Solid albeit slushy proof that Olivia Rodrigo was the hottest concert ticket so far in the 2020s, fans who camped out overnight outside the Armory in Minneapolis for the Thursday night show weren’t at all sour about the brutal April freeze and snow they endured to be closest to the stage.
“It’s her first tour, and I think it’s going to be unforgettable,” said Mercedes Brumley, 18, of Woodbury, who got to the Armory around 1:30 a.m.
A graduate of “High School Musical” and other Disney TV shows (see also: Miley Cyrus, Britney Spears), Rodrigo crossed over to pop-music stardom in a major way last year at age 18 with her Grammy-winning debut album “Sour” and its hit songs “Drivers License,” “Good 4 U” and “Brutal.”
Her rapid rise, however, was offset by the pandemic, which prevented her from touring until this spring. The long wait only heightened demand for tickets.
For the thousands of fans who lined up outside the Armory, there were tens of thousands more left out in the cold by ticket resellers and Rodrigo’s own tour promoter, Live Nation, which owns Ticketmaster.
The advertised $45 tickets for the Armory officially sold out in December faster than you can say “Hannah Montana.” Resale sites and Ticketmaster then slowly milked fans at $400-$775 a ticket, including the “official platinum” tickets that Live Nation offered throughout the four months in between.
“It is very disingenuous to sell the higher-priced packages after the fact,” complained Jayson Wold of St. Louis Park, who tried buying tickets for his daughter, 14, the day they went on sale. “If they want that amount for tickets, just be honest about it upfront. It’s a bit of bait-and-switch.”
Bob Pickering of St. Paul said it was “nearly impossible” to get tickets the day they went on sale, so he turned to resale sites to appease his daughters, ages 15 and 11.
“The price on StubHub for two tickets at one point was more than it costs to get a private [eight-person] booth at the Armory,” Pickering said. He finally fell back on many parents’ back-up plan: “My daughters said they’d be fine waiting for her to come back another time.”
Rodrigo’s next tour will undoubtedly be in arenas, which added to the excitement for fans lucky (or rich) enough to get into the 8,000-capacity Armory — where the general-admission floor allows the early arrivals to rush to the front of the stage.
“I love it that she’s playing smaller venues, because I’m sure it’s what she wanted to do,” said Zach Sullivan, 18, of Excelsior, who scored the cheap tickets last year and then lined up early for the day of show.
The very first fan in line in the encampment — she got there at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday — Bella Martin of Duluth, 19, said Rodrigo’s youth was a selling point. (Although plenty of the old farts who also attended clearly knew and loved the songs, too).
“People our age connect to her music and relate to the things she’s singing about, because she’s one of us,” said Martin, who joked about how “happy” she was “to finally get to hear all her sad songs” in concert.
Rodrigo delivered the biggest of those sad songs, “Drivers License,” third in her hourlong set, quickly flooding the venue with emotions and a tsunami-like singalong. Similar mega-feel moments followed later with “Traitor” and “Happier,” the latter of which found her changing from a plaid, punky miniskirt to a billowy pink dress — but keeping the same high-heeled Doc Martens boots on.
She struck a more upbeat note greeting fans after the rocky opener “Brutal,” acknowledging the conditions they endured outside were true to the song title.
“It’s such an honor to be here,” Rodrigo said. “I heard so many of you guys were waiting out in the cold, so thank you.”
For the fans who made it inside, the gratitude was all theirs.