Olivia Rodrigo at TD Garden pure fan-demonium

Everyone can see Olivia Rodrigo. In the spotlight on the TD Garden stage, massive video screens behind her making her 40-feet-tall, Rodrigo is the focal point of 20,000 fans in full fever pitch. Hearing her is harder.

Even Rodrigo’s mighty voice, amplified by a million watts, can’t overpower the thousands who shout along to every word — “I thought I was so smart/But you’ve made me look so naive/The way you sold me for parts/As you sunk your teeth into me/Bloodsucker, fame-(expletive), bleeding me dry, like a goddamn vampire.”

“Vampire” is an intensely personal song. It’s Rodrigo’s story of being used and manipulated by an older man. But at TD Garden on Monday, the song belonged to everyone. The singer wouldn’t have it any other way.

The best mainstream pop songwriter of her generation, Rodrigo is a rock artist. She writes clever and visceral punk hooks complete with rumbling electric guitar parts and enormous crescendos. And she ran through those hooks with volume, force, fury, volume, intensity, electricity, volume (oh, and volume).

Rodrigo, with her ace seven-piece all-female-identifying band, kicked off the show with scream-along favorite “Bad Idea, Right?” and crashed right into her most relentless rocker “Ballad of a Homeschooled Girl.” (Later, she’d be joined by a troupe of dancers on a half dozen songs — from band to dancers to Rodrigo riding a crescent moon around the arena, the spectacle matched the art.) Near the close of the show, she circled back to her grunge vibes with “Brutal,” “Jealousy, Jealousy,” and “All-American Bitch” — a righteous, raw rant that triangulates “Bad Reputation,” “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and “Just a Girl” to absolute ragged perfection.

But her magic trick is giving her heartbreaking ballads the same gravity as the loud songs. Oh, those slow-burn-to-towering-crescendo-four-minutes-of-mainlining-catharsis ballads, those downtempo gems about plain old breakups and the relentless burden America asks teenage girls to walk around with, those delicate-and-sinewy songs that reach into fans’ chests and pump blood to their guts, seeing their pain, angst, conflicts and truths.

As they did during “Vampire,” the frenzied crowd knew and screamed every word. On “Drivers License,” they wailed, “God, I’m so blue, know we’re through/But I still (expletive) love you, babe.” On “Teenage Dream,” they yelled, projecting their emotions forward a half decade, “Got your whole life ahead of you, you’re only 19/But I fear that they already got all the best parts of me/And I’m sorry that I couldn’t always be your teenage dream.” They did this song after song after song.

Rodrigo didn’t need to make it clear, but she did anyway when she told everyone, “I want you to feel all your (expletive) feelings.”

Rodrigo can do rockers and ballads with equal energy and engagement. She can do them both at once (see “Deja Vu”). Expect her to be in football stadiums next summer because she can do anything. Well, anything except outsing 20,000 of her fans.

Chappell Roan opened the show. Not everybody, but hundreds maybe thousands knew Roan’s wonderful campy, disco pop and sang along with her too. Odds are she’ll take Olivia’s headlining spot at Garden in 2024.

Source link


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *