Rocking in Renaissance

(Photo by Duane Zehr)

Additional images

By Matt Hawkins
May 2, 2014

Renaissance Coliseum glowed with bobbing cell phone lights as Bradley students sang and swayed to familiar tunes of Grammy-nominated artist The Fray in concert with Plain White T’s and The Orwells one April night. The Activities Council of Bradley University (ACBU) sponsored the year-end event.

“It’s an awesome feeling to have a well-known band play at Bradley,” said organizer Chardeney Mason ‘15. “These concerts give current students a reward before they enter into a stressful finals week, give graduates a reward before they leave and they give prospective students something to look forward to.”

An enthusiastic audience surged with energy when The Fray took the stage midway through the evening for the band’s first stop on its “Helios” summer tour. From old hits like “How to Save a Life” to new Top 40 releases like “Love Don’t Die,” the band kept the young audience singing and swaying with hands raised throughout a lengthy set.

Plain White T’s set the mood for the headliners with a set of familiar Indie rock tunes. Lead vocalist Tom Higgenson earned loud Hilltop praise for adding “Hey there, Peoria, here’s to you” to “Hey There Delilah.”

Bradley students also had the opportunity to mingle with the artists, as ACBU coordinators met the bands and members of The Fray stayed after the concert to sign autographs for fans by their tour bus.

“Meeting the bands was awesome,” said event coordinator Chelsie Tamms ‘16. “They were extremely down-to-earth and genuinely friendly.”

ACBU funded the concert through its Special Events Reserve Fund, which brings big-name entertainment to the Hilltop for a concert each year. Past concerts include Taking Back Sunday, Jason Derulo and Mike Posner, Weezer, Lupe Fiasco, Maroon 5, OneRepublic and Joel McHale.

ACBU students worked through the year to land artists, plan and staff the concert. The yearlong efforts yielded dividends for those who labored behind-the-scenes.

“It's a great experience and privilege to have such well-known bands on campus,” Tamms said. “Bringing well-known artists lends itself to many opportunities for students to get involved with large productions and really develops skills to work as a team and see a large-scale concert come to life.”