An estimated 3,000 fans packed Moby Arena Sunday night as bands The Fray and Set Forth took stage for “The Night,” a SAM Spady Foundation event, ending a four-year concert absence at CSU.
A tan tarp was laid across the basketball court, and lower bleachers on three sides of the arena were pushed back to accommodate the 1,200 standing fans on the floor, some of whom were brave enough to crowd surf.
“This campus was rocked with the death of Sam Spady,” said 20-year-old Kevin Buecher, president of Power On Productions, who hoped the event would spark a change of mind within students to make positive decisions.
It was a big night for Buecher, who could be seen dancing and cheering for both bands on the side of the stage, which was erected on the east end of the arena.
By 4 p.m., two hours before doors opened, more than 300 anxious ticket-holders lined the outside of Moby hoping to get an up-close-and-personal view of the bands.
Those who chose bleacher seats weren’t sitting long, as everyone eventually rose up to stomp and cheer for an encore by The Fray, a band based out of Denver.
The Fray released their debut album, “How to Save a Life,” in September, and since then has swamped radio station requests with singles like “Over My Head.”
“We all lost our breath when we went inside Moby Arena,” said Dave Welsh, guitarist for The Fray, at a press conference before the show.
Reza Zedah, a 2000 CSU graduate and former football player, took the stage between bands to make a motivational speech on behalf of the SAM Spady Foundation.
Zedah talked of building tolerance for racial identity and urged students to reflect on the good and bad choices they have made in their lives.
“You see the language of unity that music brings,” Zedah said. “If you continue to conform to what people are saying, you’ll never be able to achieve your dreams.”
CSU’s C.R.E.W organization (Creating Respect Educating Wellness) was at the event to help facilitate the overall positive message. Members handed out Mardi Gras beads with condoms attached and tossed T-shirts to the crowd that read “Practice Safe Eighty-Six.”
Eighty-Six represents the percentage of students who choose to find a safe ride home after drinking alcohol.
With both bands calling Colorado home, many in the crowd were long-time fans and friends.
Heather Deese, a 25-year-old accountant from Thornton, graduated from Faith Christian Academy in Arvada in 1999 with Isaac Slade of The Fray. She said the band’s quick rise to fame was no surprise.
“They haven’t changed,” Deese said. “They were very humble (in high school), and they were friends with everybody.”
Buecher said the event is just one in a string of concerts he plans on bringing to Moby with his production company. In the meantime, as the arena converts back to a mostly athletic venue, students will have to anticipate the next time a concert will rock the whale.
“A concert brings everyone together and I think if everyone is thinking of the same message, it would make a change,” said 22-year-old Alex Bush, a senior accounting major, as he stood in line outside Moby before the concert. “Everyone’s life should beat to the rhythm of The Fray.”