Olivia Rodrigo has had two number one singles, a three-time platinum debut album and, since Sunday, three shiny new Grammy Awards. Now, on a chilly Tuesday in Portland, she kicked off her first-ever tour. It’s the type of artist rite of passage that would be a huge deal if Rodrigo hadn’t simply experienced a million other even bigger – and rarer – career milestones in his year of world domination. music. Yet the Acid Round hits just as sweet.
Kicking off at Portland’s Theater of the Clouds (a fancy name for the theater setup in the larger Moda Center), a few thousand fans (mostly girls, mostly under 21 – like Miss Rodrigo herself), were dressed to impress for the big night. After Gracie Abrams’ opening set, a delicious playlist of sad rocker karaoke classics swept through the room: “Maps” by Yeah Yeah Yeahs, “Everywhere” by Michelle Branch, “Criminal” by Fiona Apple, to name a few. The song chosen to signal the imminent arrival of Rodrigo and his band on stage? It was One Direction’s “Olivia,” of course, which played three times in a row either because of some backstage delays or because of Rodrigo being a bigger director than we thought.
When the purple curtain opened, it revealed a set that paid homage to the singer sour ball Concert Movie: Glittering streamers, bleachers and a pop star in the Gwen Stefani special featuring plaid pants and a mesh crop top. Rodrigo started the night off with “Brutal,” and fans in the pit rushed to the stage as she shouted, “Where’s my fucking teenage dream?”
Rodrigo’s all-female band is a quintet of powerhouse female players who helped speed up every song, injecting even the most mid-tempo album cuts with a bit of that grunge-punk rush “Brutal” and “Good 4 U”. “Jealousy, Jealousy” benefited the most from the headbanger remix (which was teased in the recent Disney+ movie, Drive home 2 U).
In a true power move, the 19-year-old opted not to save her Grammy Award-winning hit, chart-topping “Drivers License,” for the finale, opting instead for the sing-ready track at the start of the whole. After quickly shouting, “Holy shit! Oh my God!” As she walked to the piano, overwhelmed by the very existence of her first real tour, Rodrigo dove into the powerful ballad that made her a household name. It was also a good break for her: she didn’t really need to do a lot of singing because the public took care of that for her.
For an album largely full of ballads, Rodrigo struck a good balance to keep the energy high throughout the set. She folded a few covers: first “Complicated” by Avril Lavigne and later, the more surprising “Seether” by Veruca Salt. She thanked her mother for introducing her to this group.
Halfway through, Rodrigo took some time for herself, taking center stage with just her acoustic guitar. After “Hope Ur OK,” she paid tribute to a pair of songs she wrote in her bedroom before her life blew up. “Enough for You” and Taylor Swift’s interpolated “1 Step Forward, 3 Steps Back” were seamlessly blended for a very moving medley.
When the band returned, the giant disco ball that hung above them shone brightly for a raucous rendition of “Happier.” Rodrigo made a quick change before the second half of the show, returning in a sparkly sky blue mini dress and combat boots. The “Favorite Crime” sequence in “Traitor” showed off her vocals before closing the set with “Deja Vu” and “Good 4 U.” As she finished her last song (and her second number one single), she said goodbye and left the stage. The crowd lingered a little longer than necessary, as if they miraculously had more songs banked than the 11 originals they had just played (and had long since memorized). Even though everything turned upside down for this teenage dream, her future is anything but brutal.
Acid List of tours:
“Complicated” (cover by Avril Lavigne)
“I hope you are well”
“Enough for You” / “1 Step Forward, 3 Steps Back” (Mixed)
“Seether” (Veruca Salt Cover)
“Good 4 U”