McCartney outshines Lloyd at SUB concert
Caelin Miltko | Monday, April 27, 2015
Despite some fairly substantial hurdles, the spring SUB concert did go on, and all things considered, probably went far better than what was realistically expected. Of course, for me, the fact that it happened at all already meant it was off to a rather unbelievable start.
Technically, the show’s headliner was Cher Lloyd, but since she’s only really known in the U.S. for her 2011 hit “Want U Back,” most of the crowd bought their tickets for the opener: middle school heartthrob Jesse McCartney.
The excitement in Stepan Center prior to McCartney’s appearance on stage was palpable, and the crowd appeared to be made up of mostly women. It was a bit what I imagine going to a One Direction concert would be like, as every time a technician walked on stage in the half-hour after doors opened, loud screams echoed through the hall.
The crowd remained intensely excited throughout the entirety of McCartney’s set, as he sang his way through his greatest hits from the past 11 years. This included “Leavin’” and “How Do You Sleep” from 2008 and his second-ever single, “She’s No You,” from all the way back in 2004. He even included a slowed-down, almost acoustic version of 2008’s “Body Language,” which was good but didn’t quite match up to the original track.
Between songs, McCartney occasionally took the time to speak with the crowd a little. He didn’t have to do much to pump them up, and therefore, did a little bit of self-promotion. Before playing “Superbad,” he reminded everyone of his 2014 album, “In Technicolor.” He also revealed that he’d just finished filming the second season of the TV show “Young and Hungry.”
As a side note, perhaps my favorite part of McCartney’s performance was the fact he came out wearing a black jacket embossed with a giant pink flamingo. I’m afraid I was never the biggest Jesse McCartney fan, but when I saw that, it felt like the most appropriate article of clothing for him to be wearing.
He told the audience good night and left the stage to an audience literally screaming for more. The chant went up fairly quickly for him to come back out and play “Beautiful Soul.” Responding to this fervent request, he came back out for the only encore of the night.
After a brief interlude of radio play, the main act came on stage. Unfortunately for Cher Lloyd, a certain percentage of the crowd left immediately after McCartney finished his set. Even among those who stayed, a decent number were far less interested in her and really only stayed to hear “Want U Back.”
To her credit, she did just about everything she could to keep the crowd engaged, but it seemed a fairly impossible task. It’s not easy to play to a crowd that has only heard one of your songs, if you’re lucky.
After playing a couple of her own tracks, she slowed it down a little and did a cover of the Arctic Monkeys and another of Sam Smith. While her voice shone on these particular tracks, they did little to amp up the feelings of the crowd.
Perhaps her greatest strength was her ability to actually converse with crowd members during the breaks between her songs. She called out particular crowd members and clearly tried to develop a bit of repertoire. It wasn’t entirely successful but possibly the best she could do.
Even if the crowd wasn’t necessarily responding, her performance was enjoyable, especially if you knew a couple of her songs. She was fun, dancing across the stage, and more than willing to make a bit of a fool out of herself. It was everything you’d expect from the girl who brought us the more-than-a-little-silly “Want U Back.”
The highlights of her set were probably her cover of Usher’s “OMG” and the hit from her most recent album, “I Wish.” Both songs are upbeat and fun to dance to, and the cover had the added benefit of being known by the entire crowd.
While the crowd stayed pretty down throughout most of her set, they certainly perked up when she played her closer, “Want U Back.” For all the energy they lacked through most of the show, it quickly became clear many had stayed just to hear this one song, and the wait seemed to be somewhat worth it.
Once she left the stage, the crowd pretty quickly dispersed, and there were no cries for her to come back on stage. The dramatic difference between her exit and McCartney’s underlined one very clear fact: SUB would have been better off switching the order of the two performers.