Review: Sean Kingston headlines MU Homecoming Concert

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Photo by Collin Nawrocki

Sean Kingston preformed at Varsity Theatre on Oct. 2.

The early 2000s made a comeback this weekend as certified platinum recording artist Sean Kingston took the stage in Varsity Theatre for Marquette’s Homecoming Concert. 

When doors opened at 7 p.m. Saturday night, the small crowd of students that had gathered outside in the rain made their way into the theater for a fun night of throwback hits with their friends and fellow students. 

While the free tickets for the concert sold out before the event took place, the show struggled to fill the seats of Varsity Theatre and was barely at half capacity when the Marquette University Office of Engagement and Inclusion set an email advertising free admission, no tickets necessary. Despite the size of the audience, which to my estimate was about 150-200 people, those in attendance were excited and ready for what was in store.  

DJay Mando, the opening act of the night’s events, pumped up the crowd with the assistance of his hype-men. Students left their seats and made their way into the aisles for a chance to get a closer look at their crazy dance moves. Songs like Icona Pop’s 2014 hit “I Love It” and Pitbull’s “Give Me Everything” were instant crowd-pleasers and kept the energy through multiple, what DJay Mando deemed, “vibe checks.”

Alicia Anderson, a junior in the College of Health Sciences, enjoyed Mando’s performance more than she thought she would. 

“I wasn’t expecting him to be as good as he was,” Anderson said. “My favorite part of his set were his hype-men. Their energy was insane, and they were amazing dancers.”

In between sets, Marquette’s Homecoming Royalty was announced, crowning Nora McCaughey, a senior in the College of Education, and Lisset Perez-Jaramillo, a senior in the College of Arts & Sciences, as this year’s winners. Both received a crown and sash before exiting the stage to make room for the main event. 

After letting the anticipation build for almost 15 minutes, Kingston finally kicked off his nine-song set with a track off his self-titled 2007 album entitled “Me Love.” While the audience was dancing and singing along to the chorus, it was pretty apparent that many in attendance weren’t familiar with the song, and it may not have been the best choice for the artist to open his performance with

Things start heating up though as the night continued. After performing “Letting Go (Dutty Love)”, Kingston surprised the audience with a cover of Iyaz’s 2009 hit “Replay,” a song that proved that small could be mighty in terms of the audience. Fans were not afraid to be heard during this song, especially when Kingston let the crowd sing the chorus and parts of each verse.

And the crowd didn’t relax anytime soon. From “Replay,” Kingston jumped into his trio of songs that the audience was the most familiar with: “Beautiful Girls,” “Fire Burning” and the popular Justin Bieber collaboration “Eenie Meenie.”

While most of the setlist was composed of songs from the 2000s and 2010s, the headliner performed his new single “Love is Wonderful,” a song that is more mature than his older material but still has the same influences of R&B, reggae fusion and hip hop that fans of Kingston’s music love.

Megan Lombardo, a junior in the College of Health Sciences, said that she had never really listened to Sean Kingston before attending the Homecoming Concert, but enjoyed the atmosphere. 

“I really only knew his popular songs,” Lombardo said. “I thought [the concert] was good!”

But just as the night was getting started, it came to an end. Kingston ended the night with his 2013 Chris Brown collaboration “Beat It.” While the audience ebbed and flowed with the music, the closing song seemed to lack in terms of the “big finish” that most concerts have. 

Sierra Cruz, a sophomore in the College of Education, said that she really enjoyed the concert with the exception of the end of the show. 

“I wish he had ended on something like ‘Fire Burning,'” she said. “The vibe of the concert definitely went down after he played that.”

All in all, Sean Kingston delivered a concert for Marquette Homecoming that lacked endurance and left students with mixed feelings. While the venue wasn’t packed with students and the setlist included only a few songs that excited fans, Cruz still enjoyed spending the time with the people she came with.

“I think a lot of the problems fell on the organization of the event. I understand most of them, and (they) didn’t interfere with my enjoyment of the event. I had a really good time.” Cruz said.

This story was written by Kim Cook. She can be reached at kimberly.cook@marquette.edu.