Renée Rapp•Alexander 23•Towa Bird•September 21, 2023•The Union
Reviewed and Photographed by Josilyn Wakurri Lybbert
When I walked into The Union on September 21st for Reneé Rapp’s Snow Hard Feelings Tour, a smile was immediately brought to my face as I noticed that the concert hadn’t even started yet, but people already seemed to be having a good time just being there. Various pop songs played over the speakers from, “Satellite,” by Harry Styles too, “Cruel Summer,” by Taylor Swift, which the crowd loudly and passionately sang/yelled along to!
Reneé brought artists Towa Bird and Alexander 23 along with her on this tour. Towa Bird and her band took the stage first, and they immediately exuded a charisma like I’ve never seen amongst a band. They were all so interactive with each other, as well as the audience! Towa and spent a lot of their set bouncing around the stage, clearly having the time of their lives, all while providing some seriously impressive rock music.
I was in awe of Towa’s ability to absolutely shred on the guitar. She was phenomenal, and the crowd definitely thought so, too! They would enthusiastically jumped up and down to the upbeat tunes and would erupt with screams whenever a bit of the music was particularly cool, which was often. Part of the way through the set, Towa told the crowd that it was her first time in Salt Lake City, and that everyone looked beautiful, which was received well, of course! During the song, “This Isn’t Me,” the audience mimicked her arms swaying in the air. “This Isn’t Me,” was followed by a relatable song called, “Bills.” Towa Bird and the band’s time on stage finished with songs, “Wild Heart,” and, “Drain Me.” To say their performance was loved would be an understatement!
Alexander 23 and his band were next, and like Towa Bird, they were a lively bunch that certainly enjoyed what they were doing, and played their music with skill all while putting on a fun show! I noticed that the majority of the fans knew every word to the first song Alexander that sang, “Cosplay,” and they sang along at the top of their lungs. That rang true for the majority of songs throughout the set, which has to be a good feeling for the artist! After a few songs,
Alexander said, “There are no audiences like Salt Lake City in the world!” and the audience cheered in agreement! He also mentioned that he’d been in town not too long ago and had played at The Complex that time. He introduced his band with Tyler on drums and Petro on keys and guitar. Alexander announced that it was Tyler’s birthday, so some of the crowd sang an unprompted, quick version of, “Happy Birthday.” Then, he told the crowd that Petro was from Salt Like City, so it was him hometown show! Fans sang especially loud during the song, “Cry Over Boys,” which seemed to be a song validating some coming of age struggles that many young people face. Following, “Cry Over Boys,”
Alexander sang a phenomenal cover of One Direction’s, “Steal My Girl.” I loved it, and the crowd did too as they sang along and waved their hands in the air in sync! Before the last song, Alexander said, “I love it here, the shows are always the best. I feel like we should just move here!” The fans agreed! Alexander 23 and the band ended their time on stage with a song that I didn’t know that he sang prior to the show, but recognized immediately as the backing to many a reel or TikTok video across social media.
His stunning, “IDK You Yet,” transformed the previously rowdy atmosphere to a quiet one as people took in the song in awe. At one point, he did have the crowd sing the chorus and told them they sounded beautiful – and they did! Alexander 23 put on fun, talent filled performance, and it was obvious that he couldn’t return to Salt Lake soon enough!
It was finally time for Reneé, and the crowd was excited! The stage was set up beautifully with mossy rocks and sprouting flowers, which is different than most stage setups nowadays, so that was cool to see! There was a large screen at the back of the stage that began displaying childhood photos of Reneé while music played. When she hit the stage, fans erupted with excitement from screams, to tears, to beaming smiles. She started her headlining set with, “Talk Too Much,” and the whole place felt like it turned into a dance party!
Reneé was dancing up a storm on stage and the crowd followed suit. Even during a slightly slower song, “Poison Poison,” that all continued! Reneé kept the energy and dancing up and so did everyone else, including her band! Her voice was stunning and powerful in every song, I was seriously impressed! She mentioned that she loved to ski and that the first time she ever went skiing was in Utah!
Following that, she performed a song called, “Willow,” which was sweet, and encouraging, and as I looked around, many had tears streaming down their faces – I didn’t blame them! The lyrics were touching. “Denver,” was next, and, “Pretty Girls,” was after that. It started out a little slower, then really picked up at the chorus, and the crowd collectively jumped up and down to the beat!
When that song was over, Reneé stopped the show for a fan who had passed out and helped her get out of the crowd while encouraging her by saying, “You’re so cute! You’re so brave! You’re so hot! You go, girl!” I’m sure that helped lighten the fan’s spirits after something like that! During, “I Hate Boston,” I looked around and noticed that those who hung out more towards the back of the venue were dancing interpretively to the music, and the majority of the fans were belting out the ballad right along with Reneé. Someone next to me leaned over to their friend and said, “I’m so glad you invited me to this concert. This is the best.”
Reneé stepped off of the stage and returned for the encore, dressed in all white, for the last song, her album’s namesake, “Snow Angel.” It was beautiful, and the crowd was thrilled!
I wasn’t familiar with any of the artists prior to this show, but I left in awe of the fun and talent that I witnessed at Reneé Rapp’s Snow Hard Feelings Tour. Each set of performers brought joy and fantastic music to Salt Lake City!