‘This is a really good first concert!’, a girl shouts in AFAS Live in Amsterdam on Wednesday evening, even before Olivia Rodrigo has sung a note. The nineteen-year-old American singer broke through last year with the song ‘Drivers License’, followed by her successful debut album sour, an excellent mix of biting pop punk and heartbreak ballads with a high read-along value. The crowd is about the same age as Rodrigo and cheerfully decked out in glitter, stickers and butterfly hair clips. The room smells of peach candy and vanilla.
It’s one of the last shows of Rodrigo’s tour, but there’s no sign of fatigue. She jumps across the stage, her long brown hair swishing around. Behind Rodrigo is a somewhat anonymous but deservingly playing five-piece band. The stage is decked out like a school party with a hefty budget: meters long silver glitter curtains and a huge disco ball. Little fuss for a big pop show, but with Rodrigo it’s all about the songs. She brings it live with just as much pathos as on the record, but what you on sour hears pain, venom and loneliness, Rodrigo fills the songs tonight with a collective feeling of togetherness and a good dose of fun.
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Her cheerfulness is infectious, and although she sings well, you don’t really hear it with the six-thousand-strong choir around you. The discharge is great. With Rodrigo’s big hit ‘Drivers License’, the third song in the set, tears are already streaming down the cheeks of the fans.
The world has been hard on young people for the past two years. Olivia Rodrigo wrote these songs in her bedroom, and that’s where her audience got to know them: at home, alone. How beautiful to see everyone here now, together, decked out in full uniform, singing along word for word straight from the heart. Afterwards, some proud parents are outside, waiting for a breathless report of the first concert.