The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

‘Were You There?’ Peter McPoland rocks Foellinger Auditorium 

Isaac Pinkus
Peter McPoland sings passionately at the Foellinger Auditorium on Thursday during his tour of the Midwest.

Thursday night, singer-songwriter Peter McPoland continued his “That Midwest Sound!” tour with a stop at Foellinger Auditorium. 

The show was put on by Star Course, a University of Illinois student-led concert promotion and production organization. The organization allows students to gain experience in many aspects of concert production and promotion such as ad design, marketing, ticket sales, security, ushering and management. 

McPoland’s set was preceded by a 20-minute opening set performed by the local band Haunted x Humans. During their set, the group energized the audience by encouraging them to stand, jump and clap to their music. 

At 8:55 p.m., McPoland and his band took the stage. McPoland, clad in an oversized sweater, a harmonica and a guitar, immediately set a carefree and casual tone for the show.

“A round of applause for what I’ve come to know as the greatest crowd in the greatest state in the greatest country in the world, Illinois!” McPoland said before opening his set. His introductory message elicited thunderous applause and ample cheering from the crowd.

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McPoland opened his set with “Mold,” the first track on his 2023 album, “Piggy.” The crowd swayed with the beat and cheered during the song, despite the slower tempo.

Abruptly switching the mood, McPoland performed “Were You There?” from the same album. This song brought a new energy to the crowd and as McPoland danced around the stage, the crowd sang and jumped along with him.

“I liked his little dance moves he did,” said Makaley Mikrut, an audience member. “He was dancing on that stage.”

After performing “Were You There?” McPoland talked about his experience with education and how he always dreamt of performing at a college.

McPoland walked across the stage in a graduation ceremony manner and saluted the audience as they applauded and cheered.

“I have fulfilled my dream of playing a f—— college show,” McPoland said as he connected his anecdote with the audience. His exclamation was met with rambunctious applause.

Throughout the show, McPoland made it very clear that he was creating a comfortable and casual atmosphere with the use of frequent profanity, conversations with the crowd in between songs as well as laughing at his own mistakes. 

At one point during the set, McPoland started to play the first chorus of “Shit Show,” but instead of singing the first verse he called on the audience to help him out. The audience sang the entirety of the first verse alone, a true testament to his fan base.

McPoland’s performance was a blend of his soft indie-style music as well as his more energetic alternative-rock sound. This range had the audience headbanging during the energetic songs and swaying during the more mellow tracks.

Jenny Cheng, third-year graduate student, attended the show as a first-time concert-goer and spoke about how experiencing the crowd jumping was the most memorable moment of the show.

“I have never experienced that in my life,” Cheng said.

During his performance of “News at 9,” McPoland’s band left him to perform the song solo with just a singular spotlight shining on the singer and the piano. 

The silence from the audience and band made it feel as if everyone was holding their breath during McPoland’s emotionally charged performance.

Cecelia Ryan, junior in LAS, has seen McPoland perform four times, including his last performance in Chicago.

“He always makes me cry,” Ryan said.

This dynamic, emotion-packed show provided University students with an enriching opportunity for both the students involved with the production and students in the concert audience. 

“Oh, it’s just surreal to see a concert in this kind of facility with the price of tickets we paid,” Cheng said. “The University does great stuff for the students. It opens up the opportunity for us to see concerts like this.”


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Isaac Pinkus
Isaac Pinkus, Assistant Photo Editor
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