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Home Culture Olivia Rodrigo in Madrid: she and a chorus of 17,000 feverish young people | Culture

Olivia Rodrigo in Madrid: she and a chorus of 17,000 feverish young people | Culture

by News Room
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There was a moment, at the beginning of the concert, when Olivia Rodrigo stood in the center of the stage. The musicians without playing, she without singing. The screams of the public produced an animal sound that has rarely been heard in the long history of the Madrid pavilion. Even she waved her hand, overwhelmed. Mothers and fathers accompanying their teenage children covered their ears.

Two concerts were held last night in a packed WiZink Center: that of a 21-year-old Californian pop star named Olivia Rodrigo and that of a feverish choir of 17,000 young people, mostly girls. He pack It worked, because it is impossible not to get carried away by such a passionate atmosphere, with young people overwhelmed with emotion and with a performer with a charming stage presence. Also for a sometimes notable repertoire.

Just 20 days apart, The Eras Tour, by Taylor Swift, and Guts World Tour, by Olivia Rodrigo, have visited Spain. Both are Americans, they share some followers and exchange compliments, perhaps more intense than those proclaimed by Rodrigo, who is 21 years old and considers Swift, 34, a reference. Continuing with the comparisons, what happened at the Bernabéu a few days ago was very more chiripitiflautical, but there Rodrigo was last night sitting on a moon and flying above the heads of thousands of people. The sky of the pavilion was full of little stars and it looked like an immense bedroom of a middle-class teenager. Rodrigo sang through the air Logical, a scolding from the singer to an ex-boyfriend whom she defines as manipulative and toxic. Olivia Rodrigo belongs to generation Z and she talks about what matters to her.

Olivia Rodrigo (right) lets loose with one of her guitarists in one of the first songs of a concert that lasted one hour and 45 minutes.

Rodrigo Jimenez (EFE)

In a pavilion format, more secluded than the distant immensity of a stadium, this young pop star showed that hers is something to be taken into account. She has enviable vocal conditions and she knows how to connect with a young audience that seeks musical references that describe the roller coaster of sensations that beset them. Rodrigo breaks with the story that says that all artists who emerged at Disney must begin with children’s musical works and then, in a great stylistic and aesthetic change, face an adult career. One of the most obvious cases was the transformation of Hannah Montana into Miley Cyrus. But Olivia Rodrigo, who became known in Disney series and films for a child/teenage audience, has skipped the first step and since her debut (the notable Sour, 2021) has already opted for a repertoire that will not be ashamed of in a few years. His second work, the one he presents on this tour, Guts (2023), confirms his consistent musical project.

Last night the singer exhibited a self-conscious and pizpireta attitude, with a little bit of a diva and a lot of a captivatingly empathetic girl, the one who always hugs the friend who ends the night crying on the steps of the door of a joint. Surely the most rocking song of her short career is Ballad of a Homeschooled Girl, a song that was played last night in second place and in which a social disaster is declared with phrases like: “I laughed at the wrong time, I sat with the wrong boy / all the boys I like are gay.” He sang it with violent neck movements that allowed her hair to move like heavy music in the eighties. It is one of the keys to her proposal: a charming mix of naivety, cunning and courage to dramatize the narrative of her pubescent romances. And also some concerns that go beyond the flashes of TikTok. He inserts into his songs phrases inspired by the literature of Joan Didion or Susan Sontag, and his music opens to liturgies typical of Lana del Rey or Phoebe Bridgers.

Another moment from the Californian's recital in Madrid.
Another moment from the Californian’s recital in Madrid. Rodrigo Jimenez (EFE)

In addition to his rock songs, Rodrigo dabbles in different genres and, as he demonstrated last night, he always executes them with ease thanks to a personal and flexible voice. Some themes that sometimes offer non-obvious musical structures. Pretty Isn’t Pretty, which she performed accompanied by eight dancers, is a superb pop song; Vampire It started out as a self-absorbed Coldplay piece and ended up sounding like anything but something sung by Chris Martin. His ballads flee from convention and breathe an air indie. Come on, they could be part of the songbook of a Bon Iver or a Sufjan Stevens. The problem is that the audience chanted them at such an exaggerated volume that the star’s beautiful inflections were barely heard. A shame: perhaps they should have done without a relaxed piece. It was stimulating to see a band made up of women on stage: two guitarists, keyboardist, bassist, drummer and two backup singers. Young girls, good music and playing with bad temper in some phases.

A pair of catwalks came out from the stage that formed a kind of open scissors. Rodrigo moved there dominatingly, talking to the public, jumping, running, tirelessly. An energy typical of his age. He sat on the floor next to one of the guitarists and played the relaxed Happier y Favorite Crime. It was a soft preamble to the final riot, where they sounded Brutal, Obsessed y All-american Bitch and that seemed the angry reverse of Taylor Swift. A young star hitting rock hard with a crazy audience. Generation Z taking a break from urban music. Not so bad. The concert ended with Good 4 U y Get Him Back!

It was an hour and 45 minutes of concert. Well, two concerts: the choir was excited and went out into the street singing…

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