Midway through her set at the Santa Barbara Bowl Tuesday evening, Maggie Rogers offered some sage advice to the near capacity crowd.
While holding a fan’s cell phone and recording a video, she told the crowd that cell phones are great for a lot of things. Perhaps more important, however, was living in the moment.
“If you want to remember the set, feel free to take a picture,” she urged. “Maybe don’t record the whole set? Just be present.”
Some in the audience took her advice to heart, while others seemed to jam their Instagram stories with footage of the Brooklyn-native dancing all over the stage for the entire 90 minutes she performed.
The 25-year-old singer was dressed in all white for the duration of her set. On her Instagram, she clarified that her inspiration came from three rather distinct places: the late Queen frontman Freddie Mercury, the hip hop trio TLC and your next-door neighbor’s kid looking dapper for Halloween.
She commanded the stage from the beginning with hits such as “Fallingwater,” “Burning,” and “Say It” – all of which were featured on her January album.
She was constantly moving and swinging her hips as she serenaded the audience.
The live band ensemble of bass, guitar, keyboard and drums accentuated several of her songs, providing crisp sounds and giving some tunes new life.
Her rendition of “The Knife” was a big crowd pleasure, as the lighting provided a real femme fatale feel as eerie shadows of the performers were displayed on the backdrop.
On several occasions, Ms. Rogers said that her current “Heard It In a Past Life World Tour” was the biggest tour she had ever been on. The second leg of the tour kicked off last week and will continue through November. She also said that Tuesday’s show was the biggest she’s ever performed at as the headlining act.
If the showing in front of nearly 4,600 strong was any indication – it’s safe to say that future shows will leave fans satisfied.
Prior to Ms. Rogers taking the stage, indie rock duo Now, Now set the stage with a fluorescent and poppy set. Ms. Rogers said she has been friends with the band for quite some time and their records have been “serious companions” of hers over the years.
The songs from Ms. Rogers’ had the crowd stomping and singing along, though she did include a few of her lesser known songs. She told the crowd she wanted to create a space within the set to pay homage to all the years she spent playing the acoustic guitar.
Slowing down the tempo didn’t necessarily sit well with the crowd, who used the time during the softer jams as a chance to refresh their drinks or talk among one another.
She got the crowd back into it with performances of “Retrograde” and “Live a Little.” While performing “Overnight,” she grabbed a pink cowboy hat and the addition to her wardrobe remained on stage until the end.
She finished the set in strong fashion, ending with perhaps her two most well-known tunes – “Back in My Body” and “Light On.”
She left the stage to a raucous ovation, only to return minutes later for an encore.
It was then that Ms. Rogers shared personal anecdotes, including taking one of her ideas, building upon it and refining it to show the world.
She admitted she was “overwhelmed” while thinking about some of her earlier shows, showing gratitude to her loyal fans.
“We all come to this space looking for something bigger than ourselves and something to connect with,” she said. “Music is a tool that I use to transport myself to a new place. I’m able to write down my feelings and then I get to go there over and over and over again.”
Ms. Rogers said she wishes she could go back and talk to her former self – that girl who four years ago was writing songs in her bedroom, or the teen who 10 years ago was learning how to write music.
“I wish I could show her all of this because it’s pretty mind blowing,” she said.
She then performed an acoustic version of “Alaska,” and her voice was perhaps as on point as it was throughout the show.
As she sang, she was so overcome with emotion that her professional side took a back seat. When she noticed a fan in the front pit that was showing signs of distress, she immediately stopped playing to ask if they were ok and urged medics to provide care.
Ms. Rogers’ world tour will continue tonight in Los Angeles before heading east.