first avenue // minneapolis, MN // 10.29.18
photos + review by Morgan Winston
The anticipation in the room is palpable. Devoted fans pack every corner of First Avenue for the sold-out show and await the arrival of Maggie Rogers. The lights suddenly drop as ABBA’s Dancing Queen begins to play over the speakers. Maggie allows for the entire song to play out in the darkness. And then she appears. In a wave of color, she bounces onto the stage; the steady percussive beats of Give A Little mark her appearance.
Her electric dancing evokes imagery from her recent music video and the simple, effortless song is the perfect opening. She introduces herself to the crowd “where no one knows me / no one knows you,” and allows for the audience to throw out their inhibitions. The next song, Split Stones is a slow build. The song is a lyrical masterpiece, accented again by an engaging, dance-y percussive track. This is one way in which the power in Maggie’s songs are amplified by a live setting. The kinetic energy she brings with her is such an important part of the performance and should not be ignored.
She continues the show with new material, telling the crowd that she can’t wait for January, when her first full length record Heard It In A Past Life is set to be released. Maggie takes a moment to confess that she is “super in love” and that her unreleased song Burning is about this. The tune is sure to be a heavy-hitter on the new album. The beat is constant and punchy, laid out underneath an impressive vocal performance from Maggie who sings “I’m in love / I’m in love / Oh I’m burning.”
At various points she has troubles with her mic pack, has to restart On + Off, and loses control of the fog machine. But it doesn’t matter. The crowd is completely won over by her purity and honesty. Light On is especially significant, and Maggie discusses the importance of taking a step back to look at where she is now. She talks about how essential it was for her to make the conscious decision to be an artist and to not simply go along with what was happening to her. This discussion comes right before Light On, the newest single from the album. She quietly states: “the next song we’re going to play; we’re going to play on Saturday Night Live.” The crowd erupts.
The new songs are full, beautiful, and rounded out perfectly by Maggie’s sweet yet commanding voice. This is an artist who is in control of her art. She is grounded. Confident and sure, yet still grateful for the people she performs for. During the encore, she embraces the adrenaline fade with Color Song, the opening from her EP Now That The Light Is Fading. She asks the crowd to be together in the moment and the room deadens. Afterward, she sings a cover of Angel From Montgomery and finally ends the night with the song that started it all: Alaska.
After the electricity fades and Maggie and her band leave the stage, Whitney Houston’s I Wanna Dance With Somebody plays. The night ends as it should, a crowd dancing together in celebration of music, love, and the joy that Maggie Rogers brings wherever she goes.