Friday, Feb. 15 proved to be a real blast from the past as No Jackets Required performed in the May Room of Wilson Commons and left the audience hopping and bopping to the hottest beats from the ’90s at their raving pop show. The show lasted a whopping three hours with not a minute of boredom, as members of Vocal Point, Midnight Ramblers, Off Broadway On Campus and UR Hip-Hop collaborated their various talents for a great show.
The crowd went wild as the opening song, “Semi-Charmed Life” by Third Eye Blind, was performed by senior Ben Fusco-Gessick. Glow sticks illuminated the room, shiny necklaces bounced as people threw their hands up and jumped in unison and a blurry wave of “Oh my gosh, I love this song!” echoed.
The stage was set up in so a very intimate manner that audience members could literally reach their hands out to touch the performers.
“I’ve had a lot of people ask me why we don’t have seating at our concerts and if people are supposed to dance at our shows and that is definitely what we want,” said NJR co-founder and senior Dave LeBlanc. “We want people to feel like they can come out to a concert to dance and party and not have to just sit in a chair and listen to music for an hour or two.”
There was never a dull moment, as even the hosts provided entertainment throughout the night.The performances included oldies but goodies such as Lifehouse’s “Hanging by a Moment,” Goo Goo Dolls’s “Slide,” Blink 182’s “What’s My Age Again?” Smash Mouth’s “All Star,” Barenaked Ladies’ “One Week” and Hanson’s “Mmmbop.” The crowd jumped, yelled, swayed, danced and sang along with all of the musicians during the evening.
Most people don’t know that NJR was designed to promote pop music performance, provide a network for all kinds of musicians from classical to jazz to rock and pop, and collaborating to put on various performances throughout the year. NJR’s first big performance took place last spring when they performed a Motown Revue concert with singers from the Midnight Ramblers and Vocal Point. Some smaller shows performed in the past by members of NJR include the Meliora Weekend Battle of the Bands and Alpha Phi Sorority’s Alpha Traz event.
LeBlanc explained the birth of NJR.
“No Jackets Required was founded by senior Josh Reed and myself early last spring after a successful independent study in fall 2006 where we arranged and performed the Beatles’ album ‘Magical Mystery Tour,'” he said.
A few select performances of the night included a talented strings section consisting of sophomore Kim Etingoff and freshmen Michael Chung, Lindsay Miller, Ryan Staupe, Kevin Yamashita and Nandini Venkateswaran. This group added a new, powerful dynamic to such performances as “Barbie Girl,” sung by freshmen Adrienne Walcer and Bryan Brown. It was certainly entertaining to witness the integration of a classical instrument into pop music. Seeing friends who normally play Beethoven and Bach jamming with their instruments to Aqua and Hanson was certainly a highlight of the night.
“The key word for the pop show was collaboration. We brought in NJR’s core members and combined them with high powered vocalists from OBOC, the Midnight Ramblers and Vocal Point, as well as a string and horn ensemble in which students got a chance to take a break from their normal classical repertoire,” Brown said.
“One of my favorite parts was definitely the Spice Girls song because that was as close as I’m going to get to seeing them in concert!” freshman Claire Cohen said.
Miller is a member of the class of 2011.