Music, Fun at Wagner Noel

Sawyer Brown performs despite disagreement with West Texas wind

Michael Flax, Adviser


***Opinion pieces reflect the opinion of the writer only, and not the opinion of the newspaper staff, student body, administration or school faculty.***

The night of Sept. 4 was filled with music and fun, all-around a good time, at the University of Texas of the Permian Basin’s Wagner Noel Performance Center. Despite a slight problem the lead singer, Mark Miller, had with our West Texas dirt, the country band Sawyer Brown gave a fun and energetic performance.

The concert began with an acoustic performance by Restless Heart’s lead singer and song writer, Larry Stewart. He performed a number of his hits, including “The bluest eyes in Texas” and “That rock won’t roll.” He had some fun anecdotes, sang songs from some of his idols, and seemed to have a good time, making the atmosphere a real “homey” environment, prepping the audience for Sawyer Brown.

Then Sawyer Brown came out, and everything sounded great until the lead singer, Mark Miller began to sing. His voice cracked, or vanished midway through the song, and I thought maybe there was a problem with the microphone. But after the song he admitted he was suffering from our lovely west Texas weather. It had been another one of our wonderful, windy days, and Miller had made the mistake of inhaling some of our loose sand.

You would think that would be the end, because you can’t have a concert with no singer. But Miller refused to give up. Lead guitarist Shayne Hill and pianist Gregg Hubbard sang back-up and often times took over throughout songs, while Miller danced around the stage and gave everyone a good show. Hill and Hubbard also sang some cover songs, rock and country from the 80s and 90s that brought back some fond memories, and at one point Hubbard did his own style of “dancing” that was fun to watch.

After a half-hour into their set, the band did something they had never done before. They asked for the lights to be turned on and they had a Q&A session with the audience, simply because they refused to give up on their concert that the audience had paid good money and drove so far to come see them. So we asked questions, and they answered, usually making us laugh, and would cut back into a few songs. And that was how the night went. They managed to play some of their hits, “Dirt Road,” “Drive Me Wild” and “Round Here.”

I had such a good time at the concert, the fact that the singing was constantly cracking was never a concern. In fact, even though it’s not really comical, I couldn’t help but laugh when Miller constantly shook his head, indicating he knew his voice was off, signaling to the others to take over or sing one of their cover songs, or the constant emptying of yet another water bottle to sooth his throat.

I enjoyed the concert and left feeling good. I just hope Mark got better in time for their next concert the following night in Kansas.

Photo by Michael Flax
The country music band Sawyer Brown performed at the Wagner Noel concert hall Sept 4. Photo by Michael Flax.