Jon Bellion brought the Glory Sound Prep Tour to PNC Pavilion Wednesday night in support of his newest album of the same name. He performed his heart out for an audience that was absolutely captivated from the moment he walked on stage. It isn’t difficult to see why this multi-faceted performer has been consistently on the rise in the pop music game since his first hit single, All Time Low, off of his first studio album—2017’s The Human Condition. In addition to being a singer and rapper, Bellion is a skilled multi-instrumentalist, producer, and songwriter.
Both studio albums (and his 4 previous mix tapes) are filled with lush pop/hip-hop hybrids filled with interesting and catchy hooks, perfectly chosen electronic elements, and ‘old-school-cool’ touches like a rich brass section. One might wonder how these heavily (but not ‘overly’) produced tracks translate to live performance. The answer is two-fold. First and shortest answer—they translate really, really well. To elaborate on that, they translate into something very different from what you’ll hear on the record. Bellion could easily duplicate the sound of the record live with tons of tracking and put on a great show. However, I think he knows that he would be doing himself and the fans a disservice. Think less electronic, dirtier guitar and funky bass and I am here for it! His live band consisting of a guitarist, drummer, bassist, keyboardist, and a brass section doesn’t feel at all like a band backing a solo artist. They felt like—well—a band.
The set kicked off with “JT,” “Let’s Begin,” and “Conversations with my Wife,” all from Glory Sound Prep. The audience, in a nearly trancelike state, hung on his every word clapping, singing, jumping, and swaying in tandem at his direction all night. Bellion and company riffed back and forth as he introduced the band mid-set and played a jam version of “Guillotine.” Bellion stated that growing up he would see his favorite band at the time, Dave Matthews Band, at multiple summer amphitheater shows that were different night after night. He vowed to incorporate this jam band element into his own performance if he “ever reached outdoor amphitheater level.” Witnessing Bellion’s humility and connection with his fans amongst all the hype is almost touching in a way that is similar to watching someone you know become wildly successful.
The set ended with “Cautionary Tales” but there was no way he was getting out of there without an encore. He returned to fans waiting steadfast for their encore and delivered 3 more songs including some more killer improv, “Woke the F**** Up,” and “Good Things Fall Apart.” Bellion is a young artist with loads of talent and momentum. I can’t wait to see what the future holds!