Tuesday, March 24, 2009

4 Concerts for Me in Atlantic City

My journey starts at 3:30am on Friday en route to the airport. Amazingly, no problems or issues at the airport except getting stuck in the cattle call of the terminal at the end where they put about 6 gates in the space for 2 and schedule all the flights to take off within 40 minutes. This is known as the bus stop. Other than that and getting yelled at 15 times for bringing too many carry on bags for the overheads everything was fantastic, quick flight plus a super easy and enjoyable ride to Atlantic City.

Showtime Friday night came quickly after a very short nap. Met up with some amazing people and put faces to names. I enjoyed meeting them and each of our conversations felt like I’d known them for years. Found our seats quickly and I noticed how small the venue was even in the very last row in the back. I was right on the aisle so it was great to have a completely unobstructed view of the stage. There was definitely a palpable buzz in the air as we waited for the show to begin.

Now most everyone knows I’m equally as big of a fan of Ryan Star and David Cook so for me I was basically there to see 4 concerts, not 2. The excitement began right from the first second of the show when Ryan came out. I did my best to stand and scream and cheer but overall I felt the crowd was pretty good. Ryan of course is amazing live. He brings the audience to him and I always feel his songs right in my gut. There has always been something about Ryan’s music that just hits me in a way that I feel from the inside out. I always loved Brand New Day but that song is definitely something special live. Psycho Suicidal Girls is a crowd favorite and it is always fun to hear it. Breathe was another stand out song, the heart Ryan puts into the song is moving to say the least. Back of Your Car was the perfect ending and Ryan brought out Neal to play at the end of the song. Ryan’s set seemed to go by in 10 minutes, I wanted so much more.

After a short break it was time for David to come out and it was a huge surprise to hear The World I Know first. I could see David up on the stage in the dark and then to hear the first notes of the song begin in that manner was unforgettable. It has been said that David’s voice is even better live and I have to agree. The tone and power of his voice is breath taking. I also noticed David’s speaking voice is a bit different too, even sexier if that is at all possible. It was hard to know what to focus on during the show so I tried to take equal time on just the voice, David and band as a whole. I didn’t take as many pictures and video because it is hard to not be in the moment. Every song was a true pleasure to enjoy live but some were absolute stand outs. I have to say Declaration is unbelievable live. The energy during that song compares with the some of the best concert moments I’ve had. It is that feeling where singing and cheering isn’t enough, it almost compels you to want to jump off of something. It was also such a nice treat to get Lie, it is one of my favorites from all of David’s collection of songs. All the little moments in the show were so much fun, like the synched movements in Make Me, the completely sexy and out of control Hot for Teacher, the Light On in the dark with the glowsticks and cellphones plus so much more. Although I hadn’t been to a concert on the tour before I had a feeling the crowd was one of the best they’ve had. There was a lot of cheering in between songs so I hope David and the band felt the love. I really got the impression that David is a true star on that stage. He owns it and can do whatever he wants on it. I don’t know that I’ve ever witnessed so much raw energy and charisma from one person just in their performance plus all the other members in the band add their own spark and attitude to combine into one collective ‘plosion.

The second night was surprisingly met with more buzz and anticipation. After a failed attempt to get upgraded seats and an encounter with one irate ticket official , the second night of my journey was about to begin. Our seats were better this night, not on the back row and even the 6 or so row change made a large difference in view of the stage. The one drawback in being closer to the action was it became easier to get distracted by the rest of the crowd. Ryan’s set was as always amazing again and the crowd was really great. I wasn’t sure how standing would go since we were not in the last row this time but the people behind me made the decision for me that standing is what I should do. Of course I was left wanting more and more. This time after the set I had the opportunity to get an autograph on the album cover for the CD he made with the band Stage and to let him know he had a big fan in the audience that night.

David’s show was as great as the first night and the energy in the room was easy to feed off of. It is so nice to see all the little details in the show such as the lighting and how the band interacts with each other. About 3 songs into the show I noticed some seats on the aisle about 6 rows down from me were not taken and made the decision to self upgrade. This was my last chance to see David as up close as I could and I’m very glad I made the move. Declaration was a stand out song again as well as the out of control Hot for Teacher. The gorgeous Permanent got me choked up a little as I underestimated the power of the song live, truly a gift for anyone lucky enough to hear it. I also really enjoyed Man in the Box, the vocals and swagger on that song just slay me. Of course the highlight on the night and the whole trip for me was the last song of the night, A Daily Anthem when halfway through the song David introduced Ryan on to the stage to help sing and for the first time in my life I think I literally could not remember breathe. What a nice treat for me to see both artists who hold equal parts of my soul on stage at the same time and contributing to the energy of a song. I’d love to know what compelled this to happen on this particular night with me in the audience but I’ll chalk it up to good karma and not to question when the universe gives you giant gift of a lifetime memory.

After the show there was an after party. I’ll skip many of the details since most are known anyway. I enjoyed my time there as I don’t do much clubbing at home. It was nice to be in an area that wasn’t the packed dance floor. People watching was fun for a little while but when I felt the experience gave me all it could it was time to move on.

The journey ends with another great trip back to the airport. No bus stop this time but a temptation to take an oversold deal and stay an extra night in Philly courtesy of the airline. Hard to pass up but I figured if I stayed then I’d never come home. Better to head home with great memories and hope for another experience down the road. Thanks to all the great friends I met and of course Ryan and David for the incredible music.

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