When Marlie asked me to contribute a recap of the Verona, New York performance at the Turning Stone Resort & Casino, I knew that it would be quite a challenge to write for several reasons.

Over the past week, fans have excitedly and sometimes struggled to put their impressions of this tour’s Christmas concerts into words. It has been a delight to read each fan’s different perspectives that focus on various aspects of David’s performances and the entire concert experience.

I will not repeat what others have already said, only to mention that I, too, was left speechless by the power of the performances. Now, a week after my concert, I am still shaking my head in wonder at the sheer passion and joy in these performances. How can I possibly communicate this experience and yet not replicate what others have already stated?

Turning Stone Entrance: We're Here!

Although I welcomed the joy of the tour’s performances, I knew that the recap might be a challenge to write because the past few months have not been easy for me as a David fan. Quite frankly, I am very burned out on the topic of David’s future direction and any other choices, even though I am confident that he has much untapped potential that will be unleashed with continued growth and the right people around him. The burn-out, though, has given me a sense of freedom and even peace. Over the past month, I decided to just let go, stop worrying over things I can do absolutely nothing about, and allow things to happen as they will. The result has freed me to simply come back to where it all began: that incredible pliable, foggy-singed, and soulful voice.

 

A Fan Convention in Verona

As I arrived at the casino last Saturday, the excitement over meeting other fans and attending the meet and greet quickly overshadowed any lingering thoughts that I had. I am very grateful for the two fans (you know who you are) who graciously invited me to travel with them by car from Ohio to New York. It was delightful to get to know them and share many laughs that we will remember for years to come.

As we approached Verona, my friend’s car had a digital display that counted down the miles to the casino. We called out the decreasing miles as we drew closer to our destination. “Fifty more miles! 10 more miles!” It was at once agonizing and exciting to see the miles finally dwindle down to zero. We’re here!

We arrived at the venue about three hours before the meet and greet. This was my first visit to a casino, and I felt as though I had stepped back into a 1970s’ evening television drama with the brown décore, cigarette smoke, and flashy evening gowns around me. However, knowing that it may well be my last visit to a casino, it was fascinating to observe the casino’s various restaurants and activity.

As with any David concert, a large part of the fun is catching up with old and new friends. I was absolutely dying to meet some of the fans that I knew would be at this venue. I’ve traveled to a good number of concerts in the past few years and have had the good fortune to meet many fans already. However, this East Coast concert introduced me to a whole new group of fans. Despite the fact that we have worked together at TDC for almost three years, I had never even met Marlie in person! We were long overdue for a visit. I admire HG’s thoughtful and prolific writing as another blogger, and I could not wait to meet her for the first time. Additionally, there were so many other online fan friends from across the sites and fandom I had yet to meet: Burkey, Sandy Beaches, Silverfox, Muldur, Emily4Archie, and many more. It was delightful to share recollections and humor with these fans over dinner and drinks during the weekend.

 

Passion, Snow, and Sound

Of course, the meet and greet and concert were the weekend’s highlights. No doubt many readers have already watched the Verona videos and read other recaps, so I will not repeat what others have recounted in detail. I thoroughly enjoyed my brief chat with David about a shared topic of interest, and the VIP performance’s intimacy reminded me of a small house concert. After weeks of having no David fans around my immediate locale, it was a joy to be in a small room with more than 100 other passionate fans who believed in David’s talent and future potential.

This photo has been used on various recaps, but it captures the beauty of the performance. (Credit: PaulFOD)

The performance. To borrow a British term, I was simply gobsmacked by his confident control of the stage, dance moves, vocal versatility, and the band’s cohesion. The band had tweaked the show a bit since Westbury. The inclusion of “Little Drummer Boy” as the finale was a fantastic choice. I will never forget witnessing the breathless moment of David holding up those two drumsticks before pounding out the song’s last part on Steven’s bass drum. As David sang “Silent Night,” the falling snow was a magical touch. I lifted my hands at one point to just catch the snow as it fell in the soft blue light.

The venue’s acoustics were an essential part of the Verona show. When the show began, I internally scolded myself for forgetting my earplugs because I am usually very careful about ear protection at loud concerts. However, it turned out that I did not need them. The rich acoustics actually reminded me of the House of Blues show in Chicago in March 2009. The sound was deep and vibrant, yet not overwhelmingly loud because it seemed to travel upward and around the room without much echo.

As I reflect on the show more than a week later, it is difficult to encapsulate the dynamic show in just a few paragraphs. However, my feeling of optimism remains. I may not understand all of the choices made so far or in the future with David’s career, and the ride may be a little bumpy at times, but to echo Marlie’s sentiment, I am confident that we are seeing the early days of the legendary voice of David’s generation. Let’s all just hang on and enjoy the ride.

–Freofan