I don’t know why I signed up to cover the show on Thursday night. Part of me really didn’t think I would get approved for such a big and in-demand show and the other part of me may have been a bit drunk when I put my name down to cover the show but maybe deep down, I really wanted to see the phenomenon that is Olivia Rodrigo. Regardless, the concert gods had spoken and I found myself on my way downtown for the uber-sold-out show.
Even though I had gotten to the show an hour after the doors opened and about thirty minutes before the show was slated to start, I was greeted by lines longer than I have seen since The Jonas Brothers decided to do a free show at this same venue. Lines of people stretched throughout downtown just waiting to get into The Armory. Even though my buddy had texted me around 11 AM saying there was a line already formed for the show, I figured it would have been cleared up by the time I got there but, instead, I found myself joining in line and waiting patiently for my chance to get into the venue. The excitement throughout the line was equal parts exciting and confusing. With snow flurries falling down around us, conversations were hurried and excited all revolving around the anticipation to see this Grammy-winning performer. Although I was thankful for the warmth inside, it felt like mass chaos as I got through the tight security and made my way to the floor. People were bolting to and from trying to find their friends, trying to get to the bathroom, trying to grab merch, and then get back to their spot– the amount of activity around me was staggering and all I could think to do was grab a spot and just take it all in.
Gracie Abrams was the sole opening act on the bill but she was treated like royalty as proven by the roar of applause that took over the entire venue as she took the stage promptly at 8 PM. With her pop-based tracks that showcased the true vocal talent of this young woman, Gracie seemed to have the entire crowd in a trance. Although her music did very little for me emotionally, I loved the way the audience was responding to her. Even if someone wasn’t singing along to her infectious pop songs, they were clearly attentive with their eyes glued to the stage. There was a perfect balance of power and beauty throughout Gracie’s ten-song set and, even though musically it wasn’t quite for me, I appreciated the passion that was felt even as far back as I was in the audience. Before moving on to the headliner, a fun fact about Gracie– she is the daughter of J.J. Abrams. Not that that has to do with anything but I definitely found it interesting!
No professional Photos were allowed for Gracie Abrams
If you haven’t heard of Olivia Rodrigo, I will have to assume you have been living under a rock. Although only nineteen years old, this woman has accomplished so much. From her lead roles on Bizaardvark and High School Music: The Series on Disney to all of the amazing songs she has been releasing for the past year to her recent Grammy wins– to say she has been making waves would not be an exaggeration and it was honestly an honor to be able to see her on Thursday night. I could go into my conspiracy theories about musicians like Olivia Rodrigo and my thoughts on how I think the system is a bit rigged and I could bet you a hundred bucks that she will be announcing an arena tour within the next year but why take the fun out of the show because, when you cut it down, that’s what Thursday evening was– fun.
Full disclosure, I only knew one Olivia Rodrigo song walking into the show on Thursday night but that didn’t stop me from getting wrapped up in the excitement felt all around me. As soon as the house music and lights went down, I found myself feeling excited about what was to come just because everyone else around me screaming their heads off and jumping up and down. Starting her set off with the obnoxiously infectious track “brutal”, the energy level from the stage and audience never swayed. Obviously, the energy was high through the bangin’ tracks especially as Olivia closed her set with her hit song “good 4 u” but, even through the cover of Avril Lavigne’s “Complicated” which has always had a very ballad-like vibe to me, there was this unspeakable amount of energy in the air that was impossible to not get lost in.
Obviously, if you know me, you know that Olivia’s music is not for me and I probably stuck out like a sore thumb at the show on Thursday but I wasn’t there for the music if I’m being honest. I was there to see who was there and I loved what I was seeing. The number of kids running around the room had my heart feeling so full. I’m not talking tweens here, I am talking literal children. Some were clutching their parents’ hands and seemed a bit nervous about the new surroundings and others seemed to be dragging their reluctant parents closer and closer to the stage. I’ve always loved seeing parents exposing their kids to live music and although if I had kids they would have been dragged to Slipknot, not Olivia, seeing so many young people enjoying their night and living their best lives was one of my favorite things about Thursday night.