Adam Richman walked to the microphone and looked out over the crowd. He began strumming his guitar as people noticed him quietly standing on stage.
“I’m gonna play some music now,” he said, opening his Oct. 8 performance at the Rat. “I hope that’s okay.”
Richman performed at the College Union Board (CUB) sponsored event for a full crowd of students, joking with them about french fries and percentages between songs.
He began with “Baby I’ve Changed” and played music from his previous albums, “Two” and “Patience and Science,” and from his soon-to-be re-released version of the second album on his new label, Or Music, a division of Sony Music. After the concert, he signed autographs and took pictures with delighted fans.
Overall, Richman was pleased with his performance and the audience’s reaction and is ready and willing to return to the College. “I thought everyone was very cool,” he said. “Sometimes when I make fun of an audience for not responding, it’s because I ask for it and everyone here is the coolest.”
The show marked Richman’s third visit to the College and his second time performing at the Rat. His first show was in Kendall Hall, where he performed as the opener for Art Alexakis of Everclear.
Richman said he finds definite differences between playing in an intimate setting like the Rat versus a bigger venue such as Kendall Hall. “When you’re in Kendall or a theater like that, you’re attempting to connect with the audience,” he said. “And in a place like the Rat, as long as people are listening to you … that feels great because you can totally communicate with people. But it’s fun to come out onto a stage like Kendall.”
In keeping with the vein of intimacy with the audience, Richman spent much of the night walking around the Rat and even enjoyed a chicken cheese steak for dinner. He said one of his favorite pre-concert rituals is to drink a lot of water, a practice he put into effect before this recent performance.
This marked Richman’s first time as the sole performer with his own opening act. “When you’re opening, there’s already an audience there, but you assume some sort of validation automatically by just being able to be on the stage,” he said. “You feel accepted immediately.”
Richman had nothing but praise for his opening act, John Dutton, a freshman math and secondary education major. “I love having an opener … especially when you’re going to a school and the opener is a student – they bring an audience with them and I love an opportunity to play for different people,” Richman said. “And also it takes a lot of pressure off having someone else warm up the audience … and John was fantastic.”
Dutton began playing guitar when he was eight-years-old, gaining inspiration from his father and the movie “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure,” and he began singing in high school.
“Singing and songwriting have been my most enjoyable, therapeutic and entertaining hobby to date,” Dutton said. “I can honestly say that no matter what I end up doing, music will always be there, whether I’m on a stage at a show or playing in my spare time to make myself feel happy.”
Dutton, whose band Day’s Nearly Over has performed in various coffee shops, got involved in the Welcome Week Talent Show and Open Mic Night and, from there, was noticed by CUB, who asked him to perform as Richman’s opener.
“I have been a fan of Adam’s for about a year now and the crazy part about the show was that I was not just another musician opening for one, but I was also a fan opening up for one of his favorite artists,” he said.
Dutton writes his own songs about events and incidents in his life. At the concert, he performed these as well as cover songs from artists including John Mayer.
Richman, who writes his own songs, performed a few covers, including “Barely Breathing” by Duncan Sheik. The audience was delighted when he also played a few songs not on either one of his albums, including one from “The Patience EP,” a short version of his album “Patience and Science” and warm-up for his soon to be re-released full length edition of the CD.
“I thought his talks between songs were just as entertaining as his songs,” Eve Roytshteyn, sophomore interactive multimedia major, said. “He had a good connection with the audience.”
With a new band and record label, Richman is looking forward to touring with his band and doing the “club thing,” as he calls it. He is excited to have the energy of other band members on the stage and to soon have his songs played on the radio.
After three years of playing in colleges, however, Richman is not ready to stop performing for this audience. “I don’t want to play at old folks homes, they might not like my whore song,” he teased. “I’m the same age as everybody in college, I can’t really relate to anybody else as well.”