spotsThanks to Clee1107 from IDF via Snarky for the concert shots.

After seeing the range of fan-cams and hearing from folks who were there, I’m ready to speculate that something very special happened on Wednesday night. It looks as if David has re-integrated. Over the course of the year, he has been developing different aspects of himself as a performer: the balladeer, the competitor, the pop prince, the heart-tugger. It looks as though it all came together in Sacramento, and David owned every one of them. There looks to be a new ease, a new comfort, a new confidence. And, I believe, a new recognition of a familiar fact: There is no place David would rather be than in front of an audience. We’ve seen it. Now, he knows it, and plainly cherishes it.

The freedom that is so vivid in this performance is utterly infectious, and I think we are witnessing the launch of the full fruition of what may someday be titled, David Archuleta: The Early Years. As he prepares for his first independent performance tour, it seems clear that his audiences are about to witness the true measure of this man, in all his youthful permutations. Playful, soulful, exuberant, generous. There is nothing terribly serious on the song set menu, and at this point in the Evolution of Archie, that’s probably just right. I confess I wondered whether David would be able to craft enough connection without the searing poetry and emotive power of songs like “Imagine,” “When You Say You Love Me,” or “Don’t Let The Sun Go Down on Me.” But the kid has done it. He brung it. His connection with his audience is unmistakable and true.

What may also be written about in times to come is the early and increasingly ironic fallacy that David lacks versatility. I predict that this will ultimately be laughed at or simply tagged as apocryphal. As we begin to see the live performances of his first album effort, it becomes evident that given just a little time for marinating, David can make a feast of almost anything. What are we going to be in for when the serious stuff starts?

Paddles, please.