After seven years as the bandleader on "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert," Jon Batiste finally escaped from the Ed Sullivan Theater. Seven minutes after his first headline concert in Minneapolis on Thursday, Batiste was trying to figure out how to exit from First Avenue.

For his final number, Batiste, with melodica in hand, paraded through the jam-packed crowd New Orleans style with his bandmates following him. The fans parted as he weaved through the main floor, and then he ventured where few other acts have gone before in the legendary club — up to the balcony, still playing his melodica.

With a radiant smile, Batiste wrapped it at the balcony railing, hugging a gentleman who'd been sitting on a stool. Suddenly, there was a dilemma: Batiste and his band had to make it back downstairs and then backstage to their dressing room. That was a challenge without a phalanx of security guards and hundreds of hands to shake and folks to hug.

Everyone wanted to touch Batiste because he had touched them in a special way with his enriching music, generous spirit and luminous personality. It was an extraordinary Twin Cities concert debut.

And maybe not the concert you'd expect if you knew Batiste only from his jazzy and sophisticated piano passages on "The Late Show." But clearly this crowd — he's popular enough to probably fill the Armory, which is five times bigger than First Ave — knew the material from the two recent albums that established him as a recording star. Because they were singing along, with call-and-response or handling the choruses when requested by Batiste.

After rehearsing at Paisley Park this winter for his first ever concert tour, Batiste hit the stage Thursday in a purple cardigan brandishing an electric guitar and burst into "Tell the Truth," a celebrative southern funk that eventually found him hammering away at an electric keyboard like a wired man on a mission. Then, Batiste unleashed his hit "Freedom," shaking with soul power and dancing like James Brown with Gumby's limbs.

Batiste, 37, is a New Orleans-reared musical polymath with a deep background. He started playing drums in the Batiste Brothers Band at 8, then studied classical piano and earned bachelor's and master's degrees in jazz at the Juilliard School. He won an Oscar for co-composing the score for the animated film "Soul." He snagged the Grammy for album of the year for the funky and spiritual "We Are" in 2021 and last year delivered "World Music Radio," a wildly eclectic collection of global sounds.

Material from the two albums filled much of Thursday's 1¾-hour performance. But Batiste is a fountain overflowing with spirited musicality prone to outbursts of exuberant joy that he can't seem to deny or control.

A half-hour into the evening, he finally sat down at a grand piano. A little Chopin served as a prelude to Prince's "How Come U Don't Call Me Anymore," complete with falsetto and a deep croon. It ended with a funky New Orleans passage that segued into the spiritual "Mary Don't You Weep," a treatment that recalled Prince's version from his "Piano and a Microphone 1983."

Without a pause, Gershwin's "Summertime" arrived next, an instrumental with some NOLA seasoning before the pianist fluttered into his own "Butterfly," a meditation on finding yourself. As he was winding down, he shared: "When you hear this melody or song, it heals any toxins in your body. Always keep the light on. You can win. You can win. You can win."

The oddly paced show's energy level dipped for a bit, but not the spirit. Batiste played "If You're Happy and You Know It" on melodica, and the crowd sang the words. He and the six-person band downshifted for the simmering funk of "We Are" and the country roadhouse blues of "Master Power" before blasting the tent-revival stomp "I Need You."

For the encore, Batiste returned to the piano and mashed up Beethoven's "Für Elise" with "The Star-Spangled Banner." Then he switched to a hootenanny, sitting on a stool with his melodica surrounded by his musicians on acoustic instruments and inviting the crowd to provide the vocals for "You Are My Sunshine" (a Louisiana anthem), "Killing Me Softly" (the Fugees version) and the inevitable "Purple Rain" (he couldn't resist at First Ave, where he requested to perform) — before Batiste and band literally got lost in the crowd after a night of joyful noise.