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Review: Reneé Rapp insists there are ‘Snow Hard Feelings’ to Boston fans

Reneé Rapp sings into a microphone. Rapp hosted a show at Roadrunner Oct. 28 as part of her “Snow Hard Feelings” tour. Photo courtesy Taliyah Fox.

Hundreds of Reneé Rapp fans stepped into Roadrunner Oct. 28 decked out in costume — some even dressed as snow angels, complementary to Rapp’s current tour for her “Snow Angel” album. Fans in Boston have long-awaited the “Snow Hard Feelings” tour stop in the city during Halloween weekend to sing along to “I Hate Boston.”

Following Rapp’s EP titled “Everything to Everyone” in 2022, her debut album “Snow Angel,” released Aug. 18, brings listeners into a whirlwind of Rapp’s journey of new discoveries in heartbreak, sexuality and growing up. Taking the No. 44 slot on the Billboard 200 in the first week of its release, the album has earned the title of the biggest solo debut album for a female artist this year. 

Rapp, best known for her characters Leighton Murray in “The Sex Lives of College Girls” and Regina George in Broadway’s “Mean Girls,” has made it known that her acting career was meant to be a stepping stone into pop music. With most shows of her first headlining tour sold out, Rapp has proven that she belongs in the music industry.

The Saturday show opened with Towa Bird, a Filipino-English R&B and pop singer, who energized the crowd ahead of the three-hour concert with fast tunes, heavy electric guitar and a straight-to-the-point, “What’s up, bisexuals?”

Nearing the end of her set, she teased the audience. Bird knew that fans anticipated this specific tour stop more so than shows in other cities.

“I quite frankly don’t hate Boston, but some artists do,” Bird said, referencing Rapp’s “I Hate Boston” song and billboard in the North End. “But that’s none of my business.”

Alexander 23, a pop-indie-rock artist and producer of “Snow Angel,” was the second opening artist. Although Bird set high standards, Alexander 23 matched the energy. Taking the crowd on a rollercoaster of self-reflective, guitar-picking songs to nostalgic 2000s music, Alexander 23 wooed the audience with his hit single “IDK You Yet” and a cover of One Direction’s “Steal My Girl.”

When it finally came time for Rapp’s performance, the audience was ready to scream her lyrics at the top of their lungs. Fans on the floor area and open balcony practiced for a bit before she took the stage — almost every person harmonized wholeheartedly to Taylor Swift’s “Cruel Summer” during the between-sets playlist.

Before Rapp came onto the stage, a series of videos showcasing the changing seasons played behind a propped-up, giant window frame. Throughout the show, every couple of songs were grouped together as a season, emphasized by big letters on the backdrop. 

Rapp entered the stage wearing a cropped red shirt over a baggier white T-shirt, complementing the red aesthetics on the set for the opening song, “Talk Too Much,” and after, she immediately transitioned into “Poison Poison.” Her band, composed of two guitarists, a drummer and a keyboardist on the elevated platform, were a match to Rapp’s liveliness.

“Contrary to popular belief, I am very happy to be in Boston,” Rapp said. Fans cheered, most likely because they had been waiting since Rapp’s tour started to hear her reference “I Hate Boston” in concert.

After the two introductory songs, the show continued with the “spring” theme. Rapp took a seat and decelerated the upbeat energy in the room to sing “Willow,” a slower song about the challenges of getting older, calling it a “love letter” to herself. It’s difficult to be vulnerable in a room full of supporters, but Rapp took advantage of her “very emotional” self to sing “Bruises,” a song about being a sensitive person, juxtaposing how most of her fans idolize her for being unapologetically confident and assertive.

Next came time for “summer,” and Rapp kicked the tempo up and danced to “Colorado.” A backdrop of scenic videos played, depicting — one can only assume — summer in Colorado. The music transitioned to “Pretty Girls” and the audience was amped up to show its support for Rapp. The song encapsulated Rapp’s experience pursuing a closeted woman with a boyfriend: “It’s a blessing and it’s a curse / So keep on pretending, pretty girl.” In the middle of the song, a fan handed Rapp a pink-purple-blue bisexual flag, and she held it up in support and pride for herself and her queer-dominated fanbase.

“It’s very hard to tell I’m bisexual,” Rapp joked later on in the show. “All I talk about is astrology and complain.” 

The lights and backdrop on stage changed to orange and yellow as the show shifted into “autumn.” Rapp sang “I Hate Boston,” a song dedicated to an ex-boyfriend who ruined the city for her — except he doesn’t actually live in Boston. Surprisingly, Rapp refrained from making any comments about the city before or after the song, leaving some fans remaining in anticipation.

The show ended with “winter.” Like the season, Rapp sang about the ice-cold challenges she faced through unstable relationships, heartbreak and loss in “Gemini Moon,” “The Wedding Song” and “I Wish,” welcoming Alexander 23 back on stage for the tune.

Before the last song of the concert, the title track “Snow Angel,” Rapp left the stage, the lights turned on and the audience was perplexed. After much suspense, the lights dimmed again and Rapp stepped onto the stage — this time in a fitting all-white outfit — while the all-too-familiar piano notes of the song began. 

The song started slowly. The audience sang along. And the music got louder. Rapp, in front of a backdrop of white angel wings and falling snow, belted the song effortlessly in her near-impossible vocal range; her voice overpowered the room.

At the end of “Snow Angel,” Rapp gave fans what they were anticipating: one last Boston reference.

“Thanks so much,” Rapp said. “I definitely don’t hate Boston anymore.”

Audience members cheer and photograph Rapp with their cell phones. Some fans dressed as snow angels to complement the theme of the tour. Photo courtesy Taliyah Fox.
About the Contributor
Cathy Ching
Cathy Ching, Deputy Lifestyle Editor
Cathy Ching is a third-year journalism major with minors in communication studies and environmental studies. She is currently the deputy lifestyle editor for The News and previously served as projects editor. She also works at the Boston Globe as a magazine, travel and address co-op.
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