Arizona State University held its fifth annual Devilpalooza on Feb. 8 with a performance by special guest Scotty McCreery.
Devilpalooza is hosted by the school’s Programming and Activities Board (PAB) and this year the event was held at the Polytechnic Campus. The board’s website states, “Devilpalooza is the largest ASU student event with multiple opportunities for interactive fun! There will be Midway Carnival Rides, Carnival Games, Vendors with free stuff, Food Trucks, a student Battle of the Bands and much more. The end of the event will be a concert featuring a national touring artist.”
McCreery is a country singer who won Season 10 of “American Idol.” His debut album “Clear As Day” debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 chart in October of 2011 and went platinum in 13 weeks.
The concert kicked off at 7 pm with opening act Carolina Liar. McCreery hit the stage shortly after 8 pm.
McCreery’s performance at ASU marked the beginning of his first headlining tour. McCreery’s Weekend Roadtrip Tour 2013 will continue through the middle of July.
McCreery performed most of the songs on his album “Clear As Day.” He also debuted some new songs, including a song he wrote which he said would be on his next album.
McCreery also performed a handful of cover songs including George Straight’s “Check Yes or No,” Garth Brooks “The Dance,” and Brad Paisley’s “Celebrity.”
For those who watched McCreery on “Idol,” his performances are even more captivating live. During his set, he did not miss a note and had a great stage presence. He also took the opportunity to engage with the audience. McCreery provided a variety of performances including up-beat, band driven tracks with a light show and spotlight performances with just McCreery and his guitar.
Caitlin Ivey, a sophomore at ASU, attended Devilpalooza and said she came away with a bigger appreciation of McCreery.
“I don’t have any of his music, but I listen to him on Spotify and Pandora,” Ivey said. “I would definitely buy his music now that I’ve heard him live and I am planning on buying [his new album] when it comes out.”
From what McCreery said at the concert, Ivey and the rest of McCreery’s fans might not have to way much longer for the country star’s sophomore album.
During the concert, McCreery played a couple of a hand full of new material and told the audience that he was in the process of recording for the new album.
“I’ve had a lot of success with [my debut album], but we can’t just live on one album alone, we’ve got to keep making more music,” McCreery said “So, I’ve spend the last month or so in Nashville, Tenn. making that music for you and we are about a quarter of the way to halfway there.”
McCreery’s is a country singer through and though and he made that clear during his concert when he told stories about what life was like when he went to Los Angeles to compete on “American Idol.”
“My main mission out there was to hold the country music flag, while I was out there in a world of pop music and R&B,” McCreery said. “So I went in there and I told the guys what I wanted to sing. I wanted to sing Travis Tritt. I wanted to sing George Straight and all those guys and they wouldn’t have it. I had to look at those LA people in the eyes and I had to tell them three words. I said ‘I…am…country.'”
Dan Arcuri also attended Devilpalooza. He hadn’t heard of McCreery before the event and was surprised by his sound.
“He’s young and southern, but he has a very mature voice,” Arcuri said. “I like how much he sounds like George Straight.”
Ivey said her preconceived notions about McCreery were correct.
“He is a wonderful artist and brings something unique to country music that is needed.”
Part of his uniqueness comes from his deep voice.
“I never had expected for his voice to come from a guy looking like him,” Ivey said.
Arcuri agreed with Ivey.
“His voice [was the most surprising element], he sounded like a 60 year old country singer,” Arcuri said. “He voice does not match his face.”
Arcuri also enjoys McCreery’s approach to the genre, adding, “It’s classical country. It’s George Straight country, not like the new stuff.”
While McCreery seemed to have many appealing qualities, Ivey said it was his passion that stood out the most.
“I think that once someone sees him live, they’ll be able to see the passion he has for what he does,” Ivey said. “That passion is almost contagious.”
When asked to describe the atmosphere while McCreery was on stage, Ivey said it was “entergetic” and “uplifting.”
Whatever word is used, there is no denying that McCreery gave the audience what it wanted. The constant shouting of “I love you Scotty,” the roar of the crowd when the band started to play one of his songs and the sing-a-longs that accompanied McCreery’s biggest hits showcased the reason why the teenager from a small town in North Carolina was crowned the winner of “American Idol.”