Tuesday, November 29, 2011

David Cook, In Concert

"Hey, Mr. Jaguar, I went to BSSHS with you!"
Attending a David Cook concert was a surreal experience. There I was, surrounded by a throng of screaming adolescent girls--and some "cougars"--listening to this guy I've known since the seventh grade (David was only a sixth-grader at the time). The last time I'd heard him sing live was in the Performing Arts Center at Blue Springs South...before that was his musical debut at Georgeff Baker Middle School.

I couldn't be more proud of David, as he genuinely is the nice guy he appeared to be when he won American Idol in 2008. Seeing him live in concert, however, was very different than watching him on TV.

I must confess that I entertained grandiose visions of reuniting with David after all these years and getting to hang out with him and the band backstage or something. He would, of course, remember exactly who I was, and we would reminisce about the good ol' days in Blue Springs. We might even hang out the next day while he was still in town, and perhaps he would even come and talk to my classes about the importance of writing.


I figured that I would be the only BSSHS alum in Memphis at the concert, so my odds of actually talking to him were decent in my eyes. In order for my plans to come to fruition, however, I would have to get his attention. I made a sign expressing our shared high school experience, and even added some Jaguar logos printed off the internet. I decided to keep it understated, so no glitter. Maybe I should have used glitter.

I had a moment of panic when the ticket-taker at the door had to ask someone if it was okay to have signs. What if that hour spent drawing and sniffing permanent marker was all for naught? But alas, I was allowed to take the sign in, and I held it patiently during the two acts that performed before David.

It wasn't the first time I'd been at a concert for a band/singer I didn't know well, but this time, I took more seriously my role as observer. It was really interesting to watch all the die-hard fans sing all the words to all the songs by Carolina Liar and Gavin DeGraw (who was technically the headliner). I sacrificed the hearing in my left ear as I spent that time inching forward toward the stage in order to ensure that I would be as close as possible for David's set.

Even though I had to wait until after 10:30 (on a school night, no less) for David and his band to take the stage, my strategy worked, as I was fairly close to the front. I'd moved over more toward the center so that I would be closer to the overhead lights so that maybe, just maybe, David would see my sign.

David takes the stage

I didn't want to be obnoxious, so I tried to time my sign-waving to in between songs. I was beyond excited when I saw the recognition flash across his face as he called out, "With me?" (as in, you went to high school with me?). I knew my time had come when he asked who was holding the sign--it was dark in there and he had stage lights in his face.

However, every time I opened my mouth to shout out my name, some "woo girls" screamed. David even tried to shush them, to no avail. Undaunted, I figured I would try again later. The show went on, and I really enjoyed the music. I was amused that random people were singing along, but glad that I had done my homework by listening to David's albums because I recognized most of the songs, too.

Witty banter between songs

David is still pretty much the same, slightly dorky, guy, as evidenced by the above clip. He and one of his bandmates continually flicked guitar picks at each other, and at one point, David played an entire song with one stuck to his forehead. I didn't know what to say when the woman in front of me gushed about David and how she wished the pick she almost fell on me to catch was the one from his face.


All too soon, however, the concert was over. David played his encore as part of the show, and I didn't get the chance to wave my sign again. The band was gone and the lights came up. How could I have been so close and not gotten to talk to him?

Not wanting to leave without trying to see David, I went up to the stage and asked some of the concert security guards if they knew how I might get to say hi. They recognized me as the girl with the sign who went to high school with David, so one of them encouraged me to wait outside by the tour bus.

So there I was, a groupie for David Cook.

I waited outside for probably too long (maybe 15 minutes) when another security guard said the bands were still inside. There was a long line to meet members of all three acts, but I'm not 100% sure how one got access to that line. I'm pretty confident that it involved the purchase of albums I already owned and t-shirts I felt weird wearing, so needless to say, I never did get in that line.

Completely bummed out, I tried to check out the tour bus on the opposite side of the building, but that was a dead-end, too. I went back inside for one last attempt. As I was feeling pretty sorry for myself--and silly for feeling that way--I ran into David's band. I asked them to pass along a message for me, but who knows if that actually happened. Still, better than nothing, I suppose.

After all of that anticipation, I drove home with ears still ringing and no enthusiastic reunion. I was--and still am a little bit--disappointed, but when I think about the fact that I saw David Cook following his dreams by playing the music he loves, I feel pretty proud of him. Like Jon said, "Local boy does good."

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