A Magical Night with Maggie Rogers at Skyline Stage

BY REGAN MCCROSKEY

If you haven’t heard of the witchy songstress, Maggie Rogers is a 25-year-old singer songwriter from Maryland. After spending years crafting her sound, going to college and spending a little time in France, she got her first break with her hit song “Alaska,” which she played for Pharrell Williams at a masterclass at NYU Clive Davis Institute. Rogers went on to play at Coachella, open for HAIM, play on SNL and The Tonight Show and, of course, embark on a world tour for her debut album Heard It in a Past Life.

PHOTO: Maggie Rogers

PHOTO: Maggie Rogers

The gates open to the Skyline Stage at the Mann Center at six. Get your bags open and your tickets out, don’t waste any time. You better have worn good shoes, because if you want to get a good view for the night, you have to sprint up the grassy hill of steep stairs — just make sure you don’t run into any of the hundreds of other 20-somethings running up the hill next to you. Once your heart is pounding and you’ve broken a little bit of a sweat through your jean jacket, you see that the stage sits at the top of the hill, overlooking the twinkling city of Philadelphia.

It’s a perfect night to see Rogers: the moon is shining in a dark, clear sky, lighting the backs of the heads of thousands of people who braved the chilly weather. It’s holy – and calming, and it’s only right that her sound be accompanied by the sounds of nature. 

After a lovely and playful opening set by Empress Of, an LA-based dream pop artist, Rogers rushes onto the stage, dressed in all white. She comes out of the thick white smoke and sings the first lines of “Falling Water” while her band waits patiently behind her as she lets her long, dirty blonde hair down. Rogers dives into her songs like a hurricane, the lights changing from purple to red to white to pink with every song. When each chord to a new song starts, the crowd screams wildly — everyone knows the words, and every song is their favorite. 

Rogers shows off her eclectic dance moves as the night goes. Although she isn’t the best dancer, she can move like it’s a Friday night in 1975, grooving and bopping with the crowd. After “Burning,” “Say It,” “The Knife,” “Give a Little” and “On + Off,” she takes a moment to thank her fans, and the organizations on tour with her. Headcount, a voter registration drive that sets up booths at concerts and gigs, has been on tour with Rogers in the U.S., promoting “the power of music and turning it into action.” 

She also thanks Planned Parenthood for being on tour with her. They have a booth where fans can go and donate and learn more about what they do. This May, Rogers donated over $17,000 in merch sales to The Yellowhammer Fund, an organization that helps aide services for three abortion clinics in Alabama. She continues to support clinics like Planned Parenthood so that women everywhere can have access to reproductive health. To follow up her “thank yous”, she sings “Dog Years”, a song from her first EP about love and friendship.

Rogers surprises her fans by playing a new song titled “Love You for A Long Time,” which will be on her upcoming album. With its catchy, descriptive chorus and hints of country influence, her new album sounds promising and fresh. Afterwards, she dances to “Past Life,” “Overnight,“ “Retrograde,” “Back In My Body” and “Light On” marking the amazing feat of playing every single song on her album. 

Her fans tear up and hug each other as she plays her final song “Alaska.” It’s a versatile pop ballad that got her started, but she plays it in its original form. “I’m going to play this the way I wrote it in my bedroom,” she says. She finishes her magical set alone with the guitar, her fans acting as her backup vocals, and a big smile on her face. 

Lead Image Credit: Maggie Rogers