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A Review of Gracie Abrams’s 1st Performance in Boston on Feb. 12

By Helen Roth

Photo by Helen Roth

I have spent a year and a half listening to her voice through my purple wired headphones, and now, there she was, standing right in front of me. At The Sinclair, tucked away off of Harvard Square, Gracie Abrams made every audience member feel like they were her best friend.

You might actually have a greater connection with Gracie Abrams than you would think. Though the name might not ring a bell, Gracie was actually the source of inspiration for Olivia Rodrigo’s renowned song, “Driver’s License.” Gracie’s album, Minor, released in 2020, was listened to by Olivia in her car.

After listening to the 20-minute long album, Olivia went home and wrote “Driver’s License.” Not only was Gracie Olivia her inspiration, but also her best friend. In fact, Gracie is accompanying Olivia on her upcoming SOUR tour as the opening act.

Now that you have the general context of Abrams as an artist, let’s get back to the evening.

The concert kickstarted with the lovely Alix Page setting the tone for the night. Performing with her two friends from high school, Alix’s voice was delicate and composed.

“You know when someone ruins a band for you?” she asked the audience. We all laughed and nodded our heads. She proceeded to perform “Radiohead,” with the lyrics, “I think you might have ruined Radiohead,” floating throughout the room. I could see people smiling under their masks, adoring Alix, and hating whoever ruined Radiohead for her. They didn’t deserve her anyway.

She went on to sing the classic “Teenage Dirtbag,” letting the audience sing along with her, occasionally letting someone sing into the microphone, fulfilling a few teenage dreams.

As the famous lyrics of the Wheatus song came to a close, Alix thanked the audience and left the stage—and there we stood, anticipating Gracie’s arrival. 10 minutes go by. 20 minutes go by. 30 neverending minutes go by, and suddenly, the stage lights turn gold.

The lyrics from “This is What it Feels Like” – the hit song of her new album This is What it Feels Like – bounced off the four walls for a minute, and she finally ran out onto stage. Greeted by waving hands and a few tears, she was exactly how I had imagined her to be: smiley, angelic and confident.

Without saying a word, the 22-year-old from LA went straight into singing. Leading with her hit “This is What it Feels Like,” she captivated the audience from the get go.

After, he quickly switched the vibe, with perhaps one of the saddest songs from her new album: “Better.” As she sang, each word was brimming with purpose and emotion. It was almost as if she was going through her own heartbreak right in front of us. It made my throat choke up a bit.

Gracie eventually took a break from singing and started chatting with the audience: “You guys are so nice to look at,” she said. “I mean, seriously, what a beautiful group of people. It hurts.” We all blushed.

She went on to talk about how it was her very first show in Boston, and that the city holds a very special place in her heart. Gracie would travel from LA to Boston every summer with her family, and then drive up to Augusta, Maine. She explained that being in Augusta was a place for her to escape, and a place where she wrote a lot of her songs.

The way she spoke to us so casually clearly showcased her love for her fans. It was like she was catching up with us, the way that you catch up with a friend you haven’t seen in a long time, yet, it feels like no time went by at all.

To honor her connection to the city, she then sang “Augusta”, another song from her album, This is What it Feels Like. As she led with the lyrics, “Feel like maybe I might wanna go to Boston,” we all cheered.

As she sang, she would float around the room, holding hands with those in the front. She twirled around, occasionally bursting into a big smile and jumping up and down. While she couldn’t believe she was performing in front of so many people, we too couldn’t believe that she was performing right in front of us.

After the show had come to a close, my friend and I left The Sinclair (after getting a picture with Alix Page, I might add), gushing over Gracie. She was just exquisite.

As we returned to BU, we put her albums on shuffle and sang, recounting special moments from the concert. Though Gracie Abrams is not returning to Boston for her, This is What it Feels Like tour; she is returning back to the city for Olivia Rodrigo’s SOUR Tour on May 3, and tickets are currently on sale.


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