Y ahoo! and the Houston Chronicle called it “dreadful.” The Washington Post dubbed it “a version that made you want to curl up in the corner and drunk text an ex.” But however you choose to describe The Fray’s swirling, acoustic take on “The Star-Spangled Banner” at the NCAA title game on Monday, few will argue the experiment worked.
“Upon thinking about it, doing the National Anthem is a bit like choosing between Jif and Skippy. You just can’t please everyone,” guitarist Dave Welsh wrote on the band’s Twitter page following the performance.
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With two guitars, a drummer-boy drum and a tambourine, the four-piece from Denver launched into a highly experimental version of the National Anthem. At times, the guitars did not seem to be in synch with each other, adding a bit of confusion to the rendition. Guitarist Joe King said his fingers “froze.”
“I’m going to ride home on the KU bus today,” King wrote on Twitter. “My fingers froze last night. If anyone wants to join me I’ll be at the loser bar tonight.”
Following the anthem, which received a polite ovation from the Superdome crowd in New Orleans, the Kentucky Wildcats went on to defeat the Kansas Jayhawks 67-59.
In February, Steven Tyler caught flack for his warbly rendition of the anthem at the AFC Championship game, and Christina Aguilera famously fumbled the lyrics at the Super Bowl in 2011.