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March 27, 2009
Vol. 50 No. 19

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'American Idol' winner plays to full house

Courtesy of Student Activities Committee
Idol Success-- Members of the SAC executive board pose with American Idol season seven winner David Cook (center) and his band members at his performance at Trax Monday, March 23.
More than 330 students packed into Trax on Monday, March 23 to see American Idol season seven winner David Cook perform a private concert for the Susquehanna student body.

The surprise performance was announced at the Student Activities Committee (SAC) weekly meeting earlier this semester and has been in the works for months.

"There was quite a bit of planning that had to be done to do an event of this size in Trax. This is the largest event that SAC has sponsored in Trax, and we were very glad to see that it was such a success," Mallory Naill SAC president said.

Cook, who took the Idol title last May, came to Susquehanna as part of his "Declaration Tour - 2009." According to mtvU's Web site, "mtvU is MTV Network's 24-hour college network--the largest and most comprehensive media network just for college students."

"It just kind of represented a return to my roots," Cook said. "I really got serious about being in music when I was a freshman in college. Playing shows at colleges and seeing shows at colleges is just an energy you don't find anywhere else. It's something I wanted to tap into and it's a market that gets neglected by a lot of artists."

Students were excited for the show, pushing their way to the front of the stage when the doors opened at 8:30 p.m.

"Judging by the great atmosphere throughout the night, Susquehanna students had an amazing time at the concert and that made it in our eyes a great success," SAC vice president Jan Michalko said. "The SAC executive board dedicated a lot of time and effort to this concert, and our biggest reward was seeing hundreds of Susquehanna students having a great time and enjoying the performance."

"At first, I was there because I had to work," Trax employee Diane Eshelman said, "but David Cook really exceeded my expectations. He made working very enjoyable."

Opening for Cook was New York native Ryan Star. Most recently, Star's single, "Brand New Day" has been featured as the title track to Fox's new drama, "Lie to Me." Star has been on tour with Cook since Valentine's Day.

"It's been amazing. [Cook's] a great dude, we're having fun," Star said. "The intimacy [of college shows] is great. In all honesty, it's just me being me."

Star performed a handful of songs including his recent single, "Last Train Home."

"I liked his energy and his voice," sophomore Jess Patton said.

Cook also performed an array of songs from his album including "Declaration," "Come Back to Me," and "Mr. Sensitive," as well as covers of Van Halen's "Hot for Teacher" and Fleetwood Mac's "Go Your Own Way."

"We try to keep things all over the place to give everybody a chance to enjoy themselves. Hopefully we take the audience on a little bit of a rollercoaster," Cook said.

After leaving the crowd screaming for more, Cook came back to perform an encore of "Bar-Ba-Sol" and his current hit, "Light On," where he asked for some assistance from the audience.

"That is one of the best compliments I think any musician can get to have someone sing their songs to them. It's a win-win for me, and I love it," Cook said.

"I thought it was pretty amazing," sophomore Chloe Vale said. "He put on a good show and he made a good connection to the audience. He really related to college students; I walked away very impressed."

Almost immediately after the last American Idol show aired, Cook hit the road with the other contestants for the show's annual summer tour and has not stopped working since.

"It's an awesome thing to wake up everyday to completely different stimuli," Cook said. "Going through the week to week grind has allowed me to step back and appreciate everything."

In February, Cook's self-titled album was certified platinum.

"I put out my solo record in '06 before Idol before all of this and it sold 1,000 copies in a year, to go from that to selling a million copies in three months, if that's not a textbook Cinderella story, I don't know what is."

Cook wraps up his tour at the end of April, but will return between shows to perform on this season's American Idol.

"This is someone who skyrocketed to fame through one of today's most popular television shows," Kevin Hannahoe, interim assistant director of campus activities said. "Students not only came to hear his music but to see a celebrity[...]Trax employees noticed a large number of Susquehanna students in attendance that night that they have not seen in the venue before. If David Cook coming to campus got students in Trax, particularly upperclassmen who were never in the venue before, that's awesome."

"I'm continually appreciative," Cook said. "I'm in an amazing position in my life because the people that watched Idol saw fit to put me here. I look forward to continuing to play shows and prove everybody right. I'm still the same guy I was a year and a half ago, it's just now I have more resources. I'm enjoying myself and there's no reason I should change."

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