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Sacramento performance artist, David Garibaldi, it was a sobering moment to sell out the Crest Theater on October 27, 2011. Starting out as a local graffiti artist, the now famous performance painter travels worldwide sharing his creativity and ultimately his passion. Debuting his newest show, “Garibaldi Live: A Live Music and Color Experience”, he surely did not disappoint. Lines filled the streets up well into the next block. Many onlookers were hoping to get tickets at the last minute, but the show was completely sold out. Fans of all ages poured into the theater with delight as many shared their personal favorites like his portrait of Albert Einstein and his ever touching portrait of Jesus Christ.
Many in line were friends of Garibaldi since high school, and even some of his teachers from his days at Sheldon High School, were in the crowd. They got a sneak peak of the artist when he was with his dancers in the alleyway, laughing and preparing for the performance. The limelight and fame has been embraced by Garibaldi and he still keeps a level head and a grounded disposition.
The smell of popcorn and creativity filled the lobby as Garibaldi enthusiasts raced to their seats to ensure optimal viewing. T-shirts and posters were for sale, but no merchandise could capture what was to take place over the next couple of hours. The anticipation was crippling.
Opening for Garibaldi was local musician Stevie Nader. Nader offered his rendition of easy, melodic tunes that floated over the crowd with ease. Featuring original songs, Nader also performed his rendition of “Pumped Up Kicks” by Foster the People.
The second opening act was not as well received. Singer Wes Avery and hype man Arty Fresh performed about six rock- and alternative-inspired songs that proved to be too much for the crowd. Despite Avery’s active presence in the aisles, audience members were not enthused. At the end of the already overly lengthy performance, one audience member laughed when Avery mentioned he had CDs for sale. “Yeah right,” he chuckled.
Despite the lack of adoration for Avery, fans were almost ecstatic while waiting for Garibaldi to finally come out and show off his debut show, Garibaldi Live.
Of course, no Garibaldi performance is complete without the accompaniment of a live DJ mixing tracks and providing live music. With a special guest appearance by Mayor Kevin Johnson, the introduction seemed to create mass hysteria. The crowd jumped up from their seats to cheer for the mastermind behind the Garibaldi enterprise.
Starting the show off with another artistic medium were the masked comedic troublemakers of the show, the CMYK dance crew. One of the performers created iconic images with spray paint and stencils in a style clearly inspired by the work of the U.K. artist Banksy. Banksy evolved his graffiti on the streets in London, using a series of stencils to create paintings faster and without getting caught.
The new addition to the show certainly proved to be a success. Stencils of Jaws, the guitarist Slash, the Apple icon and even Madonna were sprayed on small black canvas piece that were tossed off the stage. After stenciling a Justin Bieber picture complete with a spray painted heart, Garibaldi handed it to an adoring audience member — again, something new to his original routine.
The Crest filled to the brim, and lights and music combined into the perfect scene for Garibaldi’s work. Painting a “Hope”-inspired creation started his performance off right. Garibaldi created portraits of cultural icons such as pop singers Bruno Mars, Rhianna and John Lennon. With the introduction of a Beethoven portrait and an audience member’s portrait painted live on stage, it was evident that this was the next stage in Garibaldi’s performances. Using regular Sherman Williams paints and black stretched canvas he transforms colors into art with music.
Many “first-timers” were elated and simply shocked at the magnitude of skill Garibaldi brought to the stage. Longtime fans were even more enthralled in Garibaldi’s magic. Between bringing out Christian artist Lincoln Brewster, who is locally know from Bayside Church in Roseville, and all the dance choreography with CMYK, the show was indeed the full package. Throughout his performance, Garibaldi seemed to be under a spell from the electronic beats pouring from the DJ booth. He was a machine and a solider for his craft. He was unstoppable.
One of the most talked about creations was the Salvador Dali portrait created on glass. Again, this was something never performed on stage by Garibaldi. The largest painting ever created by Garibaldi was a sobering experience for many. The self-portrait, done in pieces, was at least 15 feet tall and it was indeed phenomenal.
Once the show was over, fans and Garibaldi collectors were able to silently bid on paintings done on stage that night. Since the majority of the proceeds are going to charity, Garibaldi is extremely close to reaching his goal of donating $1 million. Michael Knittel of Folsom purchased the Lennon and Dali portraits.
“I consider Garibaldi to be the next great American pop culture artist, nothing shy of the artist Andy Warhol,” he said.
Without a doubt, David Garibaldi pulled out all the stops for his hometown. After the show, many fans went to Garibaldi’s Facebook and Twitter pages to thank him for his performance and left inspiring messages for the artist.
One fan said it best: “In the words of Bruno Mars, you’re Amazing!”