Friday, October 5, 2012

Songwriters charm Foss Field

Crowd responds positively to Hutchinson's humor and casual approach to Homecoming
 By Rachel Diebel, Guest Writer
Eric Hutchinson opened his concert assuming he knew what the audience was thinking. He predicted the crowd would be lamenting the question, “How many songs do I have to sit through?” With that sarcastic opening line, Hutchinson set the low key and casual tone for Thursday night’s Homecoming concert.
Hutchinson played to a large crowd of PLU students and alumni under the stars on Foss Field at a concert co-sponsored by PLU’s Residence Hall Association and ASPLU.  Attendees gathered on the grass, sitting on blankets or standing in the back to watch the show. 

HERmonic member and PLU junior Charlie Herrmann started the evening off on a nice note.  She opened for Hutchinson, playing a mix of original tunes and covers, including a version of the Rihanna song “Take a Bow” and Maroon 5’s “Sunday Morning.”  Students in attendance loved Herrmann’s performance.
“I love Charlie.  She should be famous,” said sophomore Annie Herzog. First-year Megan Zink agreed.
"Oh, she’s amazing," Zink said.  "She’s incredible and I love her so much.”

Herrmann said she used to cover Hutchinson's songs at open mics when she was younger.
Hutchinson came on stage at 7 p.m. just as the sun was beginning to set. He alternated between playing piano and acoustic guitar, joined onstage by a band mate who also played guitar.   The crowd, while substantial, didn’t seem to respond to the songs with much enthusiasm.

Hutchinson tried to encourage crowd participation, asking people to sing along and cheer for songs, “Even if you’ve never heard of them.”  Sarcastic comments like this permeated the show, and gave the impression that Hutchinson was not taking the performance very seriously.This impression was compounded by the fact that in between songs, Hutchinson talked directly to members of the crowd and told jokes at their expense. He even poked fun at the lack of males in attendance, wondering out loud if PLU was “an all girl’s school.” First - year Amy Nielson, however, enjoyed Hutchinson’s chattiness. 

“I like that he would talk to the crowd.  It made me feel involved,” Nielson said.

“He was very witty,” Herzog said. Hutchinson even took requests from the crowd, dedicating requested songs such as “Not There Yet” and “Villa Nova” to whomever asked for them.

Hutchinson played for an hour, ending his set with a fake encore where he walked off stage before requesting to be cheered back on to play a rendition of the Backstreet Boys song “I Want it That Way” and his own big hit, “Rock and Roll.”

After the show Hutchinson stayed behind to sign merchandise in the back of the field.  Copies of his new CD "Moving Up Living Down" and t-shirts were available for purchase.  The line for signing stretched across the field.

The overall response to the concert was positive, despite Hutchinson’s lackadaisical approach to the gig. 

“I enjoyed it a lot more than last year’s [event],” sophomore Sarah Bennett said.

“PLU should continue having concerts in general, not just for homecoming,” first-yearNicoya Benhan–Marian said.

“The concert should be a tradition.  It’s a lot better than a stupid dance,” Herzog said.
Editor's note: Eric Hutchinson's press manager declined The Mooring Mast's requests for an interview, and the ASPLU contract prohibited photos taken of Hutchinson.