Randy Houser shows UB how country feels
UB Athletics Tailgate Concert Series aims to bring music diversity
Published: Sunday, September 29, 2013
Updated: Sunday, September 29, 2013 13:09
On Saturday, UB’s stadium lot was filled with red solo cup-holding students who ditched their usual tailgating attire of neon pinnies and stunna shades for cowboy hats and boots.
Judging by the students’ reaction, it’s a change they could get used to.
Randy Houser headlined the second show of UB Athletics’ Tailgate Concert Series before the football team’s showdown with Connecticut Saturday. Students who often skip both football games and Student Association events flooded the parking lot to hear country hits like “Runnin’ Outta Moonlight” and “How Country Feels.”
“[SA] thinks they are pleasing the majority of the campus with rap [at Fall Fest and Spring Fest], but they should have at least one concert with country,” said senior psychology major Nicole Egan. “This was much more fun than a rap concert.”
The concert series is a way for UB to expand its audience to those who may not have attended a game before. The variety of genres of music attracts new fans, old alumni and students who usually aren’t interested in the football team.
“This will probably be the only football game I’m going to [this year] and it’s because of Randy Houser,” said senior exercise science major Bre Cragg.
The concert series has already been linked to rising attendance at games. Buffalo’s opening game had the third-highest attendance in UB Stadium history (24,014). Saturday’s game against Connecticut had just below 21,000 in attendance.
The UB Stadium crowd’s intensity appeared to reach a new level when Houser played his most recent No. 1 hit, “Runnin’ Outta Moonlight,” about halfway through the show. When Houser hit the first note, his fans knew what was coming and began belting out the lyrics.
Houser did a great job involving the crowd, often pointing the microphone to the them to sing some of the most popular lines.
“The atmosphere was better than I expected,” said senior aero engineering major Matt Butler. “There were more country fans here than I anticipated.”
Out of the four concerts, Associate AD/Corporate & Strategic Partnerships executive Todd Garzarelli said this was the one concert geared the most toward students. Garzarelli said UB Athletics made it a priority to bring in at least one well-known country act back in April and May when it was targeting artists to perform.
Between the Party at the Point and the pregame concerts, Athletic Director Danny White and UB are looking to grow the tailgating environment around the football team.
“People were excited,” Garzarelli said. “People were talking about it. I can tell you this: A lot of people came to UB for the first time last home game because of the concert series.”
Houser left the crowd craving more when he played his first No. 1 hit, “How Country Feels,” to close out the show. Following about 30 seconds of applause, Houser and his band came back out to close the show with “Whistlin’ Dixie.”
“It was the best concert I’ve ever been to,” Butler said.
UB Athletics looks to build on the early attendance boost for the remainder of the season. Next week features two-time Grammy winner Kool & the Gang, and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy will close out the concert series on Oct. 19.
“There is really entertainment value out now,” Garzarelli said. “It’s more of an event than just a game.”