May 19, 2014

Christina Perri took the world by surprise when her self-produced single, “Jar of Hearts” was featured in a Stacey Tookey number on “So You Think You Can Dance” back in 2010. Now, four years later, she has two albums under her belt and is performing for sold-out crowds. Monday night at The Fillmore was no exception; it was a packed house with hundreds of young 20-somethings crowding the dance floor, all jostling to get closer to the stage and get the opportunity to brush hands with the talented singer.

The night began with a single opener: Tori Kelly. The 20-year old soprano was all smiles as she took to the stage, slung on her acoustic guitar, and broke out into an original song with heartfelt lyrics and powerful vocal runs. After a short set of songs from her EPs, the crowd was definitely enraptured by her “handmade songs” and primed for Christina Perri’s performance.

The lights went down, curls of smoke blurred the stage, and a low thrumming beat began to build. The crowd went wild, chanting for Christina to join the musicians already on the stage. And then, a confident voice rang out from stage left as the singer emerged from the smoke to take her place at center stage. The mellow rock rhythm of “Trust” transitioned smoothly into the livelier “Shot Me in the Heart,” a catchy pop-rock number that had the crowd dancing along with a very enthusiastic Christina and her tambourine.

The evening was a perfect mix of poignant and playful, moving from weighted ballads like “Distance” to spunky anthems like “Burning Gold,” with Christina alternating between playing her small white piano, strumming her acoustic guitar, and singing with her hands clasped loyally around her flowery microphone. And throughout the entire set, the singer was dedicated to connecting with her audience, interjecting anecdotes and musings as she introduced each song. Her enthusiasm was palpable — after asking the crowd if they were having a good time and receiving a resounding “yeah” in response, she jumped up and down, hands fluttering by her sides, and yelled, “Me too!”

It was obvious that everyone was having a blast, and although many of her songs were about lost love and the pain of heartbreak, she gave an utterly joyful performance that left everyone smiling, proving that both heartfelt ballads and lighthearted pieces can resonate with us. In fact, she recalled that when she went to record a song with our favorite ginger-haired Brit, Ed Sheeran, she “was so incredibly happy and it was rather inconvenient,” but he dared her to write that happiness. And, as a “strong Italian woman,” she couldn’t shy away from the challenge. “Be My Forever” was born, and the crowd Monday night went nuts for the uplifting lyrics and peppy beat. Then, if people weren’t in a good enough mood already, Christina tried to set the mood for the couples in attendance when introducing “Penguin” during her encore. “If you’re here with someone you can make-out with, I highly recommend doing it,” she urged.

Leaving the Fillmore at the end of the night, love was in the air, and even the crisp Bay wind couldn’t chill the cheerfulness that every person was exuding when the show came to a close.

Photos by Jennifer Horton / Staff