philly

The strength and speed with which David is establishing his own brand–his Archieness, if you will–is nothing short of head-spinning, especially considering where he was in this evolution just a few months ago. The teenage years are emblematic for their breakneck transformations, but if you had told me in August that David would be commanding crowds of 15,000 with ease, strutting around stage like mini-Mick, tossing in new performances at every other show, and coming up with his own signature look, I would have said you were suffering from ODD fever hallucinations.

One of the advantages of of über-fandom is that we can observe with considerably more acuity than the New York Times how much more dimension has been added to the Aw Shucks brand attribute (someone ought to make a tee-shirt for him that says that–how cooly self-referential would that be?). I do agree to a great extent with some of the comments here recently about how the Archie brand is redefining everything from rebellion to masculinity (and, one of these days I’ll get around to writing about that), but I also want to caution that we run the risk of veering into pedestal territory there, too.

David is unusually wise is certain ways and unusually young is others. He’ll be the first to tell you that he doesn’t feel like what he considers being an adult is supposed to be. Perhaps he will redefine adulthood, too. But the undeniable fact is that there are numerous transformations yet ahead, and not all of them are likely to be seraphic…or, at least, not what each and every one of his fans might consider so. Even if David maintains his status as a Bodhisattva, being in the world but not of it, he will be subject to the passions and limitations of being human.

It is hard not to draw conclusions when the sum and substance of an individual’s artistic output seems so rich and fully-realized, but we do need to maintain a certain perspective, and give the guy some rope. In the grand scheme of things, David only just got married to his audience moments ago; it is still the honeymoon. And like all young marriages, the continued growth of the participants will influence the direction of the relationship. As it is, we are already seeing some pretty exciting stuff from our betrothed. Archie is becoming a very generous lover indeed.