03671SACRAMENTO — There’s no doubt that pulling off a concert date perfectly – as a performer – is somewhat of a crapshoot.

So many things have to go right and nothing can go wrong. And when you agree to set up shop pretty much anywhere you are asking for trouble.

“We don’t have a plan regarding venues,” David Cook told IdolChatter recently of his concert dates. “Pretty much anyplace that will open the doors and let us in … we’ll play.”

So it was Friday (Aug. 21, 2009) night here on opening night of the California State Fair. This is the place where you can look one way and see a 2,000-lb. pig and gaze in the opposite direction and find a mural of California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger made entirely of Jelly Belly jellybeans. HOLY CAL-EE-FORN-EEE-A!

David Cook & Co. took center stage and gave it just about everything a rocker could on a night when temperatures hovered in the mid-90s, the sweat index was in the mid-millions and Cook found himself and his band on stage in a configuration at the Fairgrounds that had them looking down at water.

“This is the first show we’ve played with a moat,” Cook told the crowd estimated at 10,000.

So, Cook took the stage at 8:15 p.m. and was heading off-stage at 9:15 p.m. without saying good-night, goodbye, or Cya.

Maybe he was a little flustered by the fact that his microphone had gone out a couple of times during songs, or that he was competing with screams from patrons riding the Tilt-A-Whirl or that there might have been 10,000 corndogs floating around the grounds.

Or maybe it was the crowd. Seemed odd. Try as he may, Cook just could not get them into the event. They seemed more enthusiastic after the show screaming his name to come out of the dressing room than they did while he was singing Light On (which was terrific, by the way).

So, the boys in the band returned, did a couple of songs including Just Died In Your Arms Tonight, an old Journey song, and walked off again.

It wasn’t a perfect. Probably never has there been a perfect concert. So, here’s the good and not-so-good of Friday night’s effort.

Overall, here’s the good:

– If you like “rockers” you have to love Cook. The guy can really sing in a live situation – corndogs or no corndogs.

– Cook can write songs and perform them superbly – to wit, Declaration and Come Back To Me.

– Cook’s band can interpret songs and put their own spin on them and make them sound better than the original – Journey song and Little Lies proved that.

– Cook’s band ist terrific. Give the drummer his props cause he kept the entire night rolling despite the mm (microphone malfunction), the heat and the lethargic crowd.

And here’s the not-so-good:

– Cook’s entrance was rather nondescript. Would be nice to see something different rather than walk out with the band, grab a left-handed guitar and wing it.

Come down the aisle, come in after everyone else, appear in a spotlight… something out of the ordinary cause David is out of the ordinary whether he wants to admit it or not.

– Don’t just say “let’s hear it for the band” – introduce them. Tell us a little about them. Those guys are good and I’d like to see them get some serious props for their talents.

– And don’t end the concert with one final encore song, let the band walk off, meander around the stage tossing guitar picks into the crowd and then walk off without saying anything. Bow, wave, curtsy, say thanks one more time… something.

The real good news is that David Cook’s bad is most other bands’ good. In other words, he has the hardest part – musical talent and performance – whipped already. The easy stuff – his not-so-good – he can fix with time and a little more stage presence.

And the bottom line is this – would IdolChatter go back and see another David Cook concert?

Yep. And I plan to – Sept. 8, 2009 at the Fillmore in SF.