Your story’s waiting in the starrrsssss … How my unexpected, impromptu, gifted, first-ever David VIP happened and why it felt like the stars aligned at just the right time, right place, right tour.
This latest David journey actually began for me last fall when Postcards in the Sky came out…
The release of David’s new CD coincided with my selling my family’s home (mom had moved to assisted-living). I’d spent long, emotional, sentimental days, revisiting history, sorting “junk from jewels,” closing a chapter.
There were many decisions to be made, much to handle, but ultimately I was also glad to have this time to ingrain the memories in me. So…Postcards!!
So many days, after working at the house, I’d get in my car … mixed emotions, tired, questioning all my daily decisions. But, I’d blast some Postcards, (pick a song, any song, though, WITS, SAL, ALGALW were big for me), and those lyrics, the pulsating melodies, the hopeful, forward-looking messages, truly lifted me. “Look up ahheead…you’re gonna stop ‘em, yee-aa…the good is never gone it’s the darrrrk before the dawn!” The songs gave me strength, focus and belief it was all going to work out for the best.
I was also lucky (and determined), after 6 long years, to take a break from this project in October to go see David in Sellersville, PA … his first, lonnnnng-awaited East Coast date in 6 years! BF and I made the trip but only I was going to the show. I texted highlights to my two DA pals, Astrid222, and Amy_VA, who was originally supposed to meet me there but couldn’t make it.
The show was great!! David, casually, walked onto that stage, and it was like seeing an old friend after many years; in seconds, we fell back in the groove (literally.) I texted them…He’s so HAPPY!! *THIS.* This is what I heard from fan after fan, at all the recent shows. It’s almost the first thing everyone says to one another… “He’s so comfortable in his skin, so happy!” “He’s doing his thing, his way.” He’s got great new music to promote. Still-fresh takes on old tunes. New covers! Grounded confidence. Connection to the audience. (Thank you, #smallvenues!) Well-articulated feelings from the heart. Song stories. Swagger! Dance moves!
He’s finally where I think we all hoped he’d get to…carving out a niche that’s an extension of his authentic self, following his heart, making meaningful music the way he wants to. And all while living life, (mostly) out of the spotlight, being true to himself…and yes, HAPPY. Grateful and happy. Amen. It’s an absolute, infectious, inspiring, JOY to see!
Fast forward to 2018. Our long-awaited, East Coast dreams come true and a real TOUR is announced…with several dates!! Eeeep!! Astrid, Amy and I have all kept in touch over the years. Amy and I became fast friends in about ’09, when we started emailing after I bought one of her David fan-books she used to make, (donating proceeds to RSO & Make-a-Wish). We had finally met, 6 years ago, for MKOC in Stroudsburg and, since then, we try to get together once a year, David-related or not.
Astrid, I’d only “met” over the phone, in ’09, when she sold me her Atlantic City Demi-tour ticket she couldn’t use, (when the date got changed). We’d kept in touch via email. Actually, we three have become email pals, keeping each other “buoyed” and amused, through the “David lean years”… squeeing over YouTube performances…trying to predict David’s future, and hoping we all could get to more shows soon, hopefully, one day, all together. (We got closer this time!)
The morning that tickets went on sale, Astrid and I met by phone, to simultaneously work the online ticket outlets for the shows we’d see together. We got our Infinity Hall, Hartford, tix first and then, props to her, “seeing” right away how cool Daryl’s House looked, we got tickets to that too. Amy, meanwhile, got the Richmond date, for me, her and her two daughters. Having secured great tickets, we could finally relax and look forward to March 2018!
Infinity Hall y’all: Cool venue. (They’ve all been small, arty theaters and music clubs ~ where David is in his element, really connecting to the audiences.) I’d only known of, and been to, the 300 seat Infinity Hall in Norfolk CT. (Ironically, I thought then, if only this were a bit bigger, it’d be neat to see David in this type of theater. Hartford was apparently big enough at 500 seats.)
It was great to finally meet Astrid, who already felt like an old friend, and her daughter Emily. Got inside the lobby of the theater and …SOUNDCHECK, people! Nuf said. You all who’ve been to live shows know what that’s like! You get there and it’s like OZ behind the curtain!
Those heavenly, familiar sounds…everything starting to feel surreal and he’s right there behind a door, singing!
Within minutes, in what felt like a flurry, strangers became friends, online friends became real people…and all was right with the world. David was finally back in CT…first time since 2009, (could that even be?!), since CFTH, Foxwood’s. Please David, don’t be a stranger!
We met Abby first…a young woman, there alone, who was just a tween 10 years ago, when her plans to see David got thwarted; she was FINALLY here, first time seeing him, doing VIP, and SO excited.
Met Nitya next, from Portsmouth, NH, who had just seen him in Maine. Next, in came Deb & Refnaf, with DJBell, River, and TerryTampa. Fun to finally meet these ladies! And I had just been asking about DJ, since I’d always followed her fantastic videos back in the day…hadn’t seen her online lately…so, it was a nice surprise to meet her. They were all doing VIP… which I mentioned I’d never YET done, as I had always been too nervous that I wouldn’t be able to form one intelligible word. All these years later, I was finally ready, but didn’t want to do it alone, and Astrid had wanted to do more than one show, vs VIP. And Richmond didn’t offer a VIP.
