Jon Batiste takes Austin City Limits crowd to church during Weekend 2 set

Morgan-Taylor Thomas, Life and Arts Reporter

One song into his 58-minute Austin City Limits set on Sunday, Jon Batiste delivered a sermon of sorts.

“I want you to know as we begin this journey tonight, you are here for a specific reason. No person in the universe is you. Let’s get it,” the singer told the festival’s Weekend 2 crowd.

Psychedelic graphics of the galaxy and neighboring planets filled the screen behind the New Orleans product and his band. Clothed in a metallic silver blazer with matching shorts, a bedazzled cowboy hat, a sparkly sheer skin tight shirt and a giant moon crest necklace Batiste took his audience to an intergalactic church, blazing with soulful vocal belts and emotionally invigorating self-love speeches.

“Repeat after me. Say, ‘I love myself.’ Say, ‘I am enough.’”

With high octane energy and captivating sounds, the artist perfectly performed opener “We Are,” mesmerizing the audience with his infectious smile and nuclear voice. Fan favorite “Freedom” touched on the history of immigration and wrongful imprisonment, causing a wave of somberness over the crowd while his cover of Bill Withers’ “Lean On Me” had the whole crowd swaying in unison, arms wrapped around each other.

“This is more than a concert, it’s a spiritual practice.”

Making music that speaks to all, Batiste masterfully paints a picture of counteracting negativity with love. Between the overall joy of his entire crew, the wicked waves of emotion created during the act and the hard-rock anthems he seamlessly produces, this 34-year-old not only defines what it means to play live music but also encompasses what it means to love what you do.