SALT LAKE CITY — The crowd went wild as the lights went down at Abravanel Hall the evening of Nov. 20 and Mormon singer and “American Idol” season seven runner-up David Archuleta took the stage.
“It’s so nostalgic to be here,” Archuleta told the crowd. “I remember the last time I was on this stage, the last time I was here six years ago, I had a special announcement that I made here, that I was going on a mission for two years to South America.”
Archuleta’s performance ended the singer’s fall tour to promote his newest album released Oct. 20 entitled “Postcards in the Sky.” This is the first album Archuleta has recorded since returning from his LDS mission to Chile in 2014.
Judging by the audience’s loud cheering and applause following Archuleta’s first mention of the album, the new music has been well received among the Utah native’s home crowd.
Archuleta’s soulful voice moved seamlessly between each note as he sang several new hits from the album throughout the concert including “Invincible” and “Numb.” He told the story behind his new song ”I’m Ready,” which was inspired by his decision to serve a mission despite the harm others told him a two-year break would do to his musical career.
“I just feel like God’s guiding me if I trust him enough to follow him,” Archuleta said. “That didn’t make sense, to go just stop everything for two years and go on a mission, but it was so worth it.
The LDS artist also performed several songs he recorded before his mission, including a medley from his first album, released nine years ago this month.
He added a twist to his original song “Parachutes and Airplanes,” sliding into a cover of Imagine Dragons’ “Thunder,” a move that was a definite hit with the crowd. His cover of Christina Aguilera’s “Beautiful” also led into a cover of Alessia Cara’s “No Scars To Your Beautiful,” which Archuleta dedicated to his sisters.
“I’ve heard my sisters say too many times that they don’t think they’re beautiful,” Archuleta said. “The very make of who we are and our being and our soul is made of light, and when we come to understand that and we start living by that and we start shining that light, it is beautiful.”
The singer talked about his partnership with Holt International before his performance during the concert, encouraging audience members to sponsor an orphaned child.
“I’m a big advocate for helping people find their voice who may not have the strength to find that voice. I struggled for a long time trying to find my own voice,” Archuleta said. “These kids just need to feel loved.”
The evening started with Madilyn Paige, a pop singer from Provo who competed on season six of “The Voice,” who opened the concert with a set of seven songs, including two original compositions. Paige told the backstory of “Irreplaceable,” a song she wrote in high school during a difficult time in her life.
“I did not have any confidence and the low self-esteem that a teenager can have, and I decided to write this song,” Paige said. “It was the first song that I’d ever written and finished, and now it’s become an anthem in a way for me. But I think everybody needs to hear (this message), which is, ‘You are irreplaceable.’”
Paige’s clear singing and beautiful tone shimmered throughout her set like the sparkly ankle boots on her feet. Her voice was the perfect complement to Archuleta’s when she returned to the stage later during the night to sing “Seasons,” a duet from “Postcards in the Sky.”
Prior to their duet, Archuleta favored the crowd with two Christmas songs, “The First Noel” and “Riu Riu Chiu.” He also brought some Latin flair and dance moves to the stage when he sang “Nunca Pense.”
At the conclusion of the fast-paced, show-stopping number, Archuleta and his band exited the stage, but the crowd’s loud and insistent cheering quickly invited them back for an encore. The group performed “Glorious” and “Crush” to end the night, two obvious fan favorites.
Archuleta and Paige had the Abravanel Hall audience — packed with fans young and old — cheering, dancing, singing along and wiping tears from their eyes throughout the night, all signs that the Utah artists know what makes their home crowd happy.
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