When thinking about this past Saturday night, I have memories of sweat, large crowds, and a lot of Bowdoin students. There was no free pizza. There was a long pause in between the opener and T-Pain, and more pauses in between each song, with intermittent lighting. There was no bald guy taking pictures of freshman girls trying to dance. There were a lot of students I didn’t recognize. There were a lot of fighters trying to make it to the front of the crowd, and more body-to-body contact than any dance I have been to. With all this in mind, when thinking about this past Saturday night, all I can say is, “I don’t care, I love it.”
T-Pain represented a lovable part of the Bates experience on Saturday night. He created a space in which many members of the Bates community could come together and share an experience. Sweating and encased like the cheese inside a mozz stick, social politics no longer mattered within the framework of the Gray Cage. It didn’t matter if you were Paul Menance or Franny Firstyear, you were going to get lost among the crowd’s hyper-snappchatty enjoyment of a performance. You were taken back to your limbo through puberty in middle school, into the pre-mature fantasy of what you thought your first clubbing experience would be like, before you could even drive a car. There is something beautiful about the nostalgia that T-Pain emulates, something that even the Samson-esque removal of his dreads could not erase, the magic that comes with one’s first ever experience of autotune.
Not only did T-Pain perform some old favorites that made the crowd utter, “We do know you, T,” he sang some songs we weren’t sure were his. By mixing it up and allowing the crowd to question whether or not T-Pain was actually featured in certain songs or not, his performance kept us on our toes. Moreover, he represented Bobcat pride in the best way possible. He, along with every member of his set consented to wear Bates shirts for the entirety of the performance, and they owned it. Every piece of evidence that the student body has of T-Pain is cloaked in Bates pride. We wouldn’t have it any other way.
So, if you are still upset about sweaty strangers or questioning why we never got to hear “I’m On A Boat,” just remember that T-Pain is the successor to Icona Pop in Bates’ fall concert series. If we can make that leap in just one year, I can only look at next year with hopeful eyes, and of course, one cheek at a time.