"Randy Travis croons new material, old favorites at Centennial Hall"
UApresents' first-ever country music show drew a crowd of just over 1,800 Saturday night at Centennial Hall.
Grammy winner Randy Travis' stop on the UA campus had garnered about 1,700 ticket sales going into Saturday, the show's final day of sales. Centennial Hall has a capacity of about 2,500.
The almost-packed house of mostly middle-to-older-aged spectators gathered in groups just outside the venue 30 minutes before the doors opened, many dressed in cowboy hats and shirts depicting Travis.
Travis sang some of his newer material from his most recent album, Around the Bend, along with some old favorites that span more than 20 years.
Having toured consistently over the past 24 years, the 50-year-old artist's higher notes were noticeably harsh at times, but Travis transitioned seamlessly into the lower baritone voice his fans have become accustomed to.
Travis ended the night on a note of juxtaposition, singing two number-one singles whose releases were separated by 16 years.
""Three Wooden Crosses,"" released in 2003, reflects the artist's gospel-sounding recent work. Travis' last song of the night, ""Forever and Ever, Amen,"" debuted in 1987 and utilizes the quicker rhythm that launched Travis into stardom in the 1980s.
""For our first country show, I think it went great,"" said Mario Di Vetta, UApresents marketing associate. ""We always want to appeal to a large variety of people with our shows.""
Having lost 75 percent of its state funding over the last year, UApresents turned to an e-mail and listserv campaign to attract attention to the concert, Di Vetta said.
""We've stepped up our community and fundraising efforts,"" he said. ""The show met expectations.""
Travis has 22 number one hits to his name, along with six number one albums, five Grammy Awards and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, according to a UApresents press release.