First, I must apologize that this report was written a bit hastily. Still, I wanted to make sure you heard about my San Francisco experience sooner rather than later. (Also – I have not yet read Liz’s review, just so I could give you yet another fresh impression.)
I had seen none of the Christmas Tour videos, and though I had been at a Meet & Greet during the AI Tour, this was my first VIP experience. I was particularly excited to meet David, and, knowing I would only have a few seconds, couldn’t wait until I asked him whether he had read a certain couple of poems that, you know, a rhyme a lot…
One thing about David is that, when he gets the chance to be comfortable, he resorts to being quite unflappably himself. He stepped out onto the stage to the sound of screams, stepped up to the microphone, and simply said hi. Completely unplanned, unrehearsed, he looked around and waited for random comments from the audience and asked some questions himself. I can see why “Works for Me” could be a theme song for him – he is never that much concerned about trying to “act like a star,” or like anybody else for that matter. He said he was soooo excited to be in San Francisco – one could feel oodles of Archulove toward my (lovely) hometown.
He sang “Touch My Hand,” and then followed up with a beautiful rendition of “White Christmas.” This song already has a beautiful, jazz-tinged melody, and, though he couldn’t remember (most!) of the words, he added different colors to his voice and made some improvisations that were so brilliant that he had us cheering. What a privilege to hear!
Then it was on to the picture taking! I had actually made myself the very first person in line because I had this crazy circumstance in which I had to run to a meeting in the East Bay and return in the middle of the concert. (Don’t ask! 😉 )
Well, I wasn’t exactly nervous walking up to him. My stress and sense of distraction actually had me focused on my singular concrete goal. I was going to ask him one question and see if he recognized Ronaldsf, that fan who has this weird rhyming obsession with David.
So as I’m walking up to David, he’s basically just looking around, smiling, singing very softly “Noel, Noel…”! So awesome that I caught him in a random singing moment! The he-always-sings legend is true! I then popped the question:
Me: “Have you ever heard of these two very long poems about you, that rhymed?”
Security Guy: “Hurry! There’s a hundred people behind you!”
Camera Girl: “Come together!”
David smiles and sings “Come together!” (from the Beatles song), we turn to the camera.
So yeah, I’m sorry to report: no Archugaze, no profound moment. More like confusion and a bright light. And he clearly hadn’t read the poems yet. Still, I learned from this bitter lesson that I’ll bring him the darn poems next time so he can see them for himself afterward. And it was also an unforgettable pleasure to have a moment with happy, spacey David. 🙂
Assault and battery
After running back from my meeting across the Bay, I walked into the theater while David was singing “Zero Gravity.” Having gotten my VIP ticket through Mikesd, I had to find him and Vermeer so I could sit next to them in the second row.
Well, once I eyed Mike I started to climb towards him. Yes – climbed. I was walking over the chairs because everybody was standing up bopping to David singing “Crush.” I realized I missed Mikesd and Vermeer by one row and had to climb over the chair in front of them to reach them.
In the meantime, this tall man sees me, and I apparently must be standing on his chair. How did I know? While I was gingerly trying to step over the chair to reach Vermeer, he was grabbing me with both hands and pushing me as hard as he could, trying to get me to trip and fall to the ground!
I thought I had met the worst David fans in Rockford, but no! He’s in San Francisco!
Battery (n): an intentional unpermitted act causing harmful or offensive contact with the “person” of another
Grimacing from the offensiveness of this lowly fan, I composed myself to enjoy the show. After all, “WWDD?” I told myself.
And then I beheld “Fields of Gold.” Something I noticed, now that I was up close, was how, while preparing for a slow song and the lights are down, he is closing his eyes, meditating, going to that “special place.” This is his process of transformation when he changes from Everyday David to being at one with the music. David has this way of being on his own wavelength, and it’s not just in music when he does this.
Well, I LOVED “Fields of Gold.” He was faithful to Eva’s interpretation (singing in almost the same high key!), and drew out those notes with all the intimacy and nuances he could bring with his voice. He has this ability to make his voice fragile and tender while at the same time full of power, and you feel it viscerally.
I gasped when David walked out for the second set in his suit, which I now see has been a staple at his Christmas shows. I assume you all have already had your spaz attacks? If I were him, I would wear a suit every day if he looks that good. Doing the laundry, jogging, you name it.
It was wonderful to have Lupe come onstage during “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.” She is so proud of her son, and he is so proud of her – their love is palpable, and Lupe has a lovely voice. I loved her teasing way of making him dance with her, and she even asked someone in the audience if they wanted to join him.
It was clear that David was holding back on some of the most challenging notes, given that he was now performing a fourth night in a row. Still, he was able to bring the emotional connection and immediacy to his live performance that made this something quite different from the album. I enjoyed how, at the beginning of “Ave Maria”‘s beginning strains, many in the audience sat down as if in church to hear a hymn.
But not everybody was reverent. During “The First Noel,” for example, while David’s eyes were closed and he was clearly getting into singing about the birth of Christ, people were reaching out with their hands whenever he drew close to them. Um, helloo? He’s trying to picture to himself shepherds and fields, and here are several greedy hands reaching out to him from the black? I don’t think so.
Another (minor) complaint I had was something that probably can’t be solved – the audience cheering and loving his performances. No, no, no – I’m not saying that people should shut up. But so many of his songs were meant to end quietly and leave you with a lasting feeling of peace, but as soon as he started to enter the ending quiet passages, everyone erupted into cheers. I really wanted him to take me to that place, and then cheer afterwards.
Another stand out was “Riu Riu Chiu,” in which David slinked around the stage. I kept wondering what it was he reminded of, and then I realized he made me think of some graceful animal, like a tiger prowling across the savannah. Now, a certain American Idol judge thought David didn’t have tiger in him, but Simon clearly hadn’t seen David sing a Christmas song.
For me, my favorite of the concert was “Silent Night.” I sometimes find it difficult to get into a song at the moment – people may remember me not fully getting into the music until near the end of a recent concert – but with this I felt he brought me there even more than in his other performances. (It doesn’t hurt that it’s one of my very favorite tracks on the album, either.) I loved how he built up from the quiet, tender beginning to the heartfelt, pleading ending. That was the high point of the evening for me, and if I were to guess, for him to.
So that was the concert! And then I assume David spent the next day with family touring my (lovely) hometown of San Francisco. Perhaps here is a good place to post this mega-cute picture I found of David from when he previously visited Fisherman’s Wharf:
Loving San Francisco – Wish You Were Here!
Well, there’s my “quick” report! And I wanted to add finally that it was a real pleasure meeting everyone! I hadn’t seen anyone since last year’s Jingle Thingie in Sacramento, so it had been more than a year. Plus I met a lot of new people as well! I can’t wait to see you all again next time David comes around!