By Ryan Fairfield
Gracie Abrams has quickly become an artist many have grown to love and admire at the young age of 22. From partying with Taylor Swift at her 32nd birthday to her music inspiring the hit song “drivers license” (2021), Abrams has shown that her music and character have impacted fellow artists and fans alike, making it come as no surprise that she was able to sell out her concert at The Sinclair in Cambridge on Feb. 12.
Abrams opened with the first track of her 2021 album, “Feels Like.” Between energetically waving to the audience and going up to the edge of the stage to hold hands with her fans, Abrams kicked off her concert with a spectacular performance and set the mood for the rest of the concert.
With both her albums, “minor” (2020) and “This Is What It Feels Like” (2021), Abrams showcases her musical range. From upbeat pop songs to emotional piano ballads, Abrams creates music for a variety of moods and was sure to highlight that at her concert. Shortly after her opening song, Abrams chose to slow it down with “Better” (2021) before migrating to a vibrant red piano to perform “minor” (2020) Despite “minor” being a slower, more soulful song, the predominantly college-aged crowd belted every word with just as much energy as the opening song, proving the longevity and popularity of her first album.
In a whiplash moment, Abrams rose from her piano to perform her arguably most anticipated song: “21” (2020). A complete contrast from the previous song, “21” is an energetic, breakup song that had the audience happily jumping around during the chorus and rushing to grab their phones, desperate to capture the moment on camera. Following the conclusion of “21,” Abrams took a short break from singing to talk and engage with the crowd.
Abrams’ connection to her audience is one of the factors that made the concert feel even more personal. From taking selfies on various fan’s disposable cameras to briefly talking to another fan’s friend on FaceTime, Abrams was sure to show her fans just how much she loves and appreciates them. Additionally, Abrams gave a little shoutout to her mother’s side of the family, who came down from Maine to watch her perform and were standing up in the balcony. With both her fans and family there, Abrams was going to be sure to give a memorable, special performance.
After her break, Abrams decided to keep things slow with “Friend” (2020) and “Painkillers” (2021) before energizing the crowd with a lively performance of her single, “Mess It Up” (2021). In stark contrast to “Mess It Up,” Abrams continued with “Camden” (2021) where she simply stood in front of the mic and sang beautifully to the crowd. Keeping with the gentle, emotional vibe she established with the previous song, Abrams moved into “Long Sleeves” (2020) and “Alright” (2021).
As the lights changed from purple to blue, “Rockland” (2021), one of her singles from “This Is What It Feels Like,” started playing. Along with “21,” this song was highly anticipated by fans. From the start of her career, Abrams has frequently credited Taylor Swift as one of her inspirations, which makes it no surprise that Rockland” is reminiscent of Swift’s eighth album, “Folklore” (2020) The Swift-esque feel to the song is definitely helped by the fact that one of the co-writers of “Rockland” is Aaron Dessner, who helped write much of the “Folklore” album. When approaching the bridge of the song, Abrams put her mic on the stand to grab her guitar, as fans eagerly cheered her on, before singing the bridge with dreamy riffs that are not on the recorded version.
After placing the guitar back in its stand, Abrams brought the upbeat energy back with “The Bottom” (2021) and “Wishful Thinking” (2021), where she decided to get back to really engaging with her fans. Bouncing around the stage, making sure to alternate sides to interact with everyone down at the barricade, Abrams sang her heart out and coordinated her little jumps and spins to the beat of the drums.
To close out her set, Abrams concluded with her most popular song, “I miss you, I’m sorry” (2020). Starting off with nothing but a simple white light illuminating her face, the emotion on Abrams’ face was clear and with the song being one of her most popular, everyone was ready. As the song progressed, the lights changed from white to blue to emphasize the heartbreak and sadness of the song. For the three minutes the song was playing, it felt like everyone was screaming the lyrics alongside her, creating a beautiful ending to her set.
Abrams jumped up from her piano and grabbed her mic to wish goodbye to her fans before leaving the stage. After no more than a minute, fans started chanting “Gracie,” eager for her to return for an encore. Abrams waited a couple of minutes for fans to get just a bit anxious, and much louder, before returning to the stage.
With a smile on her face, Abrams approached the mic stand to address the crowd. Abrams briefly talked about her love for Boston and how grateful she was for the show and the fans, as this was her first concert in Boston. With the frequent mention of Boston, many Abrams fans knew which song was coming next — “Augusta” (2021).
“Augusta” starts with the lyrics, “Feel like maybe I might go to Boston,” and the audience screamed those lyrics with joy. Abrams’ performance of “Augusta” was fully acoustic, with just her and her guitar, and truly highlighted her dreamy vocals. As she performed the song, some audience members decided to shine their flashlights and sway to the beat of the music. Soon enough, the venue was illuminated by dozens of phone flashlights.
“Unlearn” (2021) followed “Augusta” before Abrams decided to close out with “For Real This Time” (2021). Flashes of purple, blue and white light filled The Sinclair as Abrams danced around the stage, waving goodbye to fans as she sang. With the audience jumping around and dancing alongside Abrams, the song proved to be the perfect closer to the concert. At the conclusion of the song, Abrams said to the crowd, “Bye, for real this time,” and whether an intentional or unintentional pun, it was the best way to finish.
The best way to describe Abrams’ concert is a whirlwind of emotions. Her songs had the audience dancing, laughing and even crying at times, showcasing the wide range of emotions Abrams captures with her music. Abrams’ sold-out performance, and first Boston concert, proved to be a great success. Between finishing up her “This Is What It Feels Like” tour and opening for 14 shows of Olivia Rodrigo’s sold-out “Sour” tour, it does not look like Abrams is slowing down, and fans can only wait patiently to see what music she releases next.