Centennial Campaign Concert draws diverse music, fans

Alyssa Morlacci

A 57-year-old woman wearing cowboy boots and jean shorts clutched her Los Lonely Boys poster as she charged for the stage on the Dix Stadium field Saturday.

Katie Bartholow said she and her friends ordered their tickets six months ago and traveled from different parts of Columbus to see her favorite band open the Centennial Campaign Concert.

“I could care less about the other bands,” Bartholow said. “[Los Lonely Boys] can play all night.”

Bartholow, her friends and many others of varying ages joined Kent State students for the concert held to celebrate the success of the Centennial Campaign. It raised $10 million more dollars than its $250 million goal, said Eric Mansfield, executive director of media relations.

“It’s a concert to give back to the students, staff, alumni and everyone who’s part of the Kent State community,” Mansfield said. “We tried to bring in a variety of performers, in hopes it would also bring us a variety of an audience.”

Students, parents, children and grandparents filled the standing-room section and about half of the west side bleachers in the stadium.

The Los Lonely Boys, a group best known for its 2004 hit song “Heaven”, took the stage at 6 p.m.

Linda Steed, a Kent State alumna, and David Zavodny, of Twinsburg, Ohio, danced by the stage as audience members cheered them on. The couple attended the concert to celebrate their three-year anniversary together.

Joe Charnas, junior biology major, missed the Los Lonely Boys performance, but he said he was excited to see O.A.R., a band that began its climb to fame at The Ohio State University in the mid-1990s.

Charnas said he began listening to O.A.R. when he came across the band’s live concert album collection last year. Charnas and his friend walked about three miles from Rockne’s to the stadium, determined to see the group.

“We ended up walking the whole way down 261, through tick infested fields, and hopping fences to try to get here,” Charnas said.

They weren’t the only ones to arrive for the second act. Students and older adults poured down the stadium stairs during the break between performances; the crowd nearly doubled in size.

Taylor Hoff, freshman public health major, held hands and danced in a circle with her friends, her mom and her mom’s best friend when O.A.R. hit the stage at 7:30 p.m.

Hoff’s mother, Kathy, said she enjoyed O.A.R.’s performance, but she was most excited to see Sheryl Crow because she has been a fan since the ‘90s.

“I love Sheryl Crow,” she said. “She’s a huge inspiration for 40-year-old women.”

The nine-time Grammy award-winner stepped on stage in a gray tank top and flared jeans at 9 p.m. She was strapped with a red and white guitar. Her breath appeared in the brisk air as she sang her hit songs “All I Wanna Do” and “If It Makes You Happy.”

Forty minutes into her performance, Crow gave a shoutout to the Cleveland Clinic.

“They’re the ones who said, ‘You have a brain tumor,’” Crow said. “But they’re also the ones who said, ‘Hey, you’re going to be OK.’”

Crow saw a doctor several months ago after forgetting the lyrics to her song “Soak Up the Sun” during a live performance. She was later diagnosed with meningioma, but her tumor is not cancerous.

Contact Alyssa Morlacci at [email protected].