It was time for them to go in, so we waved goodbye, as they rushed into the theater. Next thing I know, someone from their group came up from behind me saying, “Here’s an extra ticket…it’s up to you, but you gotta hurry, they’re closing the doors!!” I looked at Astrid & Emily, who I knew had at least done VIP before, but I felt bad there was only one ticket. As they encouraged me to go, it took a beat before I said “I’m sorry, but I just have to do this!!” (I’ve been saying it took me 10 years and 10 seconds to get the nerve to do VIP!) It felt like the stars had aligned to make this happen for me; now was the time .
I ran in just as they were closing the doors, and as if moving in slow-motion into a dream, I saw Kari wave the “ok” to the guy who handed me the VIP lanyard, and I made my way down to the front seats. I stopped to ask Deb…”Do you know who gave me this?!”…it had all happened so fast I barely saw who had done this for me. It was Refnaf (Nancy); she had Dangitdavid’s (Penny’s) ticket, who wasn’t able to come. Thanking her profusely, I took a seat. What the whaaa’ was happening?
Don’t ask me what he sang…it was magic tho’. 🙂 He seemed a bit serious at first…trying to get the guys to get those sound levels corrected, (which they unfortunately, never quite did… the band and bass levels during the show at times drowned him a bit.)
People asked him questions…he was mellow, low-key, adorable, David. I could still not believe I was there. Before I knew it I’m in line, thankfully, next to last…giving me some time to try and catch my bearings. Deb, Ref, DJ, River and Terry, who I kept telling I was “freaking out a bit” to, were in front of me. Best thing for me is that I had little time to overthink or over rehearse…just time to breathe, and try to just be in the moment.
The line moved quickly, and then I saw David turn to me. Still in awe of how unexpectedly this had just happened, I stepped up, smiled, reached for his hand and just said what I was feeling…”Well, it’s been 10 years and I’m just meeting you for the first time!” Numb. Out of body. I shook his hand; he was chill and gracious. Here’s how I think the rest went:
“Ohhh, that’s great, well it’s nice to meet you.”
“Nice to meet you..! … And these lovely ladies just gave me this ticket, so I was NOT prepared for this!!” To which of course, David & Kari gushed to them how sweet that was ‘cuz…It was! *#DavidFans<3*
He then faced me (!) (blur), asked my name, and though I know I looked him straight in the face for at least a second, it’s really a blur in my memory. Whyyy couldn’t I imprint this in my mind’s eye?!
“Oh! I didn’t say…Amy!”
Again… "Oh, nice to meet you, Amy."
"Nice to meet you, Davidddd.” Numb. But melted, a little.
We got ready for the pic…my arm (tentatively) around (David?) (Like for real?) We waited as Kari, thankfully, gave us a few extra precious seconds as she prepared to take the photo. Side by side now, I squeaked out quietly “Thank you for the music.” (I squeezed him, to emphasize it.) He chuckled a bit and said “aw, you’re welcome.” Another “bold” squeak: “Thank you for Postcards” (squeeze!) Then I tried in one, quick, succinct sentence to express how I thought his music was “doing what I think you want..” (What?) (Close enough.)
I notice he’s seriously paying attention now (!) and I somehow finish, telling him that his music had “lifted me during a difficult time.” "Ohh, that’s so great-I’m glad," he replied.
Picture taken, final thank-yous. I think he was saying “enjoy the show” as they moved me along, but, having promised Amy_VA, after texting her from VIP, I reached back touched his arm to say “hello” from her, and that we’d be in Richmond to see him together. To which he, (probably thought, “Oh, stalker?!” But said..), “oh…well…I hope you enjoy that show too!”
What. Just. Happened?!
I have to look at the picture regularly to convince myself it happened. He wasn’t scary, at all. I managed to talk, fairly normally. And the genie is out of the bottle ~ YES, I’d love to do VIP again! But, this time, how it all happened, in my home state, an unexpected gift from fans I’ve “known” only online, for years, completely out of my hands…in retrospect, all of it felt somehow written and “waiting in the stars.”
However the Universe conspired to do this…I feel it was the absolute right time for me, (and a great time in his career too) to finally meet David, and thank him for the music that continues to mean so much. For those reasons, this VIP will forever be the most memorable to me. Thank you guys, again.
Oh and the show! …the seats…about 5 rows back, dead center. You know…those seats where you swear several times he’s singing straight to you. 🙂
And you could have pushed my girl, Astrid, over with a feather, grinning from ear to ear…ending her 7 ½ year DA drought that night, but “who’s counting?!”
It was the best night ever.
Until….Daryl’s House ya’ll! …to be continued… 🙂
~ Amy (@amb4da)
How would you guys caption Amy’s photo? 🙂
A couple of faves from Hartford, courtesy of the illustrious DJ!