Fall Concert Series: Carrie Underwood

Carrie Underwood has the most effortless voice in the world. You won’t catch me listening to country music very often, but Carrie is an exception to all the laws of the universe. Honestly, she might not even be human; she is more like an angel.

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Before the show

I recall my nine-year-old self watching Carrie on American Idol and rooting for her until she claimed victory, and seeing her in concert not too long after. I yearned to see her again ever since. When I heard she would be touring this year, my friend and I immediately bought tickets for her first-ever show at the “World’s Most Famous Arena,” Madison Square Garden.

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The stage

Upon arrival to MSG, I was mesmerized by the setup of the venue. Carrie’s stage was in the middle of the floor, right where I stood at the 2016 Video Music Awards. The stage was composed of a main circular part in the middle, with two long legs jutting out and stretching out across almost the length of the arena floor and ending in two more circles. There were also two shorter legs reaching out from the opposite direction, which also ended in circular platforms.

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Carrie’s opening acts, Eatson Corbon and the Swon Brothers, were fantastic and really got the crowd going. Before I knew it, it was time for the queen to arrive. The center, circular part of the stage rose, and a few seconds later, there was Carrie, looking like an edgy, rockstar cake topper rising above the audience high in the sky. She started the show with the first song on her album and one of my personal favorites, “Runaway Renegade.” I was in awe and I did not expect to have as large of a reaction to her presence as I did, but the mixture of tears, my shaky voice screaming “OMG SHE’S PERFECT,” and my rapid heartbeat were all there.

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Carrie rising above the crowd

Carrie put on about a two hour show filled with nothing but talent and sincerity. I honestly don’t know how she does it. One minute she was blowing on an electric harmonica, and the next moment she was belting a 16 note lyric. I’m telling you, she’s an angel. A highlight was when she cast pictures of her adorable son and husband on the screen as she beautifully sang “What I Never Knew I Wanted.” Talk about a sweet love story. I also got lost in her powerful voice with throwbacks such as “Before He Cheats” and one of her favorite songs, “Jesus Take the Wheel.”

The night was remarkable. I am so proud of Carrie for being a new mom, being in the business for over ten years, and still giving an unmatchable performance. I also appreciate that Carrie seems to still be a down-to-earth, “normal,” person, despite having a legendary career. The post-concert depression I felt after the show left me no mercy, and I cannot wait for warmer weather so I can blast her in my car as I drive around with my windows down.
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Fall Concert Series: Charlie Puth

My boss: “I am going to the Charlie Puth concert, too.”

Me: “OMG, I love him!”

My boss: “So does my thirteen-year-old daughter.”’

That is what pop-music does. Its mainstream and general appeal attracts people of all ages to the artists. I attended Charlie Puth’s We Don’t Talk Tour and fan-girled just as much as the young teenagers and kids that surrounded me. And I have no regrets.

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Charlie Puth at Theatre at Westbury

Honestly, I did not expect to have such an explosive reaction when he came onto stage. But as soon as he did, I was taken over by excitement, my heart pounding and my voice trembling.

However, that is not the only unexpected thing that happened that night. To my disappointment, Charlie only performed four songs. He canceled a show a week prior because he was so sick. I knew he was still very ill during the week, but he had his NYC shows, and I know those are shows artists try not to cancel. So, I came to the concert concerned about his health, surprised he didn’t cancel, but ecstatic I would get to see him.

He started the show with his latest hit “We Don’t Talk Anymore,” and I was in awe that I was hearing the song live. Charlie admitted to us that he was still very sick and would try to push through his set if we helped him out with some singing. That sounded like a fair deal.

Charlie rocked on with his next song, “Some Type of Love,” and he looked so happy. He was owning the stage, banging his head in the air and dancing around his piano on the circular platform. Even with his incredible performance, his facial expressions and his drinking of tea showed that he was struggling.

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After four songs, he sat down and looked defeated. He apologized to us and explained that he just needed a quick break, because he had a fever and he was having a hard time breathing. I didn’t want to believe it, but I knew nothing good would come of this. He came back on stage five minutes later with a look of heartbreak on his face, and told us he had to cancel.

Yes, I was upset I would not get to see his full show, something I had been waiting on for a long time. But Charlie’s honesty with us and yearn to give us his best performance showed how true of an artist he is. For him to go out on stage and break the hearts of hundreds of girls, but with his health in mind, shows that he knows his limits. He is only human, and I am proud of him for taking care of his well-being.

