Rice was chosen by the Carolina Union Activities Board, despite a CUAB survey showing he was the least popular choice in his category. Boateng Kubi, CUAB’s vice president of outreach, said he thought the event lived up to their expectations.
“Jubilee was an incredible success,” Kubi said. “At the door we ended up selling 111 tickets, and so we actually met our goal of trying to sell 3,000 tickets.”
Of the possible 4,900 tickets, 3,030 tickets were sold. Kubi said he thought Rice was a great performer.
Rice, a UNC class of 2009 graduate, showed UNC pride with his song “Carolina Can.”
“If there’s one place in the world I’ve wanted to play this song, it’s Chapel Hill,” Rice told the audience.
Senior Haley Huckabee said Rice’s connection to UNC is part of the reason she was excited to come out.
“I love Chase Rice’s ‘Carolina Can,’ and I wanted to hear that in person,” she said. “And us seniors, it made us really sentimental and was just really awesome to hear that.”
UNC graduate Jennifer Trahey bought full-price tickets and backstage passes.
“He went to school here when I was in school here, so I was excited to see him in concert,” Trahey said.
Rice played hits like “Ready Set Roll,” along with well-known covers like Blink-182’s “All the Small Things” and Florida Georgia Line’s “Cruise” — a song he co-wrote.
Some students said they were impressed with Rice’s wide range of song choices.
“I was really surprised at some of the songs they did — the covers, they were awesome,” said first-year Zach Abdou.
Rice stopped by Abdou’s fraternity before the concert.
“He came by the (Alpha Epsilon Pi) house today,” he said. “It was awesome, so it made me want to come out even more.”
Opening artist Lacy Cavalier, who is part of Rice’s Back to College Tour, said she enjoyed her time at UNC, mostly because she never got to attend college herself.
“I didn’t go to college,” she said. “So I feel like I’m living it up for a month, so it’s been so fun.”
The concert followed the spring football game, a tradition Rice — a former linebacker — used to take part in.
Rick Steinbacher, UNC’s senior associate athletic director for external communications, said the athletics department pursued co-promotional opportunities with CUAB after Rice was chosen.
Steinbacher said the audiences overlapped.
“Obviously Carolina football fans here for the spring game love Chase,” he said. “There’s this huge line out there to meet him and greet him and welcome him home to Chapel Hill, and a lot of these folks will be excited about going to the concert.”
When the audience broke out in a Tar Heel chant at the concert, Rice showed his pride.
“I love this place,” he said. “I love where I’m from.”