Olivia Rodrigo reviews Eventim Apollo: A ’00s pop-punk dream come true

Is this what prom looks like? British audiences are invited to take part in the all-American tradition on the first London date of Olivia Rodrigo’s sold-out tour. There are grandstands on the stage. Silver streamers cascade down the walls. A disco ball hangs from the ceiling. It’s a suitably embellished set for an artist who has made the edgy prom queen her image. Tonight, Rodrigo realizes her rousing pop-punk dream from the noughties.

It’s somewhat surprising that Rodrigo can claim such a recognizable image given the sheer brevity of her career. In just 12 months, the 19-year-old broke Spotify records, releasing one of the best albums of 2021 Angry, and had three singles that reached the top 5 in the UK. Last month, she delivered an indelible Glastonbury highlight when she stood side by side with Lily Allen to say “f*** you” to the Supreme Court Justices who were toppling Deer vs Wade. The political statement seemed natural to Rodrigo, whose music is blunt by nature: a handball of anger or despair. Mostly both.

Like her voice, which can modulate between the wispy whisper of misty-eyed ballads and the storm of early noughties punk, Rodrigo’s stage presence is similarly fluid. Sometimes they pogo à la Billie Eilish across the stage. The folds of her micro mini skirt wiggle as she hops from left to right. Sometimes she sneaks across the stage with her microphone stand behind her. At one point, she channels Michelle Pfieffers in the 1989s The fabulous Baker BoysShe drapes herself over the silver piano as she spits out the sad wrath of the “traitor.” Halfway through their set, it’s clear that Rodrigo fans don’t have any favourites. Each song is answered with an equally loud, deafening screech that at times threatens to completely engulf Rodrigo’s voice. Even “All I Want” – an earlier track from her time at Disney high school musical Series – is matched verbatim. Granted, Rodrigo’s back catalog is small, but her fans know every inch.

The screaming drops a decibel or two for Rodrigo’s cover of “Complicated.” While the 2002 hit from her punk princess grandmother Avril Lavigne is undeniably instagrammable, Rodrigo has come to see it. “Torn” — a duet she performs with surprise guest Natalie Imbruglia, whose delightfully nasal wailing takes the nostalgia to 11 — is a moment of euphoria for the many, many parents of children in the crowd.

The evening ends without any encores on a high level, because Rodrigo saves the pop-punk fireworks of “good 4 u” for the end. Not closing with her breakout hit “Fuehrerschein” was a bold decision, but one that paid off. Upon its release last year, “good 4 u” was immediately dubbed the ultimate kiss for a new generation. Tonight is the ideal farewell. Confetti cannons shoot purple scraps of paper into the air as she stomps across the stage in a fit of rage. As they fall onto the stage, Rodrigo himself seems enveloped in a kaleidoscope of butterflies, her signature animal.

It’s a short sentence at just under 60 minutes – but in reality the Olivia Rodrigo experience began many hours earlier. Outside the venue, dirty fleece blankets and inflatable mattresses were left behind by those who had camped for a front row shot since early morning. Empty bags of chips and cans of Red Bull bear witness to the 12-hour wait that such dedication requires. It’s a testament to the bond Rodrigo has made with her young fans, who leave the show grinning from ear to ear. They have exactly what they came for – including some very desirable goods.

https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/music/reviews/olivia-rodrigo-london-tour-review-b2117902.html Olivia Rodrigo reviews Eventim Apollo: A ’00s pop-punk dream come true


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