It’s been five days since Westbury and I miss it big time. But I can’t complain; it was a midwinter night’s dream to be at VIP, sit in Row 4 and see David perform, to finally meet Angelica and Abrra and catch up with old friends. The planets aligned nicely for me; the only missing link from The Voice was Djafan. We have been looking forward to The Grand Meeting for the last two years since we started The Voice. There’s something about that third dimension that cinches the deal.
(Dear David, do you know how many people you have brought together, how many friendships you’ve created, how much good you have brought to the world? You are so young in years and have accomplished more than you realize. But that‘s another subject for another time. )
I recognized Abrra when I first saw her at VIP. She’s cute and warm and friendly and funny and nurturing and every bit as efficient and geeky as she is online. We hugged and I gave her the big kiss on the cheek I promised. It feels like I know Abs my whole life. She is like a warm fuzzy blankie. We bonded instantly, at first sight.
VIP took place in the lounge and the lights were low and hazy. It was packed and we knew David entered the room when we heard screams followed by a hush. I could barely see him at the far end of the lounge but when I got closer, there he was, dressed like a typical teenager in jeans and a hoodie, signing posters for the fans. It was a pleasure to spend some time with SandyBeaches again and to see TOFan and refnaf. I also met Kizzi for the first time! Abrra was already in line to get a signed poster and she saved me a spot. I almost forgot that Mr. Bebereader was sitting at our table, with our coats and purses. He’s been a fan of David’s since Idol and never misses a chance to say hi to him. I quickly let him know that it was time. Since he didn’t want to leave the purses unattended, he arrived at the line with three ladies purses in tow. LOL The line moved quickly…
Me: Hi David. I’m Bebe. B-E-B-E (I was sure he wouldn’t know how to spell my name.)
David: (Repeating me, as he signed) Beeee beeee B-E-B-E. Lower register. Dead. Why did he have to do that?
I could barely see him in the darkness but I wasn’t really looking either. Have you heard of self preservation? Then I heard him say “So how’re you doing?” I guess he was talking to me; I was the only one there.
Me: Great! Good luck at the show tonight! (So generic.)
David: Thanks! And thanks for coming out!
He handed me a life-sized signed poster and I made a beeline back into the crowd. A new line formed for pictures and then he sang the first verse of “My Kind of Perfect”, a capella. Lovely.
We were back out in the lobby after VIP when someone told me that Angelica had arrived. I turned around and knew exactly who she was. She’s beautiful, blond, bright, and a firecracker, a combination of attributes that you’d expect in someone who writes with so much passion.
I thought I’d pull a fast one so when I approached her I said “Hi Angelica, I’m Abrra and this is Bebe (pointing to Abrra who was standing beside me.) She had never met either of us but you can’t trick her. She good-naturedly laughed at my attempt at silliness but knew I was teasing. She sparkles; she’s fun; she’s a people magnet and she pulled me right in.
We had some time to sit in our seats in the venue before the show started. There I had the pleasure of speaking to SilverFox again; we met at a VIP two years ago. Shoutouts to FunnyGirl, who is even funnier than her screen name and Marciami, mi compadre. It was evident that fans were there from all parts of the country and elsewhere. This is such a credit to David and I was proud of him before the show even started.
On with the show…
This was not the David I remember from American Idol. He has evolved into an adult, a charismatic performer, fully in charge and a tease onstage. He knows how to work the crowd with his banter, jokes, and by the way he uses his voice. He came out with a slow saunter, singing the words to “Sleigh Ride”, looking completely different from the teenager in the jeans and hoodie I saw moments before. We gasped collectively when we saw him. We screamed. We stood, honored to see him once again. The New York audience never got a chance to see him sing songs from TOSOD and I was thrilled when he sang the title song. The setlist was eclectic and it worked. There were pop tunes, Jazzy numbers, Christmas standards and new Christmas songs. David was playful onstage but he owned it, giving the band cues, dancing, and joking with us:
“That one’s a mistletoe. I don’t know if it’s active on the stage tonight.” LOL
The highlights for me were:
1) The new bi-lingual Christmas song David wrote with Sunny Hilden, “Fa la la la la la.” It’s fun, upbeat, has a catchy tune. And it gives David a chance to let loose and do a little dancing onstage! It’s going to be my ringtone for the holidays.
2) The Amy Grant cover, “I Need A Silent Night”. Fun lyrics and David’s beautiful vocals. I go to sleep and wake up with this song in my head.
3) “The First Noel”, “Silent Night”, “O Holy Night”. Exquisite vocals. Beautiful reverent performances.
4) Little Drummer Boy! What on earth???!!! I was blown away by this performance. David chooses songs for a reason because they convey a message. I believe he was telling us that he wants to do music forever, is grateful for his gift and will build his career as he sees fit, thank you very much. He made a bold move and beat aggressively on the drums with mallets, to make that statement. A sight to behold when he held the two mallets up in the air. More power to you David. Own it! It’s yours!
All in all it was a great show and had something for everyone. I left the venue feeling both exhilarated and peaceful at the same time. I spoke to a few people as we were exiting. We all had the same look on our faces. What just happened?
After the show, about 50 of us gathered at the Broadway Diner to try to figure it out. We’re still not sure. Except that when all our powers of reasoning fail us, the words of Michael Orland, Musical Director of American Idol, Season 7 are brought to mind. “David Archuleta came to American Idol as a genius and he left as one.“ On a cold wintry night in December, Mr. Orland’s words ring loud and clear.