Kansas City native David Cook headlined a crowded Midland Theatre Friday night, leaving no doubt as to why he captured America’s attention on “American Idol,” eventually winning the title by a landslide. The theatre was bursting with soaring melodies, robust vocals, and a genuine sense of camaraderie between the opening acts, Cook’s band, and the riveted crowd.
After a short acoustic set from members of Vedera, another local Kansas City act, Cook’s regular opener Carolina Liar warmed up the audience and shook their muscles loose in time for Cook’s set. Any stuffy audience member hoping for a group of musicians taking themselves too seriously would have been instantly let down as Cook and his band crashed one of Carolina Liar’s songs, setting up a comfortable camp squatted onstage playing toy instruments. While the audience did not appear familiar with most of Carolina Liar’s songs, many seemed eventually won over by their finishing notes.
An abrupt blackout announced Cook’s arrival onstage, and so began the first enlivening notes of “Circadian,” the opening track to Cook’s sophomore album This Loud Morning. The song is a pristine nutshell of Cook’s vocal abilities, quickly fluctuating between gentle verses and commanding choruses. The majority of the show was filled with up-tempo anthems, encased in guitar-laden riffs and vigorous drumming from the nearly show-stealing Kyle Peek. Cook cleverly pieced in verses of classic songs such as “Hotel California” and “Champagne Supernova” within his own songs, proving he can perfect well-known covers as if they were inherently his own. The most rocking moment of a night was a full cover of Led Zeppelin’s “Rock and Roll,” which had Cook hitting notes that surely shook the topmost chandeliers of the Midland.
The most impressive moment of the night occurred when Cook performed his new single “Fade Into Me,” stepping to the front of the stage and away from the mic, with nothing but his own guitar and raspy voice to fill a theatre which can hold up to 3,000. After a bit of heckling from none other than his own family members, his voice took center stage. Any minute mistake would have been heard throughout the hushed audience but Cook flawlessly prevailed, and one could almost feel the pride pulsating from the audience as they acknowledged they could claim an artist with such innate talent as their own.(special thanks to all the great vids that kelley807 has on Youtube)
The show was much more rock than many may have expected if only familiar with the American idolized version of Cook, as he has since able to return to his admirable rock roots. Closing the set with a powerhouse performance of “Rapid Eye Movement,” Cook demonstrates not only does he have the steadfast voice and musicality to enthrall a crowd, but true writing ability with ambiguously poetic lyrics.
Music aside, Cook demonstrated his genuine appreciation for his hometown’s support thanking the audience he noted was filled with family, friends, and former teachers numerous times. Containing not an ounce of pretense and cracking jokes throughout his set, Cook and his band come off as truly humble and down to earth musicians, just eager for the chance to make some noise.