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This item originally appeared in the April 22, 2004 issue of The Tech Talk.


Staff Writer

The temperature reached a high of 80 degrees Friday in Ruston as bands reached their own high notes throughout the day.

The Virgin College Mega Tour made a stop on campus with the help of the Union Board, bringing with it musical acts such as Michelle Branch, Rooney and Michael Tolcher.

Branch took center stage at night in Thomas Assembly Center and performed some of her hits from albums "The Spirit Room" and "Hotel Paper" to a crowd of nearly 1,500. After the audience jokingly booed about the broken pink piano on stage, Michelle made it up to them by singing her hit "The Game of Love," made popular with Santana.

"I haven't played this the whole tour," she said. "It takes a special moment."

Joe Firstman, a singer-songwriter from Charlotte, N.C., opened the show. He sang and jumped around on stage in his tan suit with his band and finished with an a capella song that the audience went crazy for.

Rooney, a band hailing from Los Angeles, performed its hits including "I'm Shakin" and "Popstars" and tried some new songs out such as "Enough's Enough" on the crowd. Matthew Winter, bass player for the band, spoke about Tech's crowd in an interview after the show.

"The audience seemed good," he said. "It was a little mixed." Winter said he has been a little disappointed in some of the crowds on the tour. "Some shows have been pathetic. But, it's been cool."

The Mega Tour included many activities during the day that led up to the evening's major concert.

Students enjoyed participating in the interactive village near Centennial Plaza.

"This was a fun thing for students to attend to introduce the Michelle Branch concert," Ian Richards, Union Board special events coordinator and a junior marketing major, said.

J.P. Cheramie, a Union Board member and graduate student, was in charge of the afternoon events.

"It gets students out during the day and gives them something to do," Cheramie said. He also added that the Dentene-sponsored booth, where students could spin a wheel for free prizes, was probably the most attended.

Wilma Viltz, a junior family and child studies major, belted out Aaliyah's "Are You That Somebody?" in the karaoke booth where participants could make their own CDs.

"It was real fun," Viltz said. "I felt like I was a superstar up in there. I feel sorry for people who missed it."

Chris Grace, a musician from New York City, performed at noon on the Behringer Day Stage. Michael Tolcher, a musician from Lovejoy, Ga., followed, and 19-year-old Tyler Hilton, a native of Palm Springs, Calif., finished off the afternoon performances.

Hilton praised his time spent in Louisiana.

"This is so far the best weather we've had on the tour," he said as he signed autographs and greeted fans. "I like the houses. I like the people. I like the accents! I'd move here!"

Jill Rowlett, a junior political science major, attended the day events and concert and was excited about the big-name performers coming to Ruston.

"There are a lot of people coming to this from all over, so this is good [public relations] for us," Rowlett said.

"They're not just coming to Shreveport [or other big cities]. They're coming to us."

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