Music review: Rockin' hunk David Cook keeps things honest in his Manila concert
(Updated July 17, 7:52 a.m.) - It was already nine o’ clock and Smart-Araneta Coliseum throbbed with anticipation.
“Ladies and gentlemen,” the voice-over said as the fans started screaming. They were, expectedly, mostly female teens and twenty-somethings and, believe it or not, mothers, who either have a thing for the “American Idol” starrer, or who wouldn’t mind having David Cook dead ringers as their sons-in-law.
Unshaven, clad in leather pants, a T-shirt and a vest, an electric guitar hanging across his chest, David Cook sprinted his way to the stage, jolting the crowd with the whimsical "Circadian," a song lifted from the his 2011-released album "This Loud Morning."
As an “American Idol” fan myself, who, for several seasons had been watching back-to-back episodes on Star World with—wait for it—my mom, my dad and all my four brothers and my sister, I am very familiar with Cook’s powerful grunge vocals, his signature rocker “I don’t care” look, and yes, even the sexy way he holds a guitar.
But while some AI winners have become one-hit wonders and have fallen into obscurity, Cook is too tough to give up. He had in fact, recorded two major label studio albums since winning the title and is now on an Asian tour to promote his second one entitled “This Loud Morning.” Watching him perform live has got me convinced he’s not stepping out of the limelight anytime soon.
Belting out ballads
After getting over the shock of seeing Cook in person and snapping as much pictures as I could, I soon realized my attention was drifting away from the first songs that seemed to sound alike, slowly dissolving into background music in my ears.
But soon, Cook whisked me away in a love song entitled “From Here to Zero.”
With a catchy, almost too sweet tune, Cook sang words that struck emotional strings— “a love song we’ve set for a second look like the flower pressed in your favorite book, by the window sill/we got lost in the passing glance as the winter melted in our hands…” And in every verse, in the one second he stops plucking his acoustic guitar, I found myself holding my breath as he punch-lines, “from here to zero” then starts strumming his guitar again.
“When did all the gold around us rust? Turning all the love we had to dust,” Cook asked in a bittersweet melody. I can easily imagine this song “Goodbye to the Girl” becoming part of a Hollywood rom-com’s soundtrack and the broken-hearted among the audience shedding a tear or two.
In fact, it’s when Cook shows this sensitive side, belting out ballads and tender love songs that he’s got me hooked and mesmerized. His voice, lyrics and acoustic guitar playing are powerful enough to drive his music home.
And you don’t even need to be a diehard Cook fan to appreciate him. Not that his other relatively fast-paced songs like “Paper Heart” and “Hard to Believe” lacked musicality. But in my humble opinion, they were barely standouts, the types when the concert is over and done with, are too forgettable for one to even hum or whistle a tune in the bathroom.
“We love you David,” the girls beside me shrieked. Another fan came prepared with a placard that said "David Cook, please sing Freebird, we'll give you 30 bucks!"
To this Cook chuckled and gamely sang and played the first verse of the Lynyrd Skynyrd song then stopped, “That’s all I know but you still owe me 30 bucks.”
He might look tough-as-nails, but he is very much boy-next-door with a charm your lolos and lolas will even like.
He laughed, sang, changed guitars (by the way, he did change his guitar every song, prompting a girl beside me to comment, “ikaw na ang maraming gitara!”) and laughed some more. The guy was good-natured, a trait that made him even more endearing, leather-clad, tattooed and all. Indeed, the rugged idol was effortlessly charming.
“And I thought, wow, I’m halfway around the world. To a place I’ve never been before. And all these people are singing songs back to me. It’s very strange and very awesome. So thank you for that,” Cook told the audience, recalling his first concert with David Archuleta in 2009.
“So then our very next show back in the States in Ohio and we played to a capacity room of 800 people. I said man, I can’t wait to go back to Manila,” Cook said.
Some have predicted Cook might turn out like another Bryan Adams, and that his 1990s grunge era style is outdated already. But I think this rockin' hunk has got the pipes, the style, the charm, and the good looks to stay.
After all, there is nothing sexier than a leather-clad, rugged guy who’s not afraid to show his sensitive side. So keep on rocking, David Cook! –KG, GMA News