Harder Stadium was home to an estimated 8,000 concertgoers yesterday, as attendees rocked out to the sounds of Extravaganza 2008.
Sponsored by Associated Students Program Board, Extravaganza featured performances from Out of State, Saosin, Blue Scholars, Hellogoodbye and Nas. The event, which also featured activities like mechanical bull rides and a Guitar Hero booth, cost ASPB approximately $150,000 to organize.
The event peaked early in the evening as legendary underground hip-hop artist Nas took the stage for the final performance. As he launched into his set, billows of smoke rose over the gathered crowd and the audience crammed forward toward the stage, nearly overwhelming the barrier of security guards that blockaded it.
In between performing hits like “The World is Yours,” and “Represent,” Nas frequently addressed the crowd. In particular, he seemed to strike a chord with listeners when he pitched his plan for a utopian society centered around Isla Vista.
“Tomorrow’s world leaders are in this crowd.” Nas said. “If I ruled the world I’d have a house right here across from campus. If I ruled the world, I’d give all you of you some weed and Patròn, we’d talk politics… above all, I’d give you George W. Bush’s head on a silver platter.”
Daniel O’Connell, a fifth-year Japanese major, said Nas was by far the strongest act of the day and energized the entire audience with his hip-hop beats.
“[Nas] took the audience’s energy and channeled it.” O’Connell said. “He got the interest of everyone today, even though the crowd was mostly just casual hip-hop fans. Nas really brought everyone together in unison today, brought the energy up, and got the crowd moving. It was a great performance.”
The gates to Harder Stadium opened at 1 p.m., and after passing through checkpoints staffed by Community Service Officers searching for drugs, weapons, alcohol and cameras, attendees were allowed to make their way towards the stage. Attendance was low in the early hours of the day as smaller acts like I.V.’s own Out of State preformed, but the crowd surged steadily with each subsequent act and reached its height during the Nas’ finale.
In a backstage interview, Saosin drummer Alex Rodriguez said he was pleased with the both the beauty of the women and the fine dining venues in I.V.
“We all went to the world-famous Freebirds before the show.” Rodriguez said. “It was fucking good, plus there were a bunch of little naughties with hottie bodies everywhere.”
The members of Saosin sparked up a playful banter with the audience during their time on stage, with lead singer Cove Reber openly discussing his personal grooming habits, the distinct scent surrounding the stage and fitting timing of the band’s set.
“Just for you ladies right here I shaved, I was looking like Jesus for a second,” Reber said. “I smell so much weed! All of you are so good looking. Thank you, thank you, thank you – thank you guys so much! I want you! And you! I want you also! But we have to hurry because we have to be off stage by 4:20.”
First-year biology major Shirley Morrison said she enjoyed Saosin’s set, though her thoughts on the performance were somewhat limited.
“All the musicians are really hot and really funny!” Morrison said. “They all turned me on for sure.”
Meanwhile, first-year political science major Jon Berthet said, power pop band Hellogoodbye’s performance was the climax of the day.
“I splooged when I saw Hellogoodbye,” Berthet said.
According to University of California Police Dept. Sgt. Mark Vellekamp, Extravaganza proceeded without serious mishap.
“A couple of people were treated for lacerations to the head because of a mosh pit, a person was cited for narcotics and another was arrested for outstanding warrants,” Vellekamp said. “Overall, it was pretty uneventful and peaceful. It was really a nice day for the students to enjoy.”