I have done an article about my concert experiences over at the fantastic site The David Chronicles. The site features a host of very talented writers expressing very similar stuff to what I talk about on this site. They asked me to write an article and I happily obliged. A big thanks to Liz for making this happen.
Crazy. What a crazy day indeed. I had 2 hours sleep last night, I was so hyped up I couldn't close my eyes let alone fall asleep. I think ill put this plain out there for those who dont want to read the rest of this story, a short paragraph that sums up my feelings as of now. David is amazing. If you havnt seen him live, go. You will never get the true feeling of his aura and his essence until you do. David is a force. Fierce
So my day begins, a nice early start to friday morning. I jump on the train and get the train up to London. Great to see London in sunny weather for once. I get picked up at London Victoria station by Anne (she did the cellcast) and Annalisa who has flown over from Italy for 5 shows who runs a great italian fan site. I arrived at the Hammersmith apollo and there were people aready in line. So we decided to join them nice and early. We stood in line and was soon joined a few hours later by Nesquick (does those funny videos on FOD) and continued our long wait in the hot weather. It got to about 4pm and I see this lady walking through the ever growing line handing out small David flyer card things with some adverts for fansites. Intrigued, I walked over to her and asked who she was, she stood up looked at me and responds 'Are you chenson?'. Yep, you guessed it my jaw dropped. After a short discussion, it turned out to be Geri who lurks on FOD and has visited this blog too as well as being a friend of Richard Parkinsons. She had flown over from Utah to see 2 shows here. She introduced us to her friends shortly after, all who had flown over from the USA. I was stunned that people flew over and they were the nicest people. More on them later and a few pictures too.
So after have a long chat with some fellow Archies, literally 10 minutes before the doors were about to open, and we had secured a very favorable place in line, I catch a glimpse of Jeff over by 1 of barriers. After some persuading and deliberation and the fact I was the only one who had met him before, I jump over the barrier and go and say hello to Jeff. Jeff was as welcoming and as warm as he was in the past (and has also lost some weight, go Jeff!) and we had a good chat about the concert and some other stuff David related and I cleared up some information with him that I had been dying to know for a while. He then introduced me to their neighbours in SLC who happend to be in London at the time and is very good friends with David and the Archuletas. Jeff said some very nice things about me to them so I spent the entire time blushing haha. I then managed to get Jeff over to meet all other Archies who were in the line and we had a chance to have a good chat with him. Only problem was, the doors opened and we started losing our place!! Oh well, it was worth it to talk to Jeff. He also told us he would arrange with David to come out after his set to come and spend some time with us. What an amazing thing to do for us. As I told him there and then, he does a phenomenal job with the fans.
So we enter the venue. Despite losing our place in line, we still managed to get close to the front but over the left. It felt strange going to a gig for the opening act. David swiftly came on stage. I was so intrigued to see how different it felt in the 9 months it has been since I last saw him, how much he has changed and grown. The major difference is his confidence. His confidence on stage has grown leaps and bounds since last time. He has become a consumate performer. He has found a way to channel that enthusiasm and passion into his performance and he no longer seems restricted by inhibitions. He really just goes for it, no holds barred. When you are moving around the stage as freely and as comfortable as that, it makes it a whole lot easiar for the audience. David had the warmest reception to any opening act I have ever seen for sure and Ive been to a ton of gigs! This group of girls standing behind me, who had no idea who he was, were saying he is too good to be an opening act. The audience were into him from start to finish. Jumping in Zero Gravity, swaying in ALTNOY and singing along in Angels and also a little bit in Crush. He could easily have been the headliner with the reaction he was getting. He claimed afterwards he wasnt at his best but I didnt notice any mistakes. He nailed the ALTNOY bridge and hit the high note in TMH comfortably.
The highlight deserves its own paragraph. Angels. This song with just David and a piano is quite remarkable. Yep, I cried. Not only did I cry, I had a group of girls in front of me laughing at me for it but I didnt care haha. I tried so hard not to, I was biting my lip but i just couldnt help it. Not much tears me down but Davids voice on that song, well, no words. The emotion, the passion. An indescribable feeling to witness in person and I am so glad I get to go back to that on Tuesday and then again on Saturday. It is truly addictive, a drug. This was the song that got to show David as the amazing vocalist he is. If I had 1 criticism, is I do not think the set list has enough songs in it that demonstrate his true vocal skill.
