Monday, November 23, 2015

David Archuleta Returns To Texas

*****Disclaimer: I write concert reviews for my husband's photography blog all the time. Sometimes more than a dozen in a month, but I am a huge procrastinator when it comes to writing about someone that is very important to me. I tend to spend a lot of time mulling over all my thoughts, trying to compile just the right words to convey what I want to say. And writing about seeing David Archuleta perform in person has always taken me some extra time. I need to let my brain process the whole experience for a while before I can put words to it. I must be getting better with my processing though; it's only been 11 days since David's performance. The first time I wrote about seeing David it was one whole year after the concert. ****

As you can tell from the title of this post, David Archuleta finally returned to The Lone Star State for a concert after a very long drought. The last time he performed in Texas was for the Kaleidoscope Skating Show in San Antonio in December 2010. With some last minute convincing from some fellow fans, I was one of the lucky ones in attendance that night. Sadly, not many other fans were able to attend that performance. If we had known it would be so very long before he returned here, I'm sure many more would have made an effort to be there. We weren't even slightly considering David would take a two year break from a music career to serve a church mission. But he did.

Fast forward to 2015. David is back and finally starts to perform again, but only limited engagements for charity and his church. Finally we hear good news, shows for the general public in the fall. Idaho and, of course, Utah, and ... Midland, Texas.

What?????  Texas!!!!!  Midland, Texas!!! Wait, Midland????  Midland????? Midland, as in the middle of no where?? Midland, as in 325 miles away from me, Midland?  No, that can't be right. Why would there be a concert in Midland?

But that is exactly where the concert would be held, in the middle of the Permian Basin, in the middle of the western portion of Texas best known for its oil wells and high school football teams. Midland, Texas - November 12, 2015.

When I first heard about this concert all I could think of was, there is no way I am going to drive half way across this huge state to see David perform in Midland. I mean, I live in Austin, the capital city in the middle of this great big state. Austin, as in the "Live Music Capital Of The World" and home of South X Southwest Music Fest and Austin City Limits Music Fest. I can see any number of world renowned musical acts on any given night at some incredible venues that are only minutes from my home. Why would I drive for 6 hours and go all the way to Midland for a concert? Why?

But then the truth set in. This is David and we crazy fans would go to the ends of the earth to see David perform live. No matter where in Texas this concert would have been held, I would be going there. And since my husband was saving his last vacation days for our son's Christmas leave from the Navy, and my David concert buddy, my daughter, is now married and has a 4 month old baby, I would be traveling alone to Midland. Not the most fun time, but at least I could blast my DA CD's all the way there. And I would be meeting up with friends I had not seen in person for way too many years.

After months of anticipation the day finally arrived for the concert. Time for a "little" road trip. If you have ever heard the holiday song that goes "Over the river and through the woods, to grandmother's house we go" than you have a small idea of my journey. Actually the trip went like this: Over the river (at least 3 major rivers and too-many-to-count smaller creeks) and through the woods (not woods exactly, but the beautiful rolling landscape of the Texas Hill Country, and then the surprisingly flat, not-too-much-out-there landscape of the southern plains that lead into Big Bend Country.) So my song was actually more like  "Over the rivers and past the hills, to David's concert I go." Thankfully, there wasn't any snow involved my my transit. That would have been a game-changer for sure.

Lake Travis on the west side of Austin. Part of the Highland Lakes chain and the lead-in to the beautiful Texas Hill Country

The view from our Midland hotel room. I told you it's flat there. Brings to mind an old song lyric: "I can see for miles and miles and miles and miles." 

So 6.5 hours later, Midland, Texas.  Friends!!!  Food!!!  Fun!!!   DAVID!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The venue: Wagner Noel PAC

Dinner with awesome friends

The fearless leaders of the Golden Archies = Awesome ladies

First, the venue greeted us with a no photography/recording policy. Well, that's a really hard rule to follow when you've traveled a long way to see David Archuleta. Just a few pics to remember the night. Fortunately, I had already told myself I would not do videos because I don't enjoy the show as much if I'm worrying about recording.

Don't ask me for a setlist from this concert because my mind forgot to work for a while and I didn't write it down as I normally would. I know we heard Somewhere Only We Know, Don't Run Away, Somethin' Bout Love, a Disney Tarzan Medley, My Kind of Perfect, Parachutes and Airplanes and Crush. I'm sure I left something out of that list. David's opening act, Gracie Schram, joined him for Don't Give Up and we were introduced to David's next single off of an upcoming release, Numb.

Remembering his faithful Texas fan base, David presented a beautiful rendition of the Selena classic, Como La Flor.  The first time we heard post-Idol David try a song in Spanish was in San Antonio in March 2009 when a fan yelled "Sing something in Spanish."  The song was a snippet of Como La Flor and and we all sang along with David, even if we weren't too sure of the words. The fan who yelled that request was in attendance at the Midland concert too. Our little group of Golden Archie fans meet her and her daughter and husband for dinner before the show. They had also driven a long distance from South Texas just to see David.  From my seat in the audience, I could see her dancing and singing along to David's performance of the entire song this night and I was so happy for her.

For me, the heart stopping moment of the entire show was the heart-wrenching Everybody Hurts. Although I had heard this song before, I never really listened to it until David included it on his album. Since that day, it has become my song. So many insane things have happened in the last few years; deaths, beak-ups, marriages, premature births, military service and deployments to the Middle East. This song has comforted me many times, and hearing it live, and witnessing all of David's fiery emotions, made it just that much more intense. Thank you David for knowing just what is needed in our lives during difficult times.

David finished up the show with another Spanish song, Nunca Pense and Glorius from the movie Meet The Mormons and then he waved good bye and was gone. As with all David performances, it took a while for me to realize it was over. Time had zoomed by so quickly, but I had proof that the angelic voice, which has brought so much comfort to my life since I first watched that silly TV singing competition in 2008, is still performing and is once again reaching out to the world to try and make it a better place.

A quick observation about David before I move on from the concert: he is comfortable in his own skin now. He knows who he is and what he wants to do and doesn't want to do. He has grown up and he has become much more articulate. His time away from the limelight obviously gave him the chance to become a stronger man, one who doesn't just follow what others say. He leads. That will serve him well in a career path where many strong personalities attempt to run or ruin others lives for their own gain. David has control over his own future.

After the concert, as we all greeted and introduced ourselves to fans from around the country who had flown in to see David, our little group of Golden Archies (that's the name for our group of Archuleta fans over 35 yrs of age) from Texas was honored to find out that we had been granted a short meet and greet with David. We just had enough time for a few words to thank David for coming to Texas and acknowledge his wonderful performances of the evening. Then a couple of pics and we were off. As is the case with many of David's fans, we could have talked with him for hours, but that was not in the cards for us. That's probably for the best. We usually forget what we want to say the minute we lay eyes on him anyway.

The next morning found our little group hugging and waving good bye to each other as we hit the roads back to our homes spread out across the entire state. But no matter where we hail from - Austin, Dallas/Fort Worth, Houston, or the border - we will all anxiously await the next time we can get together to experience the angelic voice which soothes our souls.

Thank you, David, for coming to Texas and please come back again soon.

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