Hits on the Hilltop

Mike Posner performs and Tuesday's concert in the Renaissance Coliseum sponsored by the Activities Council of Bradley University.

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April 13, 2011

Like many Bradley students, when singer Mike Posner gets some free time in-between tasks, he likes to workout. So, before his Tuesday evening performance in the Renaissance Coliseum, the pop music star lifted weights at the Markin Family Student Recreation Center. And Posner wasn’t the only American Top 40 artist seen at the Markin Center Tuesday; pop-R&B sensation Jason Derülo shot hoops on the practice courts before following Posner in a co-headliner presented by the Activities Council of Bradley University (ACBU).

“Both Mike and Jason were really nice and very approachable. Several students recognized them at Markin and both were super willing to talk,” said ACBU member Jillian Kelly, who drove the advertising campaign for the concert. “What really struck me was how extremely appreciative they both were of everything we did to accommodate them.”

That gratitude came through between songs in Posner’s energetic performance before some 2,500 audience members.  A 2010 graduate of Duke University, Posner was among his peers Tuesday night.

“Last year I was in college just like you guys, and I just want to thank you for your love and support because I’d never be up here if it weren’t for you,” Posner said.

Just before breaking into his Billboard Top 10 single “Cooler Than Me,” Posner shed his long-sleeved shirt to reveal a Bradley basketball jersey underneath, complete with his last name across the back and the number 11.

Both artists presented their smash hits interspersed with covers and remixes of other popular charts. Derülo opened with a robotic dance sequence and “The Sky’s The Limit” before reaching back to a pop music era that predates the 20-something singers and their fan base. Derülo’s moonwalk and unique version of Michael Jackson’s timeless “Billie Jean” electrified the crowd.

ACBU concert coordinator Montel Hardy appreciated the unexpected.

“Both of them included a cover that surprised people because they were from different genres, so I really liked the crossover element,” Hardy said.

ACBU uses the Special Events Reserve Fund to bring big-name entertainment to the Hilltop every year for a spring concert. This semester, coordinators targeted R&B singers dominating mainstream radio.

“These two artists really blew up last summer, so students were excited to see them in the Peoria area,” said coordinator Bryant Au. “We started with list of entertainers we wanted, regardless of availability and pricing, and both of these guys were at the top of the list.”

If the shrieking, hand-pumping, finger-snapping crowd in the Renaissance Coliseum Tuesday night didn’t confirm that the committee made the right selection in Posner and Derülo, spending time with the stars off-stage and discovering their relaxed, affable personalities sealed the deal.

Each artist met with ACBU members after the concert to pose for photos and sign autographs. Tucked among a group of students making funny faces for the camera, Posner really did look “just like” his Bradley peers.