Maggie Rogers: Breathing new life into the box office experience

A review of Rogers’ Boston ‘Don’t Forget Me’ release show
Maggie Rogers: Breathing new life into the box office experience

On Thursday, April 11, just hours before her third studio album “Don’t Forget Me” released, Maggie Rogers announced that she would be embarking on her first arena tour this October. Alongside the announcement came with the news that her in-person ticket-selling practice, implemented during her “Surrender” tour to ensure her fans could get tickets without bots, fees and other obstacles in today’s nightmare ticket purchasing climate, would return for this tour. From April 13 to April 20 in what she dubbed as “Box Office Week,” each arena on the “Don’t Forget Me Tour Part Two” would sell tickets for her upcoming shows at a discounted price.

Not only that, but Rogers herself would be at the venues selling tickets in New York City, Philadelphia, Boston and Chicago. Each of these cities would have special events where fans could meet Rogers and buy tickets for her arena shows alongside limited edition merchandise, and best of all, buy tickets for a special “Don’t Forget Me” release show held that same night for only $25 each.

In Boston, these “Box Office Week” festivities took place on April 16 at Paradise Rock Club. According to Rogers’ website, the line for tickets was to start at 9 a.m., with the box office opening at 10 a.m. When I arrived that morning around 6:45 a.m., the line stretched down the block, across the street and nearly halfway down the next block. Despite the line being full of hundreds of strangers, it never felt lonely. After only a few minutes in line, everyone around me quickly became friends, exchanging stories of our past Maggie Rogers concert experiences and even sharing snacks. At 10 a.m., the box office opened, and five minutes later, Rogers walked through the line, waving and thanking us for being there.

After three hours of waiting, with no idea how much longer we had to go, seeing Rogers up close and personal was incredible. I knew that even if I didn’t make it to the show, I had just come as close as I’d ever get to Maggie Rogers, and that excitement was contagious. The whole line seemed renewed, and to top it all off, we finally started moving. As we got closer to Paradise Rock Club, the QR code to buy tickets for the October show at TD Garden was passed around, and the discount was well worth the wait, with tickets ranging from $29.50 for balcony seats to $119.50 for floor seats.

Inside Paradise Rock, there was a plethora of merch, from limited edition t-shirts with the Boston “intimate show” dates, to “So Sick Of Dream Inn” matchbooks, a play on one of the songs on “Don’t Forget Me,” to signed records. After noon, tickets for that night’s Paradise Rock Club release show sold out.

Olivia Doherty

At 7 p.m., I returned to the venue for the release show. The line was full of fans wearing the merch they had bought earlier that day, and there was a deep sense of anticipation in the air. After an electric opening set by the Somerville-based band Sidebody, Rogers finally took to the stage to “It Was Coming All Along,” the first song on “Don’t Forget Me.” She then made her way through the remaining first half of the album in her classic carefree, upbeat style.

There’s a spoken section of the record’s third track, “So Sick Of Dreaming,” where Rogers proclaims, “And by the way… the Knicks lost!” Here, she gestured to the audience, who promptly screamed back, replacing “Knicks” with “Celtics.” Later, she commented on the fact that we were a little too eager to cheer against our home team for her, one of many quips made throughout the night.

After the first half of “Don’t Forget Me,” Rogers took requests from the audience, which included songs from her first two studio albums and one from an earlier EP. When asked to play “Alaska,” the song that kickstarted her career, she asked if she could do it a little differently. She sat down and perform it acoustically.

The room fell quiet. The performance that followed was one of the most incredible things I’ve ever heard. The collective silence in the room was palpable. It felt like all 900 of us were holding our breath, not daring to ruin the moment, only to have Rogers’ chilling vocals cut through the tension in the air like a knife.

After “Alaska,” Rogers played the second half of “Don’t Forget Me,” before taking requests from the audience again, but this time with a catch: audience members had to share “gossip” in exchange for the song of their choice. Hands quickly shot up throughout the room as gossip flew back and forth, with Rogers relaying information through the microphone. While silly in theory, the “gossip sharing” not only let Rogers connect with her fans (while sipping her beer from a cursive “Maggie” straw gifted to her by Sidebody) but also brought the audience closer together, as collective gasps and cheers rang out in response to stories.

After “Light On,” the last request, Rogers said goodnight and exited the stage, only to return a moment later, apologizing for the fake out, to close out the album. With her title track and last song, “Don’t Forget Me,” Rogers thanked the audience for allowing her to be vulnerable and for always showing up for her, no matter how early in the morning that may be.

Despite being one of the most tiring days of my life, I would wait hours in line all over again for Maggie Rogers. Her “Box Office Week” festivities brought community back to the forefront of the concert-going experience, something long neglected in our digital age. After last Tuesday’s incredible performance, it is clear that Boston won’t be forgetting Maggie Rogers anytime soon.

Olivia Doherty can be reached at [email protected]

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