OK McCausland/The New York Times

April 11, 2024

Olivia Rodrigo’s Guts Tour Comes to New York

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It’s hard to find big-time concerts in Upstate New York, so when I noticed that pop sensation Olivia Rodrigo’s arrival to New York City was perfectly timed to line up with Cornell’s spring break, I jumped at the chance to get tickets. I have been a fan of Rodrigo since her Disney Channel days, and attended her first tour in 2022, so I was ecstatic to have the opportunity to see her again.  

Rodrigo’s Guts World Tour celebrates the release of her second studio album, Guts. The album, which was released in September 2023, contains 12 eclectic tracks.  Some are slow heartbreak tunes like much of her first album, Sour, while others are more upbeat with a punk-rock like sound to them.  Rodrigo’s fan base has definitely expanded since her first tour, with most audience members dressing in her signature look of a short skirt, leather jacket and knee-high boots.

Before Rodrigo came on, the show was opened by The Breeders, a 1990s alternative rock group fronted by Kim Deal. To me, the band seemed like an interesting choice, as most of the concert attendees were teenagers or young adults born long after the band’s peak. Later in the show, Olivia Rodrigo mentioned that the band played a role in influencing her punk rock tracks. While they put on a good set with songs “Cannonball” and “Drivin’ on 9”, it was definitely difficult for them to connect with this demographic. Audience members went in and out of the theater and not many seemed to know the songs.

The main act opened with “bad idea right?”, an upbeat track that was the second single released from the album. She followed with “ballad of a homeschooled girl,” another punk track and then changed direction by performing “vampire,” a much slower and softer tune. At the young age of 21, it is incredible what a strong stage presence Rodrigo has. The first three tracks were only performed by Rodrigo and her band, with her dancers coming out later in the show. In just two hours, she was able to perform every track on Guts and most of the tracks on Sour as well.

When Rodrigo’s Sour Tour came to New York in 2022, she performed at Radio City Music Hall, a theater seating just over 6,000 people. This show took place at Madison Square Garden, a much bigger space with almost three times the capacity of Radio City. This allowed her to do many things to elevate her performance, such as performing some songs on a floating moon that circled the entire arena. She was also able to enter the crowd and interact with a few lucky fans who were seated close to the stage.

Towards the end of the show, Rodrigo took a break for her elaborate scenes and dance numbers to perform on the edge of the stage with just one of her guitar players. She sang “happier” and “favorite crime,” both tracks from her first album. During this moment, she took the time to reflect on how far she had come since she began making music and thanked those who helped her along the way.

The show closed with two of Rodrigo’s biggest hits, “good 4 u” and “get him back!”.  The last two tracks brought the entire audience to their feet, and you could not find a single person in the arena that wasn’t screaming the words.  Rodrigo’s performance definitely proved that she can do a lot with her versatile range. I am excited to see what she does next with her career, as her talent has a lot of potential to follow in the footsteps of other great female music stars.

Ili Pecullan is a sophomore in the College of Human Ecology. She can be reached at [email protected].