Up Close and Personal: Maggie Rogers’ and the Feral Joy Tour
February 19, 2023
Hello, and welcome to the very first issue of my column– The 411. I’m very happy to have you! My name is Miranda, and I’m a sophomore in the Business & Entertainment program here at American. It just so happens that I also love to write. For this column I’ll be covering everything from stan (an apt combination of the words “stalker” and “fan”) culture, the latest music business news, musical artist features, and more need-to-know information on the music industry, hence the column name. But, since this is my first article, I’ll be commemorating it by writing about something very near to my heart: my experience seeing Maggie Rogers on the Feral Joy Tour, as well as my first time ever camping out for a show at The Anthem!
As a preface, I’m a really big fan of Maggie Rogers. Her debut album Heard It in a Past Life was the soundtrack to my life when I was a senior in high school. My 2020 Spotify Wrapped showed that I was in the top 0.1% of her listeners that year. According to Receiptify, she’s also my second most listened to artist of ever, trailing just behind Taylor Swift. Essentially, her music defined my transition from adolescence to adulthood. That music sticks with a person forever, and I’m no exception. So without further ado, here’s what a day in the life of an avid Maggie Rogers fan looks like preparing to see her live for the first time:
6:00AM– I’m feeling semi-nauseous, the way I always am on concert days. Something about knowing that my favorite artists are in the same city as me freaks me out, as if they might be staying in the hotel four blocks down from me, or grabbing coffee at one of my usual haunts.
7:00AM– This is essential for concert days. Although the humidity and sweat from the concert will inevitably ruin the finished look, I style my hair anyways, because it helps me get excited for the day to come.
8:45AM– Getting ready for the show took longer than expected, and I found myself rushing out the door 45 minutes later than I’d planned to.
9:00AM– Besides the casual jogger, the pedestrian out walking their dog, and the occasional tourist, the Wharf is quiet. I’ve grown accustomed to camping overnight for shows, sometimes even two nights for bands like 5 Seconds of Summer and The 1975. Maybe Maggie Rogers’ fans are more laidback. However, I’m still convinced that there must already be a few fans here, so I keep my eyes peeled for any groups of girls between the ages of fifteen to twenty-five who look like they might be here for the concert.
10:00AM– When there’s still no one else in sight an hour later, I start to get nervous. Where’s the line? Some locals tell us (my mom and I) that the line forms by the mysterious “3rd door”, wherever that is. Later, we learn that this is only the entrance for people with seats, not for general admission tickets. The shaky consensus is that the line for GA begins in front of the venue directly, or by the pier. Thirty minutes later, a staff member from the venue comes outside to tell me that the line will form right on the pier and to go sit over there if I want to maximize my chances of being the first one into the show.
10:10AM– As we’re walking over to the official line-up spot, another girl, Carolina, shows up. Holding a folding chair under her right arm and a bag from Wegman’s on her left, it’s obvious why she’s here. I ask her if she’s looking for the line for the Maggie show, to which she nods. Carolina and I take a seat on the pier. She explains that she’s from Charlottesville, Virginia but makes the nearly three hour journey into D.C whenever her favorite artists play in the city. Pro-tip: It’s always good to have a fellow experienced concert-goer by your side. Most of the time they’re understanding if you need to leave the line for a bit to grab a bite to eat or go change into your concert outfit. There are some universal rules to follow when camping out for shows, or line etiquette to give it a term. Saving one spot in line for your friend who doesn’t get off work till five might be acceptable, but saving ten spots for everyone you know is likely to get you some scowls from the other people in line. After all, some fans bring sharpies and write numbers on each persons’ hands to designate their spot in line (No one ended up doing this for the show, but it’s definitely common).
11:00AM– The next hour is relatively calm. I grab a quiche and a croissant from Bistro Du Jour, which is right by The Anthem. Just thinking about the money the nearby restaurants must make from hungry concertgoers makes my head start to spin.
12:00– Finally, around noon, two more girls show up. They look (and act) around fifteen, but I hear them talking about how they go to school at Emerson in Boston and just drove down for the show.
12:05PM– Another two show up! One is already wearing her concert outfit, the viral Out From Under Modern Love corset from Urban Outfitters, and black leather pants. She looks like she’s freezing from the cold, but stylish nonetheless, so maybe it was a sacrifice she was willing to make.
