Gracie Abrams, Olivia Rodrigo perform in Chicago

Concert creates surreal experience for audience members


“SOUR TOUR” projection at the Aragon Ballroom on April 16th (Gee/LION).

Maddie Gee and Cooper Anderson

Strobe lights shone on the heads of the people in the crowd, the music vibrated through our feet, and hands swayed to the tempo of the song. We could not believe we were seeing an artist, whose songs we had listened to on repeat, in-person. Olivia Rodrigo held her concert in the Aragon Ballroom, which is in Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood at 1106 W. Lawrence Ave. She performed on the nights of April 15 and 16 from roughly 8 p.m. to 10 p.m.  

Prior to the show, there was a three-hour-wait outside of the venue in the cold, and the room filled to capacity with 5,000 people in attendance, which was unpleasant at times. Since Rodrigo won three Grammys of “Best New Artist,” “Best Pop Vocal Album,” and “Best Pop Solo Performance,” she most likely would have been able to fill much larger venues such as the United Center or Allstate Arena. The large amount of people in a small venue caused numerous instances of individuals overheating and passing out both Friday and Saturday. This is something that could have been avoided with a bigger venue.

Opening for Olivia was Gracie Abrams, whom we both had not listened to prior to the performance. Her style of music set up an emotional, yet relaxing ambiance. However, the majority of the audience was on the quieter side, waiting in anticipation for Olivia. 

Just as we expected, the performance Rodrigo gave was nothing short of phenomenal. She had a dramatic entrance with her song “Brutal,” where she repeatedly strummed the electric guitar extending the introduction of the song. This built up a lot of excitement as she ran on stage. The setlist was exactly what we anticipated, with her singing all of her hit songs from her album, “Sour.” She even sang two covers, “Complicated” by Avril Lavigne and “Seether” by Veruca Salt. We felt these songs were perfect for her setlist because they match the pop-rock energy that is present in “Sour.” 

One of the songs the audience was noticeably the most excited about was her song “All I Want,” which she wrote for the TV show “High School Musical: The Musical: The Series,” and was what started her rise to fame. Her vocal performance throughout the night was stellar, especially during her song “Traitor,” which is one of the most emotional songs on her album. We both had full-body chills from how amazing she sounded in-person, and it was definitely a memorable experience for all who attended. 

Even though the venue was too tiny and not sufficient considering how large her fanbase is, the Aragon Ballroom was one of the most gorgeous venues we have seen. The ballroom itself has so many intricate designs on the balconies, with mosaic tiles to replicate a “Spanish palace courtyard.” On the ceiling was a breathtaking mural of the galaxy, adding a cool vibe to the atmosphere of the show, along with the “Sour Tour” text projected onto the ceiling. Rodrigo performed in front of a gorgeous set with lots of glitter and shimmering streamers, as well as a disco ball over the audience, which made the performance much brighter and lively. Her band was incredible, and she would constantly interact with them throughout the show, which added a lot more elements of rock to her performance. 

Although there are definite flaws with her first ever tour, it is without a doubt that the “Sour Tour” is an experience we will never forget. It was clear how special of a moment it was for everyone to be able to see Rodrigo perform, and it made waiting in the cold Chicago weather for three hours worth it.  

Rating: 4/5 Paws