Ben Rector exceeds expectations in St. Louis

Leah Larson, Layout Editor

To be honest, the only reason I even purchased a ticket see Ben Rector in the first place was for the opening act: The Band Camino. I’ve been a fan of their honest lyrics and memorable melodies for a while, so of course I jumped on the opportunity to see them play live.

Ben Rector, the main performer, is a pop rock musician from Nashville, Tennessee. Prior to the concert, my knowledge of his music was slim-the only song I knew was his radio hit “Brand New,” which was the first of Rector’s solo entries to chart on Billboard’s Hot 100.

“Brand New” is catchy and charged with energy that has made me want to dance from the moment I heard it. I knew I would love hearing it in person, but I was uncertain about Rector’s other pieces. I started listening to his latest album “Magic,” which was released this past June, after I found out I’d be going to his concert.

I wasn’t impressed. The album seemed to have this underlying mawkish tone that stole the lyrical meaning away from most of the songs. Despite my first impressions, my excitement leading up to the concert never faltered; any form of live music captivates me.

It pleases me to write that my statement still stands as The Band Camino did not disappoint. Only a handful of audience members knew their songs, so it made certain moments extra special for those of us familiar with the music. The personalities of the band were displayed with passion throughout the performance, making it easy for everyone to feel involved in their set.

In the moments before Ben Rector came on, I could feel the anticipation circling around my fellow audience members. Although standing in the pit didn’t have the jostling intensity I typically associate with concerts, Ben Rector still managed to generate an engaging environment with his quirky jokes and humble stage presence.

There was a moment when he abandoned his place on the main platform and reappeared in the balcony seats. At first, the action wasn’t anything out of the ordinary. He made his way through the seated crowd, looking completely comfortable as he sat next to them and sang without any hint of discomfort.

The surprise came when Rector decided to take it a step further. Apparently, sitting next to his listeners was not enough. Rector proceeded to sit on the lap of an older gentleman, whose name was later revealed to be Greg. I still can’t decide which was more entertaining: the bizarre action itself or hearing 2,200 people thunderously chant “Greg” for about a minute straight.

Overall, it is safe to say I got my money’s worth. Whatever expectations I had going into that night were swept away by a performance that I’ll never forget.

The Band Camino is soon embarking on their own headline tour and will be in Des Moines, Iowa on February 14. Ben Rector has no upcoming performances planned near Omaha.