12:06PM– And ANOTHER TWO!! The tiny, three person line has quickly evolved into nearly ten. I overhear two of them talking about how they became friends through social media and bonding over their shared love for Maggie. They all exchange contact information and giggle about what their favorite songs on Maggie’s new album Surrender are.
1:00PM– Girls nine and ten show up. They’re all roughly the same age, seniors in high school, and one is even starting at American in the fall. She’s wearing pink for Valentine’s Day. Her outfit reminds me of the holiday the following day, and I realize that my boyfriend, who lives back home in Colorado, hasn’t texted me all day. It’s unusual for him, but I brush it off and assume he’s busy.
1:30PM– Out of nowhere, I look up and see someone walking towards me. Here’s the catch though, it’s not a stranger, it’s my boyfriend, who had flown out to surprise me as an early Valentine’s celebration. And he’s holding my go-to drink, an iced matcha latte from Starbucks, in his hand. After a few minutes of shock, excitement, and confusion, he and my mom explain that they planned the whole trip together, and that he has a ticket to the concert too. My mom tells us to go and grab some lunch while she holds our spot in line. Looking back, there were several signs that he was coming to visit that I should’ve caught onto, but I was too distracted preparing for the concert to notice.
2:00PM– Two Shake Shack burgers, fries, and a lemonade later, we’re ready to get back out into the cold and let my mom leave the line for a little while to go warm up inside. By this time, the line has grown to around twenty people, which is a lot less than I had anticipated. The people in the line come and go as they please, and no one makes a fuss about it. There’s a strong sense of camaraderie within the group, and it’s one of the first times I’ve felt that while waiting in line for a concert. I like it.
3:00PM– We watch the line grow to around 100 people. Anthem staff come around and set up barriers that help solidify the order of the line more concretely. A few people approach me and ask at what time I arrived for the concert, to which I respond. Some are impressed, others not. Around this same time my mom decides to go back to the hotel we were staying at and drop off our stuff (Backpacks, blankets, computers, etc).
5:30PM– The staff move the line to be directly in front of the doors to the venue. I have to commend them for doing such a great job organizing the concert. Everything up to this point has gone off without a hitch, which isn’t always the case.
6:30PM– Doors open! As soon as they do, I make a beeline for security, quickly pass it, and walk into the venue. There’s a line of staff holding a rope to guide everyone where to go. I wave to each of them and smile, keeping my eye on the real prize in front of me, the empty barricade. At the last second, I pick up my pace and grab hold of the barricade right in front of the center microphone. My mom and boyfriend soon come on either side of me, legs spread slightly to ground themselves in place and avoid getting pushed around by the crowd.
6:40PM– We play Subway Surfers to pass the time before Del Water Gap, the opener, comes on at eight. Occasionally, I’ll look up to watch the crew setting up the stage, scattering bouquets of baby breath around, taping the setlist to the stage and setting up bottles of water next to each instrument. The people behind me chat about all the different artists they’ve seen play here and at other local venues. I can feel the energy building.
8:00PM– The lights dim. Everyone starts screaming. Del Water Gap, whose real name is Holden, plays a stellar forty-five minute set. Though a little unsure of his footing at times when running around stage with a corded microphone, his voice makes up for it. Mid-set, he breaks to explain how he and Maggie have known each other for fifteen years. They were even in a band together in college at NYU. After he finishes his last song, he bows to the crowd and leaves the stage.
9:00PM– Between sets, Maggie’s tour crew unveil some of the instruments that had previously been covered-up with a sheet of some sort. Drum sets, a keyboard, bass, banjo, multiple different electric and acoustic guitars and more.
9:10PM– The lights dim again, and I can feel the rumbling from the sound of the audience in my heart. It doesn’t occur to me until this moment that I should probably buy some earplugs for future concerts. Then I hear it. Maggie’s voice emanates through the speakers, reciting the words from the trailer of her album. Her eyes, filtered black and white, appear on a screen above the stage. As her musicians walk out on stage, she lets us in.
In her own words, “When I’m angry, or in love, I feel it in my teeth. Strange, harmonic buzzing cuts through my jaw, my hands, my breast bone. For a long time I fought it, resisted, held up my fists, wanted it on my terms, in my way. This is the story of what happened when I finally gave in.”
When she finally does come on stage, she does it slowly, like coming out of a dream. With purpose. Every stride is calculated. The contrast between the baby blue of her dress and the black of her leather coat and boots almost make her shimmer. She’s real, I realize. She opens her mouth to sing.
Let the show begin.