Crowded at the front of the Pause on Friday, Oct. 25, dedicated Andy Grammer fans waited through two openers that didn’t quite live up to the hype, or perhaps simply had styles that didn’t mesh with the headliner. These diehard audience members and I count myself among them had pushed and shoved their way to the front, hoping to get as close as possible.
As I stood about four people away from Grammer’s piano, I could feel a certain buzz around me. Even those who had been skeptical when the Music Entertainment Committee MEC announced Grammer as the fall concert headliner could feel the anticipation in the room.
Numerous false starts followed the opening bands. Chants of “ANDY! ANDY!” and stunted cheers for a Pause tech worker who carried himself in such a way as to fool fans into believing Andy Grammer was walking onstage echoed through the sold-out venue. As one of Andy’s stagehands went around performing final volume checks on instruments and microphones, he tossed a few water bottles to the crowd. Finally, the band members took their places onstage, and the man himself strolled out.
Disclaimer: I have been an avid Grammer fan for a few years now, and I was ecstatic to learn that he was coming to the Hill, even though my sentiments were not shared by a few members of the St. Olaf community. I was not disappointed: The concert itself was highly entertaining. The energy from the crowd was received and returned by those onstage. Andy Grammar accepted my obnoxious-yet-sincerely-heartfelt declarations of love. The band even appreciated the t-shirts that my roommate and I made and wore.
When I looked around to observe the crowd, I was pleasantly surprised to spy a male student singing along with some of the more obscure songs. And when Andy took a tour through the crowd during his biggest hit “Keep Your Head Up,” the surge away from the stage and towards the singer was impossible to avoid. A few of us were lucky enough to grab a shoulder in the frenzy, only to realize later just how crazy that was.
Grammer seemed to bask in the love that the St. Olaf community offered him. He mentioned that this was, in fact, his second concert at St. Olaf, and that his first had been a lunchtime show with about ten people in the audience.
After his encore which was far too short at one song, he exited with a smile. The crowd thinned, but a few stayed behind to seek autographs and photos. While Grammer himself didn’t come back out, his guitarist who had been making eyes at some girls in the front row the entire concert was very accommodating and posed for numerous photos.
Eventually the crowd thinned to MEC staffers and the fans who potentially border on stalkers. All were rewarded when Grammer and his band finally came out and shared a few sweet moments, chats, autographs and photos with those who had stuck around.
Overall, Grammer’s concert was a smash. Those familiar with his music were rewarded with spot-on renditions of every track on his album as well as a couple of songs that he presented as possibilities for his next album release date unannounced. Those unfamiliar with most, if not all, of his music were not left empty-handed and were able to join in during covers of Rihanna’s “We Found Love” and The Lumineers’ “Ho, Hey” that were, in this humble reporter’s opinion, better than the originals. It was a rip-roaring good time, and Mr. Grammer would be delighted to know that he left behind a few more fans than when he arrived. Thank you, Andy!