Review: Maggie Rogers delivers standout performance in virtual SU concert

Review: Maggie Rogers delivers standout virtual concert

The critically acclaimed singer-songwriter's pre-recorded concert streamed Sunday exclusively for SU and SUNY-ESF students.
Published: February 22, 2021 | Updated: February 24th, 2021 at 9:20 am
Maggie Rogers performing at her Feb. 21, 2021, virtual concert presented by University Union
Maggie Rogers stands on a socially-distant stage at her virtual concert that streamed Sunday.

Maggie Rogers delivered a passionate, energetic virtual concert for a Syracuse University audience on Sunday night with a nine-song set of songs from her 2019 album Heard it in a Past Life. The University Union-presented concert was only accessible through an SU or SUNY-ESF login in order to keep it more exclusive to students.

Rogers stood at the center of a socially-distanced stage surrounded by her band. They were wrapped in a cloak of colorful flashing lights that changed with the beat of each song — something one could expect at an in-person, pre-pandemic concert.

Rogers held an amazing stage presence even without a live audience as she danced around and interacted with her band. Clad in a baggy T-shirt and jeans and sporting a new short haircut, she looked effortlessly cool as she bounced along to her upbeat tracks. The passion Rogers put into the performance made it feel that much more special as she worked to keep the audience engaged and entertained.

“Thank you for letting us get back together and play,” Rogers said between songs. “It feels really nice to be back together,”

Rogers began with the album’s first track, “Give a Little,” a solid opener to the show that set the tone for the rest of her dynamic performance. She then transitioned to a more melancholic tone for “Burning,” as the lights shifted to a turquoise blue and flooded the stage.

“Say It” was the highlight of the entire set, with Rogers hitting strong high notes with ease and moving through the chorus with effortlessly beautiful, breathy vocals. She delivered an energetic, fun performance that felt almost as if the virtual audience was sitting in on a soundcheck or private rehearsal.

One of the artist’s most high-tempo songs, “The Knife,” got a groovy twist in the live version as Rogers was joined by deep bass and harmonizing vocals behind her. This was in contrast to the next track, “Retrograde,” a more sentimental track where you could hear the emotion in the artist’s voice.

Rogers and her band clearly used the pre-recorded virtual concert format to their advantage — every song was beautifully lit, shot, and edited. At no point did the artist seem to be tired or distracted, she was lively and engaged with viewers.

Rogers took time to address the audience, noting that she looked up SU’s mascot before performing and presented the audience with an orange in honor of Otto. Her engagement made it feel that much more like an in-person show and the audience returned her energy with comments and photos of them watching from home.

The next track, “Back in my Body,” felt like a welcome change of pace as it had a more somber mood than the previous songs. Rogers harmonized with angelic background vocals and showcased her incredible talent in this song, which closed with a raspy final chorus. She followed with “Overnight,” which was more understated than the recorded version, allowing Rogers’ vocals to shine over simple instrumentals.

Rogers shined in “Light On,” with her relaxed and friendly demeanor that had been present throughout the show. She closed with an incredibly powerful performance of “Fallingwater,” ending the captivating show with a melodic high note. Rogers’ performance was the perfect first concert to kick off the spring semester.

Avatar for Hannah Graf

is a digital producer for The NewsHouse.