjoyed by both David and the audience. (Note to self: Renew airline chaperone license.) David experiments a little with new “oohs” and “whoahs.” Well, those were perfect. Scat away, you little scamp, I can take it… THUD!
- Blackfoot videos are personal, as I was in the front row and focused on the details. I felt embarrassed for those people in the audience who had no business being so enthralled, especially that woman off camera who was hanging from the chandelier and gasping for air. Really now. It is quite obvious that “This Christmas” in Idaho was for me.
- The Band! The Band! The Band!
- Yowser! Full frontal eyebrow flirt in Santa Rosa, making those brows eligible for their own Twitter account. (The recipient of that gesture was treated and released, but she will never be the same.)
- What were they serving in Ventura and Anaheim? David and “This Christmas” were in a groove so deep nobody wanted to get out. The band members couldn’t quit grinning; and they couldn’t quit playing at the end. Whew!
- David rocks a blazing fireside, sings carols through the night, and then convinces us that this Christmas (tiny pause, soften, wait for the hand) will be very special. No kidding. David’s phrasing is delicious. Just how sweet can a “will be” be?
- The Pants! The Pant… The Band! The Band! The Band!
- The riffs played by Asaf Rodeh during this song are worthy of their own 13-track CD. I swear there were a few concerts when Asaf’s guitar was having an intimate conversation with David.
- “Throoo-OO-oo-oough the….” Let me try that again. “Throoo-oo-oOoOoOough the…” No, wait! I think it’s “ThrOOO-o-o-OOo-ough the ni…” Dang it, David. I need lessons!
- Make that private lessons. Thank you.