Thousands of students and their families gathered Saturday to see three-time Grammy award-winning band Train rock out for two hours at the Smith Center.
Crowds swayed to songs like “Calling All Angels” and jumped to their feet for upbeat tunes like “50 Ways to Say Goodbye” and “Hey Soul Sister.”
Lead singer Pat Monahan grabbed the audience’s attention throughout the show, ripping off his T-shirt at one point to autograph it and handing off the scraps to audience members. As beach balls flew overhead, he caught and signed a few before tossing them back into the crowd.
Between songs, Monahan cracked jokes with the crowd.
“Thank you for inviting us to such a beautiful school. We play a lot of schools that just party, but you
actually do work here,” said Monahan, as he pretended to smoke a joint.
He also called about 20 females – students and family members – onto the stage to sing and dance during the song “Mermaid,” encouraging women over the age 18 to “sexy dance” for the crowd, and for the younger girls to “not even think about it.”
One freshman who made it onto the stage, Sara Wagner, said the experience was surreal.
“It was one of my favorite songs. It was so exciting,” she said. “There was so much energy. I was in shock.”
Monahan also called Nick Lancia, whose older brother, Richard, goes to GW, onto the stage during the last song of the set to give him a guitar signed by the entire band. Monahan said they chose Lancia because his dance moves showed he was enjoying the show from his seat.
During an encore, Train played “California 37,” a track off their latest album released in January, along with the two-time Grammy award-winning hit that rocketed them to mainstream success, “Drops of Jupiter.”
Train marks a departure from the string of comedians who have headlined Colonials Weekend in recent years, including Bill Maher, Jimmy Fallon and Jon Stewart.
Most seats appeared to be filled at the Smith Center, though University spokeswoman Jill Sankey said last week there were “several hundred” tickets left. She declined to provide the specific number of unsold tickets.
Tickets ranged from $45 for an obstructed view to $110 for a close-up floor seat.
Freshman Brendan McDermott called the concert “incredible.”
“They were incredibly fun,” he said. “You could tell they cared about the music.”