Everyone knows smaller concerts are better. The UCCU Events Center is just that. It is acoustically sufficient but small enough to make every seat a good seat. Orem is lucky to have a quality location for big names in music to play at.
The night started off with a small band from Denver called Churchill. They were energetic and played a great opening song. Most of the seats were already full and the floor was standing room only. Strong vocals from Tim Bruns and Bethany Kelly were strong and passionate. They hit the notes and gave the crown all it could ask for. For some reason fans just didn’t respond. Nobody was dancing on the floor. When Tim made his way out to the crowd, everyone seemed anchored to their seats.
Churchill didn’t play a long set but the opening song set a great tone to the night. They played a little cover and before long, it was time for their last song. For this, Phillip made his first appearance. There seemed to be standing room only on the stage. But the mandolin player seemed to steal the show. Tim was out in the crowd again, winding through fans on the floor trying to get them more excited. Phillip stayed on stage and worked his guitar with a frenzy.
Intermission hit the crowd like the end of Thanksgiving dinner. More than a few people were catching some z’s. When Phillip made his way back to the stage the crowd climbed back to life. It didn’t last long though. Whether the sax was meant jazz up the set or lull people into boredom is a mystery. Phillips had the crowd screaming and yelling by the second song. His voice was a bit raspy between songs but he was crooning the ladies who were shouting declarations of love.
Then the 15-minute solo jam session began. Instead of working to slowly elevate enthusiasm, people began small conversations and trips to the concession stand. The crescendo culminated with the keyboard player. The only reason for any excitement was the next song.
Philip Phillips was good. His band may need some adjustment. Maybe this is the carryover from American Idol. Solo performances, cover songs and synthesized music might give the ultimate made-for-TV performances, but something was missing for Phillip. He has a solid following, and they came out to see him perform. Soon he’ll be replaced by some newer, younger, hipper musician, unless he can come up with something to set him apart.
Students need these experiences. Getting out of their apartment and mingling with strangers and friends is greatly appreciated at this point in the semester. Paying $10 for a twenty-dollar ticket makes events like these even more enticing. This may not be the performance of the year, but it certainly won’t deter me from scooping up a ticket to the next concert at the UCCU Events Center. It’s a great time to be a student at UVU.