Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

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Reneé Rapp has a right to be obsessed with herself… but her fans don’t

Joanne Haner / The Daily Northwestern
Renée Rapp performed at the Aragon Ballroom on Oct. 11 for the Chicago stop of her “Snow Hard Feelings” tour.

If autotune had a human form, it would be Reneé Rapp. 

On the Chicago stop of her “Snow Hard Feelings” tour last Wednesday, the singer-songwriter practically blew the audience out of Byline Bank Aragon Ballroom with powerful vocals that sounded like the production team was playing a recording straight off her latest album “Snow Angel.” 

While Rapp’s insane vocal prowess and brassy stage presence solidify the debate, she certainly has enough talent to play into the self-obsessed persona she seemed to be cultivating during the Oct. 11 concert, Rapp’s fans have a lot of shaping up to do before they can even hope to act as grotesquely groupie-esque as they did Wednesday. 

Make no mistake, Rapp and her team know how to put on a show. Openers Towa Bird and Alexander 23 were excellent additions to the ticket, with Towa Bird in particular casting a rock-and-roll spell on the crowd, leaving them craving music perhaps a tad more grunge than Rapp’s performance. And, according to the multiple times he mentioned it, Alexander 23 is originally from Chicago (well, Deerfield, Ill.) — so it was great to have him home –– as he said repeatedly. 

If Rapp’s vocals weren’t enough to sell the experience, the production was a stunning feat of visual storytelling. The theme was the “four seasons,” with each of Rapp’s songs fitting into a winter, fall, spring, or summer “vibe.” Stunning visuals depicted a year-round view outside a window. Photos of Rapp growing up provided the perfect ephemeral backdrop as she popped, locked and jammed to the sound of her own voice.  

During the fourth song of the night, “Colorado,” in the “spring” segment of the concert, Rapp’s intense stage presence had the crowd jumping in time to the music… that is until she seemingly reluctantly halted the song to make sure a fan who was overheating could get out safely. 

Rapp’s fans are an interesting breed. Being in the crowd felt like it was the “Snow Hard Fans” tour –– instead of the “Snow Hard Feelings” tour. When they weren’t pushing and shoving shorter fans (yours truly) out of the way for a better view of their former-theater-kid icon, it was clear that some fans needed to make like Rapp’s nostalgic tour theme and time travel back to kindergarten for a lesson in personal space. At least four people near me had to be escorted out of the crowd due to dehydration or overstimulation — completely valid reasons to exit a crowd — but they were aggressively pushing people out of the way on their way out. 

Despite the theatrics from the fans, their behavior isn’t totally their fault. Rapp has a particular on-stage-theater-kid superiority complex (which I can say, as someone who did more than dabble in theater in my dark past), which makes it understandable why, in this generation of parasocial relationships, her fans can’t recognize that it’s all an act. 

And act she does. Rapp is a performer above all else, and her stunning vocals and perfectly choreographed set are a testament to her years as a high school theater sensation and, of course, her time on Broadway as Regina George in “Mean Girls.” During “Tummy Hurts” and “I Wish,” Rapp brought out Towa Bird and Alexander 23, respectively, notching up the talent factor. Alexander 23 also has song credits on “I Wish,” making his performance of it perfectly placed.  

On the show’s encore, “Snow Angel,” Rapp almost redeemed the behavior of her fans with the sheer clarity and might of her voice, but it wasn’t enough. Fans exiting the show dropped drinks off the balcony over the stairs and plopped down in odd places to rest, causing frustrating traffic. Unfortunately for Rapp, her fans cemented the show firmly in its sad, dark winter era. 

Email: [email protected] 

Twitter: @TabithaParent12

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