Jacob Collier

Jacob Collier interacts with the audienceat the Hult Center for the Performing Arts in Eugene, Oregon, on Thursday, March 31, 2022.

“Does anyone happen to have a banana?” is not typically something you would expect to hear at a concert. Well, unless you’re at a Jacob Collier concert, I guess.

Jacob Collier is a musician from London. He grew up in a musical family and, in 2013, his cover of “Don’t You Worry ‘Bout A Thing” by Stevie Wonder went viral on YouTube.

On March 31, I saw him perform live at the Hult Center for the Performing Arts in Eugene, Ore.

In a solo piano performance, Collier played many of his own songs, as well as covers like Coldplay’s “Fix You” and Daniel Caesar’s “The Best Part.”

It was a high-energy concert in which he involved the audience quite a bit.

When he ran out on stage in his colorful striped socks, the first thing Collier did was hum a note. Then he signaled for the audience to follow suit. As he walked up and down the edge of the stage, the performer divided the audience into sections, waving his hands to indicate for a section to move up or down in pitch.

He had turned his audience into a choir and we created a melody with harmonies and dissonance.

Once we sang our final chord, Collier took a seat at the piano.

He told us that he had never done a solo piano performance before, adding that he was excited to be able to have a lower-energy experience and get to play not only his own songs but also some of his favorites by other artists. Collier even had a list — a piece of paper that appeared to have been torn from a notebook — of songs that he wanted to play that night.

One of the first songs he sang was an original arrangement of “Moon River,” and he accompanied himself on the piano. The audience went silent during his performances. His notes rang out clearly. Perhaps everyone was in awe. I know I was.

He stopped between songs to talk. During one pause he asked the audience if anyone had a banana. “I’m a bit hungry,” he said.

A few songs later, someone came running up the center aisle of the performance hall, yellow fruit in hand. The audience laughed as Collier peeled and ate the banana.

One of my favorite things about Collier is how down-to-earth he is. He talked to the audience as if he was talking to a group of close friends. He seemed very relaxed and the overall atmosphere was just good vibes.

Although it was advertised as a solo piano concert, Collier also performed my favorite song of his on an acoustic guitar. It’s called “The Sun Is in Your Eyes.” While playing an F-sharp major chord, he shared that even though it normally takes him a considerable amount of time to write and compose his music, this one “toppled out” in 15 minutes.

Collier played “Lean on Me” as an encore and everybody sang with him, clapping. During the chorus, he split up the audience again, teaching each section a different harmony part.

Going into the concert, I had no idea what to expect. But it was amazing.

Jillian Strother is a sophomore at Riverside Christian School.

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