For me, it’s becoming as much about the fan community as it is about David. It was such fun to meet up with friends that I’ve met from other shows and to see some new faces that I’ve known only as screen names. We are a warm and funny and delightful bunch I have to say. Perhaps those people that “get” David are by definition a warm-hearted group, predisposed to a generosity of spirit. David said at the end of the Del Mar show, “I see a lot of familiar faces.” I too saw a lot of familiar faces in that crowd. Old friends and new ones, a lovely David friend community. I had been eager to meet Rascal and he did not disappoint. Can I say this without embarrassing him? He is a handsome and charming guy, and it was a delight to spend some time with him.
Even complete strangers outside of the TDC community became friends. Many of us had the misfortune to book into a hotel that had no electricity. A cable had failed and the whole block was out. This meant that we couldn’t check into our rooms so we had no place to relax or clean up before the show. I was sitting in the powerless lobby wondering what I should do, when I spotted a woman wearing a David tee shirt. Ah-ah! Turns out that she had arrived the night before so she had a room. A few minutes later I had a comfortable place to relax and wash up and she was the proud owner of my extra ticket. Good stuff!
The David part of the evening did not disappoint. He has changed up the set list from the solo tour. Missing were my favorites “Somebody Out There” and “Angels,” but there were some other less-often performed songs like “Your Eyes Don’t Lie” and a killer version of “Stand by Me.” It is the stripped-down songs that I love the best. Just David and a simple accompaniment, please. As an encore he played “A Thousand Miles” on piano – maybe one of the best versions I’ve heard. Then, when I was expecting “Angels,” he sang “Imagine.” Lovely – even though he is still getting comfortable with playing his own accompaniment on this one. Perhaps by the time we have our VIP shows, he will play this as part of the “acoustic show” before the Demi Lovato show. One can only hope.
Quick thoughts about the new band: I miss the old band. Eli and Alex were charismatic and charming. I loved the interaction of Mike and Alex on stage. The two new members are solid musicians but lack that stage presence. Also, the sound balance of the band still needs some tweaking. In several songs the drums overpowered David’s voice.
Great show, great to see friends, old and new.
For most of the day on Saturday in the San Diego area it was cold, densely overcast, and precipitating that annoying mist that is not quite rain but which gets in your face, ruins outdoor activities, and makes for a very a bad hair day. By the time of our little pre-concert cocktail hour on the ocean terrace of the lovely L’Auberge Del Mar, the temperatures had warmed, the skies had started brightening, and the misty nasties were gone. As many of you know, there are few things in life more delightful than meeting the devoted fans of David Archuleta. They are simply the loveliest of people, and what better circumstance to join with kindred spirits than for the purpose of worship at the alter of Archuwonder? By the time the opening acts had concluded and David came bounding onto the stage like a kid in a toy store on Christmas Eve, a break in the cloud cover had revealed, in a location that seemed to be just over David’s shoulder, the clearest view of the rising moon and the shimmering stars.
I don’t know as I want to connect too many dots and suggest that David had anything to prove this week, but let’s just say that if he did, there remains not one shred of doubt about where he belongs, who is in control, and where we’re going from here: straight to the moon on a rocket of Archenergy. There is no other way to say it: David Archuleta was kicking ass and taking names on the Grandstand Stage at the San Diego County Fairgrounds in Del Mar last night. Even though I was sitting through the entire performance with a shit-eating grin on my face, in my mind I was laid flat on the floor with my mouth agape. Where was the golly-gosh sweetie with the humble demeanor? He was there in touches, but substantially overshadowed by a take-no-prisoners rock god who knocked it outta the freakin’ park.
David has always had sassy capacity, but you only ever saw little glimpses of it. Well, get ready for the neighbors to pound on the walls because the sass volume has been dialed up a few notches. Sassy is attitude that is aware of itself. It is intentional, a little wicked, and can be very sexy. With David it comes through mainly in gesture: the head bobs, the shoulder thrusts, and certain vocal flourishes. It was all there in abundance last night, and frankly, nothing makes me giggle more than Diva David. But let me not suggest that there was anything terrifically feminine about David’s particular brand of Diva (not that there’s anything wrong with that); indeed, I don’t think I’ve ever seen David exude so much… well, testosterone. I half expected to see him chugging a beer with the roadies after the show and spitting and cursing. Okay maybe not half expected, maybe a quarter… ten percent?
And then, as always, thank heaven, there was The Voice.
David was in rare form in that most revered department last night, too. As his instrument continues to mature, it resonates with greater depth in the lower registers. But his falsetto is breaking new ground, too. The big high note in “A Little Too Not Over You” had a volume and bell-ringing clarity that doubtless had dogs across Del Mar cocking their heads toward the fairgrounds. The fact that the set was a bit rushed due to the tight travel schedule (David and the band had to catch the red-eye to the east coast that very night) might have actually helped sustain the amazing energy on display, but David did not let that compromise the few precious ballads and quasi-ballads in the set; “You Can” was a standout (although the selection of a cheesy banquet chair for him to sit on made me think he was about to be hoisted on the shoulders of his brethren and carried around to the tune of “Hava Nagila”), and this night’s version of “A Thousand Miles” was one for the archives — absolutely stunning. He stumbled a bit on “Imagine” — the first big high note fell slightly short, he blew a lyric — but it was nevertheless thrilling to see him perform live the song that galvanized a nation and cemented his place in American pop music history (my empathy for David when he flubs something, knowing how self-critical he is, always troubles me far more then the momentary lapse in performance). The one quibble I had with the technical set-up is the mix on David’s vocal. There is too much high-end and the middle is rough. David’s voice is so nuanced that it takes real finesse to mix it properly. Let’s hope they continue to work on that.
In the end, I saw this show as a culmination of a year’s worth of incremental progressions in the development of David Archuleta as a powerhouse performer. Had anyone told me a year ago that Archuvirgins would be exclaiming after a concert, “Wow, what a performer! He really knows how to put on a show!” I would have suggested they have their optimism examined. But that is exactly what people are saying. And they are dead right. If David’s mission is to round out his skill set, broaden his appeal, and take command of both the stage and of his own life, last night’s performance was ample evidence that he is succeeding — and sharing it all with us.