We then exited the show straight after Davids set. I bumped into Jeff very quickly and he said David would be right outside in a sec. So we went straight over to the barriers again and out he came. David walked up to our group first. I introduced myself and he was looking at me funny and I said 'I was at Bridgeport' and he replies really fast 'Oh yeah I remember!! How you doin?'. So yeah, that was pretty shocking (i had quite alot of shocks that day lol). There was only about 12-15 of us and he spent a long time with all of us. So much has been said about David as a person. The fact he can come outside and be nothing less than a genuine and kind human being makes the whole experiance that bit more special. His open honest character makes him seem so accessible. Ive met the boy twice, for short periods of time yet I talk to him like hes my actual friend. I think the same can be said for everyone. Thats what makes him special too. David spent about 25 minutes with us and then left. Going off on a tangent for the moment, if you saw my previous post about David meeting Mike Portnoy, well Jeff let met know that Ray, the tour manager, was Dream Theaters tour manager for 6 years and is good friends with Mike. Ray came outside with David and I managed to have a good chat with him about that. Ray told me Mike's daughter is a huge fan and Mike is hugely appreciative of what David is and does. Ray and I agreed how crazy it is that 2 musical worlds can collide like that.
Ok so most you probably arent really gonna know or care about this post but im gonna do it anyway because it matters to me haha. I bet your wondering 'Whos is that guy with David in the picture?'. Well, that is Mike Portnoy. Mike is the drummer of the progressive rock/metal band Dream Theater. Dream Theater are probably the biggest band youve never heard of. They have an absolutely zealous dedicated fanbase (very similar to Davids but made up of more males than females and older), they have had a 25 year career and tour worldwide all the time selling out arenas all over the place yet they only have ever had 1 top 10 hit back in the early 90's. They are the epitome of a successful non-mainstream band. Mike is one of the most respected musicians around and is regarded in the music world as one of the finest drummers to have ever lived. In terms of kudos in the music industry and amongst musicians, especially in the rock world, you dont get higher than this guy. Im not a drummer, but Mike is one my all time favorite musicians and biggest inspirations and Dream Theater have been a, well, obession of mine for almost 5 years now. Meet my other musical passion
So why does this mean alot to me? It confirms so much of what I believe about David. There has been alot of talk about Davids credibility and respect in the industry lately and how it could potentially get worse, but this shows just how respected he is as a musician and an artist to others. For one of the highest calibre of musicians in the world from the opposite side of the musical spectrum to actually take his time and go out to see David on his solo tour (notice the backstage pass) and then for this picture to be posted on his site says so much and heres why. Dream Theater exist in a world where commercial pop music is frowned upon. For him to post a picture of himself with a teenage popstar at their concert is potentially catastrophic to his credibility and image in that world of music (put it this way, he wouldnt show himself with Miley Cyrus or the JoBros) but all the comments made have been nothing but positive. It really confims Davids credibility, only the best get that universal respect. The mere fact he went to the concert and then let his fans know about it speaks absolute volumes. David is a respected and credible artist. He and his family are clearly fans. I almost jumped out my seat when I saw this pic and then when I realised it was from one of Davids shows and he had been to it, it made me even happiar. You see, musicians get David because they identify what we feel from David. That connection and communication. Hes not just any pop star.
Two musical worlds colliding. I just wonder if David had any clue who he is haha.
Ive had a fair few people ask me to talk about this, well, phenomenom is the only word to describe it. Zero Gravity, written by David and guitarist Mike Krompass never made it to the album, a decision that is not only baffling but just plain stupid. Not only is it painstakingly obvious that this is arguably the most popular song within the fanbase(or at least potentially) David has recorded/performed to date, it is also a song that for my ears (albeit im not great at predicting whats going to be a hit on the radio) the most sure fire hit song ive heard come out Davids mouth. I cant think of any other song that David has recorded that has such universal love and that is the key to a successful single. Also with the 1minute 40 seconds we have of the recorded version thanks to the amazing snarky archies, it is the most skillfully produced and best sounding radio ready song David has recorded. Jive, what were you thinking?
The first thing I thought of when I saw this performance was 'Shop Around' - the highly underated and arguably the best top 24 performance ever in the history of Idol, at least I think so. One of the collective opinions about that performance was how much fun David seemed to be having with it, a level fun that wasnt replicated again the entire season. I think for the first time since that performance, David has found a zone with this song that brings back that fun factor. However, the difference now is Davids confidence on stage. He no longer moves like he has a rod in his back, he actually looks and feels free - liberated. Just 1 year is all it takes for him to improve like that. The word I would use to describe this song is definitly bouncy. Hence the bouncing by David and the band (how do you bounce and sing in tune at the same time? I can't do it!!). The infectious energy of it rubs off to all. Look at the band, they are all absolutly loving it. Davids best party song has arrived.
