In the heart of Boston last Saturday night, Canadian alt-pop sensation Tate McRae took center stage at the Citizens House of Blues, and any Bostonian in the room who had ever endured the tumultuous throes of a toxic relationship found themselves screaming their lungs out. The sold-out event was a pivotal stop on her 2023 “ARE WE FLYING TOUR” across the United States, showcasing McRae’s undeniable talent and magnetic stage presence.
McRae had a robust set list prepared. Given that her debut album “I Used to Think I Could Fly” was released a little over a year ago in May 2022, it’s no surprise that McRae only had a limited repertoire of songs to perform. Despite this, she still managed to perfectly curate a one-hour performance that left no stone unturned. Instead of simply going through her album’s tracklist, McRae adopted an unconventional approach. She began with lesser known songs from her debut album — a collection that delves into heartbreak. As the night progressed, she eased her way into her most popular hit singles, including the heart-wrenching track “you broke me first,” which has garnered over a billion streams on Spotify.
McRae’s ability to connect with her audience was striking. She clearly understood her target demographic, many of whom had likely experienced their fair share of toxic exes.
Engaging the crowd, she playfully inquired the following: “Is anyone here tonight on a date?” You better not be here with one of your exes tonight. We’re better than that, right?”
Her witty query elicited hearty laughter and enthusiastic cheers, solidifying the strong connection between McRae and her audience.
She further proved her loyalty to her audience by proudly donning a Boston Bruins Cam Neely hockey jersey on stage, featuring her signature number 8 — a reference to how her name is written “T8” on her merchandise — a gesture that earned roars of approval from the hometown crowd.
The simple stage setup featured a podium to the left for McRae’s drummer Carter Vaughan and one to the right for guitarist Zach DeGaetano. McRae frequently moved between the two, occasionally walking to the front of the stage to wave at her adoring fans.
While the stage setup may have been quite simple, it provided the perfect canvas for McRae’s greatest attribute as a performer to shine through: her impressive dance skills. Not only was she awarded the title of Best Female Dancer twice at “The Dance Awards,” but she also received third place on the 13th season of “So You Think You Can Dance?” During her performance of “10:35,” McRae seized the opportunity to showcase her exceptional dance talents through a captivating dance interlude. Using her body as a medium of expression, McRae struck a balance between fluidity and sharpness in her movements in order to effectively emulate the energy of the upbeat music.
However, it was somewhat disappointing to witness McRae refraining from using choreography during some of her other songs, such as “she’s all i wanna be.” The music video for this track is known for its dance-heavy sequences, and it felt like a missed opportunity not to incorporate these moves into her live performance.
Fortunately, McRae compensated for the occasional absence of intricate choreography with the clever use of stage lighting and background presentation. During “go away,” street lamps adorned the background, perfectly synchronized with the rhythmic intensity of the bass drum, creating a mesmerizing visual spectacle that entranced the audience and enhanced the overall experience.
A pinnacle moment of the night arrived when McRae treated the crowd to a live rendition of her new single, “greedy,” released just a day before the Boston concert. As she temporarily vanished from the stage after her performance of “she’s all i wanna be,” the crowd instinctively sensed that “greedy” was next in line and began chanting the name of the song. To everyone’s delight, McRae reappeared to deliver an unforgettable performance of her latest release. The fact that the audience sang along to every lyric, despite the song’s recent release, underscored McRae’s status as a beloved singer-songwriter and performer.
Tate McRae’s stop in Boston on her tour was an evening of passion and connection. Her capacity to connect with the audience through music, humor, and relatable anecdotes left no doubt that she is not just an exceptional artist, but also a truly authentic and endearing performer.