Just in case you were wondering, following is an Orange County Register review of David Archuleta’s St. Patrick’s Day concert in Pomona:
David Archuleta bounced on stage at the Glass House in Pomona on Tuesday and gone was the shy boy who finished second on “American Idol” last season.
Oh, sure, the 18-year-old still has a bit of the golly-gee-whiz about him: nine different times Archuleta told the audience how awesome they and the night were. (We’re so awesome that we actually counted each awesome!)
But there’s a confidence now that you seldom saw on “Idol” and – what’s this? – a showmanship that seemed far more mature than what you remembered from his TV appearances.
And, of course, there’s still the voice that won him so many “Idol” votes, a pitch-perfect, pure instrument, which regardless of how you feel about the flavor of pop-rock to which he applies it, cannot but be admired.
Entering in darkness to the screams of a packed house, Archuleta opened with “Touch My Hands,” during which he did exactly that, criss-crossing the stage to shake hands with as many fans as possible packed in front of the stage.
This being his first solo show in California, it had the feel of an event, with the crowd lined up around three sides of the block before the doors opened. And from the start, each new move prompted screams and endless photographs from an audience that seemed about three-quarters high school-aged girls.
David sings falsetto: shriek! David smiles and waves: scream! David talks to us: swoon!
Most of the night focused on his debut album, from the current single, “A Little Too Not Over You” to “Crush,” his first single, which shot to No. 2 on the charts after its release last year.
While confident in performance – Archuleta seemed fully comfortable fronting a solid four-piece band – his between song patter sometimes still revealed his youth.
“I don’t know if you can tell, but this shirt is green, so you can’t pinch me!” he told the St. Patrick’s Day crowd, and suddenly he sounded more like 12 than 18.
Midway through the show, he introduced a lengthy medley of his favorite songs (“One,” by U2, “You Gotta Be,” by Des’ree, “Love Song” by Sara Bareilles, and “I’m Yours” by Jason Mraz).
A few surprises surfaced along the way. A new song, “Zero Gravity,” offered a bass-heavy bouncy dance beat that got Archuleta, the band and the crowd all jumping up and down on the choruses. It wouldn’t seem as out of place in a dance club as its singer might.
After mentioning how the audience at a recent show in Texas asked him to sing something in Spanish, Archuleta offered up a short a cappella cover of Selena’s “Como la Flor.”
Those kinds of touches suggested he might, with a little more seasoning, have the potential to find more interesting material than the standard, lyrically bland songs that make up much of his repertoire so far.
“American Idol,” the show that gave him instant fame, cast only a faint shadow on the night, helped in part by the move from a glitzy Hollywood stage to dingy rock club. Only one song Archuleta performed on the show was reprised here, Robbie Williams’ “Angel,” the final song of the encore.
Perhaps the most lasting influence of the show, which packages its singers as weekly car-ad pitch people, was the unselfconscious way he sold product along with the songs.
“This next song we’re going to do is on the Wal-Mart version of the album,” he said by way of introducing “Works For Me.” The one after that came from the “deluxe iTunes album.”
(The most surreal Idol moment came in the lobby after opening act Lesley Roy finished her energetic if occasionally pitchy set. Jason Castro, Archuleta’s dreadlocked cast mate walked in to the squeals and – for one girl – heaving sobs of joy.
Turned out the weepy one was the infamous Crying Girl from the 2007 season, who blubbered on camera anytime that season’s Sanjaya Malakar came near – apparently Castro does the trick, too. After he left, fans that recognized Crying Girl started taking photos of her for their scrapbooks.)
Still, by the encore, just David solo at his keyboard for two songs, Archuleta had turned the spotlight away from Idol and firmly onto himself.
We were awesome, he assured us. And from the way the adoring crowd cheered as he waved and departed, to them, so was he.