Last night an undulating sea of cowboy hats, plaid and over-sized belt buckles filled the Lory Student Center Main Ballroom.
They were all there to see CSUâ€™s first country act in over two years: Josh Gracin.
Gracin is the musical, and human, equivalent of a Snuggie. There are those who scoff and say, â€œOh please. Isnâ€™t that just a backwards robe?â€ But the true fans, the ones who have actually experienced it, canâ€™t help but to gush over his warmth and surprising amount of things to offer.
Gracinâ€™s fan are the same.
â€œI told myself, before I die, Iâ€™m going to see Josh Gracin,â€ said junior animal science major Hilary Maxson, barely able to contain her excitement after having her picture taken with Gracin.
Maxson was one of the 20 students who had won a meet-and-greet with Gracin before the show.
â€œIâ€™m Josh Gracin, U.S. Marine,â€ Gracin said as the light slowly illuminated him on the dark stage. A boom of approving cheers and applause rose from the crowd.
Gracin began his 13-song set with his single, â€œNothinâ€™ to Lose.â€ As the crowd belted every lyric in unison with him, one thing was clear: Gracin not only has fans, he has die-hard followers.
â€œItâ€™s about time CSU brought Josh Gracin,â€ said freshman agricultural sciences major Todd Harper.
â€œHeâ€™s not auto-tuned like Luda or something. We need more artists like Gracin.â€
â€œThey donâ€™t have a hair on their ass!â€ said undeclared freshman Jonathan Ferrari when asked what he thought about CSU students who dislike country artists like Gracin.
Even Gracin had a theory about why some students donâ€™t like country.
â€œThere are only a few in Nashville who like to go on stage and get a little crazy. And Iâ€™m one of them,â€ Gracin said.
And â€œget crazyâ€ he did. Gracin put on an energy-filled show that defied the sole country genre.
The audience experienced blaring bass solos by the band, raw acoustic originals performed by Gracin alone on stage and also covers of classic rock songs like Tom Pettyâ€™s â€œFree Fallin.â€
â€œIt was an amazing show. His vocals were out of this world,â€ said freshman psychology major Tierra Jefferson.
Last nightâ€™s concert exceeded ASAPâ€™s expected ticket sales, bringing in more than 800 when ASAP Concert Coordinator Loren Martinez predicted 600.
â€œCollege crowds are the best,â€ Gracin said. And before he walked off stage, he made sure to ask, â€œSo whereâ€™s the party tonight?â€
Staff writer Colleen McSweeney can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.