Jesse McCartney: still a heart-throb



Jesse McCartney, 30-year-old singer-songwriter, performed in the Maucker Union ballroom Saturday, Oct. 21. McCartney was brought in by the UNI Campus Activities Board (CAB).


The anticipation was wild. Oodles of college girls and the occasional college boy stood in a line that snaked all around the Maucker Union, anxiously waiting to fulfill their childhood fantasy of meeting Jesse McCartney. I couldn’t hide my excitement either, and reminisced on the fond memories I had of listening to McCartney’s first album on my old portable CD player.

The lines were very orderly, a little too orderly I thought, considering we were all about to see an artist whose posters dominated our bedroom walls as kids. And, as suspected, when the doors opened at 7:30 p.m., the orderliness was completely abandoned, as people were desperate to get closer, throwing elbows and stealthily slinking their bodies in front of others in hopes of getting a spot in front of the stage.

As we sorted into the Maucker Union ballroom, I took a look around. The ballroom was barely three-quarters full, and despite it being a “sold out” event, the venue definitely could have fit a good hundred more people. But, I wasn’t complaining because the air got so hot so quickly, that it wasn’t long before it felt we were in a steam room full of sweat.

The opening band, “4 Door Theatre” came out on stage, and the crowd was obviously disappointed that McCartney wasn’t coming out right away. They let their sighs and “awww’s” be known. I felt bad for the poor openers, so I gave them an encouraging clap and cheer as they made their way on stage.

They were pretty good, but I definitely preferred their rock songs over their slow, ballad-like songs. The slower songs were honestly just so dang awkward because nobody in the crowd knew the lyrics; either that, or the audience members were simply bitter that the band wasn’t McCartney. However, the band’s excitement never ceased and I appreciated their energy and positive attitudes.

The biggest thing that struck me as odd with “4 Door Theatre” is that they never revealed their band name to the crowd.

They took a poll on how many audience members knew of them and also asked us to follow them on social media, but they never actually said their band name during the performance. I had to go onto the CAB Facebook page and look up who they were. So, I found that a little weird.

After the openers, we all stood huddled together like herded cattle in the ballroom for a good 45 minutes before McCartney came out to perform. It was a long, hot wait, and a few of my friends decided to leave because it was such a long break. However, when McCartney did come out, it was well worth the downtime.

McCartney started off the show by jamming the intro of one of his most popular tracks, “Leavin’,” on a beat pad and performed it to sweet perfection. He then went on to perform songs from all of his albums and even sprinkled a couple covers into his setlist. Although I had my speculations that he wouldn’t sound as good as he did to my 8-year-old ears back in 2004, he was better than ever.

McCartney wowed the squealing audience time and time again, and even performed a brand new song, which he plans to release this spring along with other fresh beats. I enjoyed his easy-going style and was welcomed with those same silly butterflies in my stomach that I got all those years ago when he performed songs from earlier albums.

I also really appreciated how thoughtful he was of his fans. In between song breaks, he would respond to crowd member’s homemade signs, signed T-shirts that were thrown at him and even took a selfie with a girl for her birthday. It was really sweet, and it all made sense as to why he’s still considered a heart-throb to this day.

After performing numerous wildly entertaining songs, the crowd finally got to hear the hit McCartney became famous for in the early 2000’s, “Beautiful Soul.” He played it after several chants from the audience requesting the song.

We all sang along, and it was such a special tribute to my childhood. I literally had a warm, fuzzy feeling in my chest when he performed it, and a flood of memories rushed into my head as I recalled the mini obsession that I had as a child for McCartney.

As I filed out of the Maucker Union ballroom, I was really happy with the performance. Although it started off with a bit of a rocky start in regards to the long wait and the mediocre opening band, McCartney was truly amazing and brought back a lot of special childhood memories to a lot of people. I’m grateful that I get to add this wonderful night into my cherished McCartney memories forever.