But as soon as the Utes finished off Northern Colorado with an overwhelming 41-0 victory, thousands of Ute fans already delirious and a little buzzed rode TRAX across town from Rice-Eccles Stadium to the TRAX stop near Pioneer Park. Between 8:30 and 9 p.m., lines getting into the concert were packed with Ute fans wearing red jerseys and hats. Many wore shirts representing Utah's student fan club, the MUSS.
The night was even more of an event when Utah native Jef Holm, founder of local bottled-water company People Water, brought his wife-to-be, Emily Maynard, onstage to greet the crowd. The couple, who became engaged on the most recent season of the ABC hit reality series "The Bachelorette," announced that Maynard, a Charlotte, N.C., resident, was in Salt Lake City for the first time.
"It is so beautiful here," Maynard gushed in a Tribune interview later. "It's so much different from Charlotte."
Holm said it was his third Twilight Concert of the summer and that he would be moving to Charlotte soon to be with his fiancée.
But in the end, the night was about the music. Blacc, a virtual unknown to people outside of the R&B community, immediately captured the crowd's attention from the outset and didn't let go until his 70-minute set was over. With a six-piece backing band featuring a robust horn duo of trumpet and saxophone, the sharply dressed Blacc won the audience over with his blend of socially conscious lyrics and gang-buster soul sound.
With Blacc starting late and Common not taking the stage until about 9 p.m., the huge influx of Ute fans were treated to nearly all of the Chicago rapper's headlining set. Accompanied by a bassist, turntablist, drummer and keyboardist, the sweat-drenched Common launched a bass-heavy, throbbing set that must have made the guests at the Residence Inn across the street regret staying there that night (even though Thursday at the Residence Inn is hamburger and hot dog night).
The successful night was in ways a referendum for the Salt Lake City Arts Council's controversial decision to charge an admission fee $5 for the first time in the concert series' 25 years of existence. The concert also showed that hip hop is the biggest draw for the young audiences the series appeals to; next to Thursday night's show, the most-attended Twilight Concert of the season was New York City rapper Nas on July 19.
It was a happy ending for the series, just as happy as Holm and Maynard's most perfect union. Twilight crowds
R Attendance at each of this summer's Twilight Concert Series:
9,877 • July 5 (Beach House)
12,475 • July 12 (Raphael Saadiq)
23,800 • July 19 (Nas)
21,588 • July 26 (Band of Horses)
20,277 • Aug. 2 (My Morning Jacket)
11,123 • Aug. 9 (Divine Fits)
18,603 • Aug. 16 (M. Ward)
14,377 • Aug. 23 (Iron & Wine)
27,000 • Aug. 30 (Common)