Concert Review: Tori Kelly Returns To Houston

Written by on October 8, 2015


Tori Kelly is no stranger to Houston … and with a line of fans wrapped around the building and down the street, saying she was missed is an understatement.

Houstonians were in for a special treat when Tori Kelly brought her Where I Belong Tour along with opening act Johnny Stimson to Warehouse Live on Monday night where they were greeted with a sold out show!


With the show running behind schedule due to sound check, the growing anticipation of Kelly’s performance was almost no match for the venue, until the show began right around 8 p.m. when Johnny Stimson took the stage. At first sight, those unfamiliar with Stimson had no idea what to expect or what he could potentially bring to the table. As Stimson got into his song “Easy,” you know exactly why Kelly invited him for the tour. If that wasn’t enough, Stimson’s rendition of Justin Bieber’s “Boyfriend” certainly did the trick and the floor belted out the lyrics along with him. After each song Stimson performed, reactions of approval swept the floor and he was quickly winning the crowd over with his funky style. With songs like “So. Good.” And “Discotech,” he’s giving me ultimate Robin Thicke vibes and I (along with more, I’m sure) automatically regret not having heard of him before. While taking a moment before performing his song “Holding On,” the Dallas native expressed his joy for being able to perform on the tour and how thankful he was for the opportunity. Once Stimson’s set was finished, he thanked the crowd and welcomed anyone to meet him after the show. If you’ve never heard of Johnny Stimson before … now’s the time. He is something special.

After Stimson’s set, the roar of “Tori! Tori! Tori!” quickly overcame the venue along with shrieks of excitement at any hint of her presence. Soon enough, Tori Kelly made her entrance as she sat center stage with her guitar to perform “Where I Belong” from her debut album Unbreakable Smile, while conveying the true message of her being “just a girl and her guitar … trying to give you [her] whole heart.” You would think that this intro would have slowed the anticipation down, but it’s exactly what fans expected from the vocalist. The party truly began when Kelly discarded her guitar and belted out (along with the fans) “Expensive” and “Unbreakable Smile” – obvious crowd favorites. In the midst of fanning herself and raising her hair, Kelly then talked about how she was excited about being back in Houston and that this show “was going to be a sweaty one.”

Kelly then slowed the show down to recall the last time she performed in Houston at the House of Blues two years ago. There wasn’t a band, opening act or debut album. She asked the crowd who all was there and hands proudly raised (mine included) of those claiming they’ve been on this journey with her for years. As always, Kelly expressed how she wouldn’t be where she was today if it wasn’t for all the love she received on YouTube and how her career started because of the fans. This was the perfect lead in for a medley of her most memorable covers like Justin Timberlake’s “Suit and Tie”, Frank Ocean’s “Thinkin’ ‘Bout You” and more which, by the quick assembly of cell phones in the air, garnered amazing response! Even the “nope” and short laugh Tori gave during “P.Y.T.” when she got the chords wrong still shows how much she loves going back to basics with her guitar (her band was also on point, by the way).

Kelly then explained that Houston was a good crowd to inform that she is currently in the middle of choosing her next single and she then teased that it may or may not be one that we know already.

Aside from her duets with Ed Sheeran and LL Cool JJ, fans were able to hear live renditions of the majority of her album and then some. The best thing about being in the midst of a Tori Kelly audience is how authentic it feels. Even in a sold out FullSizeRendershow, when Kelly takes a moment to just talk between songs, she makes it feel personal and like she’s having a one-on-one conversation with you. As she plays the chords to the next song and people realize which one it is, the wave of reactions and responses is unbelievable because everyone finds their own connection to each song she sings. Although many had spent most of their day waiting in line to get front row access, finding a bad seat in the room would be impossible. Apart from the heavenly vocals Kelly issued that performance, the air was full of not only “I love yous,” but also “YAASS Tori, you better sang” and “Get itttt, Tori!” Knowing the success that she has had this year (the list of award shows she did not perform at this year would be shorter) there could not have been a better venue than Warehouse Live to see her perform. Now, it’s only a matter of time before she’s selling out Houston stadiums and arenas, so be sure to catch her next time around!

Did you attend the show? Have you seen Tori live? What do you think about Johnny Stimson? Leave us a comment down below or tweet me here and tell me all the things! 🙂

Keep up with Tori Kelly: iTunes | Spotify  | Twitter | Instagram|Facebook |Vine

Keep up with Johnny Stimson: iTunes| Spotify| Facebook|Twitter| Instagram|Official Website

(I’m just going to leave this jam here)


 By Rae Tolbert
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