[Review] Tori Kelly finishes her Acoustic Sessions Tour with an intimate performance in New Orleans

On Saturday, April 13th, two-time Grammy award-winning gospel singer-songwriter Tori Kelly ended her The Acoustics Sessions tour at The Fillmore in New Orleans. “There’s something about this show that feels different,” Kelly told the crowd. “I’m not sure if it’s because it’s the last show or because it’s New Orleans.” The last time the Big Easy saw Tori Kelly was back in November 2015 when she performed at the Civic Theatre during her Where I Belong Tour.

She and her guitarist, Mateus Asato, took center stage alongside a cozy, green couch, a rug, end tables, and a couple of lamps. Though the stage set-up was simple and made it feel like the two were just jamming out in her living room, it certainly fit the overall vibe of the show. They successfully managed to make the show feel very intimate though playing inside of a venue that holds 2,000 people!

Throughout her two-hour set, where she only took a quick break while Mateus performed a guitar solo, Tori Kelly told her story through songs that impacted her musical journey. She opened up to the crowd about her ups and downs, her rejections, the losses in her life, her love life, and everything that lead her to where she is today. The down to earth, singer-songwriter made the Acoustics Sessions feel like an open, accepting, understanding safe space as she opened up. In between songs, she told stories about how the songs came about and made sure to personally give a shout out to every songwriter and influence that helped put her ideas to paper. For example, she shared stories about how her song, “Pretty Fades” was the result of a conversation she had with her now husband, André Murillo, about getting older (and uglier) and how she was afraid of it. She also explained how her song, “Your Words” was inspired by the last moments she remembers having with her grandfather before he passed away.

As Tori moved through each original song, cover, and mash-up, it was certainly clear that she crafted a setlist that featured everything old and new to please the very diverse crowd. As someone who was a big fan of her Handmade Songs EP and the Foreword EP, her mash-up of tracks from both was perfectly executed and flowed so well, you would have thought it was all one song! And as mentioned previously, Tori won her first two Grammy awards for “Best Gospel Album” and “Best Gospel Performance/Song,” and made sure to include in a few songs from the Hiding Place album including, “Never Alone” and “Psalms 42.”

During the show, a fan in the crowd did scream out, “When is the album coming?” Tori just smiled and replied, “I can’t tell you.” Though she did play some unreleased tracks for the crowd including two called “Language” and “Coffee.” Also, before singing “Don’t You Worry ‘Bout A Thing” from the movie, Sing, Kelly also mentioned that she may have heard a rumor that we might be seeing more of a certain elephant (her character, Meena) in the near future.

Speaking of fans, let me give a quick shoutout to her background vocalists…I mean her fans. They stole the show! You truly would have thought she had backup singers, a backtrack, or something they way her fans were ad-libbing and singing along throughout the night. She even deemed the New Orleans crowd got the award for the loudest during her song “Never Alone.”

From beginning to end, the entire performance by both Tori and Mateus was phenomenal. Tori brought flawless vocals and hit several crazy high notes while Mateus delivered a couple of incredible guitar solos but my favorite parts were definitely how open and honest she was about her life journey, her connection with her fans, and how thankful she was for everyone around her. And to top it all off, at the end of the show she and her team cut loose on stage with NERF guns to celebrate the end of the road for the Acoustic Sessions Tour.

If you missed Tori Kelly’s show or just want to re-live the night, you can watch clips of her performance on my Tori Kelly Instagram highlight and view the photo gallery below.

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