Olivia Rodrigo awakens all the adolescent fervor possible

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Olivia Rodrigo awakens all the adolescent fervor possible

It is Olivia Rodrigo’s premiere in Barcelona and she offers a fun and quite complete concert, full of intensity, hits and with rock moments that would not be out of place at a Rock Fest. But first you have to get to and enter the Palau Sant Jordi: I always forget how heavy it is. I’m listening to Remi Wolf from the queue, and I’ve left the house at a reasonable hour. Apparently the doors opened late. When I walk in, Remi is singing ‘Valerie’. To a good judge’s eye, I would say that 80% of the audience are girls under 18, even 15. And all that adolescent fervor is palpable. Remi doesn’t seem scared and has a good time on stage: she runs, jumps, grabs and chases her guitarist, she gives her enthusiasm… but she comes to nothing.

The stage is relatively small compared to other macro concert setups. Of course, there is no shortage of catwalks to get closer to the public. There is deafening shouting: the lyrics of ‘Guts’ have just appeared projected on the stage. ‘Girls and Boys’ by Blur plays. More shouting: the letters have just fallen. The candles go out, the shouting reaches its maximum. It’s not yet 8:30 p.m. and we already see Olivia on the screen, running through the corridors of the Sant Jordi dressing room. Very punctual. And she materializes.

The start with ‘Bad Idea Right?’ It couldn’t be more devastating. The noise is deafening: you have to see how the whole tide of people returns every “bad idea, right?” to Rodrigo, who emanates all her energy as a best friend from high school, the one who is quite a clown, in a good way. The set is quite simple (although it won’t be like that all the time): it just has the band, completely feminine and very rock, the screen and the charisma of Rodrigo, who often shouts more than he sings. Even so, it becomes difficult to hear his voice above the entire audience. I swear that in my life I have heard an audience sing all the songs so much and so loudly.

Olivia, like a good pop-rock star this decade, lets herself be loved, runs along the catwalks so that the front rows can get a good look at her and frequently asks the audience: “I want you to scream, to dance.” But her intensity is not only based on great guitars, but also great songs. Because ‘Vampire’ drops soon and you have to be very cynical so that your hair doesn’t stand on end seeing the entire Palau singing it and Olivia there, still, holding on to the microphone. Olivia lets us sing entire verses on ‘Traitor’. The dancers, who had timidly appeared in ‘Vampires’, materialize. The projections of its shadows are beautiful. A very delicate moment between so much screaming.

But for the sublime moment ‘Drivers License’, with Olivia at the piano, and the red lights and the people singing “Red lights, stop signs”, and I get excited. A marvel. The Cure-esque opening to ‘Pretty Isn’t Pretty’ shows dancers with mirrors; perhaps the most spectacular number so far, but it will soon be surpassed. Olivia dances, but little: she is more into jumping and running than choreography.

Rodrigo introduces the band, which is quite integrated into the show. In this segment of the concert things become more spectacular. The apogee is when a crescent moon and stars appear. And Olivia climbs to the moon, rises and greets us from above in ‘Logical’, while she goes around the Palau track. Up there, she asks us to shout as much as we can. I go deaf. She continues over the moon with ‘Enough for You’. Shouts of “Olivia! “Olivia!” The decibels in the Palau must exceed that of several planes taking off, arriving at this point. There are more ballads, like ‘Lazy’, one of the few moments where Olivia’s voice dominates the audience. She lies on a circle-shaped catwalk, while the dancers surround her, creating another moment of great beauty. She’s not just your clown friend: she’s also the one who knows how to be emotional (a lot) when she plays.

Immediately it returns to the revelry and the mass baths. Olivia makes us sing ‘Happy Birthday’ for a fan named Martina who, according to the images, is about to have a syncope. It’s time to make the audience the protagonist: she focuses on the fans in the stands, who go quite crazy. She picks up the guitar and starts a more lively segment after so much intensity with ‘So American’ and recovers the spirit of the beginning. She continues with the thing of celebrating the fans, collecting gifts from the first rows… This annoys me, as an older lady, a little, because I think it breaks the rhythm of the concert, but the fans really enjoy it. Plus next she plays ‘Happier’, which is my favorite from ‘Sour’, so I forgive her. It is a beautiful and simple number, in which Rodrigo appears sitting alone with one of the guitarists at the front end of the catwalk. She’s still sitting there for ‘Favorite Crime’. There is a lot of madness with the chorus, I think the audience’s voices go up several octaves and decibels, which seemed difficult. But the record for audience singing is in another ballad, ‘Deja vu’, where the dancers come out again. It is impressive to see the entire Palau returning the “deja vus”. It doesn’t matter how much Olivia screams: we scream more.

Fire! Guitars! The gang takes control! A pretty cool show to open ‘Brutal’, while Olivia wears a red satin bra. And she rocks it with ‘All American Bitch’, with rocking sounds, running and shouting when the audience recognizes the riff. Neither moons, nor dancers: in this “bitchier” segment she is the protagonist again. And the scream she asks for (and returns) is the most thunderous thing I’ve ever heard at a concert.

To ask Olivia to return, the audience sings “lololos” to the rhythm of ‘Seven Nation Army’, her favorite song, as she explained at one point in the set. Rodrigo returns with ‘Good 4 U’. The dancers also return for ‘Get Him Back!’. Olivia sings with a megaphone, there is confetti and enthusiasm until she walks away and leaves the band playing. It has been a concert quite generous in duration (100 minutes) and delivery. I imagine it would be the first of many of the girls who crowd Sant Jordi and I can’t imagine a happier and more complete first concert than this one.

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Simon Müller

Simon Müller is the driving force behind UMusic, embodying a lifelong passion for all things melodious. Born and raised in New York, his love for music took form at an early age and fueled his journey from an avid music enthusiast to the founder of a leading music-centered website. Simon's diverse musical tastes and intrinsic understanding of acoustic elements offer a unique perspective to the UMusic community. Sporting a dedicated commitment to aural enrichment and hearing health, his vision extends beyond just delivering news - he aspires to create a network of informed, appreciative music lovers. Spend a moment in Mueller's company, and you'd find his passion infectious – music isn’t simply his job, it’s his heartbeat.