Lightning in a Bottle: Gracie Abrams, Live from Austin

Gracie Abrams live © Joey Brodnax
Gracie Abrams live © Joey Brodnax
Gracie Abrams brings a level of energy to the ‘Good Riddance’ tour that gives her songs a whole new life. She sings each and every lyric with so much emotion and intent, which is what makes this one of the best live shows we’ve ever seen.
Stream: ‘Good Riddance’ – Gracie Abrams

Gracie Abrams has an incredible connection with her fans.

She’s been able to do this by being brave enough to get completely vulnerable and honest with each and every lyric she pens. The live show she put together to accompany these songs not only did them justice, but amplified them, giving them a life of their own. Through a 19-song set her vocals never wavered, the lighting created magic and her energy never dipped; she gave absolutely everything she had to every single song. I don’t say this lightly, everything about the Good Riddance show was perfect.

'Good Riddance', Gracie Abrams' debut album, released in late February via Interscope Records
‘Good Riddance’, Gracie Abrams’ debut album, released in late February via Interscope Records

Abrams enters a dark stage. The lighting is precisely positioned so you can only see her silhouette. She sings the first verse of “Where do we go now?” to an audience losing their minds. As she approaches the chorus, the lights shift allowing her to step out of the silhouette, revealing her smiling face. She continues to sing along to a sold-out crowd at Emo’s in Austin, Texas who are now losing their minds even more.

It was clear before even entering the venue that Gracie Abrams has one of the most loyal and excitable fan bases out there. With lines wrapped around the venue like a figure eight for what was more than likely the better half of a hot Texas day, the energy in the crowd did not lack for a second.

Abrams moves effortlessly across the stage. With the presence of a seasoned vet, she has an uncanny ability to connect with her fans not just in between songs, but throughout each one. The eye contact she makes is real and she does her best to wave back to fans who feverishly want her to see them, even if she has two hands on a guitar. It is crystal clear that this is an artist who not only cares deeply for her fans, but who truly appreciates all that they’ve done for her.

Gracie Abrams live © courtesy of Interscope Records
Gracie Abrams live © Joey Brodnax

She continues with perfectly choreographed transitions, consistent charm and energy throughout her next few songs, “This is what the drugs are for,” “21,” and “Block me out.” Each song somehow garnering more excitement than the next. The fifth song she plays is “This is what the drugs are for,” a favorite off of her recently-released album, Good Riddance. The crowd, including myself, sang the bridge so loudly it was as if the song had been in their hearts for 10 years, when in reality it has only been in our airwaves for almost (exactly) one month to the day.

I should hate you, I feel stupid
Like I almost crashed my car
Drivin’ home to talk about you
At my table in the dark
All I ever think about is
Where the hell you even are
And I swear to God I’d kill you
If I loved you less hard

After this, she finally takes a moment; a breath to say hello to the crowd. The way she interacts is as if she is in a room with her closest friends. She compliments the city of Austin with sincerity and she humbly thanks the room for being there. “I know it won’t work” comes next, a song she recently played on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, and it’s hard to tell if this song in its entirety was sung louder than “I should hate you,” but it’s very possible.

And part of me wants to walk away ’til you really listen
I hate to look at your face and know that we’re feeling different
‘Cause part of me wants you back, but
I know it won’t work like that, huh?
Why won’t you try moving on for once? That might make it easy
I know we cut all the ties but you’re never really leaving
And part of me wants you back, but
I know it won’t work like that, huh?

Abrams moves from guitar to piano for “Amelie.” The stage is dimly lit with floating light bulbs, creating an intimate atmosphere that allows the crowd to take in each word. She continues with a “Rockland” / “Will you cry?” mashup that is beautifully arranged. As she performs on through the back half of the set the crowd is now completely mesmerized. The sea of phones searching to film every move slowly start to disappear as it feels almost impossible to not live in the moment of this show. Through small breaks between powerful performances she discusses things like her excitement and nerves in joining Taylor Swift’s Eras tour, asking the crowd who will be with her during there as well. The answer? Almost everyone in the room.

She closed with “Right Now.” Her fans held up signs reading “we feel ourselves with you” to mirror her lyrics “I feel like myself right now.” You could tell she took in not only this moment, but this whole night, as I’m sure she does in every city.

Gracie Abrams live © courtesy of Interscope Records
Gracie Abrams live © Joey Brodnax

Gracie Abrams was able to bring a level of energy to these songs live that exceeded every expectation I had going in (which, by the way, were high expectations). She sang each and every song with so much emotion, clearly the emotion that went into writing them, which is what made this one of the best live shows I’ve ever seen. I left the venue finding myself feeling incredibly lucky, with the rest of the 1,700 people, that I was able to witness this performance in such an intimate setting. It felt somewhat like catching lightning in a bottle. Especially since the next time she plays in Texas, which is this weekend, she’ll be playing for approximately 68,300 more people at the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

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:: connect with Gracie Abrams here ::

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'Good Riddance', Gracie Abrams' debut album, released in late February via Interscope Records

Connect to Gracie Abrams on
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram
Discover new music on Atwood Magazine
? © Joey Brodnax

:: Stream Gracie Abrams ::

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