About midway through Better Than Ezra's 80-minute set at the Campus Jubilee Friday night, lead singer Kevin Griffin told the crowd he didn't know what to expect playing the Jubilee.
"I came out during the ceremony and I saw it was really, really formal," said Griffin, who was born in Atlanta but now lives with his bandmates in New Orleans. He had been hanging out in Emory Village and crossed over to campus to see what all the hubbub was about. "People were on stage congratulating the new president in different languages, and I was thinking to myself, 'We have to follow this?'"
What Griffin stumbled onto was the interfaith benediction, but the formality of the Inauguration ended with the recessional at 4:45 p.m. The much-more-laid-back jubilee, which ran from 5-8 p.m. on McDonough Field, featured a concert by Better Than Ezra, which played hits from its four albums; a midway of carnival games; a pair of stilt walkers; and lots of free food and beverages.
President Jim Wagner made his first public appearance after being inaugurated, and he and his family spent time greeting guests. Wagner also got dangerously close to the front of the line at the batting cage--one of the more popular carnival games--but did not take any swings.
Meant to be a campuswide celebration to cap the week's worth of Inauguration activities, the campus jubilee did its job, attracting 1,500 faculty, staff and students.
Ari Hest, a singer-songwriter from New York, opened the show, and Better Than Ezra took the stage around 6:30 p.m. As night fell and workers disassembled the carnival games, the band played for a passionate group of about 300 (mostly student) fans.
Griffin said not only had he been born in Atlanta but was accepted into the School of Law (he did not attend). Bassist Tom Drummond said he had applied to Emory College but decided to attend Louisiana State University "because they gave me money."