#TBT to when I had the incredible chance to attend Jon Bellion’s concert in Boston at Club Royale- and let me tell you, it will always be a night to remember.
The tour brings his recent album release, The Human Condition, to life as he quite literally sings, lives, invents, produces, and breathes his music on stage. The entire night was an unforgettable memory of emotion, love, fire, passion, and music.
When entering the old theater-turned night club, you can’t help but notice the beauty in its oddity. It is perplexing for how stunningly elegant the venue is and yet, it still is as sketchy and grungy as a night club would be. Everyone crowded for the show standing on floor and looking down from the mezzanine as the all were eagerly waiting for the artist they came out to see. Of course, the event was completely sold out–no less for the man who inspires and brings joy to so many people through his music!
The two openers of the show got the crowd warmed up for the main attraction starting with Bellion collaborator, Blaque Keyz. A rapper from Boston, he freestyled and hyped the crowd up, being extremely grateful to the audience and to Bellion for this show. He had a lot of confidence and some great lines, and he had the right idea for technique and delivery; however, there would definitely be room to grow and develop in the instrumental side of his hip-hop as he gets more opportunities within the industry. He features at the end of one of Bellion’s more gentle and profound tracks on the compilation “Weight of the World.” At the end of his act, the rapper even gave out his real phone number in the end to prove that he was an authentic figure and that he was there for the fans when they needed him. Nevertheless, the crowd was kind to him and appreciated the performance he gave as he left the stage and on came the second set.
Next up was a hip-hop artist much more known in the industry, Capitol Records’ SonReal. As he came out on stage he provided a lot of enthusiasm and really tried to amp the crowd up. He even sang his most recent hit single, “Can I Get a Witness,” to which the people in the crowd sang along to. He then thanked everyone and off he went, and that is when the suspense kicked in.
I know it sounds absurd to be so excited to see one man perform, but let me tell you, this is not just a mere mortal man. Jon Bellion is an artist. A true blue entertainer, singer, songwriter dancer, and believer. He understands the definition of the human condition very well. (anyone?) He knows what his fans love, what they need, and he is willing to produce that to make the masses happy. But of course, the music also brings him joy as it has become a major part of his life. I had been waiting for so long to be able to attend a concert of his and when I had this opportunity, I quite literally jumped out of my chair! (No lie, #Realtalk, jumped.)
The New Jersey-native stepped out of the darkness and onto the stage, and just his silhouette alone had the entire fan-base screaming. I was truly blown away by the dedication and adoration displayed by everyone in the room. I had known he was loved and supported, but I had only really known my own appreciation for him in my own little world. Stepping into a space where hundreds of people shared the same interest in music was just a whole new dimension all together. Bellion, was nothing but humble and excited and blessed for us all to be there.
He started singing his famous intro track “He is the Same” and he danced around the stage and asked the crowd to already start joining in, which we did without hesitation.
It was impressive how he utilized every inch of the stage, not leaving any space untouched, while he let loose with actually really great dance moves! He has such swag- who knew!? At the end of the song, he was so appreciative of the love; he then announced to the crowd, breathlessly “I love you guys so fucking much…About two years ago we were playing a fucking room. Things have changed.” But he’s still the same man.
Off his album he sang “He Is the Same,” “80’s Film,” (which is actually about his hometown) “All Time Low,” “New York Soul Pt. ii,” “Maybe IDK,” “Overwhelming,” “Weight of the World,” “Guillotine,” and “Hand of God (outro).” One thing that Bellion is known for and is skilled at is covering all bases in different genres. He can rap and make hip hop music, he can sing pop, he can jam with rock, he can croon with indie, and he can blast with electronic. He blends all of these together to make the quintessential mixed, matched, and mastered tracks.
All ages were there at the concert! I mean it. There were three 12 year olds standing in front of me, college kids everywhere of course, adults, couples, friends, etc. It was interesting to think that this man could draw such a diverse crowd, but it only made sense that good music would appeal to everyone.
