By Seth Jones | Reporter
Ben Rector and Jacob Whitesides performed Saturday at Waco Hall as a part of Rector’s tour, “The Biggest Tour I’ve Done So Far.”
Waco Hall was almost full, with Baylor students and non-Baylor students alike gathering to see the headline artist, Ben Rector.
Even before he took the stage, Rector’s quirky nature and charismatic style were evident as he tweeted at a fan from backstage, announcing that he was busy watching football. That sort of humor and personality is what crowds love about Rector.
“He’s just himself up there on stage, which is really admirable,” Boerne freshman Mack Vaught said.
Although it’s safe to assume that most of the crowd was there to see Rector, Whitesides showed that he has the legs to make it big in the music industry by getting the crowd to respond positively to his performance.
Whitesides and his band played as the openers with fewer than 10 songs, but they still managed to get the crowd involved by the end of their set. The crowd was on its feet from start to finish, and at intermission, many audience members rushed to the merchandise table to purchase his music and shirts.
“I’d never heard of him before, but I was pleasantly surprised when I listened to his music, and I really enjoyed it a lot,” North Little Rock sophomore Alysha Martinez said.
Whitesides put on a show with his energetic performance of upbeat songs that share similar undertones with Rector’s music. As Whitesides builds a fan base throughout the tour, the 18-year-old will grow as an artist and a performer by seeing how Rector interacts with crowds.
When Rector took the stage, the audience responded with the same energy that they bring when the Baylor football team scores a touchdown. The entire room erupted with applause.
While most big-name performers can illicit that reaction initially, few can keep that level of energy consistent throughout the concert, and that is precisely what Rector did.
As expected, he played many of his most popular songs, including his newest hit song “Brand New,” which made it as high as 82 on Billboard’s “The Hot 100” list. The crowd expected him to play his popular hit, but it’s what they didn’t expect that made the concert so fun.
At many points throughout the show, the multitalented Rector switched instruments for certain songs. The most noteworthy change he made was a cowbell. That’s right, a cowbell. And if that wasn’t already strange enough, he was doing so during a cover of the Jackson 5’s No. 1 hit song from 1970, “ABC.”
Rector goes outside of the expectation of what a concert will be, and that is the kind of thing that makes people want to go to one of his performances.
In the middle of a song, Rector broke into the “Cha-Cha Slide” and led the entire audience through the dance, reminding the college students in the audience of their times in middle school gym class.
Rector’s charisma set the tone for the show. Every time he spoke, when he wasn’t singing, it was to make a joke or to say something to make the audience laugh.
“He’s very personable and down to earth when he talks. You can tell that he’s very humble, and I think that’s really cool,” Bartonville sophomore Courtney Bishop said. “You really feel like you’re getting to know him as you listen to his music.”
Rector makes sure his shows are more than just music by turning them into experiences. By adding humor and his trademark personality to Saturday night’s show, he gave fans in attendance a memorable night and another reason to keep coming to his shows.