American Idol season 11 winner Phillip Phillips is currently embarking on the first tour of his career. He recently visited a number of colleges and universities around the country to perform for their students. It’s easy to put an artist of Phillip’s stature on a shiny pedestal above everyone else, but we can’t forget that he is just an average college-aged guy at heart. Upon coming to Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond, Kentucky he brought students and faculty alike to their feet. He put on a show that showed he was there to entertain but also that he wasn’t going to let anything stop him from enjoying his first tour.
The opening act was a band called Churchill who genuinely surprised me with how talented they were. Churchill and Phillip performed together later in the concert. Phillip’s set included a mixture of his own music and a variety of unique covers that every college student there was familiar with. The theatre that the concert was in had non-removable seats but that didn’t stop the audience from being on their feet for the entirety of the show. After a standing ovation both bands came back on to perform a classy rendition of ‘Crazy’ by Gnarls Barkley, complete with awesome solos by Randy Gist and Mike Morter.
Probably the coolest part about the concert though was seeing the band members off stage. Phillips, his band, as well as the band members from Churchill were extremely friendly and down to earth the entire time they were at EKU. At one point, Phillips was just walking around backstage with a Nerf gun, and Churchill also took the opportunity to serenade some of the security staff on the elevator ride to their dressing room. After the concert was over and the band’s gear was all packed up and ready to go, both bands hung around and offered to sign merchandise for fans.
After the fans had left and the night was wearing on, Phillips and the rest of the band stuck around to throw football with some of the student workers. They showed us a game they had created during the tour called flinch ball, which we played with a football because it was too windy for the usual frisbee. Basically, two teams line up opposite one another and take turns throwing at each other. You get points for hitting the other team or making them flinch. What started out as a simple game of careful aiming quickly escalated into each team trying to peg the other as hard as they could, all in good fun of course. The Phillips crew made short work of us, having played before, but we fought back for a round two win.
The band kept echoing the same thing throughout the night. The best part about being on tour wasn’t all the crazy fans or big venues or fancy buses; it was all about meeting new people and connecting with them on a personal level. An entertainer always strives to entertain, and it makes it that much more meaningful when you feel like by the end of the night you’ve actually gotten a chance to know them. Both Churchill and the Phillip Phillips gang were class acts through and through and I wish them best of luck on the rest of their respective tours.