Thursday, July 14, 2016

Concert Review of Jon Bellion at The Fillmore in SF


It's been a long time since I've felt compelled to do a concert review after a show. That's partly because I'm a lot busier now and can't get to as many shows, let alone write about the ones I do attend. That isn't a reflection of my passion for music, it's more of a reflection of how free time becomes less abundant when your 20s are in your rearview.

Old man status aside, I witnessed a special show this week when I got the privilege of seeing Jon Bellion perform live for the first time. Prior to the show, I knew it had all the potential in the world to be a memorable show. Not only is Jon on a rapid come up following his latest album's release (The Human Condition...stop reading now and cop it if you haven't already), but he's not quite a bit enough name yet to justify performing at an amphitheater sized venue. As someone who has witnessed over 100 shows, that's exactly the stock you want to buy. The act that hasn't quite made it big yet, but has super star written all over him and is performing in a more intimate venue. That venue just happened to be the world famous Fillmore in the heart of San Francisco. The setup was perfect and it appearred the stars were aligning for his 14th straight sold out show to live up to expectations.

Before I get into how the headlining set went, I'd be remiss if I didn't give a shout out to both BlaqueKeyz and SonReal for their on point performances. Opening acts play an important role in setting the stage for the headliner and they both left every ounce of what they had on stage. You could tell that SonReal wasn't used to performing to that hype of a crowd and it provided all the foreshadowing needed to guess how well the main act went.

Prior to Jon's set, there were occasional chants of his name in an attempt to get him to come out a bit early. It didn't change anything, but it did nothing but add to my anticipation of what was to come. And what eventually came was one of the top 10 most memorable shows I've been to in my life. Rarely have I ever attended a show where the *ENTIRE* audience is singing every song word for word, but that was the case on Monday night. There was an under current of undeniable lyricism that helped maintain a steadily high energy level, yet half the tracks were ballads. It was such a unique mix of singing, rapping, beatboxing, instrumentation, and beat samples that you never really knew what to expect. The only thing I did expect was something awesome to happen when someone brought him out an MPC-thingy as the limelight focused squarely on him, center stage. Normally I'd record a minute to give y'all a taste and not contribute to the over-recording of every minute of concerts that we seem to be devolving to, but I couldn't force myself to press stop recording when I saw him put together his hit track Maybe IDK from scratch in front of the entire audience. It's literally too awesome to describe, just press play...

So...yea...that happened and I witnessed it in person. It ranks up there with a lot of solo acoustic ballads and instrumental solos that I've seen through the years. It's a testament to his unique skill set because there aren't more than a handful of people on earth that have the confidence and talent to build an entire track sample by sample in front of a live audience.

And the rest of the concert was no different. I left with more favorite songs of his than I did going into the show, which is always a sign of something special. If there's one thing I can leave you with, it's to make seeing his show a priority in your life. It's one of those "worth mortgaging the house for" type of events where price of ticket and day of the week should matter very little. I'm so serious about it that I'm going to embed the rest of the dates of his Human Condition tour below so you don't even have to find out if he's coming to your city.
Salt Lake, Denver, Milwaukee, Detroit, Toronto and Pittsburg - you are all crazy because there are still tickets available for his show. To the smarter folks in Minneapolis, Chi-town and NYC - although its a bummer you missed out on the box office tickets, don't feel bad paying 4 to 5 times face value because its worth it. The only comparison I have to his show was when I saw Drake perform at Theater of the Living Arts in Philly back in 2010 before he became the most streamed artist in the history of the world. He's probably less than six or so months from becoming a household name (#PixarMoney), so here's your chance to see him before he's all your friends favorite artist...#TheHumanCondition

1 comments:

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