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WARNING ON THIS FIRST PICTURE! PROCEED AT YOUR OWN RISK…ARE YOU READY? (Click to make it bigger. Seriously.)
David Archuleta gives a fan his undivided attention.
The After Party
After the concert, we made our way to Section 24 of the arena, where we sat and waited anxiously for further directions from the security guards, who told us no less than five times that NO ONE was getting backstage without a pass. Every time they said this I touched my pass to make sure it was still there. Finally we were led backstage, and there they were! There were no tables and chairs at this meet and greet: the idols were just standing around in a wide lobby, waiting to be mauled. We made a bee-line for David Archuleta, who already had a crowd of people around him. He was energetically chewing on something (Gum? Grapes? I’m not sure) and chatting with fans. While we were waiting for our turn, we suddenly found Ray (see the picture below) standing beside us. I proceeded to tell Ray that he has appeared in thousands of fan pictures online, lurking in the background: “You’re famous, Ray!” I informed him. He seemed a bit taken aback that we knew his name. It turns out that this dour-faced gentleman is actually very animated and friendly, and he stood and chatted with us a for a few minutes. We’re liking the Ray.
Then it was Gail’s turn with David! They spoke for a few minutes, she got an autograph and a picture, and I was up next. “Haven’t we met?” asked David, gesturing to Becky and me. My muscles tensed in readiness to jump up and down and commence with screaming, but I got it under control just in the nick of time. “Yes, we met you in Indy,” I managed. I showed him the collage that Jennifer B. gave me, and pointed out the picture of Becky and me with the “Welcome to Indy” sign. “There we are, acting like idiots,” I said, and both of us laughed (there’s a few good pictures of that below). He signed the collage for me and handed it back. Then I gave him the first chapter of a novel I’m working on, and prefaced it by saying that I know he doesn’t have much time to read, so he could feel free to pitch it. But I wanted him to know that he was the inspiration for it and the subject just might interest him. He stared at me intently while I stuttered my way through this explanation. “Oh wow! That is so awesome,” he responded, and began scanning through it. I requested a picture, and after that was accomplished I got the hug. David may have felt awkward when this tour began and strangers asked for hugs, but there is no trace of hesitancy left now. Like I mentioned from our Indy experience, he is solidly built and seems to generate a lot of heat. The hug was warm and sincere. After that he looked at me expectantly and I knew I could have stood there a few more minutes chatting, but there were so many fans still waiting, so I backed away.
Keith was up next, and he got the chance to give David a letter from his friend Chad, who lives in Vancouver and was not able to attend a concert. Later on he got Chad on the phone and David talked to him for a bit; it was a beautiful moment. I could tell that David really appreciates meeting his male fans and he and Keith had a good conversation. I chatted with Jeff Archuleta, and it was nice to meet up with him again. Jeff is a wonderful guy and I always feel like I don’t have enough time to talk with him–he’s one of those guys you want to go to a baseball game with and eat a few hotdogs. Very, very kind.
I made my way over to David Cook while Becky was waiting to talk to David Archuleta. Now, I know this is a fansite devoted to David Archuleta, but let me take a moment to describe this encounter. David Cook is a comedian. He took time to pose goofily and make effortless conversation with every fan. He really seems like a genuinely nice and funny person, and he and David are obviously very close. I had him sign a poster for my son (which he is taking to school today for show and tell, along with pictures of his insane mother with the idols), and I told him that I thought he sounded great tonight and did a fabulous job. He seemed sincerely pleased to hear that. I gave him a few t-shirts from Richard and Karla and mentioned that David had a matching one in black (Cook’s was white). Cook yells across the room, “Hey Archie! Where’s your black t-shirt like this? Let’s wear them tomorrow and match.” Becky handed David Archuleta his black t-shirt and David held it up proudly. It was a funny moment. And then Cook hugged me, which was a bit of a shock, since I didn’t request one. David Cook gives very good hugs, I must say. I said goodbye and turned around and literally ran smack into Michael Johns, much to my embarrassment. He was getting ready to leave and I just stared at him. “I don’t have anything for you to sign. You signed all of my stuff in Indy,” I blurted out. He just stared at me and smiled. MJ always seems to have this little smirk on his face. “But can I get a hug?” I added. I was on a roll, why not ask? So MJ gave me a big hug, too. MJ is a squeezer. ‘Nuff said.
After we all met with the idols, the only three idols left in the room were the two Davids and Brooke. Someone turned on the Olympics, and here comes the best part: about 10 of us stood around with David Archuleta and David Cook and watched Michael Phelps smash Olympic history. Cook got on his hands and knees under the TV and David stood on his back to turn up the volume (Cook’s mission in life seems to be to get David to do things a little out of his comfort zone.) The frenzy of the pictures and autographs were over, and it felt like we were just hanging out, cheering Phelps on together. At one point I realized that David Archuleta was standing right next to me, watching the TV, and we all screamed together when the relay was over and Phelps won his seventh gold medal. The realization struck me that these two guys were just…guys. Guys who have precious little time to be “off” and just relax and be themselves, not having to answer questions or respond to adulation from fans. So we just enjoyed being with them for a few more minutes, talking about the Olympics and other non-idol things until they had to leave. For me, it was the best moment of the day–the humanization of my idol.
I spent the rest of the evening (and on into the wee hours of the morning) with Becky, Gail, and Keith, and it struck me as walked back to the hotel that David Archuleta brought all of us together. I really don’t think it’s possible or even necessary for David Archuleta to understand the myriad of ways he has changed peoples’ lives for the better. In fact, that kind of knowledge may be too overwhelming (in a “that really freaks me out” kind of way) for any one person to absorb. It’s enough for him to know that he loves what he is doing and he knows that he is making people happy.
