This past weekend I was able to attend both the Irving Plaza and the Turning Stone performances of David’s My Kind of Christmas tour. I’d made my arrangements as soon as the venues were announced and open for ticketing, so my anticipation was running high as I drove south from the hills of central New York to the bustle of New York City. But like so many of you, I’d traverse a raging river to see a David Archuleta concert, so the drive, the traffic, circling the block around my hotel three times to find the valet parking, hauling my bags, getting a taxi and paying an exorbitant price for a room were no match for my determination.
I arrived at Irving Plaza around 6:45 to find a couple of lines formed outside. Standing by myself I was tapped on the shoulder and was greeted by “refnaf” who kindly told me I was in the wrong line. I’m embarrassed to say I didn’t recognize her – she looked younger than the last time I saw her (how does she do that?) And I met sweet Audrey, who I instantly connected with as we discovered the “indigo” connection (she knows what I mean).
I moved to the line I was supposed to be in and met Tofan, Kizzi and … I’m so bad with names. Later we were joined by SandyBeaches and SilverFox. I had a few moments of discomfort as there were some significant breaks in relationships in the past, but when it’s all about David, it doesn’t matter. We all were there to show our love and support for the talented young man who was our common denominator, regardless.
The venue was a bit of a pit – so reminiscent of the Clarence/Williamsville venue during David’s first solo tour. A wide open room with a balcony around three sides and a bar at the back, it was standing only. The crowd was interesting, though – many more groups of twenties and thirties, a lot more men than usual and not too many tweens.
While waiting for the show to start I had the pleasure of meeting and talking to a young couple from NYC. The man was originally from the Murray area, the woman was a second-generation Filipino with family in Manila. And they were as taken with David as the rest of us. Talking to them about David, how they came to watch him (yes, Idol), the man’s experience on a mission and their young family made the time go by so quickly.
Jeff LeBlanc was the opening act, and he was really quite good. I was not restlessly waiting for him to finish and his style was much like Benton Paul – a good fit as an opener for David.
Then…then…David came out on stage singing Sleigh Ride. The first notes of the song made my heart skitter and there he was, looking fine in his black pants, vest, and white shirt with the sleeves rolled up.
Skip forward to Turning Stone – I’ll get back to the performance(s) soon, I promise.
I had plans to meet Hello Gorgeous and Freo for early dinner. Arriving about 3:30, I found HG with Burkey, Burkey’s daughter and LuvDJA. It was as though I had known HG all my life. She is warm and easy-going and the conversation all around the table was interesting and David-filled. Freo joined us and I can’t tell you how nice it was to finally meet her in person. We have worked together here on TDC, had late-night skype calls to discuss all manner of David topics and other topics as well and yet we had never met. I only wish we had had more time to sit and talk – too much going on, too many people for both of us to catch up with. Shout out to KT, Bluesky, Betsey and a host of names that we all would recognize. I missed seeing Angelica, somehow, but I’m determined to change that outcome during the next DA tour!
Fast forward to the VIP – I wasn’t afraid this time, I didn’t act like a deer in headlights, I actually had a short conversation with David about the tour and the two venues, Irving Plaza and Turning Stone. I thanked him for doing this tour and for the hard work of preparing for it. We hugged, that is all that I needed. Later, when the pictures were over they allowed us to ask questions. I asked, “David, what are your plans for next year, or what would you like to have happen?”
“I’m going to be doing some more writing and recording and I may have some travel coming up in January. Not sure yet, but I’m waiting to hear about that.” I’m sure this is somewhat paraphrased, but it is the essence of what he said. Writing and recording are exactly what I wanted to hear.
The Turning Stone venue – that is the kind of place that David belongs. The tables and booths, the excellent acoustics, a stage large enough for David to jump around during Zero Gravity, and the sound and lighting to highlight the bright, the loud, the soft, the gentle, the amazing voice of David Archuleta.
The performances: David always gives more than 100%, but this concert series can only be described by the term, Vocal Perfection!
Not a note was missed, every high and low were full and rich and powerful. We often tease about David being an angel, but his voice was truly heavenly. When David sings, his voice fills the venue, fills your soul, and there is no way to describe it. He evokes a physical reaction in the audience when he sings – you can hear the audience gasp and sigh and try to suppress little screams of delight. He takes you places, and you have no choice but to go.
We have always delighted in David’s voice, but something was different about these performances, and it was David, himself. Fully at ease and in command of the stage, the band and the audience, David owned every minute of the concert. His banter was free and easy, his voice in prime shape, and when he moved to the music, he was loose-limbed and revealed those Latin-inspired foot movements. He’s coming into his own in so many ways. It felt like being a proud parent, watching the boy you’ve adored grow into a man. Watching his confidence grow and his mannerisms mature. Even the timbre of his voice has changed so that you hear it in the depth of the tones, the fullness of every note.
We, as fans of David James Archuleta, are one lucky lot. We have been blessed and privileged to see the emergence of his enormous potential from the audition performance of Heaven to the breathtaking performance of that song in Asia, from his shy ways on the first solo tour to his humorous and warm conversation with his audiences now. We have witnessed the early days and the emergence of a man who will one day become a performance legend. Of that I have no doubt.