Happy Valley Jam Kicks Off in Beaver Stadium
July 08, 2017 4:34 PM
by Geoff Rushton
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Beaver Stadium's first ever concert got under way Saturday afternoon under sunny skies as passing clouds began to clear.

Outside the venue, it looked a lot like a fall Saturday with fans setting up tailgates as lots opened at 11 a.m. Inside, the show got started at 4 p.m. with up and coming country artist Adley Stump.

It marked her fourth performance this week in State College, after playing Central PA 4thFest on Tuesday, the Jam Before the Jam on South Allen Street  early Friday evening, and the Penn State Athletic Department's "One Team" event in the stadium later on Friday.

Stump opened the show with her popular single "Don't Wanna Love Him," and followed that with a mix of originals and country-tinged covers of rock and pop songs such as AC/DC's "You Shook Me All Night Long" and Gnarls Barkley's "Crazy."

David Ray took the stage at 5 p.m. and delivered a rousing performance opening with his rollicking "Playing with Fire." The set included originals like his recent single "Earthquake," from his upcoming album of the same name and a cover of Jimmy Eat World's "The Middle," which has the crowd in the pit singing along loudly.

Ray also knew how to win over the crowd, leading several enthusiastic "We Are.." cheers.

Big & Rich continued the show at 6 p.m. and launched into "Comin' to Your City," a fitting opener for their Beaver Stadium set given its use as the theme song for ESPN's College Game Day.

From there they played a string of hits including "Loud" and "Look at You."

A Big & Rich tradition for more than 1,000 shows, they invited a U.S. military veteran on-stage. Their guests this time out were Dr. Ross Segan and his daughter Ellie, a Penn State junior.

Ross Segan was a U.S. Army major and surgeon who was deployed to Afghanistan, where he helped to treat and save the lives of coalition service members and Afghan children. While serving overseas he suffered a spinal injury that ended his surgical career. Ellie, who turns 20 on Sunday, attends Penn State with a Folds of Honor scholarship, which is awarded to families of fallen and disabled service members.

After Ross Segan spoke about the work of service members, Big & Rich played "8th of November," a salute to military members, as the Segans were seated on stage.

Big & Rich continued their set for more than an hour, joined on-stage by Cowboy Troy from a long section that weaved together some rock covers and originals before peaking with "Save a Horse (Ride a Cowboy)." 

Following Big & Rich, the heaviest hitters of Happy Valley Jam will take the stage, with Chris Young at 7:45 p.m., and headliner Blake Shelton at 9:30 p.m.

In addition to being Beaver Stadium's first concert, Saturday also marks the first time beer is being sold at concession stands and the lines for suds were long, though moving briskly, before the show.

Check out photos from the day so far at Happy Valley Jam in the gallery below.

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