PICTURES! We snuck in one of David Cook. We also snuck in one of Famous Ray!
Becky and Gail will most likely be adding their stories today, so check back!
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Crush Video to be Shot Today!
David Archuleta’s video shoot for his “Crush” single will take place today in Atlanta! If we get more news/pictures/videos, we’ll put them up right away! Is our Atlanta reporter ready to go?
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None yet…check back this afternoon. Apparently David’s “Angels” last night was the best ever!
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David Archuleta to appear on Larry King Live this Friday!
Larry King taped an interview with the idols yesterday in Atlanta; tune in Friday to watch!
Becky’s recap (I’ll keep it brief…Who loves David Archuleta? Who loves Michael Phelps? Well then click and go to the next page!!)
Jenny and I had learned in Indy that, if you snooze you lose, so as she said, we made a beeline. I saw that David Cook was there as well and really wanted to talk to him, but I would not be sidetracked! Of course, once we got over to David and the throng that was surrounding him, I went into mom/teacher mode and took cameras, helped Jenny coordinate, pushed others in front, etc. By the time I got to talk to David, much later on, we had been told no videos. I only have stills. Ah well…I have a video playing in my mind…
Jenny eloquently said so much about the After Party, that I will be brief. But I will say that David is beyond gracious with everyone. He didn’t seem as flustered or rushed as he did in Indy. He didn’t seem to care about how many people were waiting for him. He just gave each person his undivided attention. He was wonderful with our friend Keith and even more amazing when talking to Chad on the phone. That was a touching moment.
I was able to give David a small gift. I am a HUGE John Mayer fan. Jenny and Gail are most likely laughing uncontrollably over that last understatement. He has a song called “Gravity,” which is probably his best work. Very simple, but the words convey so much. The jist of the song is that, in the midst of his rise to fame, fortune and all that comes with it good and bad, he needs something to keep him grounded. He needs something to keep him from diving too deep into the trappings. And, although I’m a not worried ONE IOTA about David remaining true to himself, out of trouble, etc. (he has too much faith and family and conviction), I thought that the line, “Just keep me where the light is…” was so fitting for him at this time. Life is coming at him at 100 MPH…it’s so much to handle… I was able to give him a silver guitar pick with those words engraved on it. I don’t know if he’ll ever find it in his pile of stuff after the tour, but it made me happy just to be able to give it to him. Plus, I got to hear him say, “John Mayer is awesome!” I love that!
Jeff! Jeff! Yea! I got to talk to Jeff again! Anyone who read our post from Indy knows that I waxed poetic about Mr. Archuleta. So I was so excited to see him again and hoped he remembered me. I got another hug (yea) and we got to talk about the album and more specifically, songs David has penned. I kept all of my fangirliness in check. You all would have been proud. But inside I was so excited! I told him that we (FOD) were able to post about the Billboard charts to try to help his ranking that will be coming out this week. He had quite an audience as he talked about David and the music and the whole experience. I’m so glad that he’s able to talk to so many fans. It must feel so good…
When we first walked in, I spotted the TV hanging from the ceiling, already turned to the Olympics. YES! Then at one point, I was able to see when Micheal Phelps was going to swim his historic race (about 11:10 or so). I made it clear to whoever would listen (not that many people, BTW) that I wasn’t leaving that room until I could see the race! A minute or so before the race, I walked my pushy self over to David Cook and a fan and said, “Excuse me, but the Michael Phelps race is about to start.” I had heard Cook wanted to watch, so I didn’t feel too badly. Then I walked over to Brooke and a fan and told them the same thing. They did not come over.
So standing under an inadequate TV, hung too high that was not loud enough, Cook, Archie, Ray, a few other security people and about 8 – 10 fans watched the most historic Olympic even in my lifetime (it really was). And who do I find myself standing next to for this event? On my right is David and we’re watching together. I wanted to cry.
So the race was close throughout each leg and I was jumping up and down and screeching just a little. But DAVID was, and this is hard to describe, waving his hands wildly and snapping loudly and quickly! So I said, ‘WHAT are you doing??? Are you cracking your knuckles???” He replied, “No I’m snapping. I’m trying to get the energy out!” I then said, “Well, it’s so loud…how do you do that??” To which he retorted, “Well, you’re jumping up and down!!” Meanwhile, the race is continuing and the room is getting louder!
There was much celebration and more jumping and hoots and hollers. It was at this point that Cook got down on all fours and told David to stand on his back to turn up the volume. Of course, he yelled, “HURRY UP! MY BACK HURTS!!”
I’m still just over the moon about the night. I was able to take pictures for several fans who were by themselves or just asked me to. It was a wonderful chance to watch David interact without being a stalker!
And yes, David Cook is one of the premier huggers of our time. He, um, puts his all into it and is very cuddly! Yea…I said it! Of course, he’s funny…as we were leaving, we kept shouting “goodbye” back and forth to each other…
I know that David and Cook were very late to get out to the signing after Lexington. David is so patient with fans and Cook wanted to see the race. But I believe they got out there and were able to meet their adoring fans. I think sometimes, they just need to feel normal and do normal things…
OK, see…nice and short…LOL
Guys, check out the Articles tab once a day and do some homework. We’ve got to keep him on the XM 20 on 20 countdown, and there are other polls and such that need to be attended to!
Thank you for all of the kind words. FOD has THE best readers…keep us on our toes and we’ll try to bring you everything David that’s relevant, fun and insightful!