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Leno’s no crowd pleaser, but show could be worth it

Originally published October 8, 2010

Ask anyone who went: Weezer put on a great show, the new arena’s first large-name act.

It’s hard to think of a band that would have been better for the first act. Students grew up with Weezer, they’ve listened to their songs forever.

It was an excellent start to what we certainly hope to be a long line of big name acts, one with enough famous acts to rival Robertson Memorial Field House’s.

We would encourage the Activities Council to look hard for an equally great act for next semester if it wasn’t already.

Jay Leno’s not exactly the same of the same caliber, at least not for college students.

Most of them were with Team Coco last winter, and most seem not to see the point of dropping $20 on the show.

Leno wasn’t brought here for the college-age audience. It’s homecoming weekend, and there will be plenty of alumni and donors on campus that weekend, that’s who Leno – a typically clean, somewhat funny act – is aimed at.

Truth be told, there was a lot of hype built up around the homecoming act, and we would have liked to have seen one – comedian or musician – that would have been a better draw for both students and the alumni who will be back on campus that weekend. Tickets would probably be selling a little better if that were the case.

Leno’s a big name and a usually clean act, so we get his draw from the university’s standpoint, but it’s clear, judging by the seemingly low ticket sales, that he’s just not a draw for students.

That coupled with a more expensive student ticket price – there aren’t any direct student fees helping pay for those show – looks like it’s going to keep most at home or at least away from the arena next weekend.

That said, Leno is who we got, and as far as donor friendly acts go, he’s a pretty big one. So is that $20 ticket worth it?

Think about it this way, if Bradley gets a reputation for having a lackluster student body, it’ll be that much harder to draw big acts to our small campus.

This is already a small school, and the best case scenario is an audience of about 3,500. That’s nothing compared to the thousands most larger schools can draw.

So if the university gets the reputation of having students who skip out on shows, it will make attracting good acts, mainly ones like Weezer, that much harder to get.

Leno is a pretty big act for a place like Bradley and a town like Peoria. Other than the comedians Bradley brings in, the River City seems only to attract Larry the Cable Guy on a surprisingly regular basis.

So if for $20 you can see what will probably be a somewhat funny show with a huge star all while helping prove the university is a good place for acts to come, it just might be worth it.