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article imageReview: Kelsea Ballerini wonderful at Gramercy Theatre in New York City Special

By Markos Papadatos     Jul 17, 2015 in Music
Country songstress Kelsea Ballerini performed her first headlining concert at Gramercy Theatre in New York City on July 16.
Singer-songwriter Levi Hummon served as her opening act, and he was successful in getting the Gramercy Theatre stage warmed up for Ballerini, who wore a black leather jacket and black dress and accompanied herself on acoustic guitar.
Brian Thomas, the program director from New York's country radio station, Nash FM 94.7, made the opening remarks, introducing Ballerini, who recently scored her first No. 1 hit on country radio.
She opened her set with the upbeat "Yeah Boy." "New York City," she shouted with excitement, prior to immediately breaking into the spitfire tune "Sirens," as yellow laser lights graced the stage. "New York City. I have a question for you. How loud can you be?" she asked.
Ballerini had the crowd actively engaged in "Dibs." "You guys actually know that song. What is happening?" she said, in disbelief.
She noted that she is beyond excited to be at Gramercy, and displayed her country-rock side on "XO," as well as her soaring range. "Peter Pan" was a stunning acoustic ballad, where her voice was pure and crystalline. "I love New York," she said. "There are two amazing shows happening tonight in New York, The Foo Fighters and Kelly Clarkson, and thank you for being here."
Ballerini expressed her gratitude for her fans buying and downloading her album, and for making her dream to pursue music a reality, prior to singing "Square Pegs."
While she performed "The First Time" in an acoustic fashion, she held out the microphone in the audience, and several fans were reciting the lyrics verbatim to her. She tipped her hat to Rascal Flatts by covering their hit single "What Hurts The Most," which was controlled and soothing.
Ballerini encouraged the crowd to dance along with her, as she threw a "dance party." She took her fans on a trip down memory lane to the late 90s as she covered Britney Spears' spitfire singles "Baby One More Time" and "Oops! I Did It Again," Backstreet Boys' "Everybody," 'N Sync's " Bye Bye Bye," Christina Aguilera's "Genie In a Bottle" and Destiny Child's "Bootylicious."
She immediately broke into the mid-tempo "Stilletos," where her vocals were reminiscent of such country stars as Miranda Lambert meets RaeLynn. "Who in here loves country music?" she asked, prior to covering Martina McBride's "This One's For The Girls." Equally noteworthy was her version of Rihanna's "Take a Bow."
Ballerini closed her one-hour set with "Love Me Like You Mean It," which she dubbed as her first single, and first No. 1. "New York, love me like You mean it," she told her audience.
The Verdict
Overall, Kelsea Ballerini was superb at her debut performance at Gramercy Theatre. She displayed her wide range as a recording artist and her bubbly personality. She is one of Nashville's finest live female performers, and her opening act Levi Hummon was exceptional as well. Her show at Gramercy Theatre garnered 4.5 out of 5 stars.
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