Jesse McCartney captivates audience during acoustic concert


Jesse McCartney performs inside the Kent State Student Center Ballroom on Sept. 27, 2018. 

Erica Fowler

The Kent State Student Center Ballroom was filled with nostalgia Thursday night, as hundreds of Kent State students joined Jesse McCartney in belting out the words to some of the anthems of their youth.

McCartney, who is best known for his 2004 hit “Beautiful Soul,” performed many of the songs that propelled his solo career. 

“It was amazing,” said junior music education student Becca Jarden. “I loved how many throwback songs he did.”

Prior to McCartney’s performance, local alternative band Chil took the stage around 8 p.m. and impressed students with its unique sound.

 “It’s not normally the type of music that I listen to,” Jarden said. “But they were really good.” 

McCartney, who made his entrance around 9 p.m., was greeted with overwhelming enthusiasm from the crowd. He kicked off the concert with his 2008 hits “Leavin’” and “How Do You Sleep?”

“It actually wasn’t what I thought it was going to be,” said junior public relations major Amber Selfridge. “I thought it was going to be super childish. But it was actually really good, and I enjoyed myself a lot.”

Halfway through the concert, McCartney picked a fan from the audience to join him on stage, eventually picking junior interior design student Bri Bird. 

Bird got to stand on stage with McCartney during a song and also got to kiss him on the cheek.  

“It was like I’ve been waiting for this for 10 years and it finally happened,” Bird said.

McCartney’s set list also included a mix of new songs such as “Better With You” and “Wasted” which he released earlier this year.

“His new stuff is really good,” Selfridge said. “I like how it has matured with him.”

In an interview before the concert, 31-year-old McCartney described how he developed as an artist and performer over many years of being in the music industry. 

“I have gotten a lot more comfortable as a performer,” McCartney said. “I think now, I’m stronger vocally than maybe I’ve ever been.”

McCartney closed the concert with “Beautiful Soul” and encouraged the audience to sing along with him.

“It was nice to see everyone go back and enjoy themselves as like 10-year-old girls again,” Selfridge said.  It was very reminiscent to listen to those songs and to see him live.”

Organized by Undergraduate Student Government, the genre of this show was different compared to other shows in previous years. The location and size of the concert was also different as construction in the M.A.C. Center, the usual venue for shows, prevented the concert from being held there.

“For a lower scale show from what we normally do, it just felt right,” said USG Director of Programming MacKenzie Michalojko. “(McCartney) is a name we recognize and someone from our childhood. It is something different and intimate.” 

McCartney made his visit to Kent State more personal through a VIP meet and greet event which was held before the concert.

“I’ve met a couple celebrities before, but it was super different from that,” Selfridge said. “Something about him was very welcoming and he seemed super happy to be at Kent State.”

Erica Fowler is the education, health and human services reporter. Contact her at [email protected].