Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Concert Night

David Archuleta (age 25) on stage in Queen Creek.
March 25, 2016

Last Friday, we all left the mountain around 10:30 in the morning and drove down to the Valley...again. This time it was all for fun. On Saturday we would be spending the day at the Renaissance Festival near Apache Junction, but on Friday night we attended a long-awaited concert by a favorite of our family, David Archuleta. David was a finalist (with rocker David Cook) on the seventh season of American Idol in May 2008. We were wild about him and sure he would take first place, but he was runner-up with 44% of more than 97 million votes. Not too shabby.

Since then, we have enjoyed his albums and continued to follow him, even when he took a two-year break from his burgeoning musical career to serve a mission to Chile for our church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (aka Mormons). When Sarah learned he would be in Queen Creek, Arizona, for two concerts this month, she was quick to get online and order tickets for our family.

Ordering dinner at Olive Garden, left to right: Dylan's friends Destiny and Chris;
Brianna and Bryce; Sarah and Chris; Cami and Jeremy; and the brim of Mark's hat!
March 25, 2016

We arrived at our hotel in Phoenix ( really let me down this time--I was trying for a hotel on the other side of the Valley, like in east Mesa or Gilbert, nearer to the concert venue) at 2:00 and got checked in. After we rested up for an hour, we headed all the way back to Queen Creek (about 30 minutes from our hotel) to meet some fellow concert-goers for an early dinner before the show.

Dylan, Jake, Destiny, and Chris strike a pose in Olive Garden.

Probably the biggest David Archuleta fans in our family are my daughter, Sarah, and my niece Brianna. We didn't know until after we had our tickets that Brianna, her husband Bryce, my nephew Jeremy (Brianna's older brother), and his wife Cami had also bought tickets for the same performance. In fact, they had the exact same seats we had, except seven rows behind us.

Mark and I were there at dinner, too!

Our early dinner turned out to be not-so-early when we found out we'd have to wait an hour to seat our party of twelve at Oregano's, our first dinner stop. So we all crossed the street and landed at Olive Garden. We still ended up waiting more than 30 minutes, since the previous party at our intended tables lingered an extra-long time to chit-chat after their meal.

Sarah (who insisted on the aisle seat in order to be closer to David),
Mary, Mark, Dylan, and Chris await the start of the concert.

Despite the wait, dinner was delicious. Afterward, we dropped Jake, Destiny, and Chris at a nearby theater so they could see a movie while we attended the concert, and then we headed over to the Queen Creek Performing Arts Center for the show. The theater was packed with more than 700 fans of all ages; in fact, they'd added the second performance because the first show sold out so quickly.

Bryce, Brianna, Jeremy, and Cami in their seats a few rows back.
It's blurry because I used my camera and snapped the shot too quickly.
I was worried someone might confiscate my camera if I used it openly!

The opening act was a trio of redheaded sisters called Firefly.
They've recorded albums in Nashville but grew up in Queen Creek.

As it turned out, it was quite all right to take as many pictures as you wanted, so I did. The opening act by Firefly featured country music by a cute group of redheaded sisters, with help by their younger, red-haired brother. They were adorable and their music was fun. Firefly's portion of the show lasted about thirty minutes.

David Archuleta takes the stage! We were seated pretty close.

For most of us, of course, the concert didn't truly begin until David himself took the stage. He performed for more than an hour and a half, including two encores at the end, with his beautiful rendition of "Glorious" as his final song. (See brief clip below.) 

From the beginning, when we first became acquainted with him via American Idol in 2007, when he was a boy of just sixteen years, I've admired the faith and humility of David Archuleta as much as I've loved the simple and pure tone of his voice, and each of those attributes was manifested in his performance. Throughout the concert, listening to the quality of his voice, I just kept thinking, "Flawless."

David Archuleta at the piano.

I only had two issues with the concert. First, despite the fact that the tickets went on sale while Sarah was at work (as we all were that day), she managed to arrange it so she could be online right after they went on sale to purchase front row seats. We paid for the most expensive seats available, expressly because Sarah wanted to be able to see David up-close and personal.

However, when we took our seats we discovered that they had placed two rows of folding chairs between our row and the stage. This might not have been so annoying except that we were at the bottom of the sloped floor where it's flat, so our theater seats--which were considerably shorter than the folding chairs--were not elevated by the usual tiered system. Thus, the people in the folding chairs blocked quite a lot of our view of both the stage and the performers. 

