Students at the College donned their favorite winter scarves and high-top sneakers as a crowd descended on Kendall Hall to watch Chris Conley and David Soloway, vocalist and guitarist of Saves the Day, perform an intimate acoustic set last Saturday, sponsored by the College Union Board (CUB).
“I haven’t been here in 10 years . so it’s pretty bizarre to be back here,” Conley said as they opened the show with “This is Not an Exit.”
Eager to hear favorites, the audience started yelling out song titles and the ever-reliable “Freebird” request was howled, to which Conley responded by playing the opening chords to Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Sweet Home Alabama.”
“Is that ‘Freebird?'” he asked.
The pair performed classic favorites like “See You,” “Rocks Tonic Juice Magic” and “Cars and Calories” while the crowd sang along, letting their voices resonate off the theater walls.
Toward the end of “Dying Day,” Soloway fumbled with the chords a bit, but the audience remained supportive, yelling, “You’ll get ’em next time, Dave!”
“You know those people that can’t really play and are kind of lame? Well, I can actually play. It’s the guitar’s fault,” Soloway joked.
The duo played a mix of songs from albums dating back to 1998, something rare for a band that just put out a new record titled “Under the Boards” last month. They also embraced the audience members’ requests and interacted with them throughout the performance.
“Trade hoodies with me,” shouted an eager audience member sitting in the back. “Never mind, just play ‘You Vandal!'”
“You play ‘You Vandal,'” Conley retaliated laughing.
“So I grew up on a farm in Jersey,” Conley said. “It’s beautiful in parts of New Jersey, but you don’t really hear about that.” A Princeton native, he claimed to have actually graced Kendall stage before – reciting poetry back when he was in high school.
Much to the disapproval of the audience, Conley and Soloway started playing their last song “Take Our Cars Now!” which the audience quickly started clapping along to.
“I told you I didn’t want my picture taken but you snapped it anyway,” Conley crooned with his eyes closed. “Now I guess you won’t have trouble remembering me someday.”
After Conley and Soloway left the stage, the audience stood, clapping and chanting for three minutes until the duo took the stage once again for an encore.
“Play forever!” yelled excited front-row occupant Michael Taggart, a Rutgers University junior said. He said, “I loved the show. It was probably the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen in my life.”
The encore included some of the band’s most popular songs, including “At Your Funeral” and “Jessie & My Whetstone.”
After winning CUB’s Battle of the Bands, senior elementary education major John Dutton and senior communication studies major Eric Paulsen were hand picked by Saves the Day to open the show. Dutton led the performance on vocals and guitar while Paulsen performed the bongo drums.
When asked what it was like to be chosen to open for such a well-known band, Dutton replied, “It was really cool. I’ve done some big shows before and I just love that feeling. I just want to thank Saves the Day.”
“It was cool to see a band like Saves the Day come play here,” Amy Drackwicz, sophomore Spanish/secondary education major, said. “The acoustic set was great and the whole atmosphere of the place was chill and laidback.”
“I thought I was pretty emo tonight with my scarf and old-school Reebok’s,” Mark Nicolau, College almunus, said.
“Chris Conley waved at me – twice,” Dan Wolthoff, senior elementary education major who came along with Nicolau said. “That made my night.”