Pop Sensation Olivia Rodrigo performs at the Santa Barbara Bowl
“I Live For You, I Want You, Olivia” from the One Direction song, “Olivia,” echoed through the Santa Barbara Bowl on May 21 as the crowd of approximately 4,500 young girls, students, moms and more were eagerly waiting for 19-year-old pop sensation Olivia Rodrigo on stage.
While Rodrigo could have easily sold bigger venues with all of her accolades from her breakout last year, including Billboard’s Woman of the Year and TIME’s Artist of the Year, she opted to place her headlining tour to smaller, more intimate venues — luckily for Residents of Santa Barbara who landed tickets. After entering the venue, the queue to purchase her tour merchandise wound alone up the hill for what seemed like miles with fans leaving the line holding multiple shirts, posters and hoodies, among the whispers of event managers who said the frenzy scene was unparalleled.
Rodrigo’s opener, British singer-songwriter Holly Humberstone, began by performing an intimate, solo set with just guitar and keyboard piano, singing her tracks “Vanilla”, “Overkill” and more. . The 22-year-old just toured with a girl in red and played a two-weekend set at Coachella.
Then, the Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter captured the attention of all onlookers when she took the stage dressed in butterfly emblems and purple attire for her highly anticipated North American leg. and sold-out SOUR TOUR – Rodrigo’s first concert tour for his self-titled debut album.
Rodrigo performed all the songs from his 11-track 2021 debut album ‘SOUR’, starting with the ‘brutal’ lead track, as the towering purple curtains fell with an illuminated ‘SOUR’ and spinning disco ball backdrop that reminiscent of a ballroom scene. She immediately set the mood for the evening with her high energy that summed up the teenage angst as she sang, “They say it’s the golden years / But I wish I could disappear / The crush of the ego is so serious / God it’s brutal in here,” as shouts echoed throughout the room.
The singer continued to maintain the liveliness with “jealousy, jealousy”, energetically jumping up the stairs of the platform effortlessly, from one side of the stage to the other in her high heart-shaped ensemble and plaid skirt. Her career-defining ‘driver’s license’ hit followed as she belted ‘Red lights, stop signs / I still see your face in the white cars, the front yards’ as she sat on a grand piano.
The Southern California native was quick to introduce her all-female rock band and cover songs by two artists she’s claimed to admire deeply, including Avril Lavigne’s infamous hit “Complicated” and the band’s “Just A Girl.” group led by Gwen Stefani, No Doubt. Rodrigo completed the first part of the set with the emotional ballad “hope ur ok” and a mixture of “enough for you” and “1 step forward, 3 steps back”, which credits the melody of Taylor Swift’s track “New New Year’s Day” off “reputation”.
For the second half of the set, Rodrigo quickly changed into a sparkly dress and matching arm warmers to play “happier”, cooing “I hope you’re happy / But not like you were with me / I’m selfish, I know, I can’t let you go Fans of her Disney+ show “High School Musical: The Musical: The Series” were pleased with her performance of the ballad “All I Want,” which she wrote for the show and credits the start of her singing career.
Rodrigo’s emotional intensity throughout the night was infectious and went well with her powerful vocal range, as she delivered soulful renditions of “Favorite Crime” and the lyrics “Guilty Brown Eyes and Little White Lies” of “Traitor ” transparently. The pop star happily told the crowd at one point, “I’m so glad I got to spend SOUR’s birthday with you guys,” referring to the first anniversary of her platinum studio album. Dazzling white lights from smartphones filled the air as she lay on a piano to perform the hit song “deja vu”, with the crowd singing back “Cars on the road in Malibu / Strawberry ice cream / A spoon for of them”.
Rodrigo’s encore featured his punk-rock hit “good 4 u” as confetti exploded throughout the venue to the amazement of the crowd. After Rodrigo’s encore, the crowd seemed impressed, with most standing still in their seats instead of the usual dart to the parking lot. Rodrigo seemed to have captured the hearts and undivided attention of the fans attending the hour-long show, leaving everyone wanting more. Rodrigo’s European leg of his tour kicks off June 11 in Hamburg, Germany.