On the heels of his latest album release, Apart, golden-soul phenom Allen Stone shared gorgeous acoustic guitar melodies alongside his trademark warm vocalizing and delicious falsetto runs at his El Rey Theatre stop in Los Angeles. With a stripped-down acoustic performance, Stone performed with just his guitar (switching to keyboard twice during the evening) before being joined by backing vocalists, Stephanie Mora and Brian Johnson, after his first two songs.
Opening with contrasting mellow whispers and punctuated falsetto, Stone moved on to fan favorites, “Consider Me” and “Unaware,” which were both exquisite with their tight, spine-tingling harmonies. “Brown Eyed Lover” presented another stunning blend of vocals. Stone also shared his new song, “On The Way Down,” which he wrote for his son Rudy (who was in attendance in the audience). At one point during the show, Stone gave a nod of remembrance to Bob Saget adding a cover of “Everywhere You Look” (the theme song from Full House). He also delivered a funky, syncopated interpretation of Bob Marley’s “Is This Love,” and a great cover of Stevie Wonder’s “All I Do.”
The evening closed out with piano ballad, “Lay It Down,” followed by “Love Where You’re At” (which featured a fantastic vocal solo by Brian Johnson), and finished up with very timely racial disparity track, “American Privilege.” After a 75-minute set and standing ovation, the trio returned for a full 15-minute encore. “Head Over Feet” delivered a fun ska vibe, and they covered Aretha Franklin’s “Say A Little Prayer” before closing with “Bed I Made” –the latter featuring Stephanie Mora alternating incredible solos back and forth with Stone.
There was a palpable, jovial energy to the room packed with enthusiastic fans of all ages throughout the night, and the acoustics of the room were outstanding. Adding to the unbelievably high level of musicianship and delivery, Stone’s engaging persona and authentic humility were icing on the cake. He shared genuine, unbridled appreciation for his backing singers and presented sincere gratitude for everyone in attendance. An absolute gem of an artist, Allen Stone is not to be missed.
Photo Credit: Jackson Beenham