Archive for May, 2009

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NEWARK — At long last, the stately halls of the Midland Theatre reverberated Thursday with the heart-pounding rhythm and husky vocals of “American Idol” winner David Cook.

After weeks of anticipation, a 28-minute ticket sellout, an intro by warm-up act Ryan Star and a short intermission, the 25-year-old rocker took the stage to screams of appreciation and an audience that was on its feet from the strumming of the first chord.

Which is how it should have been, Cook reassured them.

“This is not a cinema. This is not a movie,” he said in a quick break after the song “Mr. Sensitive.” He had seen a few sections of the audience in their seats and had gestured to them to rise.

“Let’s pretend for one night that we’re at a rock show. Everybody down?”

He was answered with a chorus of enthusiastic screams from a theater packed with fans of all ages.

Among them — in the second row, center stage — was Connie Bolen, of Newark, who began following Cook in the seventh season of “American Idol.”

“I voted 700 times the night before (the finale) for him,” said Bolen, whose fanhood is perhaps only eclipsed by that of her daughter, Megan Bolen.

The two saw Cook in concert Wednesday in Springfield and expected to be equally impressed Thursday.

“He put on a great show,” Bolen said.

With a playlist that included everything from “Kiss on the Neck” to “Lie” to his 2006 “Straight Ahead,” Cook won the crowd’s hearts — and lungs — with ease.

“I love his sound. I like his voice — I think he has a very nice voice,” said Sue McNichols, of Mount Vernon, who attended the show with her daughter and sister-in-law.

A self-proclaimed “American Idol” fan, McNichols said she had been ready at her computer the day Cook tickets went on sale to ensure she’d have a seat at the performance.

Another fan, Becky Shoults, of Newark, hadn’t known exactly what to expect when she found herself among those lucky enough to secure a ticket to the show. But she had a pretty good idea.

“Probably a couple hours of fun,” she said.

Pics Credit: Matthew Berry, The Advocate

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BY LUCIANA CHAVEZ – Staff writer

David Cook wants more than the notoriety of winning a reality show.

So the 2008 “American Idol” winner had a hand in writing nearly all the songs for his eponymousdebut album, which came out in November and went platinum in January.

He and his band have been on the road since February, trying to build a following to last beyond the first blast of “Idol” fame. Cook, 26, plays the second North Carolina stop on his “Declaration” tour Sunday at Cat’s Cradle in Carrboro.

The show is sold out, but you have to wonder: What’s a guy like Cook doing in a place like this?

He took some time to talk about building a career, how he nearly auditioned for a different reality show and stripping down naked.

Q: So David, you won “American Idol” by 12 million votes. Your fans range in age from, what, 10 to like 70? Your rookie effort went platinum. You’ve worked with Chris Cornell for goodness sakes. (Cook says later that he and Cornell never met. Cornell did co-write Cook’s first single called “Light On.”) Why is a guy like you playing 500- to 1,000-seat venues on this tour? Because I feel, more than anything, if things continue to go the way they’re going, we have plenty of time to play huge venues. An important thing for us, coming off “Idol” and the “Idol” tour, I wanted us to eliminate that buffer and really get back to playing the club shows. Really nothing beats having that ethereal connection with an audience in a smelly, 500- to 1,000-seat venue.

Q: You’re not in a rush to get back to recording and the tour is running eight months. As far as attracting fans and proving yourself as a live act, what does that take? I think for us [the process is] constant. We haven’t played the same set list twice. We want to work to put together the perfect set. We try different things. We read the audience and try to get a vibe on what they’re feeling and what they’re not feeling. It’s a constant learning curve. We constantly have to keep up with the change in tastes and trends. Even on this tour, songs we played at the beginning that got huge pop are now in the middle. And other songs that were sitting in the middle are now getting huge pop. It’s just a matter of covering your bases and realizing that every audience is different.

Q: You’ve worked with Rob Cavallo, a Grammy winner who’s worked with Green Day, and Chris Cornell, who recently has done some great stuff with Timbaland. Who else would you love to work with when you do get back to recording? Really anybody and everybody. I got such a great vibe writing with other people. Just the idea of walking into a room with a complete stranger and, almost emotionally and mentally stripping yourself down to nothing in less than 15 minutes to get started writing a song. It’s unnerving, but it’s really exciting. My first writing session was with Raine Maida from Our Lady Peace, who I love. I literally had to leave all of that at the door and try to act like a peer. I imagine it couldn’t have been the most comfortable thing in the world for him because I was awkward as hell. If I had a dream version, maybe Sir Paul McCartney. But that may be a little lofty.

Q: You’re three months into an eight-month tour. Any Spinal Tap moments to report? I think other than I do believe we got lost walking to the stage once. (Hey guys, where did we get kinda lost going to the stage?) They don’t remember. None of us remember, which is, I guess, in and of itself, a Spinal Tap moment.

Q: So Ryan Star, who’s opening for you on Sunday, competed on “Rockstar: Supernova.” I want to know who has the best war story about being on reality-based TV talent shows? Ryan actually has better stories. We had a really kind of docile season. Everyone had a pretty good sense of self. Everyone got along. … Oddly enough, I considered trying out for that show for that season. I didn’t end up doing it. But Ryan talks about that show very nostalgically.

Q: Which song, as far as writing, are you most proud of on the album? Which song brings it home for you, like, I do belong in this business? For me, right now, the song, that’s obviously my coup to grace, is probably “Permanent.” I’ve been writing songs since I was 15 and that’s probably the most emotionally naked I’ve ever been on a song.

Q: What’s it been like working with your band? What can you do now that maybe wasn’t possible three months ago when you started? I think just the fact that we get to play together every night; we’re obviously a tighter band than we were three months ago. One of the things I’m really proud of, whether I’ve known them six years or six months, we all seem to click. By now it seems like we’ve been a band for years … Of course, I’m only saying this because they’re sitting right here next to me. Let’s be honest.

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