Fans pay exorbitant amounts of money just to be in the presence of their idols, sometimes paying hundreds of dollars even to just sit miles of rows away or up on a balcony, just happy to hear the music of their favorite artist through the speakers. The energy in these venues is incredibly high, fueled by the youthful eagerness of the crowd, most of whom probably counted the days until then. It is something like no other, and has been for decades.
Universities like ours have funded concerts to increase school spirit, and encourage communal activities. People like Pete Davidson, Sal Vulcano, Kanye West and Shaquille O’Neal have visited the University in the past years. This past weekend, Jack Harlow performed in the Gerhard Fieldhouse on the downhill side of campus. Many students showed up to hear the rapper. People were on line before 5 p.m., doors opening at 6:45 – but Harlow not appearing until 9:15.
The opening act “The Homies” came on at around 8:00, and stalled for the main act, keeping the crowd entertained with original raps and an energized performance. Yet, many were upset about the tardiness of Harlow’s performance, having been told the show would begin at 7 p.m. Chants of “We want Harlow” and “Bring out Jack” were yelled in the venue. It was ignited by excitement and adrenaline, but many still tried to ignore and overpower the chants due to the blatant disrespect and underappreciation for the less famous group.
There was a common theme of disrespect from many students, which carried on to the reviews of the show as a whole. I will admit, there was a dangerous amount of pushing and shoving, leading to many girls having to be carried out of the crowd, not able to breath or too overwhelmed to stay. This is a very real concern, especially after the Astroworld tragedy where people were smothered to death and injured because of the overwhelming energy. However, injuries and other dangerous outcomes were avoided by Security and the encouragement of the performers to “give the girls at the front some room.”
In terms of the Harlow performance itself, the crowd went wild. The pushing relatively subsided, and mutual love for the rapper fueled a sense of togetherness. His interaction with many in the audience made for unforgettable memories and lifelong highlights. For many boys, the reviews were limited to “mid” and downplayed as just another Friday. Yet, these ‘masculine’ opinions were combatted by the screams and excitement that they displayed at the event. The negative reviews that I’ve heard were mostly about the time, lateness and aggressive crowd. From my perspective, the fact that we can review a free concert of one of the most popular rappers of our time is an absolute privilege. We experienced all of the aspects of a music concert, just as if we had paid hundreds or thousands of dollars, but for zero. The attempts to downplay the success of the event is a stereotypical aspect of our generation, but it does not directly change the value of the concert. Jack Harlow was an opportunity that many of us would never have gotten- because of money, strict parents or whatever it might have been. For many students, this is something that will stay with them forever.