Jon Bellion at Queen Elizabeth Theatre, 7/17/19
You may know Jon Bellion’s sound from songs he wrote for other artists – like “Trumpets” by Jason Derulo or “Holding Out” by Andy Grammer. You may recognize his name from his first solo radio single “All Time Low” from debut studio album The Human Condition. Or maybe, you’ve been following him since the beginning – when he created three full LPs for people to download for free so he could build his loyal fanbase. Either way, Jon Bellion never disappoints with his original sound that’s a mix of electronic pop, indie rock and hip-hop – a hybrid only a New York soul could pull off.
Just a little under two years ago, he was playing for a small audience at the Vogue Theatre – filling the place with imbalanced sound after a moment of silence for those lost in the Vegas shooting just the night before. The vibe was strange and the sound was off. It was hard to hear him over the audience singing along to the beautiful acoustic versions of his songs. But we were still dancing to every beat. So, when his Glory Sound Prep world tour was announced to play at Queen Elizabeth Theatre, the first thing that came to mind was: Sitting down for a Jon Bellion show? His fans would never. And that we did not.
The second the house lights went off, every single fan rose from their seats and didn’t sit back down once. His voice filled every part of the room – the whole sound of his unique angelic voice that’s almost better in person than on any record.
After the opening song, it didn’t take long before his custom navy and gold Glory Sound Prep jacket came off to reveal a black t-shirt – simple attire that wouldn’t distract from his perfectly curated songs and joyful energy. The smile on his face was so big as he performed that anyone could tell he loves what he gets to do every night. It’s the kind of energy you want to curate for your own life – chasing the pure happiness that comes with finding something you love as much as he loves performing for his fans.
“I was never focused on getting bigger. Just getting better,” he sang before getting the audience to communicate with each other through high fives and synchronized arm swaying.
Throughout the night, he performed familiar versions of songs like “Couples Retreat” where he’d occasionally disappear from the microphone to rock out on the stand-up drums, and fan-favourite “Overwhelming” that was half-sung by the audience’s ability to know every word.
He also blessed the crowd with new versions of songs we knew, like an acoustic version of “Blu” and a different musical melody to the same lyrics of “Stupid Deep” – a song that can make one feel so alone in the world until it’s sung together by a thousand voices.
What if who I hoped to be was always me?
And the love I fought to feel was always free?
What if all the things I’ve done were just attempts at earning love?
‘Cause the hole inside my heart is stupid deep.
The audience was cheering so loud, it took him minutes to quiet us down enough for him to finish a song. But that was a good thing. It was almost as if he didn’t know how good he was. He was just doing what he loved.
The lighting on the stage for each song was beautifully animated – filling the stage with positive energy and occasionally mimicking the image of a night sky filled with stars. But have you ever seen a couple hundred phones light up a room after it goes dark? It’s incredible what a little bit of light can do when enough people come together to shine it. And it’s amazing what a thousand voices can do when cheering for someone to come back to the stage.
For the encore, Jon Bellion announced his future animated series – which was no surprise to fans who’ve been following his album artwork over the years. And he finished off with an epic performance of “Good Things Fall Apart” – which only proved to fans that when we’re all together sharing the love of song, good things can fall together too.