Christina Perri performs at UB's Center For the Arts

Singer-songwriter connects with crowd in the nearly sold-out venue

The Spectrum

Not many people can say Christina Perri sang “Happy Birthday” to them, but one person who was at Perri's concert Thursday night can.

During a brief pause at start of the show, an audience member shouted that there was a birthday girl in attendance at the UB concert. Perri didn’t hesitate to help celebrate the special occasion.

It was a magical moment for some fans – the first of many times Perri interacted with the nearly sold-out crowd throughout the evening. On Thursday night, Christina Perri performed the final show of her The Head or Heart Tour in the Center For the Arts. Her 105-minute performance was filled with raw emotion that let her bubbly and vivacious personality shine through.

As the show began, the audience anxiously awaited her presence. Some fans were overzealous to see their favorite singer-songwriter.

“C’mon Christina,” said Juliana Place, an elementary school student who was experiencing her first concert that night with her mom. “When is this going to start?”

Then the theater went black, the audience fell silent and Perri’s band members appeared one by one.

When the drummer started playing the beat from “Shot Me In The Heart,” Perri boogied on stage, smiling and waving to her fans that screamed and greeted her with roaring applause.

Ecstatic that her idol was within arms reach, Place, who was sitting in the third row, was jumping up and down in her seat waving her hands in the air.
Perri didn’t miss a beat. She immediately built upon the music from her drummer and sang her first song of the evening, “Shot Me In The Heart.” Although it is not one of her biggest hits, the song still had fans on their feet and she quickly transitioned into “Arms,” her 2011 hit single from her debut album, Lovestrong.

Sarah Kirschner, a senior from Lancaster High School, said this was her favorite song of the night.

Between songs, Perri filled the show with quirky anecdotes, including an impersonation of Ed Sheeran, which occurred when she discussed her collaboration with him on their duet, “Be Mine Forever.”

She even joked that her performance wasn’t a concert, it was an “Evening with Christina Perri,” jesting that this gave her permission to talk as much as she pleased. But that didn’t stop her from interacting with the audience, or the audience from interacting with her.

About midway through her set, Perri busted out one of her biggest hits, “A Thousand Years,” which was featured in the movie The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1. The audience sang along to the point that Perri stopped singing the chorus, allowing the enthusiastic spectators to do it for her.

Next, Perri sang a rousing cover of Coldplay’s “A Sky Full of Stars,” emphasizing the purple backdrop with lights dangling from the ceiling, resembling a night’s sky.

After another of her original songs, Perri sang “Burning Gold,” her new single that was released in June. As she sang, the audience cheerfully snapped along. And on her set-closer, “I Believe,” she separated the audience into three sections, turning them into her own personal choir, who sang the song’s refrain. The right section sang, “This is not the end of me, this is the beginning,” the middle section sang, “hold on” and the left section sang, “I am still alive.”

The song ended with a standing ovation, following Perri’s quick departure from the stage. They didn’t stop cheering until she returned and announced, “If you’re next to someone you can make out with, now’s the time.” Some couples seized the opportunity.

The surprised audience wasn’t given any pause. Perri quickly broke into the love ballad, “Penguin,” one of the lesser-known songs from her debut album. During this tender performance, she encouraged everyone to take out their smart phones and take selfies with the people they came to the concert with. She requested that the pictures be posted onto social media with the hashtag “headorhearttour” and promised to look at them after the show.

Then, she sat down at the piano and performed her debut and wildly popular single, “Jar of Hearts.” Her intense vocal performance elicited applause from the audience several times throughout the song.

“Christina Perri is such an amazing entertainer and really connected to the audience tonight,” Kirschner said.

Perri closed out the show with an exhilarating rendition of “I Don’t Wanna Break,” a song from her second album Head or Heart.

Following her encore, the audience gave another standing ovation, as Perri and her band members gathered at center stage and bowed.

Even though this was the last show of The Head or Heart Tour, Perri will be heading right back on the road to open for Demi Lovato on the Demi World Tour, which begins Sept. 6 in Baltimore.