By Jennifer Ives
Last Saturday night the childhood dreams of dozens of Simmons students came true, as they enjoyed the rare opportunity to rock out at a school sponsored concert in the gym. It was not just any concert- this was a Jesse McCartney concert. Jesse McCartney, age 29, is an international multi-platinum popstar best known for infectious stream of top 100 pop hits in the early 2000’s including “Leavin’”, “Body Language”, and his breakout single “Beautiful Soul”.
Now headed into his early 30s, the former teen megastar has shifted his career to focus more on the behind-the-scenes work of penning hits for other singers and working on his acting career. McCartney has been writing with the likes of Hot Chelle Rae, and Ryan Tedder of One Republic, and appearing in popular TV shows such as Young and Hungry and Fear The Walking Dead.
Opening for Mr. McCartney, D.C. based band SHAED played a number of original songs off of their debut E.P. which was available for sale after the show. Blending dance and pop style music, the band was more reflective of current EDM and alternative pop stars like Halsey and DJ David Guetta than McCartney’s still classically pop focused sound echoed in his most recent album, Technicolor.
Despite his current focus on is acting and writing chops, the popstar proved Saturday that his incredible performance reputation is still well earned. He belted out some of his more recent songs skillfully intermixed with old classics, bringing the energy and enthusiasm one would expect more so at Gillette Stadium than a dimly lit, half-full gym.
An entirely engaged audience boosted the ambience, every attendee clearly thrilled to have the opportunity to see one of their teen idols perform live. Professional and personal to a fault, Mr. McCartney seem to enjoy his exchanges with the small, well-behaved audience, acquiescing to one members request for a hug and bringing another onstage to be soulfully serenaded during on one of his slower love ballads.
Every time the audience appeared to compose itself, Mr. McCartney would strike another soulful pose while gazing deeply into the eyes of various audience members, which without fail, would whip the crowd into an enthusiastic frenzy once again.
Combined with his strong vocals, his stage presence proves that the star is still capable of enthralling his audiences, and is at ease with small intimate performances just as much as he is with large scale venues.
Mr. McCartney ended his concert with an acknowledgment of the mixed emotions following the elections, and a vague plea for kindness and unity as a community. The statement was in line with his general advocacy for his fans to view each other and themselves as a supportive community bonded by music.