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Jesse McCartney performs at the annual TBT concert at Ohio University on Thursday, March 5, 2020.

Jesse McCartney electrifies Baker Ballroom during annual TBT concert

When Jesse McCartney thanked the Baker Ballroom crowd and walked offstage, everyone knew he wasn’t done — and they weren’t ready for him to be, either.

He returned just seconds later with a beaming smile that shined just as bright as the lights above him, and he had one question.

“OU, you wanna take it all the way back?” McCartney asked.

They did. They knew what was coming.

As the first chord of McCartney’s “Beautiful Soul” was struck, pure elation filled the crowd. Everyone knew it was his last song of the night, but ear-to-ear grins and feel-good vibes swirled throughout, culminating into a moment that, years ago, most of the attendees only dreamed of experiencing.

Ohio University’s University Program Council, or UPC, and its annual TBT Concert helped provide just that Thursday night as a packed house of over 400 attendees joyfully sang every one of McCartney’s lyrics right back to him.

“Ohio, it’s good to be here, man,” McCartney, alongside his guitarist, Dory Lobel, said.

Besides “Beautiful Soul,” which peaked at No. 4 on the Billboard charts, McCartney performed a plethora of his other notable hits, including “Bleeding Love,” a song he wrote for Leona Lewis, and the chart-topping “Leavin’.” During each song, he didn’t let up, dancing with a vigor that compelled the concertgoers to join him.

During “The Stupid Things,” a song originally by Robin Thicke but one that shot to fame because of McCartney’s cover on his debut album, McCartney stopped. He said it would be better if he had someone to whom he could sing the rest.

Maggie Old, a sophomore studying visual communication, was handpicked from the crowd. She was at a loss for words when McCartney looked her in the eyes, got on his knees and embraced her tightly during the song.

“My initial reaction: ‘What in the world?’” Old, a member of UPC as well as the president of Delta Zeta sorority, said. “My sisters were geeking when I texted them. They’re so jealous of me.”

Old encourages everyone to “join UPC for memories like this.”

DJ BEEZ opened the TBT Concert with a set that featured his own spin on many oldies, including TLC’s “No Scrubs” and some modern classics like Lizzo’s “Truth Hurts.” He cheered on the early attendees when they knew every word, but he wasn’t afraid to call out the crowd for lacking energy at times.

To some, seeing McCartney was more than a concert. The teenage heartthrob and his hits have had a lasting impact.

“I used to be obsessed with him,” Lizzie Isebrand, a junior studying biology, said. 

Emma Kloski, a freshman studying forensic chemistry, thinks McCartney was an excellent choice for the TBT concert since he was a big part of most college-aged people’s childhoods.

“To have him come here when we’re older, we can actually enjoy the experience,” Kloski said.


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