My favorite part of the actual song, despite the songs main hook that seems to get stuck in my head for days at a time, is the bridge. I have always loved those bridges that instead of providing a contrasting section, start a build up to a climactic chorus. Its a very popular feature in rock songs and also dance music. This is one that really climaxes the energy of the song fantastically for the penultimate chorus ready for some wild bouncing whilst also giving David a bit of breathing room for vocals. I think we are definitly lucky that yet another gem has just missed the scrap pile. Any song that gets me moving in my chair without me even noticing is worth it.
To Be With You was a track that kind of slipped off the radar a little for me, especially in the shadow on the superior 'You Can' and 'Somebody Out There'. Don't get me wrong, I never disliked the song I just always prefered the other 2 ballads. I always found something slightly dissastisfying in comparison, a song that I felt had more potential than how it was worked on the album. I had a feeling that live, David would take this song to a whole new level and he does just that. Ive been monitoring the versions of this song on youtube and I think ive found a video that really does it justice. David really brought it to Allentown.
I think part of the reason I love this video is the angle. Its locked onto Davids face. The thing I noticed was the consistent focus, even throughout the screamings. David really enters a zone. If you look towards the end of the video, he leaves that zone as the song ends and the smile re enters. It really is like he switches between one state or form to another. It is in this zone that the connection I have talked about many times comes into force. The emotion shines through on this performance and I feel like I can finally feel content knowing this song is where it belongs, live. That glory note is a killer too. It sits in a fantastic place in his voice and has tremendous punch and resonanace. I will admit, I was beginning to tear up a little.
I will continue to post videos that I think are special. Its so refreshing and also relieving to finally see David back in his realm. He always will be a live performer.
David embarked on his first ever solo tour last night with what seems to be a wildly successful opening night featuring some well known David songs along with some fresh surprises! Being able to see David perform for longer than 1 song, 4 songs or even 5 at the Jingle Balls is something new to all of us. Finally we will be able to appreciate David as a true concert performer and not just an 'appearance'. David constructs his show with the usual 'Crush', 'Angels', 'Touch My Hand' and 'A Little to Not Over You' but he has thrown in a great medley with some great songs such as 'One' by U2 and 'Love Song' by Sara Bareilles and also adding David and Mike Krompass written 'Zero Gravity', a song that im baffled at as to how it didnt make the album (I personally would have it over My Hands). David also performed bonus tracks 'Waiting For Yesterday' and quite simply brilliant 'Somebody Out There'.
For me, the live situation has always been where David thrives. Its been a little while since we had a chance to witness him properly in this situation. In a commercial industry where studio only artists seem to be dominant, a commerical act who is able to mesmerize and come into their own live is something new and refreshing and ever welcome to the world of music. Live is where music is meant to be and in that situation, it is where David comes alive. Here we see his music move away from the synthesised produced, commercial sound and into the organic sound that should have been and man, the music really prospers because of it. One of the biggest surprises was 'Running' (video courtesy of trudi from IDF). This song has an absolutely awesome groove and bassline that you just dont get from the recorded version but which the band manages to capture brillianty live. David really lets loose into the vocals allowing them to soar and glide with the song and credit to Kendra and Mike for the fantastic backing vocals on this one too.
I look forward to future videos that will slip through the security cracks (unforunately videos arent allowed but no concert ever goes unfilmed these days, even with these rules in place) and I will review the ones that are particularly good in my eyes. Im still waiting for 'Somebody Out There'. Would someone PLEASE try and get a good video of that one? Im desperate (no pun intended, although I do wish he would do that one). This a great time for David and he was exuberant last night based on the videos and from all the reports I have read. Hes living the dream and he wholeheartedly deserves it. I look forward to witnessing him in action again this May.
To finish, Id like to say how much I love 'Save the Day. A different side to David but something he can really pull off well. Im not sure ive heard a more versatile singer. Does this boys talents ever end?
I'm a teenage male music student from the UK with an enormous passion for music. As an aspiring musician my insights into the career of a similarly aged young talent should prove unique as i commentate on progression of David from boy prodigy to music superstar.
I am an IDF and fans of david regular and also a moderator of the 'Always Archuleta' discussion board at Hollywood Forums. I plan to expand this site into its own domain away from blogspot if it becomes successful...