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The Roots and Mike Posner Concert at ND

Declan Sullivan | Monday, April 12, 2010

Going into The Roots/Mike Posner concert Saturday, I didn’t really know what to expect. I had never heard of Mike Posner before he was announced as the opener, so I didn’t know a lot about him.  I liked The Roots a lot, but many of my favorite songs by them are collaborations or feature substantial guest performances, so I was wary that their live set may not be as good as their production sound.
I showed up late and missed the first few songs of the Mike Posner concert, but what I saw was good.  He worked the crowd, encouraged participation and did everything a good entertainer should do.  Honestly, however, it just wasn’t memorable.  I remember having a good time during his set, but there were no specific moments that I remember because of him — I remember Notre Dame concert security, but that’s for later.  Again, it wasn’t a bad concert: it was entertaining, but I probably won’t remember much from it a week from now.
The Roots’ set, however, was epic.  The band didn’t really adhere to a set list; instead, they took a much more “jam band” attitude towards the show.  They interspersed in their songs short covers of other songs, individual musician showcases and just pure jamming.  
They were able to control how the crowd felt at nearly all times, taking the room from just chilling and bobbing their heads to raging and bouncing in a matter of seconds. The Roots are known for their amazing live sets, and now I know why this is their reputation.  Also, their after-show demeanor — namely, the way they catered to the fans by coming out at the end to throw memorabilia into the crowd — was some of the best I’ve seen at a concert.
The only major issue I had with the whole experience was the setting.  Notre Dame does not now how to host concerts.  I’ve been to concerts at home and concerts at other schools, and both the crowd and the concert security at Notre Dame were both such downers — it was the same for the Matisyahu concert.  Some people in the crowd did not even seem like they wanted to be there, and even more were hostile to many actions that I find essential to the concert experience: jamming out, singing, shouting, crowd surfing and moshing, among other things.  
Concert security wasn’t any better. In fact, their main purpose there seemed to be to quash any attempt to do anything besides stand stationary, maybe allowing a bit of head bobbing and quiet talking to those around you.  If this is your idea of what a concert should be, go to a jazz club or lock the dorm to your room and listen to a CD by yourself in the dark. I like to go to real concerts, not ones that make me yearn a concert thrown in Chicago, at Madison or a junior college.