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Saturday night live with David & David

David Cook (right) and David Archuleta keeping an SRO crowd on its feet during their concert at the Mall of Asia (MOA) Concert Ground. Ver Paulino

“It felt like a Saturday family nightout.”

That’s how my fiftysomething friend Vivian S. described the David Cook & David Archuleta Live in Manila concert at the Mall of Asia (MOA) Concert Grounds last Saturday night that capped the American Idols discoveries’ heady five-day visit which was packed full with TV guestings and endless media interviews starting on Tuesday, May 12, upon their separate arrival (Cook on Singapore Airlines from the US and Archuleta on Qatar Airlines from UK where he just had a concert).

Every available space of the MOA was occupied by screaming fans who had to stand on their seats to catch the action onstage, while others (my friend included) contented themselves by watching the goings-on on two huge monitors, one installed onstage and the other beside the stage.

If we are to gauge the size of the crowd by the one that filled up the same venue during the second reunion concert of the Eraserheads last March, estimated to be “in the vicinity of 100,000,” then it’s safe to conclude that the two Davids’ concert was a H-U-G-E success, no wonder those behind it must be smiling from ear to ear — Jomari Yllana and the Singson brothers Ryan and Ronald of Fearless Promotions, and US-based Rhiza Pascua of Music Management International (MMI) who has been bringing here A-list foreign acts (the last having been sweethearts Chris Brown and Rihanna)

The show started at 8:30 and ended at almost midnight and the two Davids gave their all. If they were reeling from jetlag, they didn’t show it.

“They were in awe at the reaction of the crowd which broke into deafening screams at the start of every song,” said Vivian S. who actually acted as chaperon for her son Jan Vincent Sarabia Ong (who writes for the STAR’s Supreme section).

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Among the two Davids’ most-applauded numbers were those from their respective albums and other songs as well, such as Light On (by Cook), and Crush and Stand By Me, the same song Archuleta sang on American Idols whose producers had to pay royalties because, it turned out, Archuleta didn’t get a “permit” to sing it from the copyright-holders.

It was Archuleta (Archie for short) who kicked off the show, followed by Cook. Equal time. Fireworks lasting 15 minutes served as “intermission.”

At 18, Archie attracts a teen following while Cook, at 26, those “above 20.”

“I guess Archie’s fans came with their parents also as chaperons,” said Vivian S. “May mga lola pa nga yata na nanood. Hehehehe!”

The two Davids didn’t do any duet. But Archie sang a little portion of a Cook song as a fitting ending to a concert that fans worried might not happen because only a week earlier, Cook’s 37-year-old lawyer-brother Adam succumbed to the brain cancer he had fought for more than a decade.

“I have my family to lean on,” said Cook in an exclusive joint interview with Funfare Update and GMA’s Startalk, when asked how he was coping with the loss. “Cancelling the show was never an option. I’m performing kinda feeling that I’m doing it in memory of my brother. How I wish he’s still around so I can tell him what a wonderful experience I had in Manila. Anyway, I’m gonna keep on playing and playing because it’s the best therapy.”

The two Davids left yesterday for L.A., again on separate flights, Cook in the morning on Singapore Airlines and Archie in the evening on Philippine Airlines, bringing with them beautiful memories of mangoes (“Taste like heaven,” gushed Archie) and puto (Ramiele Malubay, the Filipina with the two Davids on American Idols, who first made Cook taste it) and avid fans who wouldn’t let them be anywhere they went during their five-day stay, short of breaking into their rooms at the EDSA Shangri-La Hotel where they were billetted with their entourage.

Concluded my fiftysomething friend, “Cook, who performed with the band he has had even before he competed in American Idols and ended up the champion, has a wider range. He’s a rocker. Archie, who is being likened to Paul Anka, is a good R&B artist.”

(E-mail reactions at rickylo@philstar.net.ph or at entphilstar@yahoo.com)

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