by John Downey '23 on March 26, 2022
Arts & Entertainment
Jack Downey ’23
After last September’s utterly spectacular concert at The Met in Pawtucket, the anticipation for a follow-up performance was through the roof. Behind the scenes, the musicians put plans together for a Dec. 4 show in order to meet demand. However, this goal proved to be unfeasible, so the concert was moved to Jan. 27, right at the start of Providence College’s spring semester.
Unfortunately, the Omicron variant of COVID-19 had other plans. Omicron shut down most concerts throughout January, leading to the postponement of The Met show out of safety concerns. Feb. 17 was set as the new date for the performance. Fortunately, by then, the threat of Omicron had receded, and with PC relaxing its campus-wide mask mandate, the timing for a concert could not have been better. Feb. 17 was a go.
Set to perform at this show were wild rockers St. Joe and the Dorms as well as returning headliner Nolan Donato ’22 and his backing band. Previous exciting performances from both groups led hype to grow exponentially in the weeks leading up to the show. On the day of the performance, the whole campus seemed to be buzzing about it. Everyone seemed to feel that this night was going to be something to write home about.
Just as the show was about to start, however, tragedy struck: Donato fell ill. Unable to recover, he ultimately made the painful choice to leave The Met and go home. Backstage, the other musicians avoided panic, instead they figured out how to continue the show without its star. The decision was made to split vocal duties amongst the remaining musicians. Guest singers Jack Wilmot ’24, Lauren Fraser ’22, Anna Gaul ’22, and Kathryn Genest ’25 chose a handful of songs on the setlist and began rehearsing right then and there. The backing band, led by Griffin May ’24 and Joe Genest ’22, took on some vocal duties, as well. Yours truly even got to sing a couple of songs.
St. Joe and the Dorms first took the stage, and their chaotic energy and charisma immediately had the audience in the palm of their hand. After blasting through a setlist consisting of only the fastest of rockers, such as “Rockaway Beach,” “Dancing With Myself,” and “Johnny B. Goode,” their set was so enjoyable that they seemingly departed the stage just as quickly as they walked onto it.
Fortunately, the headlining band provided a perfect follow-up. The only thing left to chance was how the crowd would react to the news of Donato’s unfortunate illness. After playing through Stevie Wonder’s “I Wish,” Genest ’22 broke the news to the audience. Much to the musicians’ relief, the crowd was very understanding of this development and still hungry for a night of live music. With their energy restored, the band carried on.
All the guest singers did a fantastic job. Fraser and Gaul’s duet on Tom Petty’s “Free Fallin’” was certainly one of the highlights of the night, due largely in part to the two singers’ chemistry. Wilmot also shone brightly, particularly when he led the audience through a rousing rendition of “Kilby Girl” by The Backseat Lovers. The entire crowd was jumping, which was truly an awe-inspiring sight. Genest ’24 got the groove going towards the end of the set by playing “Walk This Way” by Aerosmith, not to mention a medley of funk classics. The entire concert ended with an ensemble performance of “Country Roads, Take Me Home” by John Denver, a perfect way to end the night.
The crowd was truly blown away by what they saw. Many of them had not been to a concert featuring their peers before, and to see that kind of talent demonstrated by their friends and classmates was something to behold. Colin McNamara ’25 remarks that the concert was “life changing” and “something he’d remember for the rest of his life.” Another concert at The Met is currently being planned for later in the spring semester. Topping the Feb. 17 show will certainly take effort, but the talented student performs are surely more than up to the task.