‘SOUR’ turns sweet: Olivia Rodrigo at the Opry

Olivia Rodrigo brought her breakout album to life on Nashville’s most iconic stage on May 10.


Mattigan Kelly

Olivia Rodrigo brings “SOUR” to life on the Opry stage, as photographed on May 10, 2022. (Huster Multimedia/Mattigan Kelly)

Justine Del Monte, Former Life Copy Editor

Tuesday night was filled with heartbroken tweens, One Direction and High School Musical sing-a-longs. No, it wasn’t my middle school dance—it was Olivia Rodrigo at the Grand Ole Opry. 

Rodrigo belts "brutal," as photographed on May 10, 2022. (Hustler Staff/Mattigan Kelly)
Rodrigo belts “brutal,” as photographed on May 10, 2022. (Hustler Staff/Mattigan Kelly) (Mattigan Kelly)

Rodrigo absolutely rocked the historic Opry stage on May 10, seamlessly blending her Disney prowess with her recent Grammy Award-winning superstardom. Featuring songs from the hit show “High School Musical the Musical: the Series,” pop-punk covers and tracks from her breakout album “SOUR,” Rodrigo wowed the Nashville audience alongside artist Holly Humberstone

Humberstone served as an easy start to the night. With only her guitar and keyboard in tow, she entranced the crowd with heart-thumping ballads like “Falling Asleep at the Wheel” and “Walls Are Way Too Thin.” A personal favorite was “Scarlett,” dedicated to her best friend—you guessed it—Scarlett. Her live vocals shined as the crowd held up their iPhone flashlights and swayed along. 

Humberstone recently released her new single “Sleep Tight” and encouraged concertgoers to head to her Instagram DM’s for an exclusive unreleased demo.

After Humberstone, the Opry speakers let the audience know that Rodrigo would soon grace the stage by blasting One Direction’s “Olivia.”

Just as the album “SOUR” begins with the heavy banger “brutal,” the concert started in the same fashion when Rodrigo ran onto the stage. Surrounded by tinsel, a larger-than-life disco ball and purple hues, the crowd—primarily made up of people who probably don’t even have their learner’s permits yet—shouted that they “can’t even parallel park.”

Hit song “drivers license” graces the Opry, as photographed on May 10, 2022. (Hustler Multimedia/Mattigan Kelly) (Mattigan Kelly)

Early in her set came the highly anticipated track “drivers license.” Rodrigo settled at the piano to play out the song that arguably changed the trajectory of most of our Spotify Wrapped playlists. With flashing red lights and punchy vocals, Rodrigo transported the crowd to feel as if we were sitting in traffic with a friend, belting out the heartbreak anthem of the year. 

Rodrigo was most authentic during similarly stripped-down performances. While it was refreshing to see her stage presence come to life during tracks like “jealousy, jealousy” and “favorite crime,” the moments that felt most natural took place when she was at the piano or with a guitar in hand. 

As Rodrigo strummed along to “enough for you” and “hope ur ok,” her lyricism and musicality took center stage. The glittering background and girl band were overtaken by simple curtains and a spotlight, making the concert more intimate.

The girl band, of course, did not go unnoticed. The all-female ensemble was one of the many nods to the underlying quasi-girl power theme of the night. This was underscored by her cover choices of “Complicated” by Avril Lavigne and No Doubt’s “Just a Girl.” A woman behind me may have yelled “Millenials rise up,” but both songs were universally loved by the primarily Gen-Z audience.

Rodrigo belts along with the audience, as photographed on May 10, 2022. (Hustler Multimedia/Mattigan Kelly)
Rodrigo belts along with the audience, as photographed on May 10, 2022. (Hustler Multimedia/Mattigan Kelly) (Mattigan Kelly)

The concert also showcased Rodrigo’s own diverse performance background. As she sang “All I Want” from “High School Musical the Musical: the Series,” I was eager to relive my glory days from when I saw “High School Musical” in concert back in 2006. More importantly, I was thrilled to see all of the young girls around me (and millennials) enjoy music from a Disney show that meshed so perfectly with a more mature album. With a set fit for a prom and music epitomizing teenage heartbreak, this tour was an excellent transition from a Disney childhood star to a Grammy-Award-winning artist.  

To close out the night, Rodrigo served exactly what the audience was craving on a sparkly silver platter. Belting “deja vu” and “good 4 u,” the crowd was electrified. Now “All I Want” is for Rodrigo to release her sophomore album. Until then, we’ll keep “SOUR” on repeat.