Monday, April 25, Tori Kelly took over the Electric Factory with her glass-shattering voice, touring the city as part of her “Unbreakable Tour.” As someone who loves concerts, I have wanted to catch the former American Idol contestant and YouTube star perform live for a while now and was very excited to see her. I had high expectations, especially after watching her perform “Should’ve Been Us” at the MTV Video Music Awards last August where she demonstrated her insane vocal skills, and she didn’t fail to exceed those expectations for a minute.
The male trio band whom I had never heard of before, Thirdstory, impressed me with their cool indie rock sound to open up the show. They are set to release their first EP signed under Verve and Universal Music in the fall, and have been able to premiere some of these new songs while touring alongside Tori.
When it came time for Tori to begin, she made her way to the stage with her guitar and started with “Where I Belong,” the acoustic intro song on her newest album. She then transitioned into one of the biggest new hits on the album that takes the title of the album, “Unbreakable Smile.” This automatically got the crowd in the right mood with cheerful energy and everyone was singing along from the start.
Interestingly, after the first two songs, she switched from playing songs from her newest album to older ones, probably to hold the crowd. During the middle of her set, she surprised everyone with a catchy and captivating mash-up cover of “Suit & Tie” by Justin Timberlake, “P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)” by Michael Jackson, and “Thinkin’ Bout You” by Frank Ocean. After that, she started to sing some of her most popular songs. In all honesty, I was secretly hoping she would bring out Ed Sheeran for their duo hit “I Was Made For Loving You,” but that didn’t happen. I wasn’t too disappointed though, because Tori sang it incredibly; to the point that that most members , including myself, were left teary-eyed.
She saved the last four songs for a few of her biggest hits from different albums, which I thought was an interesting approach to her setlist. I personally felt like she could have played a few of them earlier in the show, but it did not matter because I still got way too excited when she started playing them. The fourth to last was “All In My Head,” which is one of her first big hits and one of my favorite songs of hers to this day. Her enchanting vocals captivated the audience, moving them to sing their hearts out. After that, she sang “Dear No One,” the biggest hit from her 2013 album “Foreword,” which was one of the most impressive vocal performances. She ended with two encores of her most recent album’s biggest hits: “Hollow” and “Should’ve Been Us.” Both songs were performed impeccably– the energy she and the band presented lit up the stage. Those last two songs were definitely my favorite performances because of the high-energy performance.
Looking back at the performance, a big thing that I couldn’t help but notice is how Tori didn’t have any crazy or outrageous costumes, set pieces on stage, or distracting props like many pop singers do these days. But she didn’t need them; she stuck to a very intimate yet simplistic approach. With pretty lighting on the stage and a cool background with changing colors of what looked like trees in a forest, a fairly casual and cute outfit and the talented band to support her, only served to complement her vocal energy. I have to give her props for this, because I feel that as an artist she truly knows who she is and is not willing to change that for popularity or attention, unlike most other pop artists in the industry. Even with this mindset, the 23-year-old singer-songwriter pop artist did not hesitate to support her talent and left the audience impressed and incredibly satisfied. I feel it is safe to say that her career will continue to prosper and shows of hers will keep selling out, so be sure to act on it fast if you plan on seeing her! Oh and PSA: you will be listening to her songs over and over again for days afterwards.