Olivia Rodrigo’s “Guts” Tour Made Me Feel Like a Teen Again

I knew I was going to shed a tear or two at Olivia Rodrigo’s “Guts” Tour. I’m just a girl, after all. On April 6, the three-time Grammy winner performed her second of four sold-out shows at Madison Square Garden in New York City. And for an hour and a half on Saturday night, Rodrigo reminded us of the good, bad, and ugly of girlhood.

A bag adorned with ribbon bows slung over my shoulder, I screamed in anticipation with a crowd full of sequin miniskirts, glittery purple eyeshadow, and fishnet tights as Rodrigo ascended onto the stage for her opening number, “Bad Idea Right.” To my surprise, the audience wasn’t just young teens, kids, and their parents. An unexpected handful of 20- and 30-something adults like me were just as ready to jump and sing along to a mix of tunes from her sophomore album, “Guts,” and her critically acclaimed debut album, “Sour.” I imagine we loved the concert the same reason I enjoy her music so much – she made us feel like teens again.

The internet is filled with think pieces and TikTok breakdowns that explain Rodrigo’s popularity among women who are older than her: it’s fueled by our nostalgia for girlhood and desire to revert back to our teenage years. Scream-singing along to her lyrics at the “Guts” Tour, I certainly felt that, and I saw it on the faces of fellow millennials in the crowd on Saturday night. She took us, her devoted fans, through angst, nostalgia, sadness, and of course, head-banging fun.

A few months prior, I’d seen Rodrigo perform bigger hits like “Get Him Back!” and “Vampire” at Z100’s Jingle Ball, so I was already aware of her performing prowess. At the “Guts” Tour, her vocals were raw, filled with a genuine passion and emotion, and her pop-punk energy was unmatched. But her more vulnerable ballads were especially moving to hear live.

When Rodrigo sang about not feeling pretty enough with society’s impossible beauty standards in “Pretty Isn’t Pretty” and putting yourself out there for someone you love – who’s so not worth it – in “Love Is Embarrassing,” she brought me back to those exact feelings I’d experienced in high school and college, and even at times in my late twenties. In one particularly special moment introducing “Teenage Dream,” she spoke about writing the song as an 18-year-old, being so afraid of growing up. But after recently turning 21 in late February, she realized getting older isn’t so scary after all. I admittedly chuckled because, well, she is only 21, but it’s also a sentiment I felt back then and still do now.

She cycled between emotional ballads like these and fiery bangers that had everyone on their feet. During her performance of “All American Bitch,” she encouraged the crowd to “think about someone or something that pisses you off” and scream at the top of your lungs. It was therapeutic.

So, thank you to Rodrigo for taking me back to those messy, fun days, but also reminding me why I’m relieved to be past that phase in my life. My other takeaway after that last encore? Maybe it’s OK to text your ex. Get him back!

After two more nights at MSG, the “Guts” Tour is heading to the UK and Europe in May and June, and concludes in August in Los Angeles.

Yerin Kim is the features editor at POPSUGAR, where she helps shape the vision for special features and packages across the network. A graduate of Syracuse University’s Newhouse School, she has over five years of experience in the pop culture and women’s lifestyle spaces. She’s passionate about spreading cultural sensitivity through the lenses of lifestyle, entertainment, and style.