Apathy was at a low Friday night at War Memorial Gym as students eagerly anticipated the arrival of hip-hop artist and performer Lupe Fiasco, at this year’s homecoming concert. Although Lupe Fiasco only performed for about an hour, approximately 500 students, alumni and staff crowded the basketball court to hear him perform. Even USF President Rev. Stephen Privett, S.J, made an appearance at the beginning of the concert.
President of the Campus Activities Board Courtney Ball said that there were 2,500 tickets available and that the concert was sold out. During the pep rally ASUSF directed students to the ticket booth, which may have contributed to the boost in sales. Attendance at the concert, however, ranged from 400-500 people. The doors opened at 7:30, but Fiasco did not come on stage until 9:15. Alex Platt, an event staff worker, said of the concert, “I thought it went pretty smoothly.” After working with Wyclef Jean, last year’s homecoming performer, on his music video “If I Was President,” Platt was disappointed that Fiasco did not have much interaction with students. While Jean let event staff and some students listen to his sound check before the concert, Fiasco made students leave and did not sign autographs or meet with students before the concert. Platt said, “He wanted to do his own thing. He didn’t really want to interact with students.” On the other hand, Platt said of Jean, “He was very into talking to his fans.” Platt pointed out that the way that both artists came on to campus was significant. Jean entered near Fromm Hall and walked through campus, shaking hands and greeting students as he made his way to the gym. Fiasco entered the gym through a side door, limiting his face time with student fans.
Platt was in charge of the pep rally this year. When the band canceled and miscommunications occurred with the dance team, student turnout suffered. Next year, Platt proposes to hold the pep rally before the concert because students will already be gathered and waiting for the performer. If the basketball team was brought on stage before the performer, the audience’s excitement might transform into school spirit.The music seemed to resonate with students. Even students who don’t identify as hip-hop fans enjoyed Fiasco’s performance at the concert. Chet Bentley, a sophomore media studies major, said the music was not his style, but “it was energetic and appealed to the masses.”
Bentley liked the concert because Fiasco was cool and young. Fiasco played many of his popular songs like “Superstar,” “Daydreamin’,” “Go Go Gadget Flow” and one of Kanye West’s songs, “Touch the Sky.” Fiasco’s backup performers included DJ Simon Says and drummer Baby Bam. 2007 alumnus Ilya Fishman said, “I was really excited to see him. He is a real rap artist with great music. I was already a huge fan so seeing him live was awesome.”Ball said that some students were disappointed Fiasco didn’t perform longer, but Platt said that the concert time was previously established for one hour. Sophomore Katrina Valdez said that although the concert was shorter than Wyclef Jean’s, it was better. She said, “He [Fiasco] brought a good atmosphere.”