January 23, 2015 Christina Perri lights up The Paramount Huntington, NY 12-10-14
This Philadelphia born singer-songwriter is living proof that dreams do come true. The twenty-eight year old Alternative-Pop songbird took a leap of faith at the tender age of twenty-one and left everything that was familiar and safe to go to Los Angeles. After a failed marriage, she headed home to Philadelphia, but returned to LA with new song “Jar of Hearts.” A friend floated the song to another friend, and it was featured on the hit show So You Think You Can Dance. Suddenly, Perri found fame on Billboard Charts, and in less than a month after her song ran on the show, she was signed to Atlantic Records. Perri has since released two albums, Lovestrong (2011) and, more recently, Head or Heart (2014). She’s spent a great deal of time on tour and on Wednesday, December 10th, performed at the Paramount in Huntington, New York with opening act Jukebox the Ghost, who made a special appearance with Perri during a short break from their own tour.
Jukebox the Ghost is touring in support of their 2014 self-titled release. This is the fourth studio release for the Indie-Pop three piece, which is made up of lead vocalist/pianist Ben Thornewill, guitarist/vocalist Tommy Siegel, and drummer/vocalist Jesse Kristin. Originally forming in 2003 under the moniker The Sunday Mail, the band met with greater success after taking a two year break and returning as Jukebox the Ghost. Since the 2008 release of their first album, Let Live and Let Ghosts, the band has played many live shows, accruing a substantial number of fans in the process. Starting in 2009, they began to experience recognition in the mainstream, appearing with such notables as Ben Folds and Barenaked Ladies, and playing The Late Show with David Letterman in 2010.
At the Paramount, the crowd was receptive to the band’s impressive performance, and judging by the number of people singing along to their songs, there were quite a few fans in the audience. The band members demonstrated their versatility by rotating instruments throughout the seven song set. Among the highlights were “Long Way Home” and “The Great Unknown,” both off the new album, and “Somebody,” from their 2012 release Safe Travels. After “The Great Unknown,” Thornewill, who had come out from behind the piano and was standing at the edge of the stage, prompted the audience to clap out the rhythm to the final song, a rousing cover of Queen’s “Somebody to Love.” Thornewell’s demonstration of his ability to match Freddie Mercury’s pitch in that final high note, which he sustained for what seemed to be a full minute, was the perfect way to end the set as the audience offered up thunderous applause. With their wholesome and upbeat music, Jukebox the Ghost succeeded at setting the tone for the headlining act. The band will continue to tour the U.S. through March, appearing again in New York City at the Irving Plaza on February 28th.
Perri, who has toured extensively since “Jar of Hearts” hit the charts, is known for her soulful, deeply personal songs that often address the topics of love and loss. An airline delay and a flight that did not land until 7 pm left her with absolutely no time to spare once she reached the venue, but the stressful incident did not preclude her ability to enchant her audience and have a blast in the process. Hitting the stage only ten minutes late — and what mainstream musician ever appears on time anyway? — Perri opened her set with “Trust,” followed immediately by “Shot Me in the Heart.” She sat down and played the piano during “Arms” as orange and pink lights pulsed around her. Taking a moment to express how happy she was to be there, she then grabbed a guitar and played “Run,” “Distance,” and “Building Gold.” Before beginning “The Words,” a song which she introduced as being about the fear associated with new love, she took a sign from a fan that read, “I love u Christina Perri,” and graciously asked if she could keep it. The fan obliged, of course, and Perri played the rest of her set with the sign propped up against the piano.
In honor of the season, Perri donned a Santa hat and played “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” encouraging the audience to sing along. After wishing everyone a joyful holiday she introduced the next song with a disclaimer, warning the audience that it was “very happy,” and asking them to clap and “smile really big.” This was “Be My Forever,” after which she took a seat at the edge of the stage and sang “A Thousand Years,” which appeared on the soundtrack for The Twilight Saga 2: Breaking Dawn. After a few bars of Coldplay’s “Sky Full of Stars,” she held out the mic and turned vocal duties over to the audience, who sang the ending hook in its entirety. Following that were “One Night” and “Human” after which Perri addressed the audience again. She expressed her love for Long Island, saying it was where her best friend is from, and requested that the audience fill the venue with love to lift the spirits of anyone who was not feeling great. She wrapped up her set with “I Believe,” which she explained was a song with highly personal lyrics that she initially thought she would have keep in her diary. For the encore, Perri played “Penguin,” which she prefaced by encouraging audience members to make out with any “special friends” that might have been present. She followed up with “Jar of Hearts,” and after thanking the crowd profusely, ended the show with “I Don’t Wanna Break.”
Throughout the performance, Perri’s vocals were smooth, soulful, and clear. Live, she sounds just like she does on studio recordings, but it is evident that this is her real voice; nothing is canned or synthesized. Perri is just that talented. She offers a show that is appropriate for all ages, and her personality is humble and endearing. Christina Perri’s upcoming tour dates will take her abroad, but should she play a show in the U.S. in the near future, she is definitely an act worth checking out.