There are few things teenagers today are willing to wait in line nine hours for and those are almost exclusively limited to a new iPhone, a Harry Potter premiere and the gentle flip of Ezra Koenig’s bouncy bangs.
At 11 a.m. on Jan. 22, four people sat on Trousdale Parkway, lawn chairs and all, decked in their Modern Vampires of the City paraphernalia. By 4:30 p.m., the measly line had grown significantly.
Vampire Weekend graced USC’s Ronald Tutor Campus Center Grand Ballroom Wednesday to perform as part of the GRAMMY in the Schools program run by the GRAMMY Foundation, which aims to promote music education for high school students and raises funds for music scholarships in college. The tickets created revenue that will go toward scholarships for high school students interested in studying music.
In addition, the event strived to promote GRAMMY-nominated artists. The company did well in enticing guests to attend by ending its show with an eight-song set by Vampire Weekend. The ballroom was packed with students, parents of the GRAMMY program’s high school performers and special guest Maya Rudolph. Rudolph was a surprise addition to the audience, along with her husband and one of her daughters.
The night began with a lengthy presentation from Ford Motor Company and the GRAMMY foundation. At one point, many Vampire Weekend enthusiasts — along with Rudolph’s daughter — were drifting asleep, feeling conned at what they thought would be a traditional concert. Several performances followed the presentations, consisting of the high school students in the GRAMMY program who displayed their singing and instrumental talent. Even USC students solely present because of their Vampire Weekend fandom had to be impressed by high school student Colby Ewatuya’s moving solo. The execution by each of the GRAMMY in the Schools participants was truly flawless.
“The fact that our money is going towards a cause college kids can relate to and that we get to help high school students afford college while listening to Vampire Weekend is a great system that’s advantageous to us and the GRAMMY Foundation,” said Evelyn Lee, an undeclared freshman.
Tig Notaro, a nominee for Best Comedy Album in the 2014 GRAMMYs, loosened up the crowd with a standup set highlighted by a tale of a chocolate ice cream mustache debacle in Las Vegas.
After much waiting, at about 10 p.m., everyone’s favorite Columbia graduates appeared from behind a cloud of smoke, banging away to “Diane Young.” The audience swayed along, everyone’s hands in the air while screaming “Diane Young won’t change your mind / Baby, baby, baby, baby right on time.”
As the song came to its last beat, Koenig greeted the audience with his East Coast dialect, beginning the never-ending train of “I love you, Ezra” screams from various females in the audience. The band zoomed through itsset, which consisted of “White Sky,” “Unbelievers,” “Holiday,” “Cousins,” “A-Punk,” “Ya Hey” and “Hannah Hunt.”
Traditionally, the band concludes its performance with an upbeat tune, and “Walcott” is usually its song of choice. But yesterday, Vampire Weekend chose to take a different approach. The last song ended the concert on a slower note, as the crowd witnessed Batmanglij’s guitar solo. It was a truly tender moment that brought the diverse audience together. The song marked the climax of the performance, and cherry-faced fans could be spotted with tears rolling down their cheeks. As in every show, Baio threw guitar picks into the crowd to send fans squirming around looking for them. Rudolph’s daughter jumped with joy as she caught one, as every fan in the audience envied her.
What originally seemed unworthy of a nine-hour wait proved to be an unforgettable night as, once again, Vampire Weekend gave a noteworthy performance that pleased fans of all ages while taking them through a whirlwind of a setlist.