Maggie Rogers summons the summer thunder

Singalong-packed night pushes storm clouds away

Who: Maggie Rogers
Where: Budweiser Stage, Toronto
When: Thurs., Aug. 3
Vibe: A night of singalongs with your besties
Highlight: The show, thankfully, resuming after a storm warning
Next: The Summer of ’23 Tour continues in the U.S. with Alvvays and in Europe with Del Water Gap
Rating: NNNNN (out of 5)

MAGGIE ROGERS TELLS THE AUDIENCE exactly what they’re getting into at the start of the show. The pop star announces that she will be playing some songs from her debut album, Heard It in A Past Life, 2022’s Surrender and a few new songs from an upcoming unannounced album. She introduces these as they come up during the concert: So Sick of Dreaming, The Kill and Don’t Forget About Me.

Playing unreleased songs can be a risk — for some shows, it can be a real lull in the night. However, these songs are positively received by the crowd, and it’s helped by the lyric videos playing on the giant background video screens. Rogers explains that she usually needs to sit with new songs for at least a year, so she didn’t expect to make a new record so quickly, hinting that fans could expect something new soon.

It’s been feeling humid all evening, and the sky has been threatening to storm. That’s why Rogers hesitates partway through the set, warning us that the next song she was planning to play would be Begging for Rain, as long as we could make a group decision to go forward or not. The crowd answers yes with a resounding cheer, absolving Rogers of the sole blame for what would happen next. It feels like an intimate singalong, though there are thousands of voices joining in. Immediately after finishing the song, she announces that they have been advised to pause the show momentarily as the thunderstorm rolls in.

Audience members are asked to take shelter under the roofed area to wait out the rain, and we watch as lightning strikes in the distance, oohing and aahing in unison. About 20 minutes later, the band and crew are given the go-ahead to continue the show, much to everyone’s delight. Rogers returns with haste to play Fallingwater — an altogether too appropriate song for the situation, as the heavy rain continues to pound down.

For new and old fans alike, Rogers captivates the audience with her soaring vocals. If there’s one thing you can tell, it’s that she loves to sing. What’s more, this is a special night to spend with your friends. She sings her songs about her friends — she seems like a girl’s girl — and it feels like a wholesome moment to just be there, watching her revel in the performance, dancing freely as she belts.

The concert is ultimately cut a bit short due to the storm, but Rogers powers through the set: Shatter, Love You for A Long Time, Alaska, Leave the Light On and That’s Where I Am, to name a few songs. She dances through the night, occasionally plays her acoustic guitar and lets her band shine with their own special musical moments — they play short solos as Rogers brings focus to their skills. It’s a night of friendship, gratefulness and cleansing that’s sure to be a memorable concert for many fans.