It’s really surprising how much can change in a year. As I stood at the home plate on the baseball field basking in the summer evening glow, I had a flashback to twelve months previous, when I was in pretty much the exact same spot wondering what had happened. From Tyga to T-Pain. Two concerts intended to hold the exact same purpose, yet of completely different make-up. This past Friday night’s performance was really an exhibition of how to win a crowd over and leave literally everyone in attendance with a smile on their face.
Tyga was, in pretty much every possible imaginable way, an absolute train wreck. For starters, the choice of artist was pretty strange. Tyga presents himself as a pretty “gangsta” kind of character, certainly one who isn’t quite tame enough to play a gig for a few hundreds of college students in San Antonio. I was excited for Tyga just to see what would transpire rather than to actually enjoy his “music.” He was an hour late on stage, played 35 minutes of his supposedly hour long set and generally didn’t seem like he was in any way happy to be there. Most of the songs he played weren’t even his own and we all left in a state of bemused confusion.
I’ve also heard horror stories of past Welcome Week concerts, like how in 2012, the year before I arrived, Sean Kingston’s hype man apparently spent the entire gig telling everyone to “put your hands up for Sean Kingston,” which just sounds horrible on every possible level. Naturally, after all these facts, I’m not usually that hyped for the Welcome Week Concert. My first thought this year was that American Authors were a relatively underwhelming choice but I was willing to give them a chance. However, when I heard they’d pulled out and were being replaced by T-PAIN, my head nearly exploded in excitement. I spent two weeks of ResLife training and soccer pre-season using the promise of hearing “Bartender” and “Buy U A Drank” live as motivation to keep me alive through all that mess.
From the moment his DJ starting playing his walkout song, I was buzzing with excitement. I had arrived early to be as close to the front as possible and found myself in pretty much the second row. I was over the moon. I’d spent the week previous psyching myself up for this, having listened to Mr. Pain’s extensive back catalogue of hits. It still didn’t fully prepare me for the number of smash hits that were about to be laid out before my eagerly awaiting ears.
Honestly, it really shouldn’t have mattered as much to me as it did, but seeing the multi-million selling man wearing a maroon “Trinity Texas” T-shirt really struck me as a big thing. It was such a small gesture, but it really meant a lot. The respect that showed to us as a university was something so severely missing from last year’s debacle. As a relatively small Division III institution, Teddy Pain had probably never even heard of Trinity before he was booked to play here. But the smile on his face as he strolled onto stage told a completely different story. He’d played at University of Central Florida the night before, which has a student body of over 60,000 students. To call us as a crowd would be a downgrade would be extremely generous. But you would not have known there were less than 500 on our baseball field last Friday night. He walked out looking happy. The crowd went nuts. He started dancing. Everything was alright.
If you haven’t figured it out already, I absolutely loved the concert. It was great. I had a blast, and I got a free tank top and a fan that lights up when it spins around. What more could you want on a Friday night in August. T-Pain was just brilliant. He played pretty much every song I could have asked of him, and more, though “I’m On A Boat” was sadly absent, but that was merely a footnote to an otherwise flawless performance. It was actually hilarious for me to watch someone that I spent my teenage years in London listening to perform within about 10 meters of me. T-Pain was a class act all round. Funny, charming and entertaining””he can sing, dance and crack a joke. When I grow up, I want to be T-Pain. And David Beckham. Always David Beckham, but T-Pain too now.
And lastly, a big thanks to SPB. What a fantastic choice of replacement act. I’m sure we’re all still really (not) disappointed that American Authors had to pull out, but this worked out better than anyone could have imagined. I can’t wait for next year’s Welcome Week Double Concert””Fetty Wap & One Direction. Book them now, please.
Oh, and Men’s Soccer tonight at 6 & Saturday at 8. #CheekyAdvertisment…See you all there.