Tori Kelly at the Northrop – 5/9/2016

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For someone who according to Simon Cowell has an “almost annoying” voice singer/songwriter Tori Kelly sure has come a long way and by the looks of it she is just getting warmed up. She just released a remake of “Baby Baby” with Amy Grant, has opened for Ed Sheeran and Sam Smith. And there was this little thing called a Grammy Nomination for best new artist. She is currently headlining her “Unbreakable” Tour and played a well attended Northrop Auditorium Monday Night. The audience was young, female and enthusiastic with a few bewildered boyfriends and parents thrown in.

Starting the show was New York band Thirdstory. Composed of Elliott Skinner, Richard Saunders, and Ben Lusher the trio has quite the following on YouTube. Judging by the cheers that greeted them many in the audience were fans and a shout from the crowd “Minnesota loves you!” proved the point. Supported by a drummer the trio described their music as “Folksy love songs with 3 part harmonies”. Their music was soulful the harmonies were quite prominent and well received by the audience. Their second song started with the trio creating a vocal loop for their background. Overall a perfectly good opening set.

The distinguished Northrop went a bit nuts when Tori Kelly took the stage promptly at 830 PM. “Where I belong” started off slow just Tori and her guitar, but things sped up quickly. Kelly is a bundle of energy on stage bouncing back and forth and feeds on her audience. I was expecting more gimmicks on stage but it’s really her, the band and some lights. This allows the focus to remain on her and she certainly has the voice and stage presence to pull it off. Tori Kelly like so many artists has a Prince story as he attended one of her previous shows in Minneapolis at the Varsity and walked in just as she did a cover of “Kiss”. She and her band got invited to Paisley Park. She paid tribute with a simple and outstanding cover of “Purple Rain”. Here is a link to a fan video. I knew little about Tori prior to the show but was very impressed with this young artist and expect we will see quite a bit more of her in the future.

Set List (pending confirmation): Where I Belong (Intro) / Unbreakable Smile / Expensive / Anyway / Nobody Love / Falling Slow / First Heartbreak / Beautiful Things / Paper Hearts / Suit & Tie / P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing) / Thinkin Bout You / Daydream / Confetti / Funny / I Was Made For Loving You / City Dove / Talk / Something Beautiful / All in My Head / Dear No One

Encore: Hollow / Should’ve Been Us

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