‘Come back to me,’ Manila tells David Cook

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PHOTO BY ARNOLD ALMACEN

It’s been a week since David Cook’s concert, but I still can’t get his voice out of my head.

For one, he took us to music heaven, and for another, his songs are on loop in my playlist. Actually, I’m plugged while writing this article. I’m sure “Cookistas” are still raving about their experience at David’s Manila and Cebu concerts.

On concert day, while waiting for my best friend to arrive, I stood excitedly outside Araneta because for the first time I was going to watch David perform live. He first performed in the Philippines with fellow “American Idol” alumni David Archuleta (Archie) in 2009, but I unfortunately missed that show, which David described as the largest crowd they had the chance to play for so far.

Inside, only a few in the patron area sat on their seats, as most were crowding in front of the stage. A few minutes later, shrieks reverberated as David with Andy Skib (guitar and keyboards), Monty Anderson (bass), Devin Bronson (lead guitar) and Nick Adams (drums) went on stage.

The shrieks and cheers grew louder as David opened the show with “Circadian,” the opening song of his latest album “This Loud Morning.”

He followed this with a mashed-up version of “Heroes” and the Oasis hit “Champagne Supernova.” Afterward came “Mr. Sensitive,” from his first post-“Idol” album “David Cook.”

Flashback to 2008, when David auditioned in Omaha, Nebraska, for the seventh season of “American Idol.” There was something in his performance that, from the start, hinted that he would make it to the finals, and eventually win the whole competition.

Memories of why I’m a fan of this Midwestern crooner came flashing as he sang “Declaration.” There was so much passion in the way he sang, it was infectious.

He continued to amaze us with songs from “This Loud Morning” like “Hard to Believe,” “The Last Goodbye” and “Paper Heart.”

Sentimental side

In a pocket interview with David, he told Super that “This Loud Morning” is somewhat the story of his life for the past couple of years.

“The last few years have been crazy, all the highs and lows. I tell my friends I wired my brain for 25 years, and when I won ‘Idol’ I had to rewire everything,” David said.

One of the lowest points in his life was the passing of his older brother Adam in 2009 after a decade-long battle with brain cancer.

ONE GREAT thing about David is that he’s not your typical rocker who plays it tough and rough, because he isn’t afraid to show his sentimental side. MAGIC LIWANAG

Today, he is part of the Accelerate Brain Cancer Cure (ABCC), a nonprofit organization committed to speeding up the pace of research that will lead to new brain cancer therapies and, ultimately, a cure.

“I’m honored and flattered that they allowed me to be a part of it,” said David, who has been involved with ABCC for four years now.

David is known worldwide for his impeccable vocals and range. But one great thing about him is that he’s not your typical rocker who plays it tough and rough, because he is not afraid to show his sentimental side.

There was so much soul and emotion when he started singing “I Did It For You” and “Goodbye to the Girl,” and his new songs “The Last Song I’ll Write For You” and “From Here to Zero.”

I couldn’t help but notice couples cuddling when David went into sentimental mode. Just goes to show how David’s music somehow touched their hearts.

In between songs, David would heartily let out a laugh, ask if the audience was still having fun, and tell candid stories. One was about his first Manila concert with Archie.

“I walked onstage in this amazing venue, and looked out at roughly a hundred thousand people. Halfway around the world, to a place I’ve never been before, and all these people singing my songs back to me—very strange and very awesome,” he said.

The next stop in the 2009 tour was Ohio, where they played at a venue that could only fit 800. “I couldn’t wait to be back in Manila,” David said.

“Come Back to Me,” “Light On” and “Bar-ba-sol” opened the latter part of the show. We were also wowed with covers of Led Zeppelin’s “Rock and Roll” and “Whole Lotta Love,” songs David wished he had written. Noteworthy on this set was Nick Adams’ drum solo.

Fresh air

And, of course, what would a David Cook show be without his chart-topping rendition of Mariah Carey’s “Always Be My Baby,” which catapulted him to international fame even before winning “Idol”?

As expected, we went wild! Midway through the song, he called onstage local artist Yeng Constantino. Their duet was outstanding, and their voices blended so well that it sounded like it was their song.

David said when he performed the Mariah Carey hit on “Idol,” “there was no way it was going to get attention. Then, I found out it was doing well in another country—the Philippines.”

Even acerbic “Idol” judge Simon Cowell was all praises. “It’s sort of like coming out of karaoke hell into a breath of fresh air,” Cowell remarked on the show. “It was original; it was daring. It stood out by a mile.”

No full house

Everyone was having so much fun that we didn’t notice we had been standing for two hours already.

Before closing his show with a soulful performance of “Fade Into Me” and “Rapid Eye Movement,” David said he “absolutely love playing here in Manila.”

As the lights went on, one could say that it was a great show despite it not being a full house. We even stayed a couple more minutes in front of the stage, as we still wanted more. It was only when the sound tech guys were packing up that we accepted the fact that the show was over.

On our way out, I realized it was a blessing in disguise that David injured his left arm while playing baseball.

Given the chance to turn back time, David said he’d probably have chosen to become a baseball player. “But everything happens for a reason,” he said.

“I’m probably a better singer than I am a baseball player.”

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