Maggie Rogers kicks off European tour in Kingston

As far as tour kick offs go, this was a pretty modest one. Maggie Rogers – a Grammy nominated, indie singer-songwriter with nearly 10 million monthly listeners on Spotify – began her continent-spanning Don’t Forget Me tour with an intimate, acoustic performance at Kingston’s Pryzm. 

Rogers’ set, one of two shows at the nightclub on Tuesday evening, began with Love You for a Long Time, a sweet, lovestruck sing-a-long that has proven a fan favourite.

In her second set of the night, she treated fans to an extra song – Back In My Body. The deep cut from her debut studio album, 2019’s Heard It in a Past Life, is fittingly set in London and it’s triumphant chorus allowed Rogers to harness the cathartic power of live music (“This time I know I’m fighting / This time I’m back in my body”, goes the anthemic refrain).

Rogers got her break as a viral sensation in 2016 after Pharrell Williams led a masterclass at the university she was attending and was left lost for words by her song Alaska.

The video of that interaction was shortly after uploaded to YouTube, where it has garnered over seven million views to date.

Alaska, a hazy folk-dance number that feels deeply and delightfully removed from the predominant musical trends of the 2010s, was dutifully delivered by Rogers midway through her set.

Her performance of the song on Tuesday highlights her exponential rise. The nervous 22-year-old who couldn’t bring herself to meet Pharrell’s gaze has since been replaced by a supremely confident performer who traverses an eclectic range of genres. 

Though we are just five years removed from her debut LP, we’ve seen many different sides of the American sensation, from the orchestral balladry of Fallingwater to the driving synth-pop of Want Want and the power-balladry of Horses.

Her upcoming album Don’t Forget Me, slated for release on April 12th, is shaping up to be another departure – the singles suggesting an LP that combines Laurel Canyon folk a la early Joni Mitchell, and turn of the century adult contemporary artists like Sheryl Crow. 

On Tuesday, Rogers fitted in three songs from her upcoming LP in this tantalisingly brief 10-song set. The first of these was So Sick of Dreaming, a song that had just been released earlier that day.

She remained largely loyal to the studio version, but changed the words of the song’s spoken word passage – to the crowd’s delight “And by the way, the Knicks lost” was replaced by “And by the way, Chelsea lost”.

An unreleased tune, The Kill, also got an exclusive performance and proved to be another excellent slice of indie-pop – seemingly destined to soundtrack a blockbuster rom-com and countless TikTok videos.

Rogers ended her set with the song that she began this album cycle with, Don’t Forget Me. Despite having been released just last month, the power ballad already seems like a fan favourite – with every word dutifully sung back to Rogers by her doting audience.

Belting the chorus, Rogers implored, “When it’s time to leave / Don’t forget me”. As if we could after this performance.

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