San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

Embracing the new era: Lizzy McAlpine kicks off ‘The Older Tour’

With a captivating opening night, the folk-pop singer showcased her evolution in music and delivered an intimate experience for fans
Isabella Dallas
Lizzy McAlpine began “The Older Tour” at the Cal Coast Credit Union Amphitheater on April 21

“I’m going to cry. Oh my god, hi!” Lizzy McApline bellowed to the full house at San Diego’s Cal Coast Credit Union Amphitheater on April 21. 

That Sunday night was the start of McAlpine’s “The Older Tour,” but she wasn’t alone. McAlpine toured her third studio album with the band that helped create this masterfully crafted collection of songs. 

And, of course, her fans were there, too.

An hour before the concert doors opened, Campanile Walkway was filled with an abyss of long white skirts, bows tangled in hair, denim jackets and cowboy boots that formed a seemingly endless line reaching down Hardy Avenue. With another entrance at the other side of the venue (surely mirroring this one), it appeared there wasn’t an area of San Diego State University that McAlpine fans hadn’t touched. 

The campus embraced McAlpine’s aesthetic, radiating it through the atmosphere: effortlessly natural with a soft, romantic springtime ambiance, yet retaining a distinct edge of alternative flair. 

The amphitheater was a valley filled with smiles, giggles of anticipation and fans in their new McAlpine merch hugging for photos in front of the singer’s album displayed on the screens. The sold-out crowd was brimming with indescribable excitement, like when you love something so much that you simply can’t wait any longer. And, with no opener for the tour, they didn’t have to. 

“I found Lizzy in 2021 when my friend introduced me to her. She was trying to get me to break up with my boyfriend who was not great,” Ashleigh Kennealy, a student at UC San Diego, said laughing. “My friend sat me down in the car and played ‘Nothing / Sad N Stuff’ and said, ‘This is you.’ And I thought, ‘This is me.’ I’ve been listening ever since.”

As the band emerged onto the stage first, subtle bird chirping noises added an almost ethereal backdrop to the dimly lit up stage. McAlpine then entered through the set door, comfortably taking her seat with a  guitar in hand. The gentle, evocative notes of “Elevator” played from the piano keys, gradually drawing in the rest of the band. 

Together, they transformed the 1-minute 40-second opening song into a surreal experience, marking a mesmerizing beginning to the show.

“My fingers are tingling. I hope I can play this song,” McApline said before diving into this brand-new setlist. “Wow, this is so insane, literally the moment I walked onto stage I almost started crying, so it’s going to be an uphill battle.”

After a quick, deep breath and a sip from her sticker-covered Hydro Flask, McAlpine not only played her guitar with exceptional skill but also delivered vocals that reached an entirely different level. If there was ever any doubt whether a singer can sound just like the studio recording when performing live outdoors without a track or click, just attend a Lizzy McAlpine concert… seriously.

In her green crewneck sweatshirt, navy striped pants and white Converse sneakers, McAlpine sequentially performed songs from her album “Older,” which deviates from her previous body of work. Following the first half of the album, she performed “Come Down Soon,” “Like It Tends to Do,” “Movie Star,” “All Falls Down” (where the crowd made sure to scream the lyrics “twenty-three and a sold-out show”), “Staying” and “I Guess.”

This third studio album required McAlpine to reach beyond her comfort zone, exploring the arc of a relationship and breakup while also delving into themes of personal growth and trusting one’s instincts. 

These tracks elicit a more mature and stripped-back quality — honest and real in a way that fans hadn’t seen from McAlpine before. Watching her perform the new album with a smile, headphones on and an instrument in hand, felt like a true representation of McAlpine and the era she’s in right now. 

“I fell in love with Lizzy’s music for her voice,” Sadie Muzzomuz, a student at UC San Diego, said. “It’s soft, calming and unique, but I’ve stayed because I love the different types of instrumentation she’s tried throughout her albums.”

The band, consisting ofTaylor Mackall, Ryan Richter, Mason Stoops, Tyler Nuffer, Michael Libramento and Remy Morrit, also contributed to this raw and homemade feeling on stage. Throughout the night, the instrumentals always stood out. They added an additional layer of emotion to McAlpine’s already expressive voice; the audience could feel the songs come alive through the beats, keys and strings.

McAlpine also delivered a few fan favorites, including “doomsday,” “ceilings” and “chemtrails,” from her second album “five seconds flat,” and the crowd went absolutely wild. 

From the dancing silhouettes of people watching from the library behind the stage to audience members singing (and crying) to the more than occasional “WE LOVE YOU LIZZY,” the amphitheater was alive. Even as McAlpine reimagined these classic hits to match the new vibe of her music, the audience was swept away.

After performances of “Drunk, Running,” “Broken Glass,” a cover of “Send in the Clowns” / “And So It Goes” (by Stephan Sondheim and Billy Joel) and “You Forced me To,” McAlpine took time to introduce the track that became the album name. 

“‘Older’ was created in a room that looks a lot like the set,” McAlpine said. “I just played a little voice memo of the chorus I had written, and it happened in like 20 minutes and it became the whole center point of this album.”

McAlpine was right, the stage looked just like a recording studio, complete with guitars, drums, a piano and keyboards, along with lamps, mic stands, rugs and even an engineering room. It exuded intimacy, offering a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the album-making process rather than just a performance. 

With no encore, she finished the night with the last three songs from the album: “Better Than This,” “March” and an impressive almost 6-minute track, “Vortex.” 

However, McAlpine did have a surprise in for the crowd — a never-before-heard performance of her unreleased song called “Force of Nature,” where the venue fell dead quiet in an attempt to analyze and absorb every lyric she sang.

McAlpine has the unique ability to create specific songs that are ​​effortlessly emotionally relatable. 

She makes her audience feel seen and never alone. Perhaps that’s why, even as McAlpine and her band concluded their opening night, the crowd lingered. They stayed, cheering on long after she had left the stage… and what a way to start a tour. 

About the Contributor
Isabella Dallas
Isabella Dallas, '24-25 Arts & Culture Editor
Originally from San Jose, California, Isabella is currently in her third year at San Diego State University. She is pursuing a major in Journalism, with a minor in Creative Writing. While starting her third year at The Daily Aztec as a Senior Staff Writer, Isabella has discovered her love for covering cultural events and topics with artistic aspects and aesthetic influences. She writes for the Arts and Culture section, where her favorite pieces focus on live music, pop culture, fashion, and differing lifestyles. She can also be found writing about TV, books, and her many other obsessions. When Isabella isn’t sitting at a coffee shop writing articles or reading a new book, you’ll find her devouring the latest issues of Vogue and Rolling Stones. Her only life goal is to one day interview Harry Styles—any leads are gratefully welcomed.