Place: Stadium Negara
Date: July 26th 2011
Time: a little after 8 pm
A figure came bounding through the curtains at the back of the stage to the thunderous reception of the crowd. I was instantly engulfed in a wall of sounds the likes I’ve not heard before even though I’ve been to concerts in the past. To say that it was deafening would be a huge understatement. I quickly realized that I was effectively ‘caught’ in the mosh pit of a David Archuleta concert and believe me you have to physically experience such a phenomenon to appreciate what it’s like!
All of a sudden it was standing room only as everyone that could, moved as one to the metal barrier that separated us from the stage. And there he was, the subject of everyone’s attention. A gleaming smile was on his face as he surveyed the crowd before him and the band launched into the opening number “Stomping The Roses.” Roses rained down onto the stage as the fans paid homage to their king. The tone of the show was immediately set on a high and with the dial permanently locked on that level for the rest of the evening, David Archuleta immediately took control of proceedings and began his conquest of the house.
Maybe one can say that it would have been a piece of cake for David to have everyone there eating out of his hands. After all this was his crowd! But even a fan such as I am – who has followed David’s career from American Idol to the present moment in that stadium – found the revelation of his growth and transformation from a shy, giggly teenager to this amazing performer almost too hard to grasp. Where has that awkward boy gone to? For here was a man who stomped, growled and confidently stalked the stage from end to end teasing and cajoling the crowd into a frenzy. I never saw this level of command and energy in his earlier tours. It was simply breathtaking!
In the recent past there was a comparison made between David and Miley Cyrus. While David was judged to have the A game in the vocal department, Miley had the so called ‘performing talent’. She was a precocious teen who could sell out concerts based on her stage presence rather than her singing. But watching David strut his stuff at the concert was a delight. He clearly reveled being on stage ending every song with a megawatt smile, feeding off the energy from the crowd and giving as good as he got. No more the shy, hesitant boy who almost always couldn’t believe that fans would applaud him. Plus, his technical abilities meant that he could go full throttle on most songs and his voice would still maintain that clear, pristine quality without any of the strain that befalls lesser mortals.
‘Everything And More’ was a song that took me by surprise. I heaped scorn on this song when I first heard it and never paid any more attention to it until Tuesday night. To hear David sing the song without much music accompaniment while warming up for sound check really caught my attention and made me look at the song with new eyes. The silky smooth voice was at it’s most captivating and I literally stopped in my tracks just to listen to the song from outside the stadium. While David clearly has the groove and beat to rock with abandon on the fast numbers it is on the quiet, introspective moments that he comes into his own. And why not you may ask? His voice was made for smooth, emotive ballads but it is during such moments that the caliber of the singer shines forth. The voice is the only insurance cover as it is the main instrument and the emotional content and impact of the song is laid bare. No falling back on percussion, guitar licks to hide vocal missteps. It’s all or nothing. Sure there were tiny, teensy pitch problems that I could hear ( or maybe it was the sound system ) but whatever the case may be why quibble over pennies when the artiste has delivered 99.999% of the goods?
The revolution of David Archuleta gathers momentum with every live performances that he gives and what I heard and saw at Stadium Negara on Tuesday night was a triumph in many ways. His new found ( or maybe rediscovered ) sway on stage is heraldic of a chrysalis developing into a brilliant butterfly that soars on gossamer wings.
P/S: The opening act was another pleasant surprise. The young man with his 4 back up dancers displayed pretty slick dance moves and not too shabby vocals.