University of Rochester hosts Janelle Monae

On Oct. 1, up-and-coming musician Janelle Monáe brought an exuberant musical celebration to the University of Rochester as part of the Campus Consciousness Tour, which promoted being green and environmentally friendly to college campuses.

The concert had two openers before the main event, and the first act was singer Timothy Bloom. While the music wasn’t entirely distinctive, Bloom possessed a wonderful voice. For his final song, singer V. Bozeman joined Bloom for the track “‘Til the End of Time.” With the help of V’s incredible voice, it was the perfect song to end Bloom’s set.  

Fun. was the second act to grace the stage. The indie pop band, led by singer Nate Ruess, proved to be an excellent warm-up for Monáe. With an infectious energy, the band was able to pump up the crowd for Monáe and enjoy their own catchy music at the same time. Their song “All the Pretty Girls” was a hit with the audience.

Nearly an hour-and-a-half after the official start of the concert, Monáe finally came on stage. She was joined by her band, which she dubbed “The Wondaland Arch Orchestra,” to coincide with her album The ArchAndroid. Her first song was “Dance or Die,” for most of which Monáe wore a hooded cloak with her back to the audience. When she turned around and lowered the hood, the crowd went wild.

She then swept into her next two songs, “Faster” and “Locked Inside.” These first three songs worked well together, despite each being distinct and different. After the third, Monáe took a break from her own music to treat the audience with the Jackson 5 classic, “I Want You Back.” It was clear that Monáe has a great admiration for Michael Jackson and her rendition really worked.

Her next song – off her EP Metropolis – was the fan favorite “Sincerely, Jane.” After this funky piece, Monáe returned to songs from The ArchAndroid for the rest of the set. As she sang “Mushrooms & Roses,” Monáe created an exquisite painting with simple lines, splotches and the word “love” at the bottom. At the end of the concert, she gave the painting away to a girl who was celebrating her birthday.

Monáe ended her set with the two singles, “Cold War” and “Tightrope.” Her insurmountable energy made these songs a highlight in her incredible concert.

The encore was the single greatest part of the concert. Monáe performed an absolutely stunning version of her song “Come Alive (War of the Roses).” First she crowd-surfed, then commanded the crowd to repeat back a variety of “la la la’s.” After, she motioned for everyone to “play dead.” It was bizarre to see a mosh pit of fans crouching on the ground. Finally, Monáe ran to the back of the crowd and started freestyle dancing.

With her incredible finale and exuberant energy, Janelle Monáe completely rocked the University of Rochester.