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GoGo Retro Brings The Energy During THON 2023’s Final Performance

East Coast throwback band GoGo Retro shook the Bryce Jordan Center Sunday afternoon for the final live performance of THON 2023. 

The versatile five-person crew blended a mix of traditional hits with new-age rock elements for an energetic, 26-song set. The group played for approximately 45 minutes, right up until THON’s concluding 46-hour mark. 

With exactly an hour to go until 707 dancers took seats for the first time in two days, lead vocalist Vinny DeRenzis ran onto the stage and belted out A-ha’s hit record “Take On Me”. 

During the electric set, DeRenzis introduced guitarist Greg Folsom, a State College native, to the 16,000-person audience. 

“Make some noise for State College’s own!” DeRenzis shouted to the crowd. 

GoGo Retro wasted no time, hopping right into a “Hot Stuff” cover, modeled after Donna Summer’s 1979 hit. Without warning, the band transitioned to “Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!,” headlined by singer Kira Krakovesky.

“Let me hear you scream for Kira!” DeRenzis exclaimed mid-song. 

The group continued its fast-paced theme with Earth, Wind, & Fire’s “September”, only to stop halfway and pick up the beat with “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”. 

DeRenzis then signaled to drummer Mikey Intelisano, who slowed the beat to the tune of “Bennie And The Jets” by Elton John, a four-time performer at the BJC himself. 

“We’re so honored to be back here,” DeRenzis said after the set. “We’re here for one thing, guys, all weekend long. Make some noise for the Four Diamond families, [and] make some noise for the kids!”

From there, GoGo Retro changed its tune. The talented ensemble decided to cover 15 80s songs in only 15 minutes. The group hit the mark right on queue, beginning with Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up”. 

The high-volume mash continued with “Crazy Train” to “Love Shack” for its second and third 80s melodies of the stretch, before jumping into “867 -5309 / Jenny”, an 80s staple courtesy of Tommy Tutone. 

Between Billy Joel’s “We Didn’t Start the Fire”, “Hey, Mickey!”, “We’re Not Gonna Take It”, and “Footloose”, GoGo Retro continued to hit on all facets en route to completing its 15-song goal on time. 

At last, the crew landed on Kenny Loggins’ 1984 smash hit “Footloose” to conclude the 15-minute spurt. 

“We did it — song 15!” DeRenzis exclaimed. 

A slower, drawn-out version of “Man in the Mirror” helped DeRenzis and Krakovesky regain their breath before the lead singer took over the mic in celebration of the dancers’ efforts. 

“Penn State, again, we’re so honored to be here tonight,” DeRenzis said. “Dancers, I speak for everyone in this room, to say how proud of you we are… Can I get an FTK?”

On his command, the full-capacity unit threw diamond hand signals into the air, and shouted “FTK!” three times behind DeRenzis’ orchestration. 

The group finished with six more songs, highlighted by “Wonderwall” and “Song 2” by Blur. To end the high-spirited spectacle, Krakovesky ended the show with a cinematic masterpiece. 

“Kira’s going to take us out, and she’s going to need everybody’s help with this one,” DeRenzis said. 

“I think you guys might know this one,” she echoed. 

Immediately, she belted out a rangy version of Celine Dion’s most-recognizable hit, “My Heart Will Go On” to end the nearly 30-song showing. 

“Thank you, Penn State!” DeRenzis said upon the crew’s exit. “Let me hear you scream for the kids!”

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About the Author

Connor Krause

Connor Krause is a senior from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania double majoring in journalism and business. He is a lifelong Penn State football and basketball fan and enjoys rooting for Pittsburgh sports teams. In his free time, Connor can be found playing golf or pick-up basketball. You can follow his Twitter and Instagram @ckrause_31.

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