18-year-old Tate McRae performed two back-to-back shows at the Fonda Theatre on Monday and Tuesday and proved she’s not just a singer-songwriter and should be upgraded to entertainer status, singing flawlessly while ripping up the dancefloor with two back-up dancers in tow. The Canadian artist’s first of two sold-out shows even had young Hollywood starlets in attendance supporting her in the balcony, from fellow multi-hyphenate Jojo Siwa to singer-songwriter sensation Olivia Rodrigo to TikTok star Addison Rae.
Louisville, KY multi-instrumentalist Gavin Haley opened the night followed by UK singer-songwriter Mimi Webb who played her first show ever in LA. Webb’s inviting pop voice brought to mind singers such as Ellie Goulding, Jess Glynne and Anne-Marie. Her smoky tone impressed on “Reasons” and her power came through on the anthemic pop/rock tune “Halfway”. “Dumb Love” was one of her best and then she completely smoked a cover of Sam Smith’s “I’m Not The Only One”, with fans singing along. Pop/rock bop “House on Fire” was an addicting rush of energy and she concluded with her song about resilience, “Good Without”.
Tate McRae‘s 50-minute set was action packed, with the rising star immediately jumping into high-gear, appearing on a raised platform with a glowing T8 installation behind her flashing in deep blues and purples. She was joined by two back-up dancers on “stupid”, launching some fierce energy while fans screamed throughout. McRae wore red leather chaps and a black one-piece bodysuit under them. Though she didn’t sing during every choreographed moment (cause who could?) she sang much of the song, and the three danced their way down the stairs to the main stage.
“What’s up LA?”, asked McRae. “This is crazy, I’m very excited to be doing two nights here”.
The stage and the life-size T8 were glowing in yellows and oranges for “are u ok”, with fans singing along to the reggae-pop ditty and McRae visiting fans at all corners of the stage. She continued with the ballad “happy face”, squatting at about eye level while looking at her adoring fans during the song’s bridge.
The dancers returned for “all my friends are fake” under deep blue lighting and strobe lights, with McRae’s vocals shining as the three showed off some serious moves. McRae’s physicality as a performer was put to the test on “Bad Ones”, crushing her vocals and fully embodying the song with her athletic movements, working the stage with her dancers and even bending her body backward.
“As you guys may know, I started on YouTube when I was 13”, shared McRae. “I posted my video called “i wrote a song”. My parents were like ‘please don’t post it’. It went viral overnight”. She sat on the edge of the stage with a stunning swarm of twinkling lights and and it was clear McRae was still passionate about this one, with beautiful falsetto and the fans joining in on every word.
“I wrote this about a guy in grade 10, but friends don’t look at each other like that”, said McRae and she started singing “that way”, while the entire Fonda Theatre joined in on the catchy vocal.
Tate McRae turned up the heat again on the electronic-pop song “You”(she’s featured on this one alongside DJ Regard and Troye Sivan). The lights pulsed in neon green and pink, while McRae and her crew delivered hip-hop dance perfection during the banger. She did a spin and following the song shouted out her dancers and band members.
McRae took a much-needed breath and sat down on the stairs to check in with her fans before playing a cover of The Script’s “Breakeven”. She even mentioned, “If I ever go on a road trip, this is the song I play for the whole two hours”. She didn’t disappoint and really made the pop ballad her own, with pretty falsetto moments and other powerful ones from her head voice, while blue bursts of light covered the stage.
“I released this song in November, I graduated, turned 18 and moved to LA”, said McRae. “I’m in the process of writing a debut album right now. I struggled because I experienced my first heartbreak and went to the studio and said I really felt like shit”. This set up one of the best of the night, her heartfelt Gen Z mental health anthem “feel like shit”. The audience was with her for the entirety of the song while McRae belted her heart out under purple lights.
The dancers were back again for the R&B-pop groove “rubberband”, with Tate McRae joining in on some solid moves and footwork. Next was the pop-punk-leaning “she’s all i wanna be”, jumping about on the stage with her dancers and energizing the crowd. Tate McRae was a non-stop force for her entire show and The Fonda sounded like one voice on her massive heartbreak hit “you broke me first”, full of inventive dance moves and body contortions including a moment when she kicked the air. She walked up to the staircase, posed, came back down and said simply, “Thank you LA”.
Words by Michael Menachem
Images by Justin Higuchi