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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Hip-Hop artist Common to perform at UMass Boston

After sifting through many musicians, figuring out production costs and dealing with a hurt image after last semester’s Roots concert fell through due to one of the member’s illness, UMass Boston’s Student Activities and Leadership office announced that Common will be performing free of charge to students to wrap up Chancellor Keith Motley’s inaugural days on Nov. 10 in the Clark Athletic Center.

“The Chancellor wants to have a very student-focused inauguration,” Kelly Meehan, Special Assistant to the Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs, said. “Which is why it’s free; which is huge.”

The Clark Athletic Center has a capacity of 3,000 people, which is the number of tickets available. Each student can get up to three with their ID in the Student Life office, which are available starting Oct. 15, until they run out. There will be no tickets at the door.

“This isn’t limited to just our students,” Meehan said. “Their friends are welcome to come as well, which is why three tickets are available to each ID. But, their friends have to come with them, as the student ID is necessary to enter.”

Though they are waiting for a final production cost, it is projected that the price to bring Common to UMass Boston is between $40,000 and $60,000, about a fifth less than the almost $250,000 that his friend Kanye West cost in 2005.

“We tried to find someone with a broader appeal,” Meehan said. “We have a diverse population at UMass Boston, so it was hard to find a common thread. He’s more socially conscious than most hip-hop and rap stars.”

At first, the Chancellor’s office was looking at having a crossover artist, so that one concert with wide-range appeal could be held for both students and those on the Chancellor’s list of friends and colleagues.

“More classic, old-time performers were looked at,” Meehan said. “None of them worked, though, so it was decided that there would be one student concert and a smaller, private concert for the Chancellor.”

In making this decision, the performer for the students had to be someone who could draw a crowd.

“[Common] is a good headliner and puts on a good show,” Meehan said. “Common is a good performer and comes with a full band, not just a DJ. He doesn’t have a manufactured sound.”

The day the concert falls is a Saturday, and although it closes out a special occasion, there are still concerns about attendance.

“The flipside was to have both the private concert and student concert on the same night at the same time,” Meehan said. “However, it was easier to schedule the student concert on Saturday. The only question was will people come back over the weekend, or would they prefer it on a weekday? I think the free tickets will make it an incentive for those who might not come otherwise.”

Meehan is expecting that all 3,000 available tickets will get handed out, and is hoping that seeing acts like Common on campus will become a more frequent occurrence.

“We want to get into a routine of holding more concerts,” Meehan said. “We’re trying bigger venues, smaller venues; we want students to come to expect high-quality shows on campus. The Roots pulling out at the last minute hurt our credibility; we’re trying to change that.”

Additional Concert Information? As of press time, Student Life is still negotiating for an opening act? No cameras will be allowed into the show? Full security, with metal detectors, will be at the entrance? Students’ names will be written on the back of the tickets, so friends that do not attend UMass Boston will have to be with the student when they enter, to make sure that students are the ones attending