Pete Yorn Takes Audience on Intimate Journey at Belly Up – Review + Photos

Pete Yorn at The Belly Up Tavern - All photos by Sylvia Borgo

Photos and review by SYLVIA BORGO

SAN DIEGO – Pete Yorn’s sold-out performance at The Belly Up on May 22 was heartfelt and intimate. Fans from as far afield as Kentucky, Minnesota, and Indiana flocked to the cozy venue to witness Yorn’s prelude to his upcoming appearance at the Bottlerock Festival, and they were richly rewarded with an evening that highlighted his songwriting and musical versatility.

Yorn opened the night solo, setting the tone with “Crystal Village.” His decision to start without his band underscored the evening’s intimate nature, immediately drawing the audience into the performance. With 11 studio albums to his name, Yorn had an abundance of material to draw from, and his setlist was a carefully curated journey through his career.

Pete Yorn at The Belly Up – All photos by Sylvia Borgo

Pete’s candidness extended beyond his music. Holding up a non-alcoholic beer, he shared his journey to sobriety following surgery. This admission of nervousness about performing sober added a poignant backdrop to the performance, making his delivery of songs like “Someday, Someday” (released on his late father’s birthday in 2023), “A Girl Like You,” and the meditative “Turn of the Century” even more impactful.

Yorn’s reflections on his musical roots, beginning with the drums at age nine and the guitar at twelve, added a nostalgic layer to the evening. “I just want to get back to that place, no drugs, no alcohol,” he mused, emphasizing his quest for authenticity. This journey back to his origins was echoed in the set’s arrangement, blending newer explorations with the timeless quality of his early hits.

Pete Yorn at The Belly Up – All photos by Sylvia Borgo

The emotional transparency of Yorn’s songwriting was a constant throughout the night. His lyrics, steeped in reflections on relationships, friendships, and personal evolution, resonated deeply. His storytelling was also evident in his cover choices, with the Buzzcocks’ “Ever Fallen In Love” and New Order’s “Bizarre Love Triangle” serving as standout moments. These renditions were not mere imitations but reimagined tributes that fit seamlessly into the fabric of his set.

Pete Yorn at The Belly Up – All photos by Sylvia Borgo

The impeccable support from Joe Kennedy (Pete’s longtime friend and collaborator), Scott Seiver, John Spiker, and Mark Noteworthy was instrumental to the night’s success. Their synergy was palpable as they navigated each song with absolute precision and finesse. Despite moments of perceived nervousness and a slight disconnect during fan interactions, Yorn’s sincerity and the band’s solid performance carried the show.

Pete Yorn’s performance at the Belly Up was a poignant reminder of his enduring artistry, characterized by profound emotional honesty and a willingness to evolve continually. His blend of sentimentality and musical exploration made for an unforgettable evening, affirming his place as a beloved fixture in the music world for over two decades.