While her many tattoos might intimidate some, singer-songwriter Christina Perri’s 1-night only concert on June 8 at the Kallang Theatre was surprisingly intimate, which just goes to show you can’t judge a book by its cover.

Despite having to perform before a diverse audience ranging from sophisticated adults to teenagers clad in jeans for her first live performance in Singapore, the Philadelphia native successfully united the crowd and received a standing ovation. Obviously, she must have done something right.

Perri was humble and unpretentious in her performance, as was befitting of the cosy theatre. There were no elaborate costume changes or shiny stage embellishments to distract you from her craft. Armed with just an acoustic guitar, piano and an accompanying band, she drew all eyes and ears as she showcased her rich vocals.

In between belting out songs from her self-composed debut album Lovestrong such as Bang Bang Bang and Bluebird, she bantered with her band and repeatedly thanked the crowd for their time. “Thanks for having us here,” she gushed. “It was lovely to meet you.”

A pleasant surprise awaited the audience at the end of her fourth song, “My Eyes”, when Perri announced that the security guards had removed the barrier between the seats and the stage at her request. Many were at first surprised and a little sceptical as it was a seated concert, but soon enough, the crowd surged forward to be much closer to their idol. And while it might be unfair to those who managed to secure upper-floor box seats, that was also when the real concert began.

While most of Perri’s numbers are of the pop genre, you could have mistaken the atmosphere for that of a rock concert. The now-standing crowd at the front of the stage clapped and stomped to the beats of her drummer, Elmo Lovano, who looked the part of a rocker with his long, shaggy mane and energetic beats. As the crowd jumped about and grooved to the upbeat Mine, the transformation from stiff seated performance to mini rock concert was complete.

The audience’s electric energy soon mellowed into the synchronised waving of arms as 26-year-old Perri launched into one of her more famous tunes “A Thousand Years”, a single off the soundtrack of the much loved movie, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1. As she moved her arms in sync with the audience, it was evident she was enjoying herself as much as, if not more than, the crowd.

Perri and her band exited without performing “Jar of Hearts” – her debut single which peaked on the Billboard Hot 100 in 17th place, but of course, the audience didn’t fall for her ruse. After all, this particular song was responsible for skyrocketing her to international fame. It would be hard to imagine Perri disappointing her fans, and true enough, she reappeared moments later to perform what she declared ‘our song’ on the piano. It was a heartfelt moment as she invited the audience to sing along with her at the top of their voices.

Before ending the concert with “Arms”, Perri encouraged the audience to put their arms up in the air for a photo with her that was later uploaded onto her Twitter account. She also threw dozens of fresh red roses into the crowd, garnering cheers and a standing ovation from the remaining seated audience as she left the stage for the last time.

With nothing more than her playing and sincere words, the singer-songwriter proves you don’t need glitz and glamour to bring the house down.

Photo credits to spinorbinmusic.com