Kelsea Ballerini Headlined For “The First Time” at Joe’s Live in Chicago

Kicking off the second week of her first headlining tour, Kelsea Ballerini returned to Chicago to play for The First Time at the prominent Joe’s Live in Rosemont, Illinois. The all-ages show roared with excitement all night as Ballerini got up-close and personal through the sharing of her music inspired by her life stories and wisdom gained through her trials and triumphs. Check out these must-see moments!


Opening the show was Nashville native, and The Valory Music Co. recording artist, Levi Hummon. With a confident, energetic presence, he powered through 30 minutes of music that quickly won over the crowd. A stand-out moment in his set was when he played a song he wrote with his father (famed songwriter, Marcus Hummon) called, “Make it Love.” Watch this clip of him performing his original song, “Chain Reaction” early in his set.

Among the number 1’s and fan favorites, Kelsea used this tour to showcase some of her new songs, for “The First Time.” It looks like super-fans were already familiar, as they brought roses with them to toss on stage during the chorus, which caused a toothy grin to spread across Kelsea’s face as she thanked them. Ballerini explained the inspiration behind writing this new song, “Roses,” “It’s about those times when things don’t work out how I want, and it’s hard, but I can look back and say that it was beautiful for a moment.”

As an artist with a supreme following of kids and young adults, it’s inevitable to avoid becoming a role model. Thankfully, Kelsea is armed with experience that relates and provide wisdom and encouragement through similar situations. Check out her speech on how to deal with those Peter Pan type of people. You might even hear a little Justin Bieber cover in there!

Kelsea Ballerini took a break from her own music to talk about the inspiration she draws from other artists, mentioning those such as Dolly Parton and Sam Hunt, but focusing specifically on Adele and Chris Stapleton. With three number 1’s under her belt already, it’s evident that Kelsea can write hits and sing them flawlessly. Listen to her sing a smooth version of the Stapleton hit, “Tennessee Whiskey.”

Though Kelsea Ballerini’s fame has grown exponentially, she is sure to frequently remind herself of the girl she once was – the country music fan who attended concerts just like this one. For the encore, she appeared on the floor, shoulder-to-shoulder with the audience, and spoke about her humble beginnings and how much it means to her that this is her career. Kelsea then explained that like this song, she has been stood up, but she learned her lesson and moved on. Remaining immersed in the audience, she played the title song of the tour, “The First Time” in all of its intimate, acoustic glory.

Kelsea Ballerini ended the night with a powerful punch back on stage, singing the song that changed her life, “Love Me Like You Mean It,” while lit-up beach balls bounced around between her and the audience.

The most impressive element of this show was Kelsea Ballerini’s ability to keep the content “family friendly” without skimping on the entertainment for adults of all ages. That can be a troublesome task, but Kelsea slayed it with natural talent and class. Make sure to catch Kelsea Ballerini when she comes to a town near you during The First Time Tour!


Author: Tiera Bolt

Mix 1 part momma + 1 part writer + 1 part hairstylist. Add the love of laughter, adventure, and caffeine. Blend well with a passion for country music and hockey. Sprinkle with sass, and that's me.

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