by Ione Dellos
During the pandemic, the Van Duzer Theater Hall sat empty, no encores, no cheers, just silence. Tonight, that all changed. Dozens of black-clad students flooded the doors of the theater, brimming with anticipation for the chance to see one of their favorite songs from middle school played live before their eyes. There was no shortage of smudged eyeliner among the patrons who filled the theater for the sold-out show.
With this level of attendance for a show, there are a lot of moving parts involved. Amanda Kachevas, Programming and Event Coordinator for Center Arts, told me about the planning behind this event. They booked the band six months in advance, and had been setting up the concert since 10 am. The event ends at 1 am, so the Center Arts crew will still be there until 2 am breaking the whole thing down. When I asked Kachevas if she gets to go to sleep, she laughed at the prospect.
“Never!” Kachevas said.
At around 8:40 pm the band took the stage, and instantly started the show off with an electrifying on-stage presence. Their lead singer, Marcus Leonardo, belted out beloved emo numbers such as “I’m Not Okay” by My Chemical Romance and “Sugar, We’re Going Down” by Fall Out Boy. The lead guitarist, Stephen Henry, leapt around the stage as he shredded run after run, and would even place his guitar behind his head for complicated solos.
Concertgoer Liam Boyd, asked if he was having a good time at the show, responded enthusiastically.
“YEAHHH!” Boyd said.
He beamed with joy that the band had played his favorite song, “Welcome to the Black Parade” by My Chemical Romance, just moments before.
The crowd coursed with energy, further fueled by the band playing nostalgic hit after hit. Songs from the concert included “Sugar, We’re Going Down” by Fall Out Boy, “I’m Not Okay” and “Teenagers” by My Chemical Romance, “King For a Day” by Pierce the Veil, “Dear Maria, Count Me In” by All Time Low, “American Idiot” by Green Day, “I Write Sins Not Tragedies” by Panic! At The Disco, and more.
Large crowds need an even larger security detail, so I asked the Center Arts staff what it’s like to work these events. Lavender Deng, a second-year student at Humboldt who works security for Center Arts, told me a little about what it’s like to work security for the school.
“It’s fun,” Deng said. “You just get to watch all of the shows and make sure nobody brings in something that they’re not supposed to.”
Watching the electrifying setlist, I knew that I needed to get closer to truly capture the band’s presence. Thanks to the help of two concertgoers, Vance Fewell and Taylor Danel, I was able to work with the Center Arts staff to get in front of the barricade. Words cannot describe how incredible it was to get to see the musicians perform less than two feet from my face, and feel the barricade shake behind me as the crowd rocked with the music.
Overall, this was a wonderful concert, and it was a hell of a way to relive my middle school years (minus the middle school part).