Fans of Olivia Rodrigo didn’t just show up for her sold-out show at The Rave in Milwaukee Tuesday night; they came prepared. Some had been camping at the venue for more than a day for the chance to get as close to the stage as possible; hundreds were in line when the doors opened.

When the pop breakout announced a stop at The Rave, it was a big deal for Wisconsin fans. After all, the 19-year-old singer and winner of the 2022 Grammy for Best New Artist was performing at that venue’s 3,500-person-capacity Eagles Ballroom rather than the much larger Fiserv Forum, a room she probably could have sold out twice over. 

The result was an exhilarating performance accompanied by a noisy — and at times overwhelming — crowd. 

Even opener Gracie Abrams was welcomed with thundering cheers and a sea of hands in the air. By the time Rodrigo’s band teased the opening of “brutal,” the audience roar was strong and never let up. 

Rodrigo’s debut single “drivers license” came out in January 2021 and almost immediately, she was everywhere. Within a week, the breakup power ballad had conquered the Billboard charts. The singer became a TikTok phenomenon, building massive anticipation for her debut album, Sour, most of which she’d written at home during COVID restrictions. The album earned her seven Grammy nods and she won three — Best Pop Solo Performance for “drivers license,” and Best Pop Vocal Album, in addition to new artist.

Hot off her Grammys success, Rodrigo took the stage by storm Tuesday during her eighth stop on the Sour tour. By the time she played the first notes of breakup anthem “drivers license” third in her set, the entire room had joined in for a thunderous singalong. When she turned the mic to the crowd during “1 step forward, 3 steps back,” fans were happy to belt the lyrics back at her.

The crowd volume was overpowering at times. When Rodrigo stopped to shout-out her family up in the balcony midway through her set, screams and cheers muffled most of what she said. Smaller, more sentimental moments of the concert felt steamrollered by the sheer volume within the room.

At times,  this felt more like a rock show than a pop show. An upbeat cover of Avril Lavigne’s “Complicated” allowed Rodrigo to assume a more punk-rock persona akin to Lavigne herself — who is a clear influence on Rodrigo. Her tonal balance was a testament to Rodrigo’s commanding stage presence, noteworthy this early in her career.

Energy hit an evening high as hits “déjà vu” and “good 4 u” closed out the show, ending what was essentially an hour-long singalong on a high note. 

Despite the volume produced by her fans, Rodrigo proved she has the presence and skill to deliver a captivating show that befit the excitement of the crowd but in the end wasn’t overtaken by it.

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