Behind us, a sea of teeny-boppers wave the flashlight apps 
on their cell phones during one of David Archuleta's songs.

Nonetheless, I tried to stay positive. I told myself they just wanted to allow more fans to enjoy the concert (although I noticed they didn't put any extra seats at the back of the hall), so it was all good. I even maintained my good attitude when I realized that most of the group seated in those folding chairs, with their knees right against the stage, were a bunch of teeny-boppers who screamed and jumped up and waved their arms in the air every time David walked anywhere near their edge of the stage. 

After all, I was in their shoes once upon a time, when my best friend Peggi and I used to stalk the Osmond Brothers, dreaming of one day becoming Mrs. Alan Osmond (me) and Mrs. Merrill Osmond (Peggi). We even sat with our knees against the stage for two Osmond performances at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas when we were both just 18, in 1973. I remember the excitement and adrenaline of being so close to our crushes.

David Archuleta in concert.

And so I held on to my patience, right up until...granny-bopper. While the youthful fans jumped up and down throughout the concert, granny-bopper would leap to her feet and remain standing throughout almost the entire songs. It wasn't that she was having difficulty seeing, because she was one of those sitting knees-to-stage on the folding chairs, with a completely unimpeded view of everything. No, she was a wannabe teeny-bopper.

I'm not exaggerating. She was a tiny thing and at first I thought she was one of the thirteen-year-olds. I barely noticed her until she began to stay on her feet for extended periods of time. Naturally, she was seated directly between me and the microphone, so when David was center-stage, I literally could not see him past her dark little silhouette with its tall hair. Once she'd drawn my attention, I quickly noticed the turkey-skin of her thin arms and the brittle, bleached blondish hair that was ratted into a modest beehive 'do. Then, when she turned and showed me her profile, it was clear that this woman was pushing seventy. I thought, "What the heck!"

David Archuleta in concert. He's only about 5'6" tall,
but after the concert we girls all noted that we'd been mesmerized 
by the size of his hands! Long fingers and strong hands of a pianist.

I won't say she ruined the concert for me, but granny-bopper was a thorn in my side for most of the performance. I became a contortionist just so I could get pictures of David without her blocking the shots. That's her bleached head you see in the foreground in many of these pictures. Meanwhile, she continued to leap from her chair and throw her arms in the air and swoon over David Archuleta while ignoring the fact that there were other paying attendees seated behind her. She even attempted to grab David's hand every time he came too close to her. He seemed to avoid her somehow, although there were some near-misses. Even Cami and Brianna noticed her antics from their seats.

At least the real teeny-boppers had the good grace to sit back down after their outbursts of passionate fandom. Granny-bopper, you need to get a clue! 

Of course, there was that one teeny-bopper who jumped on the stage to grab David Archuleta's water bottle, which he'd left on the stage by the microphone stand (he'd commented on how much water and Chapstick he'd needed since coming to Arizona, which is a fact). At least granny-bopper didn't embarrass herself by doing that. Although it did cross my mind that she might wrestle that little girl to the ground trying to take the water bottle from her...

Sarah with a table laden with David Archuleta posters, shirts, and CDs.
The lady on the right was showing me the sale price for the poster.

We were hoping that, after the concert, David Archuleta would come out to sign autographs and CDs and pose for pictures, like Taylor Hicks did when Sarah and I attended his show in Las Vegas in 2013. Sarah had even brought one of David's latest CDs to be autographed. But, alas, we were to be disappointed. So we settled for taking pictures with David Archuleta posters and tee-shirts.

My niece Brianna takes a turn with the David Archuleta memorabilia.
She wanted people to know she was really there!

We'd planned to end the night by going out together for ice cream, but by the time we left the performing arts center it was 10:30 and everything was closed except drive-throughs. So we headed back to our hotel to get as much sleep as we could, because we'd have to  be up bright and early the next morning for the Renaissance Festival!

Jeremy and Cami were really there, too!

If you're a David Archuleta fan, please enjoy these following short clips from the concert.

The tail-end of the final song of David Archuleta's concert, "Glorious"

David did a medley of songs from the film Tarzan, and this is my favorite: "You'll Be in My Heart"

Here's a little taste of the rest of the Tarzan medley.

And finally, here's the first song of David Archuleta's encore at the end of his concert.
He just seemed to come alive while he sang in the language of his forefathers and his Chilean mission.

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