Kicking off the night with a simple “Hi, babies,” singer-songwriter Angel Olsen proved she knew how to captivate her biggest audience yet Tuesday at the Wiltern in Los Angeles. With her last two albums assisting her rise to recognition, Olsen’s most recent release, My Woman, took her to a career high while debuting at No. 1 on Billboard’s Tastemaker Albums chart and No. 4 on the Top Rock Albums chart. Turns out the praise is justified, as she wowed fans during her sold-out 16-song performance.
The Valentine’s Day concert showcased Olsen’s fervent melodies while also veering away from a typical approach to the holiday. With such crowd favorites as “Never Be Mine” and “Shut Up Kiss Me,” the night revealed a refreshingly realistic approach to love, loss and just trying to figure it all out — an authentic expression of the balancing act concerning one’s heart. Love was quite literally in the air when, in the middle of the performance, an audience member blurted out, “I love you,” prompting Olsen to reply, “I love you, guys, too.”
Often described as “country” or “folk” previously, My Woman only has added to Olsen’s multifaceted persona. Tuesday’s six-piece band featured three guitarists — including Olsen herself, whose strong and captivating vocals are reminiscent of Donny Hathaway and Brian Eno.
The stage was decorated with streamers and balloons, while the lighting fluctuated between crisp blue and red-pink, depending on the sad or loving emotions portrayed in each song. The band members all wore gray suits, while Olsen remained true to the Valentine’s Day holiday with a red and pink ensemble. After a brief mid-song exchange with the crowd, who yelled such appreciative remarks as “you’re amazing,” she ended it with “I guess I’m going to go back to work now” and dedicated a song to Chris Cohen, formerly of Deerhoof, who has been touring with her and the band. “Thank you, Chris,” she said.
A slightly slower rendition of “Forgiven/Forgotten” closed what seemed to be the end of the show, but then she did one more: “Give It Up.” After exiting the stage, Olsen pleased fans by re-entering, now wearing a long white gown to perform a three-song encore. Just a synthesizer and her vocals carried the first notes of “Intern,” and then the lighting changed to blue and Olsen stood dead center belting out the passion-riddled lyrics, which echoed throughout the entire theater. It evoked an eerily beautiful visual, as the wardrobe and lighting presented her like an angel. Toward the end of the song, a guitar that sounded like a cello added an otherworldly vibe. The remaining band members then entered, brilliantly transitioning into “Woman” without pause. Throwing a balloon into the crowd like a beach ball to lighten the mood, Olsen performed the night’s final song, “Total Control,” which provided a tasteful conclusion to an electrifying concert.
Never Be Mine
Shut Up Kiss Me
Heart Shaped Face
Those Were the Days
High & Wild
Not Gonna Kill You
Give It Up