Barenaked Ladies rock Alumni Weekend

Amanda Castroverde

More than 1,000 alumni and current GW students rocked out to a live set by the Barenaked Ladies in University Yard Friday night, while reconnecting with former classmates during the kickoff concert for this year’s Alumni Weekend.

The Grammy Award-winning band headlined the opening event of the University’s fourth annual reunion weekend, performing hits from the past and playing songs from their newest album, “All in Good Time.”

The band, which is currently on a yearlong nationwide tour, sat down to discuss their members’ memories of their own alma maters in an interview with The Hatchet before the concert.

“My favorite memory of college was graduating the hell out of there,” said Tyler Stewart, the band’s drummer, who graduated from Ryerson University in 1989.

Jim Creeggan, who plays bass for the band, said the best part of his college experience was meeting people. Creeggan said he often invites former classmates from his alma mater the University of Toronto to play shows with the band.

“Often we work with a lot of the people that I went to college with,” Creeggan said. “You know, I trust them, we played together in college and it’s all carried through to now.”

Being in Foggy Bottom also triggered band memories of their early days as musicians.

“Us and D.C., we go way back; we’ve been coming to D.C. since the Clinton administration,” Stewart said. “We played the 9:30 Club, which at the time was just a rat-infested punk hall.”

Many concert-goers said they were excited the alternative rock band was performing, adding that the concert was one of the biggest reasons they attended Alumni Weekend

“I couldn’t resist seeing this band,” said Brian Belensky, who graduated in 2000. “And it was time for me to make an appearance.”

Many of those in attendance graduated from GW in 2000 and 2005 – as the two classes celebrated their University-sponsored reunions throughout the weekend – though other alumni returned to campus as well.

“The band sounded fun,” says Gamze Horowitz, who graduated from GW in 1990. “There was no anticipation [for a reunion] for the Class of 1990, so we made our own little party for us and the attendees from other classes.”

Others said the concert, which saw a record turnout for a kickoff event, was a fun way to begin the weekend back in Foggy Bottom.

“I hadn’t been to alumni events before and I wanted to reconnect with old friends,” said Amy Kerner, an alumna who graduated in 1994. “The kickoff event is a great way to see people.”

This year, more than 1,200 alumni attended the weekend’s various festivities, which also included a tour of University President Steven Knapp’s on-campus residence and a panel discussion about the role of women involved in the upcoming midterm elections. Alumni Weekend only recently became its own program when it broke off from the University’s annual Colonials Weekend in 2007.

According to Matt Lindsay, a communications official in the Office of Alumni Relations, this year’s pre-registration statistics and overall attendance hit a record high.

“Alumni Weekend attendance has grown from several hundred to several thousand in the course of 4 or 5 years,” Lindsay said in an e-mail.

Those who showed up for the concert – which lasted until after 9:30 p.m. – were eager to fill up their weekend with reacquainting themselves with the campus where they were once students.

“I’m very excited about other events,” said Cordell Oldre, who graduated in 2000. “But tonight I’m going to enjoy myself with good music.”

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