“Never tell your teachers you didn’t practice your presentation” is what Marie Ulven, better known by her stage name girl in red, would tell the audience multiple times at the first performance of her new concert. The singer kicked off her global tour at Boston’s MGM Music Hall earlier this week in support of her recently released album, I’M DOING IT AGAIN, BABY! Fans donned an unofficial dress code of flannels, baseball caps, and baggy jeans, which, funnily enough, had them blend in well amongst the crowd of Boston Red Sox fans pouring into the adjacent Fenway Park for an evening home game. While not sold out, a respectable crowd filled the 5000-person venue that was the perfect size for a bigger show that still had an intimate feel. Opening the show was LA-based indie rock band Momma, who delivered a fun set to get fans warmed up and ready for girl in red to take the stage soon after.

Prior to this show, I’d had the opportunity to see two of girl in red’s live shows. Her last headlining date in Boston was a sold-out performance at the Paradise Rock Club, and I got to see her at New York City’s Governors Ball festival last year in 2023, where she had a headlining slot on one of the smaller stages. While her shows have always been full of energy and crowd interaction, the stage itself was always quite simple with just some light strips and a plain backdrop. However, simple is the last word that comes to mind when describing the setup for the show on Monday. A screen spanning the entire stage, a huge red lamp-like structure illuminating the set from up in the ceiling, and a staircase leading up to a higher platform in front of the big screen are just some of the things seen as part of the incredible production for the show. This tour truly seems like it will be an “I made it” moment for girl in red with the stunning visuals and the opportunity to perform songs from an album she seems proud of and passionate about.

Dressed in an oversized suit, girl in red opened the set with the lively anthem “DOING IT AGAIN BABY” off the similarly-named new album before transitioning into her hit, “bad idea!” off of one of her first EPs originally recorded in her bedroom. Ulven surely knows how to put on a show, running back and forth on the stage and mastering headbanging and hair flipping during the instrumental breaks in songs.

For fans who might not have had the chance to fully study the new album (it had been released just 3 days prior to the show), girl in red made sure to throw in classics throughout the set. “girls,” “You Stupid Bitch,” and “we fell in love in october” were just a few of the staples played during the 1.5 hour performance. “dead girl in the pool.” was notably missing from the setlist, a bit of a bummer since it is such a fun song to see performed live. Standing out as one of the stronger songs off of I’M DOING IT AGAIN, BABY! is Ulven’s collaboration with pop star Sabrina Carpenter, “You Need Me Now?” Carpenter’s part was sung by a fan – coincidentally named Hanna, the same as the main character of “i wanna be your girlfriend” – who had been thrown the microphone right before her verse was to start.

Instead of an encore, girl in red took the time at the end of the set to first perform the viral bridge from her song “I’ll Call You Mine,” singing acapella before having her backing band join in to sing the bridge again. For the last song, she made her way into the crowd, encouraging fans to (safely) form a mosh pit around her as she performed “i wanna be your girlfriend.” The level of trust Ulven has with her fanbase shows the unique relationship that they have, and it was awesome to see an artist of her size quite literally get down to her fans’ level and create a special moment with them. After making her way back to the stage, girl in red took what seemed like all the water bottles left on the stage and sprayed them out into the crowd along with guitar picks and setlists from the show.

The “DOING IT AGAIN” tour has just started, and you can grab tickets to any of the upcoming US or international dates on girl in red’s website https://www.worldinred.com/.

Julia Finocchiaro

Julia Finocchiaro

Julia Finocchiaro is a photographer based in Boston MA. More of her work is at jfinophoto.com.