friday september 7, 2007 blacksburg, va.
“There is no place I’d rather be in the world than right here with y’all.” - DAVE MATTHEWS PHOTOS BY ROY T. HIGASHI/SPPS
Dave Matthews (top), Phill Vassar (bottom left), Nas (bottom center) and John Mayer (bottom right) performed last night in Lane Stadium for the Virginia Tech community.
IN A NIGHT MEANT TO COMMEMORATE, FOUR PERFORMERS REUNITED THE COMMUNITY AND REMINDED TECH OF ITS RESILIANCE There were men, women and children. There were laughs, tears and cheers. There were 52,000 living, breathing faces of all races, cultures and religions, situated in the familiar gathering ground of Lane Stadium. They came together in the warm early September evening air to celebrate the opening of a new chapter in life on the Virginia Tech campus for the 2007 fall semester.
us having one thing in common, being part of the Hokie Nation, this will begin to move us beyond the grief. Right after the tragedy a lot of artists contacted us. Everybody wanted to give something special to the Hokie Nation. Dave Matthews’ label (was) one of those that had contacted us, his label put this together.” Matthews, Mayer, Nas and Vassar all performed the concert pro-bono
‘Celebrate, we will’ They crammed into the bleachers and benches, stood shoulder against shoulder, arms raised and bodies bouncing to the beat of each performer. Perhaps for the first time, certain members of the crowd had their minds elsewhere, briefly straying from the not-so-distant-memories of gunshots and the blare of ambulances. Though their hearts may stay steady with the respect and love for the 32 victims of the shootings on April 16, the fans in the stadium, students of Virginia Tech, and mourners alike, would all just as gladly not be enjoying the thrilling sounds of Phil Vassar, Nas, John Mayer and Dave Matthews Band. Most might wish the concert had never happened. A select few would still be here. Their names and memories not ingrained into the memory of the Hokie Nation or engraved into 32 slabs of Hokie stone buried into the earth beneath the careful watch of Burruss Hall’s shadow. However, weeks after the tragedy occurred, university officials began their search for the perfect motivator for the new school year, a uniting event that could facilitate the ease into academics, and more importantly, the healing of scarred hearts for the victims. “We are all looking for different ways to heal,” said Zenobia Hikes, vice president for Student Affairs. “Music is always therapeutic, being in Lane, all of
to honor the victims of the tragedy and to help warm the souls of the student body. Throughout the night, the combined artists provided the audience with plenty of memories. Phil Vassar welcomed football head coach Frank Beamer on stage during his set, and Vassar said to Beamer, “I feel so sorry for LSU.” Rap performer Nas stormed the stage with a maroon “Hokies United” shirt, while DJ Scratch asked, “Everybody back to front to put one finger in the air right now for unity.” “He did a really good job,” said Anthony Reale, a sophomore. “He didn’t disappoint. Everybody was thinking he was going to be bad for the concert, but I thought he was good.” John Mayer also wore a “Hokies United” shirt to show his support, but kept his words to the crowd at a minimum and let his legendary guitar work do the talking. But he did mention, “The whole world should be like this all the time. I’ll remember this.” His song “I Don’t Need No Doctor” provided energetic remedying to really get the crowd grooving, but the crowd favorite was “Waiting on the World to Change.” “It relates to what happened here on 4/16,” said Lauren Hartman,
see CONCERT, page two