There was a chill in the air as the stage crew set up for the Maggie Rogers concert outside at Philadelphia’s Mann Center. Concert–goers filled the lawn with thick blankets, warm sweaters and wool caps. After weeks of thick, warm humidity, fall was finally here on the first Friday of October. Wrapping up the second leg of her late summer Heard It in a Past Life tour there’s a feeling of the need to soak in every second of the moment as colder days come in and the tour comes to an end. Despite the cold, Rogers filled the stage with radiating warmth and comfort as she wrapped up the second leg of her late summer Heard It in a Past Life tour.
First, the tour’s opener Lorely Rodriquez, known as Empress Of, energized the crowd with synth–y, alternative pop. Her opening songs “Trust Me Baby” and “Everything to Me” from her 2018 album Us were refreshingly unique as the singer switches between English and Spanish lyrics. Her words were full of musings about love and heartbreak, and she performed each line with passion. As an opening act, Empress Of captured the audience on her very own with her catchy lines, electronic beats and her confident stage presence.
The climax of her performance came with “I Don’t Even Smoke Weed,” one of her most popular songs. The singer excellently expressed the sense of complete devotion to a lover while maintaining elements of humor in her lyrics. Another highlight of her performance came as Empress Of was finishing up her set. Her self–proclaimed “feminist bop,” “Woman is a Word,” is the ultimate crowd–pleaser as the audience sings along to her empowering lines. Empress Of is the perfect touring act with Maggie Rogers. Matching Rogers' energy and strong lyricism, Empress Of put on a performance that was uniquely her own.
Maggie Rogers took the stage shortly after, her warm pop persona feeling surprising familiar at the small outdoor venue. Warming up with one of her Now That the Light Is Fading throwback singles “Color Song,” Rogers was angelic both in her performance and appearance. Her singing is light and slow as she tip–toed around the stage in a silky white robe.
The tone shifted as the singer transitioned into “Fallingwater” from her newest album Heard It In A Past Life. Gaining momentum and confidence, her vocals became stronger as she danced across the entirety of the stage. From there, Maggie moved onto “Burning” and “Say It.” The first song is about being undeniably and unapologetically in love, while the second is about a crush she tries to suppress. Together these two songs were perfectly and cleverly balanced.
Returning to an old classic, “Dog Years,” Maggie Rogers switched from singing about romantic love to a love that she shared with a best friend. Rogers has an impeccable ability to make the audience feel comfortable and close, and they swayed along to every word.
Later in the set, Maggie gave the audience a listen to an unreleased single titled “I’m Gonna Love You for a Long Time.” For a new song, the lyrics and music sounded very familiar. Like her previous songs, it’s a sweet and about love, swapping out some of her heavier pop beats for the sounds of her acoustic guitar. It’s a fitting transition as the pop star returns to some of her more acoustic and somber songs. Her most stellar performance came when she sings “Past Life”—those who were singing and dancing before quickly found themselves on the verge of tears.
All these mixed emotions reached their peak at the encore performance of “Alaska.” There’s an overwhelming sense of nostalgia as Maggie Rogers sings the song that propelled her into stardom. The song struck a perfect balance between dance and folk music layered with soulful and beautiful vocals. It's a classic and serves as a reminder that this musician hasn’t changed. She consistently walks the line between familiarity and spectacle in her powerful performances. She’s a pop-star that feels like a close friend.