If Facebook feeds and snippets of overheard conversation are accurate sources, then it’s safe to say that campus was less than brimming with excitement over last week’s Plain White T’s concert. Even without a rabid fan-base, the lack of enthusiasm seemed somewhat underwhelming in light of the fact that Grammy-nominees would soon be playing in the same place many students eat lunch.
The concert was held in Douglass dining hall where, past a surprising amount of security, a full stage was erected for the occasion, complete with those cool lights that change colors. Opening for the “T’s” was Rhode Island singer-songwriter Will Evans, joined by one of our own Yellow Jackets – freshman Jeff Howard – in a fantastically engaging performance which all but stole the thunder from the main attraction. The duo performed several of Evans’ own pieces, as well as a few terrific covers, including a well-received rendition of Lorde’s “Royals”, before bowing out.
Following the opening act and after a torturously long break during which the author repeatedly debated whether or not he had time to pee, the main event commenced.
Much to the shock and vexation of at least one audience member, the Plain White T’s did not in fact wear plain white tees. The band more than compensated for this fashion oversight, however – and certainly exceeded the lukewarm expectations of the campus community – by putting on a darn good show.
Led by the energetic and somewhat elfin lead singer, Tom Higgenson, the group dominated the stage for about an hour. Along with several fun, impromptu audience interactions – at one point, a student handed Tom a guitar pick, which he immediately declared to be magical. Later, guitarist Tim Lopez gave a shoutout to an Instagram follower and, after a brief audience panic that the show had ended prematurely, Tom returned for some “private time” with the audience – the concert consisted mostly of the group’s lesser-known songs (“the Giving Tree”, “Body Parts”) but rounded off the night well with favorites like, “Hey There Delilah”, “1234”, and “Should’ve Gone to Bed.”
It’s a well-known fact that many bands sound better on the iPod than they ever will live. Autotune and professional recording studios can leave us feeling cheated after finally hearing an artist in person. At Friday’s concert, however, there was certainly no disappointment – every song was spot-on and just as good as could be hoped. Moreover, the response from the crowd was overwhelmingly positive.
Although an exact number of tickets sold was not immediately available from UR Concerts, Douglass was, if not packed to bursting, certainly well-filled for what amounted to an exciting and enjoyable Friday night that exemplified the many exciting events open to UR students.
Maddox is a member of the class of 2017.