Zac Brown Band, Train and others rock Wildcat Kickoff

Zac Brown Band performs at the Wildcat Kickoff in Bill Snyder Family Stadium on Sept. 10, 2016. Zac Brown Band was one of five different artists to perform. (Emily Starkey | The Collegian)

The south end zone and goalpost were the remnants of Wagner Field as the Wildcat Kickoff blanketed the field with grey plastic topped with chairs, lights and a stage.

This was the first concert for Bill Snyder family stadium since 1987 when Willie Nelson played in what was then KSU Stadium. The concert, which had five acts overall, featured Zac Brown Band, Train and Phillip Phillips.

The event was announced in April of this year as a way to fill the gap of one less football home game left when K-State traveled to Stanford a week ago Saturday to start the 2016 season.

With that gap means plenty of new Wildcats had their first experience at Bill Snyder Family Stadium Saturday night.

“I’m really excited to be at the stadium,” Jacob Avery, a freshman in graphic design said. “This is my first time here. It’s a pretty cool sight. I’ve never been here.”


The event opened with two country newcomers in Adley Stump and David Ray taking the stage before the bigger acts.

Stump, who was a contestant on NBC’s the Voice in 2012, had never performed in Kansas before.


Even in front of a small early crowd,Stump and her three other band members ripped through their short set with originals off of her 2015 album “Like This” along with some newer singles and a cover of Gnarls Barkley’s 2006 hit “Crazy”.

Ray, who followed Stump on the docket, is fairly new to the national scene having released his first album (“Earthquake”) with a major label earlier this year but the Michigan native is a Nashville veteran.

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Ray got off to a rollicking start playing tracks from his new album along with a cover of the 1986 hit “Keep Your Hands to Yourself” by the Georgia Satellites.

Phillip Phillips was the first of the larger acts to take the stage and the Season 11 American Idol brought the stadium alive with his southern, lively sound.

Phillips treated Wildcat Kickoff attendees to his hits including 2013’s “Home” and “Gone, Gone, Gone” accompanied by trumpet and cello solos that really gave the set a Bourbon Street feel.

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Phillips also played a spitfire version of Living Colour’s “Cult of Personality” which really got the crowd going.

“We should come to Manhattan more often,” Train lead singer Pat Monahan proclaimed after rocketing through Prince’s “Let’s Go Crazy” to open up their set.

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The San Fransico pop-rock band, 23 years strong now, drew a large response from the crowd which had multiplied several times over from what it had been earlier that day and while many fans were drawn to the concert by Zac Brown Band’s name being at the top, there was at least one fan who came for Train.

“My family has gone to a lot of Train concerts,” Katy Trupp, a freshman in biology said. “So it’s really fun to see them and Phillip Phillips again.”

Trupp has been to four Train concerts with her family before Saturday night and said that it’s the connection the music has with her family that makes them special.

“Their songs make me happy and they take me home I guess,” Trupp said. “It’s just the connection that it makes for my family. That’s the one band that we can all come around and listen to.”

“Meet Virginia”, their first hit from 1998, was the first of their multiple hits played along with fellow earworms like “Hey Soul Sister”, “Marry Me” and “Drive By”.

Train encored with a cover of “Hotel California” before playing the enduring late 90’s classic “Drops of Jupiter”.

Headliners Zac Brown Band took the stage last in front a final crowd of approximately 15-18 thousand which settled in for their roughly hour and 45-minute set.

The band worked through songs from all four of their albums including “Beautiful Drug”, “Loving You Easy” and “Remedy” off their 2015 album “JEKYLL + HYDE”.

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Zac Brown Band performs at the Wildcat Kickoff in Bill Snyder Family Stadium on Sept. 10, 2016. Zac Brown Band was one of five different artists to perform. (Emily Starkey | The Collegian)

The band also dropped two covers into the mix with Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” and the Who’s “Baba O’Riley” in their three song encore.

The band finished the night off, like they always do, with “Free” and “Chicken Fried”, two tracks off their debut album “The Foundation”.

K-State football returns to Bill Snyder Family Stadium next Saturday to take on Flordia Atlantic at 1:30 p.m.

Tim Everson was born in Wichita, KS in 1994. Before fifth grade he moved up to Manhattan for one year before settling in Riley, KS where he graduated from Riley County High School in 2012. Tim has worked for the Collegian since spring of 2014 and took over as Sports Editor during the summer of 2015. Tim loves sports, music, movies and good food when he can get it.