Now like I said, he mixes and is experimentive, so when he started singing “All Time Low” we got a taste of it in a more acoustic yet faster pace than the usual tune the song goes to. When he performed “Guillotine” with Travis Mendes (my personal favorite), it was a COMPLETELY different song. He had sped up the lyrics, had changed the melody, and had an entire choreographed piece with Mendes to go with it. It was absolutely wild! Then when he did “Maybe IDK” and I lost it, the crowd lost it! He came to the center of the stage alone, stood by the mic with a single spotlight on him, and then he started beat boxing- REALLY WELL. He slayed it, beatboxing and then auto-looping his vocals to create the musical backdrop as he sang the lyrics to the song over it. At the, the crowd was practically passing out from the exhilaration and shock!
There is a method behind his madness. A genius behind the invention. Bellion is a man of his art. He truly knows how to play with the music. He quite literally is having fun messing around with the sounds and tones and tropes to create his own toolkit of noise. A man of many talents, he was easily compared to the skills of Ed Sheeran of being a one man show. He loops his vocals so perfectly that it is almost indistinguishable from the music itself, creatively constructing a track as he goes along.
What really was mind-blowing though was how he did not play the songs as remembered from the studio production, but rather he reinterpreted them on the stage impromptu, painting sonically with his gadgets and his voice.
He performed “New York Soul pt. ii” and had the crowd bumping and get old school with him, and then he sat and slowed things down for the crowd as he sang the heart felt “Weight of the World.”
At some point of the show, a woman, I guess was so enraptured by his acts that she threw her bra at him, to which he laughed hysterically and so adorably and innocently said “jokes on you, now your titties are all saggy and shit, haha. ”
He didn’t really seem to play any of his slow songs that night, but any that he did, he made sure to speed up the pace and make it more of a dance vibe. He was definitely going for the party night, and it was very well executed.
The whole show was unworldly, adrenaline rushing, moving, and powerful.
Blaque Keyz returned to the stage for his segment in “Weight of the World” and right at that moment, the trio standing had a full out rager! They were having a blast the whole entire time, and it only made me want to jump down from the mezzanine and onto the stage to join them!
When he sang “Hand of God” that is when the floodgates bursted open. It was an extremely emotional moment in the night because halfway through the song, that encompasses all of the tracks on the album, he went on an inspiring rant that had people in the crowd actually crying. He began to discuss about the tragic events have been occurring in our world like the violence in the past few weeks in Orlando, and then with a strong, yet wavering voice he stated:
“if you could do me one favor after you leave this place tonight, one favor at all, just love somebody, make somebody feel good about themselves. There’s something definitely wrong when somebody believes in something, and they should be able go to a place where they should feel safe and their life is completely taken away from them. Is that unfair to you guys? Does that make you upset? On another note, there’s a girl who does music and she comes out and does a meet&greet and there’s somebody who goes to her meet&greet and shoots her down and kills her. Are we ok with that?” The crowd replied in sync, “Nooooo!” He continued “Music does one thing, god gave us music because no matter who’s color, or who’s race, or who’s gender is in this room tonight, we can relate to something and that’s my music, right? So, I need a favor from you guys, I need you to just close your eyes, and we’re just going to enjoy this fucking music. My band is gonna take us out, thank you so much for having us! If you take away one thing from these guys, or what I do, or whatever for the rest of our lives, know that we wanted you to love our people, to wake up and treat people better every single day, is that cool?” He then had everyone join in to sing the chorus, and raise their hands in the air if they’ve ever lost someone special in their lives. Many hands went up as we all sang together:
Tears at a funeral, tears at a funeral, I might breakAngry at all the things, angry at all the things I can’t changeWhen you’re lost in the universe, lost in the universe, don’t lose faithMy Mother said, your whole life’s in the hand of God…
He left, but he then of course came back on stage for an encore when the crowd was practically bawling for him to come back. He then decided to sing an old song of his that made OG Bellion fans go insane, “Jim Morrison.” He quite literally ended the concert on a high note. Everyone adrenaline buzzed and in a state of euphoria. The hands of fans never went down as they speared light beams and air streams. Bellion was, to put it simply, pretty fantastically “overwhelming.”
You can listen to the full album here on Spotify now: