Jesse McCartney Brings Nostalgia to Homecoming Week


Camille Rousculp

Jesse McCartney performing at The U’s homecoming concert.

By Oakley Burt, Arts Editor

On Wednesday night, University of Utah students were treated to a vibrant, energetic concert featuring Jesse McCartney and Dallas Wayde, as part of the U’s homecoming week. 

Wayde, a local pop artist, opened for McCartney last night. He released his first album “So Young & So Damaged” in 2018 following a hiatus from music, but he initially hadn’t intended to release it. “I was done with music at the time,” Wayde said. “I ended up putting it out and it became the highest streamed thing I ever had.” The album kick-started his return to music and landed him the opening slot at this years homecoming concert.  

Dallas Wayde the ASUU Homecoming Concert at The University of Utah in Salt Lake City, Utah on Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2019. (Photo by Camille Rousculp | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

Wayde brought his A-game with a lively, mixed-genre performance that had fans jumping, dancing and cheering throughout. He performed songs from “So Young & Damaged,” including his hit song “Even Her,” a new country single “Songs About You,” and a cover of Khalid’s “Saturday Nights.” Wayde was animated on stage and performed like a seasoned artist who never misses a beat. His high-powered energy kept the crowd engaged, and left them wanting more when it was over.

After Wayde’s performance, fans eagerly awaited for Jesse McCartney to take the stage. As his performance time inched closer, excited fans began to cheer, “Jesse! Jesse! Jesse!” — McCartney had already commanded the crowd’s energy long before coming on stage. 

Amid the anticipation — suddenly the lights dimmed, the music began to play and the crowd erupted. This was it, the moment we had all been anxiously waiting for: Jesse McCartney, our childhood heartthrob, was on the stage. The crowd could not contain themselves as he walked out, everyone was on their feet and rushing to get closer to the stage. At that moment it was as if we had been transported back to 2004 when he came into the music scene with his most popular track, “Beautiful Soul.” 

Students enjoy the ASUU Homecoming Concert at The University of Utah in Salt Lake City, Utah on Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2019. (Photo by Camille Rousculp | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

This was McCartney’s first time playing for college students here at the U. “I love playing colleges, it’s just a young crowd, and everyone’s having a good time,” McCartney said. “It’s kind of a nostalgic moment and it’s a great way for me to reconnect with everybody.” 

McCartney certainly nailed the nostalgia factor when he began to perform “Leavin,’” his hit song from 2009. The entire crowd was in awe, dancing and singing their hearts out with McCartney. He owned the stage, performed with ease and looked ecstatic at the crowd’s response. There was not one person standing around.  McCartney’s a pro — he’s been performing for over 15 years and knows exactly how to get the crowd moving. “My live performance has gotten stronger over the years and I’m more comfortable on stage,” McCartney said, “I understand the audience and how every audience works.” 

McCartney knew exactly what we wanted and he delivered by performing his throwback hits, “Body Language,” “How Do You Sleep?” and “Shake.” The crowd knew every word, and just as he was performing for us, we were performing for him too. Everyone was in sync and having a great time revisiting his nostalgic hits. McCartney then performed a sensual cover of Robin Thicke’s “The Stupid Things,” and brought a student onstage during the song. It was an amazing performance that showcased his range as an artist. As McCartney has grown up, so have his fans and this was reflected in his set and the atmosphere of the concert. 

Jesse McCartney performs at the ASUU Homecoming Concert at The University of Utah in Salt Lake City, Utah on Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2019. (Photo by Camille Rousculp | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

Later in the night, McCartney performed two singles he released in 2018. The first was “Better With You,” a meaningful pop song he wrote during difficult times in the nation. “After the election, I just knew that it was a very turbulent time in the country,” McCartney said. “There was a lot of division.”  McCartney wrote “Better With You” to help people going through a difficult period. “I think that song was a way to sort of lighten the tone,” McCartney said. “I certainly needed something to feel good because it was kind of a rough time.” Music has the power to bring people together and “Better With You” was able to bring us all closer as a Ute family. 

The second single he performed was “Wasted,” a catchy pop song with electronic influences. McCartney and the crowd really came alive during “Wasted,” waving their hands in the air and dancing like there was no tomorrow. The best part of “Wasted” was when McCartney spoke midway through and said, “This song’s perfect for — well I guess it’s only Wednesday, but oh well you’re all in college.” The crowd couldn’t help but smile and laugh.

“Wasted” was supposed to be his final song of the night, but that didn’t stop anyone from chanting “Encore!” after he walked off stage. About 10 seconds in the crowd switched and began chanting “Beautiful Soul!” His most iconic song had not been performed, but the fans were determined to make it happen. Luckily, it didn’t take much convincing to get McCartney back on stage, and he was more than happy to throw it all the way back to 2004 for us. As the first chord of “Beautiful Soul” played the crowd cheered with everything they had before belting out the chorus at McCartney’s request. McCartney took over and for the first time last night everyone stood still, just watching him perform in total amazement. It was a sight to see. 

McCartney’s performance last night was pure magic. We were able to spend a night reminiscing with an artist whose music was defining of many of our childhoods and reconnect with him through his new songs.


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