As a child I had vacationed with my family in the old Atlantic City for many years. So going back to see the built up casinos brought some sweet memories; salt water taffy, skiball, and the Steel Pier. But at times it was difficult to focus on those things with the anticipation of Sunday afternoon’s concert. Friday and Saturday were spent with my sister enjoying the sites and losing every penny we planned to spend on the slots. But Sunday morning we had big plans.

At 10:00 AM we checked out of our hotel and drove over to the Taj Mahal. After what seemed like miles of walking we reached the Sultan’s Feast Buffet and were greeted by Refnaf and TOfan who had arrived just minutes before us. A sweet reunion was followed by a search for the other members of our breakfast party. Happy, Nina, SilverFox, Lorna and KathyT had already arrived. Soon after we sat down, SandyBeaches and Bebereader joined us. What an amazing group of people. All suffering from ODD, and all there for the purpose of hearing and seeing an 18-year-old singer who has stolen our hearts.

Bebereader and her sweet husband, Steve, Silverfox and I had VIP tickets. Bebe and I were about to meet David for the first time. After waiting in line from 12:30 until close to 1:15, the door to the room finally opened and we entered a large conference room. We had a few snacks and waited. Dawn65 and her daughter joined us and it was such a pleasure meeting her as well. She’s famous in these parts. Finally Kristen announced that we would be going to the Arena to hear David do his sound check instead of having him do an acoustic session.

While filing into the arena, David was saying hello to people from the stage. He was warm and welcoming and completely at ease. The stage is his and he exudes confidence there, even when not singing. He sang Touch My Hand and A Little Too Not Over You. It was interesting watching him sing those songs without the stage moves we normally see. He was saving his energy for the performance. But there was nothing restrained about his VOICE. And pure pleasure hearing him sing without the screaming fans in the audience.

Then David sat on the edge of the stage and talked. He was funny, charming, rambling until Ray spoke through his earpiece and told him to hurry up. David didn’t seem fazed by it. He answered another question and then he said he’d see us in a little while. We went back to the large conference room and made a line leading to the screen where the pictures are taken. It was rushed, I’m sorry to say, but it didn’t diminish the experience for me.

Standing in line watching those before me approach David, I notice that he gave each person his full attention. Finally it was my turn, and I had no idea what to say to him. I walked up to him and held out my hand to shake and said, “Hi David, I’m Marlie.” He took my hand and said, “Hi, Marlie.” I looked into his eyes and he looked into mine. Pure and open connection. He didn’t look away until they said it was time to take the picture. I’m surprised I could move into place. I was so totally mesmerized by those emerald green eyes that I cannot get them out of my mind. Not that I’m trying very hard, of course.

We stood for the picture and I didn’t put my arm around him – I didn’t even think to, I was still trying to deal with the eye contact. But David put his hand on my back and leaned in for the picture. Then we turned and looked at one another again. I said, “Thank you, for everything.” And he smiled and said, “You’re welcome.”  As I started to walk away he said, “Thank you for coming.”

How simple an exchange was that? But I was so moved by his eyes, that as I collected my bag of goodies, left the room and walked through the casino to find my sister, I was fighting tears. I stepped outside for a minute because I needed to collect myself before I met up with my sister and the other TDC’ers. I can’t explain what it felt like, but those of you who have met him know exactly what I mean – there is something calming about being with David, and then there is a rush of emotion. Some would say it was the aftermath of anticipation. No. That’s not it. It’s more, so much more. I hope each and every one of you can experience that.

I cannot end without saying that the concert itself was perfection. David was perfection. Every note was spot on, and even though he favored his leg a bit, he gave every bit of energy to his performance and ended each song with that signature smile. You know the one…

~ marlie7

Update:  Videos from the AC VIP thanks toMsLemonade08