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The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
Since 1888
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.

‘I’m so obsessed’ with Olivia Rodrigo’s ‘GUTS’ world tour

Olivia Rodrigo spilled her “GUTS” on tour at Bridgestone Arena this weekend.
Audience+members+hold+up+phones+to+capture+Olivia+Rodrigo+on+screen+in+front+of+projection%2C+as+photographed+on+March+9%2C+2024.+%28Hustler+Multimedia%2FAbby+Hoelscher%29
Abby Hoelscher
Audience members hold up phones to capture Olivia Rodrigo on screen in front of projection, as photographed on March 9, 2024. (Hustler Multimedia/Abby Hoelscher)

I’ve been an Olivia Rodrigo fan since she starred in the 2015 American Girl doll film “Grace Stirs Up Success.” I was a frequent watcher of “Bizaardvark,” a goofy internet-centered series that kick-started her Disney Channel career, and then “High School Musical: The Musical: The Series” in which she first started producing her own music. If it wasn’t already obvious, seeing Rodrigo at Bridgestone Arena was a dream come true.

I clearly wasn’t alone in this excitement — fans of all ages had gotten dolled up for the concert. There were several looks nearly identical to those of Rodrigo’s music videos, along with dozens of other outfits inspired by her various songs and lyrics. 

“I see so much purple in the audience, so many sparkles. I love it,” Rodrigo said.

The concert opened with Chappell Roan, a pop-punk singer who is known for her fiery red hair and quintessential queer storytelling. She first gained popularity through her first full-length album “The Rise and Fall of a Midwest Princess,” which was released in Sept. 2023.

Roan was first introduced to me through one of my personalized Spotify “daylists” shortly after the album release and has since become a regular on my own playlists. One of my favorite songs by Roan is “Femininomenon,” which she opened her set with. Roan continued to bounce around onstage as she shared her lyrics with the audience, solidifying her style as a vibrant, high-energy artist.

As much as I had tried to avoid the setlist spoilers, it was nearly impossible with my TikTok For You page being flooded with concert details since Rodrigo’s opening night. Though I somewhat knew what I was about to experience, her set was filled with pockets of surprises and special moments that made me wish I was able to capture more. 

Rodrigo’s arrival was signaled by the collapse of the projected candles on stage spelling out “GUTS,” as pictured above. This led to a hush among the audience before tremendous cheers.

The lights came up and Rodrigo was center stage in front of the roaring crowd. She started with “bad idea right?” and then followed with “ballad of a homeschooled girl” and “vampire,” all from her most recent album, “GUTS.” There was a lot I latched onto within these opening numbers, being the first time I had seen Rodrigo live. She had a tendency to mix up the tempo of her songs as well as harmonize with the original melodies. This definitely added an extra layer of depth to the performance as she connected with the audience through these musical choices.

Another aspect of this concert I really appreciated was the unique graphic design of the projection onto the curtain of the stage. At times, this included live close-up video footage of Rodrigo performing for those with visual impairments or simply seats further up in the arena. This projection technique was also utilized throughout the show to enhance the performance with other forms of media.

For example, the song “teenage dream,” which Rodrigo introduced as one she wrote on the verge of her 19th birthday in fear of growing up, was sung in front of a montage of videos from Rodrigo’s own childhood.

“I actually don’t think growing up is so scary anymore,” Rodrigo said.

As a teenage girl also struggling at times with this transition from childhood to adulthood, songs like this make me feel seen. Being just two years younger than Rodrigo herself, her music has always felt relatable on a personal level.

Another notable moment involving elaborate technical design was that of the moon Rodrigo rides on while singing “logical” and then “enough for you.” She spent this time waving at the crowd as she made a small circle around the arena. Returning to the stage as her home base after these two emotionally vulnerable numbers, Rodrigo took this opportunity to recognize some members of the audience as well as feature some on the big projected screen.

After a few more fan favorites, Rodrigo asked if there was anybody in the crowd who was a fan of “The Hunger Games” franchise. This was followed by intense cheering.

“I’ll take that as a yes,” Rodrigo said.

She proceeded to sing “Can’t Catch Me Now,” a song written for the hit movie “The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes” released in Nov. 2023. 

This wasn’t where the surprises ended — Rodrigo was then handed an acoustic guitar and brought Sheryl Crow onstage to sing her hit song, “If It Makes You Happy.” Though I wasn’t anticipating this specific duet, it was certainly not the first time I had seen an artist on tour add a country song to their setlist for the Nashville show. In moments like these, I feel truly grateful to be learning and studying in a city that is so culturally relevant it is recognized by stars as big as Rodrigo.

The last leg of the show again included songs from both “SOUR” and “GUTS,” Rodrigo’s debut and sophomore albums. She sang several slower, heart-wrenching melodies before leaving the stage for a costume change. In her brief absence, the guitarists shredded several solos as flames emerged on the projected screen.

Rodrigo returned to the stage in a stunning red halter-top bodycon dress. She sang “brutal,” a poem of teen angst set to rock music, before diving into an unreleased song called “obsessed” that is only available as a bonus track on exclusive editions of her vinyl record. The spirit was incredibly high, though the general volume from the audience seemed considerably lower than other numbers.

This was followed with “all-american bitch” and then “good 4 u,” both exceedingly energetic as demonstrated by Rodrigo’s kicks and jumps. One thing I absolutely love about her, among so many other artists, is that she seems to have so much fun onstage and simply loves nothing more than dancing around in a room full of people enjoying her music.

Rodrigo closed the show with “get him back!” one of my personal favorites from her entire discography. She traded her typical microphone out for one with a megaphone shape and couldn’t seem to wipe the smile from her face. Confetti shot out of cannons onstage as Rodrigo bowed with her band, dancers and backup singers.

All in all, it was an unforgettable experience. I cannot wait to see what the future holds for a star burning as bright as Olivia Rodrigo and am already planning my outfit for her next tour.

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About the Contributor
Abby Hoelscher
Abby Hoelscher, Photography Editor
Abby Hoelscher (‘27) is from St. Louis and is an aspiring elementary teacher currently studying in Peabody College. She previously served as Deputy Photography Director. Outside of writing, she enjoys performing, learning Taylor Swift songs in American Sign Language and trying the seasonal lattes from the campus coffee shops. She can be reached at [email protected].
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Anonymous
2 months ago

“As a teenage girl also struggling at times with this transition from childhood to adulthood, songs like this make me feel seen. Being just two years younger than Rodrigo herself, her music has always felt relatable on a personal level.“

Appreciate the writer’s authenticity