Slicing Open the Digital Vein -2016 David Cook Tour

As maybe all of you now know from my album review of David Cook’s Digital Vein release, I love this album. So, of course I was more than happy when we received the news that our coverage of the show was, in fact, approved. As it usually does, my heart grew little stick legs and did the happy dance of joy, feeling pretty confident that it was going to be one hell of a night.

Pulling up to the venue, I was more than a little impressed with the ambiance. The Gas Monkey in Dallas was to be the host of the evening, all with the glitz and glam of the outdoor patio setting. It couldn’t have been a more perfect night. It was a blissful 75-ish degrees with a cool wind blowing. Somebody special order heaven on the night of David’s show? Thanks for that. We shared iced tea and some pretty amazing Gas Monkey snacks pre-show…. and then it was magic time.

Around 6:30 the line of fans formed for the Meet n Greet, and David sauntered out with swagger. Looking fresh off the idol stage, clad in his staple open-shirt-over-t-shirt look, spiked hair and skinny jeans…even his single key, given to him by a fan, was on a chain hanging from his neck. This key was on the cover of Digital Vein. A look of genuine happiness crept over his face with each hand he shook and hug he gave. I watched to see if his smile faded or even caught for a second.
It didn’t.

He was genuinely interested to speak with each fan. Henry, a 6 year old boy from Dallas became a fan favorite. David got down on one knee and listened to Henry’s story. This was clearly just for them. David leaned in close and listened intently to whatever Henry had to tell him, and at the end was the biggest genuine hug ever given.

I couldn’t have expected anything less, though. David and his crew are currently on the 2nd leg of their USO tour. Military fans across the United States have the privilege of seeing this tour up close and personal. I’m not sure if it’s more invigorating for the fans, or for David. My money is on David. Later, during the show he would joke about riding in flight simulators and going up in jets. He says “But we are all certified pilots now, which is cool”, and I’m not sure whether to believe him or not.

Somehow I think he’s not joking.

Back to present time, and I’m waiting for the show to start. The crowd is smaller than I anticipated, and quite a different demographic from what I imagined. At $40 a ticket, I actually had purchased two just because I could. I knew I was on assignment, but seats are always nice. These fans in attendance are dedicated. In speaking to them, I’m learning that so many of them actually follow him from town to town and have seen him no less than 10 times. Around the balcony and into the rest of the patio, I’m guessing are maybe 250 fans. I’m more than a little disappointed.

Suddenly a stir from backstage, and the opening act takes the stage. We learn soon this act is “Starmother” out of Denton, Texas. Wow. This is a happy surprise. So much so that I’ve saved their coverage for a whole ‘nother article. If you’re a fan of Dave Matthews, Counting Crows, Third Eye Blind or the like, do yourself a favor and go ahead and download their album from iTunes. You’re welcome in advance.

The sun sets. Blackness settles over the pond, and suddenly a faint pulse emulates from the stage. With it, the red pulsating LED lights. In an instant I knew “Heartbeat” would be the opening song. With it emerges David and his band: guitarist Daniel Damico, bassist Andy Wildrick, and drummer Adam Reidelbach. David is clearly in his element. The audience is going mad, and the sound is riveting.

I knew from a conversation with a crew member from earlier in the day that David wasn’t feeling his greatest. From this performance, there was no indication of this. The music swelled seamlessly into “Paper Heart”, and the entire front row almost passed out. So much amazing sound in such a small amount of time. After song two, David paused for a chat with the audience. I’d forgotten one of the reasons I love David so much. The brains on this man just make me smile, and his sense of humor is just delightful. I like him. In fact, I want to be friends with him. David, can we hang out? I think we should do that.

One song fades into another, each one maybe a little better than the last. The audience is singing maybe louder than David, and a gentle lopsided smile indicates that David likes. At some point drummer Adam stands up and leads the group in a clap-out, and we are happy to oblige. The best of David Cook, This Loud Morning and Digital Vein are all laid out in roughly 90 minutes of insanely intense musical perfection. “Broken Windows” finishes out the set, and we all know the night is about to wrap. I look up at the band and no one has broken a sweat. Are these guys just so cool that it’s not hard work?

That’s when it hits me. I look into the crowd, and over half the audience is at least 55+ in age. The younger half is in the pit dancing their hearts out. And while I have thoroughly enjoyed myself, and the music was so good it brought tears to my eyes, to them it was effortless. The band played. They didn’t perform. David, while clearly intent on meaning every single lyric, didn’t necessarily have to go into a long guitar solo to prove he was cooler than me. The band picked on each other on stage, but their performance was vocal. Their performance was focused on the job at hand; making the music perfection. So each chord, each drum beat and hi-hat chatter, each bass drone was deliberate. The sound was so good that you didn’t miss anything that maybe visually wasn’t happening.

The show was clean, simple, to the point, and fantastic.

In a clear goodnight, the band exits stage left. I’m left feeling invigorated, satisfied, and perhaps a little dehydrated. I’m pretty sure I sang my ass off and forgot to drink anything all night. In case you were there, I was the one dancing in the audience. That was me having my socks rocked off.

I’m honored to have been able to share this day with, and share my photographs with all of you. The Digital Vein tour is still running. They will break from July-August, and then jump back on the road in September. Please, if you are reading this and you have them coming to your city- go see the show!! Give the boys our support.

To David, Andy, Daniel and Adam ~ thank you for the music.

Photos taken by Amanda Gail Photographer for Lit Photography

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