Charlie is without question talented and passionate about his career. He received a standing ovation even with the news he broke to his fans. He promised he would make it up to us and I believe he will. I gained a lot of respect for him that night. Even with only seeing four songs by him, it was a fantastic performance.

Fall Concert Series: Fetty Wap

I still can’t believe Hofstra University hired Fetty Wap to perform for its annual Fall Fest. Fall Fest weekend is a weekend for family, friends and alumni to gather together and celebrate. Hofstra jam-packs Saturday and Sunday with sporting events, tours, talks on special topics, and more for all visitors. The main event is the actual festival, full of carnival games, rides and a lineup of performances by students and professional artists. 

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Organizations on campus work together to make displays for all to enjoy during Fall Fest

This year, the lineup was The Purple Xperience, which is a Prince cover band, The Gin Blossoms, which is a rock band formed in 1987 and the headliner, Fetty Wap. Student dance groups and DJ Spynfo performed between sets to keep the energy alive.

I had the chance to work during Fall Fest, so not only did I get to assist my bosses back stage, I also got a front row pass to the concert. I had always assumed artists relaxed backstage before the show, but they actually stay in green rooms in the sports complex, which is where the presidential debate was held. The artists are then brought to the waiting room on location to do a meet and greet. Finally, they take stage.

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My front row view of Fetty Wap

The day for me was filled with various tasks and watching the performers, which were all great. Let’s jump ahead to Fetty Wap. I actually did not have much expectation for Fetty’s performance, as I had seen him at Z100’s Jingle Ball last year, and he maybe sang half of the words to about three songs. However, he definitely brought his A-game to Hofstra. He and his warm-up crew were energetic and seemed excited to be on stage. Fetty’s music is not something I would be caught dancing to in the shower, but I was overall impressed with the concert.

Fun facts:

  • Fetty drove himself to the stage, but was accompanied by multiple security cars.
  • Fetty does not have a license.
  • Fetty had security on stage, who simply stood there during his performance.
  • Fetty wore a Hofstra basketball jersey during his performance. Thanks for the PR!
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Fetty Wap performing in a Hofstra basketball jersey

This was the best lineup I have ever seen at Hofstra. The school really listened to its students and came through with a great festival. Now the countdown begins for next year!

Fall Concert Series: Alessia Cara

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The outside of Orpheum Theatre

I drove four hours through a rainy night to see a pop concert, and it was well worth it.

I wanted to see Alessia Cara in concert as soon as I heard her song, “Here.” I totally related to her experience in the song: being at a party, but wishing she were somewhere else spending quality time with friends. I also fell in love with her song, “Wild Things,” which I used in my short video from Costa Rica. When I saw that she was embarking on her own tour after she finished opening for Coldplay, I knew I had to make it work. I could not make it to her show in NYC, so my other option was to travel to Boston. The show was at the Orpheum Theater, which is a small theater in which any type of show can be performed. I have never been to that small of a venue, and I loved its intimacy and less mainstream vibe.

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Alessia Cara performing

Alessia, first of all, is a super talented live performer. She played guitar and piano during her show and teased on a drum. She brought so much energy to her show, the audience couldn’t help but smile and sing along with her. It was an incredibly genuine performance. I also appreciated her positive words of encouragement and self-love she offered her fans throughout the show.

I had no idea who was opening for Alessia and I was shocked to find out she had two openers: Ruth B. and Nathan Sykes. I knew of Nathan Sykes from his boy band days with British group The Wanted. I never paid much attention to him—until now that is. Nathan’s voice, which is much deeper than I expected, is beautiful and passionate. My favorite part of the night was when Nathan came out on stage to sing with Alessia. It was pure magic. Ruth B., famous for her song, “Peter Pan,” gave a superb performance as well.

Additional to when Nathan and Alessia performed together and when Nathan replied to my tweet, my favorite part of the concert was at the end when Alessia took time to grab the hands of all the fans in the front row. This is a small gesture, but it shows how she really wants to connect with her fans and give them a fantastic experience.

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My friend Alexa and I at the venue

Alessia seems like such an incredible young woman, as an artist and as a normal girl from Canada. I will definitely support her through her music career and I hope she continues to follow her dreams. Some people said I was crazy for driving to Boston just for a concert, but I would do it all over again for Alessia.