Fans were lined up at the front booth of the Utah State Fair hours before the gates opened on Sept. 6 for tickets to see the Virginia-based band Parachute. They were there six to seven hours before seating for the concert started, hoping to get seats close to the band.
The tickets were free with admission, which felt too good to be true. The fair was crowded with people wearing Parachute shirts eagerly awaiting their performance.
But it didn’t matter where you were seated at the Utah State Fairpark because when the person from the company sponsoring the performance introduced the band, who emerged from their van located just behind the stage, most of the fans rushed to the open area just below the platform.
Parachute took their own respective places on stage: Johnny Stubblefield behind the drums, Alex Hargrave to his left, bass in hand, and next to him lead guitarist Nate McFarland. Yet what sets Parachute apart from other five-piece pop rock bands is Kit French; he is the band’s keyboardist and also their saxophone player. Then, with their lead vocalist, Will Anderson, taking his place at the head of the stage, the band was ready to give the audience what they had waited for for so many hours.
Parachute started their long-awaited set with a medley of some of their most recognizable songs such as “She is Love” and “Something To Believe In.” The medley soon fed into “Back Again,” a song from their 2009 debut album “Losing Sleep.”
The band — originally known as Sparky’s Flaw — surprised the crowd with two cover songs, “When the Stars Go Blue,” by Ryan Adams but made famous by Tim McGraw, and “Gimme Some Lovin,” by Steve Winwood. Arguably the climax of the show was when front man Will Anders0n scaled the scaffolding on the side of the grandstand stage to belt out the rest of the song. Twice throughout the performance, Anderson balanced on the small concrete wall separating the fans from the stage; he periodically asked the audience for their participation, which they willingly gave.
When Parachute announced that they only had three songs left, the crowd was filled with mixed emotions, but the morale was heightened when the band said that they weren’t going off stage, then coming back on for an encore, because it was awkward and unnecessary.
Parachute left the crowd with “Forever and Always,” a song about two lovers ripped apart by a tragedy. The last seconds of the song were the most emotional. The purely vocal verse had the fans singing along to a farewell from a husband to his wife.
The band praised Utah for being one of their favorite places to play within the states and promised they’d be back every time they were invited.
Katelynn Maes is a junior at Layton High School. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.