Welcome back concert excites students for new semester

B.o.B and Far East Movement perform for students at the 2012 Fall Welcome Concert hosted by the Programming and Activities Board and Undergraduate Student Government on Tuesday at Wells Fargo Arena. (Photo by Sam Rosenbaum)

Hordes of ASU students danced to the pulsating rhythms provided by an onstage disc jockey before acts B.o.B. and Far East Movement took the stage at the Wells Fargo Arena Tuesday.

Most of the attendants sat in the seats that curved around the stage, but a select number of students gathered in front on the floor.

The stadium darkened as Far East Movement took the stage. A few beats into their set, multicolored lights appeared in narrow beams and streamed across the stage. Some enthusiastic students waved around glow-in-the-dark items as well. Students hollered and fist-pumped as the quartet played songs like “Girls On The Dance Floor” and “Like A G6.” Overall, the energy was infectious among the overjoyed concertgoers.

The unusual musical instruments the band utilized during their set fueled the audience’s enjoyment. A band member rocked out with a keytar — a smaller version of a keyboard with a strap — as another band member used a contraption that resembled a panel comprised of four iPads. Both instruments composed futuristic dance sounds that complimented the band’s signature sound.

The California-based musicians bid their audience adieu with “Rocketeer” and “Live My Life.” They briefly spoke about their path to success and encouraged their young audience to work hard and strive for excellence before making way for B.o.B.

During intermission, ASU’s Programming and Activities Board ensured that the exhilaration from Far East Movement’s set would not dissipate. An outgoing man on the stage played upbeat dance songs and encouraged concertgoers to move their bodies to the music. By the time intermission ended, students were loudly chanting for B.o.B.

The 23-year-old rapper emerged in the quintessential ASU male-student style: a casual black hat, a white tank top that revealed sinewy tattooed arms and jeans. B.o.B. proved that he was a talented man by singing, rapping, break dancing and playing piano and guitar.

B.o.B. invited the audience to participate in his performance by asking them to sing along to his hit “Nothing On You.”

The hundreds of cell phones waving in the air added to the experience of watching B.o.B. perform a mesmerizing rendition of “Both Of Us.”

While “Nothing On You” was a joyful piece for everyone, “Both Of Us” presented a more soulful and spine-chilling edge. As the songs came to an end, the only lights visible were glittering cell phone screens swaying in the audience.

B.o.B.’s set reached the climax when “Airplanes” began. Floating circles streamed from lights on the stage to the ceiling, mimicking stars. The rapper eventually threw his shirt into the audience and crowd surfed, eliciting squeals of delight from students.

Both musical groups sounded excellent live, a rare feat in an industry filled with Auto-Tune and other artificial sounds. Far East Movement claimed earlier in their performance, “This is going to be the loudest party of the year,” and it was certainly an enjoyable one at that. The excitement and spirit of the new students were palpable by the screams and dancing. Tuesday night’s Fall Welcome Concert truly gave students a glimpse of an incredible year to come.

 

Reach the reporter at lrogoff@asu.edu