Like many college students, I spent this past summer working, hanging out with friends and family, traveling, and seeing live music to enjoy the time between semesters. Summer is prime concert time and I was lucky enough to go to seven of my favorite artists in concert. Let’s take a journey through my concert girl summer and all the artists I got to see.
1. trippie Redd: April 7
This April, I went to UConn’s very own concert called UConnic where Trippie Redd headlined. I knew some of Trippie Redd’s most popular songs before going to UConnic like “Topanga” and “The Grinch,” but I studied up on some unfamiliar ones so I would be able to sing along night-of. Overall, Trippie’s performance was solid, coming out with a lot of energy and emotions when performing his songs. He was full of UConn spirit that night while performing in Gampel Pavilion, and he even wore a UConn jersey for some of the set. While his performance was a bit short, I think it was the perfect amount since he played all of his hits that would get people moving and dancing. This concert was a good beginning to my concert journey for the summer and really got me excited to see more live music.
Favorite Song He Performed:
2. Taylor Swift Eras Tour: May 26
The second concert I attended during the summer was the most anticipated concert of my life. Words truly could not describe my excitement for the three-and-a-half-hour show that was The Eras Tour. I was lucky enough to go with some of my best friends at MetLife Stadium on night one. The day of the concert itself was an entire process; driving about two hours, parking, waiting for merch for a mere four more hours (eek), and finally getting into the stadium. The openers for my show were Gayle and Phoebe Bridgers, and as a huge Phoebe fan, I was starstruck once she started performing. Her set truly established the tone for the night; I knew it was going to be a hit.
The Eras Tour was truly an incredible experience that almost feels like a fever dream to me now. My favorite era during the show is a toss-up between Folklore and Reputation. Folklore was a longer set and I got to belt out the lyrics to “Illicit Affairs” and smiled happily during “Betty.” It was a calm and ethereal experience. Reputation was exciting and electric; “Ready For It” brought intensity while “Delicate” carried passion and love. The best part of the whole night was the greatly anticipated surprise songs where Taylor would pick two different and new songs — one on guitar and one on piano — that she would perform for us that night. It was apparent that Ms. Swift was feeling especially generous that night because, before the surprise songs, we got to see the premiere of Taylor’s music video for “Karma” featuring Ice Spice. Then, Taylor shocked us further when she brought out Jack Antonoff for our first surprise song: “Getaway Car.” The shrieking from my seat could have been heard from miles away; I was incredibly shocked and excited. Our second surprise song and piano ballad was one of her newest hits of Midnights called “Maroon,” one of my favorite songs. I felt blessed. Taylor ended the show with her Midnights section and performed her final song with Ice Spice by her side to sing “Karma.” And… scene. This night was so special to me since it was my first time seeing Taylor in concert. She gave me everything I wanted and more, and I will always remember May 26 not only as MetLife night one but as one of the best nights of my life.
Favorite Song She Performed:
3. Declan Mckenna: June 2
My friends and I decided to buy tickets to see Declan McKenna on a whim in early February since the tickets were fairly cheap and he was playing in Philly, just 30 minutes away from us. I had been listening to Declan McKenna for a while and loved his album What Do You Think About the Car including songs like “Brazil” and “Why Do You Feel So Down.” I was so excited to hear him live for the first time. We got to the venue about four hours before it opened since the tickets were general admission. Once we got in, we had an amazing spot where I could practically reach out and touch the stage, which made the experience surreal. Once Declan came out, his energy, vocals, and excitement were unmatched. Even if you don’t know his songs very well, he puts on such an amazing performance that everyone in the crowd feels engaged and excited. The set was the perfect amount of songs and included upbeat tunes like “You Better Believe” and “Why Do You Feel So Down” as well as slower, low-key songs such as “Make Me Your Queen.” If you are into indie pop and are looking for someone fun and friendly to see in concert, Declan is your man.
4. AJr: june 10
This concert was one that was unexpected and unplanned but turned out to be so fun. I was at a Philadelphia Phillies game with my parents, sister, and family friends just enjoying the hot weather, water ice, and baseball. The announcer informed the crowd that after the Phillies finished playing, AJR would be performing on the floor of Citizens Bank. Our game tickets served as concert tickets as well, and we were free to stay and enjoy the music. My sister, Mayson, is a huge AJR fan, so this was an amazing surprise for her. Now, we all know what people say about AJR. They are known for their techno-pop beats that are mostly made for Millennials and as some would say, “Disney Adults,” but I have to say, they put on an amazing show. They played their fast-paced hits such as “Bang,” “Weak,” and “Burn the House Down,” and did a lot of interacting with the crowd. Their setlist was short and sweet, and I’m glad I got to see them live. It served as some great family bonding time and put a lot of smiles on Mayson’s face.
Favorite Song They Performed:
5. Ruel: June 17
Ruel had been a smaller artist I had listened to for a while, and when my sister mentioned that he was going on tour, I knew I had to be there. My parents got us the tickets as part of a summer surprise, and my friend Delaney tagged along for an amazing night. Similar to Declan, we waited for about four hours to secure a good-standing spot and were very successful. Ruel was an amazing performer and one of the sweetest artists when interacting with the crowd. He even covered “Night Changes” by One Direction which was a pleasant surprise, and was so funny and cute. His setlist focused around his newest album 4th Wall with some of my favorite songs like “I Don’t Wanna Be Like You” and “Sitting In Traffic.” He even came out in a Phillies jersey for his encore which made the crowd go wild. All in all, Ruel was an amazing experience.
Favorite Song He Performed:
6. Dominic fike: July 16
My sixth concert of the summer was probably my favorite, next to The Eras Tour. Similar to Declan McKenna and Ruel, I had been a fan of Dominic’s before but hadn’t listened to a lot of his newest album. My friends Jason and Emily wanted to go, so I bit the bullet and got the tickets excited to see Dominic perform. To say that all my expectations were exceeded would be an understatement. I fell in love — quite literally and figuratively — with Dominic Fike as an artist and person that night. Not only is he an amazing performer live and on streaming, he is so kind and appreciative to his audience and crew members. He explained his difficult past of growing up poor in Florida, battling addiction, and even spending time in jail. Despite hardships, music helped him through the harder times and he was able to bring his dreams of becoming a performer alive. I love his story, energy, amazing voice, and the genuine feel that he brings to the music industry. Seeing him perform was one of the best decisions I have made, and I cannot wait to see him again.
Favorite Song He Performed:
7. The backseat lovers: Aug. 1
My very last concert ended the concert season with a bang. Unlike the other artists on this list, I knew very little about The Backseat Lovers besides their most famous song “Kilby Girl” which was often trendy on TikTok. I was asked to go by a couple of friends, and since it was a beachside concert, I couldn’t say no. The vibe and night were amazing for this show: the band went on as the sun set behind the sandy beach. Their mellow, indie rock feel was perfect and so easy to sway to. Their acoustics were smooth and voices strong which made them so fun to listen to. It made me want to delve into their discography even more, and after seeing them live I learned so many new songs. As the sun set on The Backseat Lovers performance, my concert journey was brought to an end.
Favorite Song They Performed:
The Power of Live Music
Going to concerts is not only a good way to support your favorite artists but also beneficial in so many aspects. Being in a space with tons of people who share a common love for a musician like you is a spiritual and powerful experience. It is a fun way to bond with the people you love, scream lyrics as loud as you want with no judgment, take super cute pictures, and just enjoy life in a fun and unique way. In 2024, I hope that I am able to see as many or more artists as I did this year and continue the trend of spending my summers singing.