I haven’t seen Kris Allen perform since he played a radio show in Worcester, MA in 2009 in the wake of his American Idol season 8 win. This time around he has two studio albums under his belt and a slew of new songs that will likely go on a third he’s currently working on with producer Charlie Peacock.
The new songs are impressive and show a definite progression in his maturity as a songwriter. Kris is as engaging as ever as a live performer, comfortable and funny on stage–he establishes a connection with the audience right away.
The Natick Center of the Arts in Massachusetts–about 15 miles outside of Boston–is a non-profit theater run in a converted building. The space is gorgeous with perfect acoustics and not a bad seat in the house. But it’s so genteel, that Kris had to work a little bit to get the audience to loosen up.
Once Kris worked some magic on the crowd, he was able to relax into a set of his songs. He performed only two from his post Idol debut, Kris Allen–the crowd-pleasing “Alright With Me” and his hit song, “Live Like We’re Dying.” The latter he actually got the crowd on their feet to sing along.
The rest of his set was split between new songs and tunes off his last studio album, the 2012 Thank You Camellia.
New song standouts for me were the gorgeous “In Time” and the moving “Beautiful and Wild” (which seemed to be a new perspective inspired by the recent birth of his son). The unlikely “Everybody Just Wants to Dance” (Yes, a dance song! Complete with dorky moves!) was mashed with the Jackson 5’s “I Want You Back.”
Speaking of mashups, the Robin Thicke hit, “Blurred Lines” was inventively woven into “Rooftops” from Camellia.
The Voice 4 alum, Caroline Glaser, opened the show with a sweet mix of covers and originals. The singer joined Kris on stage later to duet on “Loves Me Not.”
It being Valentines Day, Kris was sporting a HOMEMADE SHIRT which was basically a T with a sharpie drawn heart and the word “love” in the middle. Kris seemed especially proud of his handiwork! Before the encore, Kris and his band tossed out Valentine treats to the crowd.
Speaking of the band, they accompanied the songs nicely, without overwhelming the songs. The encore tune, “End of the Show,” was written especially to wind things up and serve as a funny grace note and a thank you to the crowd, who all appeared to leave the venue happy… I know I did.
As I usually do, I recorded everything! So check it out. Apparently, the new song names may change once they are released as part of Kris’s next studio album, set to be released later this year.
Paul Simon (New-ish) – Kris has played this song on the road, but has just recorded it with Charlie Peacock for the new album.
Better With You
Don’t Set Me Free (New)
Loves Me Not (With Caroline Glaser)
Alright with Me
Leave You Alone
Everybody Just Wants to Dance/I Want You Back (New)
In Time (New)
It’s Always You (New)
Beautiful and Wild (New)
Live Like We’re Dying
Shut That Door
End of the Show