Last Saturday, students at Knox had the exciting opportunity to see singer Ben Kweller perform at Kresge Recital Hall in the Ford Center for the Fine Arts. Starting perfectly on time (according to the “Knox-five”), Kweller was immediately welcomed to the campus.
After energetically running onto the stage, Kweller began his concert with the song “Walk on Me.” After finishing his upbeat opener, he introduced a crowd participation number where he sang, “the world is feeling,” and then the audience would return with, “I don’t know why.” Because a majority of the audience was not familiar with Kweller’s music, the audience took a while to get into the music.
Despite the initial awkwardness, Kweller knew just how to make the perfect audience-performer connection. Before starting his third number, Kweller explained the back-story to his song “Finish Line.” Having written the song in college, he told about his pet hedgehog and a crazy ex-band member who robbed a music store. About midway through the number, a group of students got up and starting dancing to the music, giving a true rock concert feel to the night.
After ditching the guitar for an upbeat jam on the piano, Kweller introduced another crowd participation number. “Even though I’m not that kind of songwriter, I like to get the crowd going!” Kweller said energetically. This time the audience, when instructed, broke out into a three-chord progression of the lyrics “you are.”
Kweller then notified the audience he desperately needed water, but none was provided and his dressing room was locked. It was hilarious and also created a deeper connection between Kweller and the audience because of his ability to have a conversation with everyone in the room.
Throughout the night Kweller not only rocked out on the piano, harmonica and acoustic guitar, but also switched to electrifying jams in the middle of songs. “What he did on his guitar is awesome—it vibrated my soul!” freshman Gabrielle Rajerison said.
As the concert came to a close, Kweller performed an unforgettable mash-up of his popular hit “Penny on a Train Track” and the classic song “Brown Eyed Girl” by Van Morrison. After leaving the stage, the audience immediately rose—demanding an encore. “I’ve never been to the choo-choo capital of the world, so here’s one more song,” said Kweller. As he began to jam on his guitar one last time, the audience stood up and danced. Although she would say she is a number one fan, senior Brittany Amendolia said the concert was a “great study break.”