My recent trek to Chicago through the winter weather on Friday to attend David’s Waukegan concert was unusual for me. At most of my recent concerts, I went as an active blogger. I spent a lot of time at past concerts gathering information about David’s career and updating myself on happenings across the fan sites.
This time, however, I purposely attended the concert as a much more low-key fan. I passed on the VIP opportunity to briefly meet David again and instead went with several fellow fans to quietly enjoy an evening of music.
Downtown Waukegan, where the concert took place, is part of a collection of northern Chicago lakeshore communities that built up along the suburban rail line in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Similar to other venues along the Christmas tour, the concert was held in a 1920s’ era movie palace that had been renovated in recent years. The cab driver told me on the way to the venue that the Genesee Theater’s renovation was part of a revitalization of the downtown area over the past few years.
I spent much of the evening reflecting and observing as I glanced around the floor and balconies. From the vantage point of my decent floor-level seat, I had the great opportunity to observe the sheer diversity of fans before the concert started. David’s strikingly diverse fanbase is both perplexing and delightful to me. I observed elderly and middle-aged couples, tweens and teenagers, women with their younger daughters, gay couples, and solo male attendees.
I wish that David’s label and PR people could figure out how to market him well. However, perhaps their difficulty in finding a focused campaign stems from the fanbase’s rather unusual diversity. I am struck by how even though the different demographic sectors of David’s fanbase don’t always see eye to eye on political, social, and religious issues (particularly related to David), there is a lot we can learn from each other.
Could part of David’s mission (perhaps even unbeknownst to him) be to bring this diversity of people together? If we are literally in the same room with a similar focus, we have a basis to start communicating with each other. If David’s music can initially bring us together, that is the first step toward putting a human face on issues that too often divide people.
Other fans across the fan sites have already described the Waukegan concert, so I will not elaborate in great detail. However, it was delightful to hear David sing live again. His studio albums simply do not capture the energy and improvisation of his live performances. I hope that eventually he finds a producer who knows how to extract the vibe of his live performances within a studio context.
Several songs were stand-outs for me. His energetic rendition of “Feliz Navidad” was delightful. “Prayer for the Children” was incredibly soulful on a darkened stage with Kendra accompanying him on the electronic baby grand. The professional lighting and stage set added a dramatic background for a concert that connected with a diverse and energetic crowd.