Maggie Rogers Sparkles In Other Stage Return At Glastonbury 2023

Maggie Rogers, one ridiculously sunny Saturday afternoon in June at Glastonbury could have equally been at a little party where she performed in her back garden. If her garden was big enough to fit a few thousand people in. She is comfortable here, visibly enjoying her second outing to The Other Stage, the first back in 2019. This is the American’s third time of performing at the legendary festival, cutting her teeth on the John Peel stage back in 2017, when all she’d done to that point was bring tears to Pharrell Williams’ eyes by playing him an unfinished version of Alaska. Not much then.

Maggie Rogers @ Glastonbury Festival 2023

Maggie Rogers @ Glastonbury Festival 2023 (Kalpesh Patel)
Maggie Rogers @ Glastonbury Festival 2023 (Kalpesh Patel)

Now, we are presented with the all-grown-up Maggie Rogers. She has a sophisticated shaggy pixie haircut, is wearing a pale blue 1970’s mini dress and biker boots. A far cry from the all-white trouser affair of 2019 where the striking long red scarf caught the afternoon breeze along with her long tresses as she ran from one side of the stage to the other. This Maggie is confident, edgy and seems to have taken rock and soul to heart. She is delighted dancing, she commands your attention, there is no running here.

If debut record Heard It In A Past Life (2019), was characterised by a folk-indie sound, her second offering Surrender (2022) is funkier and more soulful. The differences bring a constant change in tempo which keep the audience guessing, slower tracks create mood and atmosphere harking on the whimsical, mixed with up-beat drum-led numbers the crowd are taken on a journey. Rogers starts by whipping up the energy with two tracks from Surrender, Overdrive and Want Want, heavy on the guitars and drums. She then follows up with Say It (2019) taking the tempo down a notch, showcasing her unique voice. This is the formula. Whip them up and let them dangle in awe. A treat.

In a rare talkative moment, she shares her second album was recorded near Glastonbury in Bath and those working on it with her visited the festival in winter for inspiration. For the sing-songwriter, Glastonbury is not just a weekend in June. From that visit Be Cool was written to be played right here, at this festival, on this stage. I believe her. It has a dirty bass that somehow evokes innocence and abandon at the same time. It talks of taking time to be who you are and hang with your friends, taking time to be cool with the simple things in life. Such as being present on a Saturday afternoon in the sun being serenaded, perhaps? Alaska is given a soulful make over, it still sounds so fresh. Rogers takes a dance break through her most well known song, showing just how relaxed she is. For Love You For A Long Time, a stand-alone single from 2021, her guitar skills are displayed alongside her melodious folk-y vocals.

Awe and wonder is not reserved for those watching, the singer-songwriter can be caught smiling wistfully and singing off mic with the crowd, so their voices are given room to breathe. During Fallingwater everyone is encouraged to clap, no words are needed. The performer proceeds to get lost in the performance closing her eyes making you wonder where she’s gone. The final song, last year’s Where I Am is delivered with gusto, we are rocking out, there are symbols crashing and hips swaying plus a reeeeeeally long note held. That voice. Wow.

Maggie glowed, having thought about playing here for 3 years you can tell Glastonbury means a lot to her. The performance sparkled, the field bathed in sunlight felt ethereal and we’re left with the impression the healthy glow she gives off comes from within, as well as without. But, isn’t that what it feels like when you come home?

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Review by Sharmayne Robinson and photos by Kalpesh Patel at Glastonbury Festival 2023.

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