Six standout guitar moments from Olivia Rodrigo’s ‘GUTS’ world tour

Six standout guitar moments from Olivia Rodrigo’s ‘GUTS’ world tour

The Olivia Rodrigo of old is long gone. Forget the child Disney actor turned teenage singer-songwriter who dominated the charts during the 2021 lockdown with her viral piano-led break-up ballad Drivers License.
Now, aged 21, her music shares more in common with pop-punk heroes like Paramore’s Hayley Williams than her guitar-slinging pop contemporaries like Taylor Swift – especially when performed in front of a venue packed with thousands of people.

READ MORE: Five Essential St. Vincent Songs That Guitarists Need to Hear

And, while her songs have made that influence clear (particularly the chant-along Good 4 U and satirical All American Bitch), on stage is where Rodrigo truly unleashes her inner rockstar.
In a similar way to how Billie Eilish’s shows – which boast equally impressive staging – are far heavier and more guitar-centric in a live setting than on record, Rodrigo’s world tour is packed with incendiary guitar moments that prove why she and her grungy live band (encompassing guitarists Daisy Spencer and Emily Rosenfield, bassist Moa Munoz and drummer Hayley Brownell) are an unstoppable force.
Olivia Rodrigo performing during the ‘GUTS’ world tour at Madison Square Garden in 2024. Image: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Live Nation
The same can be said for her adoring audience on this tour. Despite being (aside from parents) mostly teens and pre-teens who turn up in cowboy hats, feather boas and homemade t-shirts with Olivia’s name printed across them, the youngsters are more than up for rocking out with their music hero.
It’s not just the show either – by asking 90s indie-rock legends Breeders to join her for her sold-out Madison Square Garden shows last month, she understands that she’s carrying on an important lineage of female-fronted artists that can inspire the next generation.
Judging by the reaction she’s been receiving night in night out, it’s not hard to imagine Rodrigo with custom Music Man St Vincent in hand, being the lightning bolt moment for the next great guitar icon.
Regardless, Rodrigo’s show has become a fun time for guitar fans: here are six standout moments from the GUTS world tour.
Olivia Rodrigo with her bassist Moa Munoz during the ‘GUTS’ world tour. Image: Christopher Polk/Billboard via Getty Images
It’s a rock gig right from the off
After flashing strobes and a video that shows Rodrigo close up to the camera before running down a long corridor, she rises from beneath the stage. Her statement-making band, which is made up entirely of women and non-binary musicians; “a rarity at any level, let alone arenas”, highlighted The Guardian’s Kitty Empire – builds anticipation with the thrashing opening riffs of Bad Idea Right?. Looking out to a sea of phones and screaming fans, the song’s creaking door opening sends everyone into a state of hysteria. The guitars and heavy drums flow seamlessly into the second song Ballad Of A Homeschooled Girl, which fills the room as teens and adults jump together. The tone is set for a show that’s undoubtedly more rock gig than pop concert.
Even softer moments are amped up
While tear-stained singalong Vampire starts out competitively quiet and piano-led, with its protagonist standing in front of a silhouette of a moon Twilight-style, Rodrigo’s anger towards an undisclosed ex bubbles up to the surface. As the song hits its midsection and the blood red strobes overhead pulse in time to the drum beat and the onscreen planet turns crimson, the now-iconic few seconds of unrelenting riffs embody a sonic exorcism of any and all bad energy. Jealousy Jealousy feels tougher when brought to life, too, as the electric guitar riffs result in head-banging on and off stage.
Olivia Rodrigo with her guitarist Daisy Spencer during the acoustic segment of the ‘GUTS’ world tour. Image: Christopher Polk/Billboard via Getty Images
Intimate acoustic moments
Perched cross-legged on the end of the runway with one of her guitarists, Daisy Spencer, who has an acoustic in her hand, Rodrigo is equally compelling when showcasing her more vulnerable side – and incredible vocals – during powerful renditions of Happier and Favorite Crime. A brief respite away from the loud guitars and drums, it’s an intimate one-two that proves her raw talent over subtle strings. There’s an ultra cute moment at the end of this section of the show, too, as the pair nail a secret handshake that not only signifies a job well done but adds a sense of nostalgia to proceedings
Things get a little bit country on So American

In late March, Rodrigo dropped a deluxe version of her sophomore album – appropriately titled GUTS (spilled) – and its closing track gets an airing midway through the show. After a slow ride over the audience while perched on an elevated half moon, she returns to the jutting runway with an acoustic guitar in her hand ready to perform So American. Bolstered by punchy drums, the fast-paced Taylor Swift-lite song – which, with its subtle country flourishes, shows another side to Rodrigo’s artistry and has the audience bopping along.
Rodrigo and the band rock out on Brutal

While flames lay waste to an onscreen curtain backdrop during a costume change interval, Rodrigo’s two guitarists, bassist Moa Munoz and drummer Hayley Brownell take the moment to seize the spotlight and prove their talents and tightness as a band. Upon returning for Brutal, she goes from crouching down to high-kicking her leg in the air, before clinging to one of the guitarist’s necks and headbanging with them. It’s clear she’s visibly charged up by the crushing riffs being unleashed. By the close, all four are centre-stage, thriving off each other’s energy as they bounce together, very obviously having the time of their lives.
Olivia Rodrigo with her custom Ernie Ball Music Man St Vincent at the ‘GUTS’ world tour. Image: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Acrisure Arena
The Custom Music Man St Vincent Comes Out
For the snarling Obsessed, Rodrigo plays a stunning Ernie Ball Music Man – a St. Vincent Goldie. Customised to match the purple aesthetic of her album, she wields it during an axe duel with her guitarist during Obsessed (which, co-written with Annie Clark herself, was originally a secret track released on the red vinyl version of GUTS). With her tongue out like Este from Haim, by the track’s climax she’s grabbing a drumstick and frantically hitting the cymbals before using it to mimic playing the guitar’s strings. After launching it into the crowd, she holds the Music Man up high as if she’s just won a battle. Olivia Rodrigo the rockstar has well and truly arrived.
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