Homecoming Kick-off: Reel Big Fish Performs for Colgate Crowd


The Homecoming concert featured performances by Alyssa Rose and ‘90s ska band, Reel Big Fish.

By the time I arrived at Whitnall Field on Friday for the Homecoming concert and bonfire, I was already too late for a free T-shirt. It was 8:52 p.m. and the headliner, Reel Big Fish, was about to take the stage. I missed Alyssa Rose, the opener, but I heard that she put on a feel-good set. She’s from Upstate New York so she probably felt at home performing here.

There was a moderate turnout for the event. The main attraction seemed to be the allure of free food, especially from food trucks. There’s a theory that food actually tastes better from a food truck. I didn’t come up with the theory, nor do I know if I agree with it or not, but the point is that the food was extremely satisfying. There were five food trucks that offered everything from empanadas to mini wood-fired pizzas. The personal pizzas from Toss ’N Fire were thin-crust pies that really hit the spot.  

Everyone seemed to either be in line for the food trucks or staying warm by the fire. The longest line was for the empanadas, but no food truck seemed to disappoint.

“Come Fry With Me’s mac ‘n cheese bites saved the night. It’s true that you can’t go wrong with good food and a bonfire,” sophomore Diana Flores said.

At 9 p.m., Reel Big Fish began its performance. Reel Big Fish is a third-wave ska band that achieved some fame in the ‘90s. They still have a moderate following and tour intermittently.

“Can we talk about Reel Big Fish? I listened to them in 1997 in high school. It’s mind blowing that they’re playing Homecoming at Colgate in 2017. Who made that choice?” Colgate’s Head of Research and Instruction librarian Josh Finnell said.

Reel Big Fish opened with a cover of “The Final Countdown.” Instantly, I spotted and heard the best part of the band, the trombone player. The band then went into some of their own songs off albums like Everything Sucks, Turn the Radio Off, and Cheer Up! Midway through their set, they played their most well-known song, “Sell Out.”

The band also played many covers. They started with Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and eventually they covered Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’.” This is an unfortunate trend among ska bands today. I saw a Sublime cover band that did a similar tactic. They play the same chords and sing the lyrics of different famous songs, while acting very clever even though the trick gets old after the first cover. Some student yelled out during Reel Big Fish’s karaoke moment and said, “We get it, you’re fake famous!”

Although Reel Big Fish was not the best band to have for the Homecoming concert, the night was still a fun time with friends under the stars on a crisp and cool night.

“There was great energy and the band was enthusiastic. They were musically talented and were committed to putting on a good show,” sophomore Katie Robertson said.

“I stopped by to try the food trucks. I got some tacos that were good but the line was long. The band was entertaining during the wait and the bonfire was a great place to talk with friends because it was a little cold,” sophomore Cal Slavitt said.

As I made my way back to my dorm, I thought of the night’s events. It was a fun time, but it just didn’t seem to fulfill the idea of Homecoming. Homecoming should be about community and celebration. I felt that most of the school was absent for the concert and bonfire. The event was informal and the whole night seemed nonchalant. I would have liked to see a more cohesive and connected student body. We should be celebrating our time and our school together. I just don’t think this was the right event for that.

Contact Tristan Niskanen

at [email protected].