A Day for the Crowd: ACL 2023 Weekend One, Day Two Recap

Written by , on October 8, 2023

On Saturday, Oct. 7th, Austin City Limits, informally known as ACL, was in full swing as an even larger crowd piled into Zilker Park in the midst of the Texas Longhorns vs Oklahoma Sooners football game. Crowds lined each stage in anticipation of Foo Fighters, Shania Twain, and 90’s singer Alanis Morisette.

Immediately walking into ACL, Barton Springs Hall was filled with football fans watching the anticipated UT vs OU game. The two Universities have an established feud known as the Red River Rivalry. Fans cheered and watched in anticipation, obviously rooting for the Longhorns. Eventually, however, UT lost to OU 34-30, but fans still persisted, celebrating UT all night and chanting “OU sucks.”

First, Gus Dapperton took over the T-Mobile stage with his amazing talent. He ran across the stage, jumping up and down and dancing with the other performers on stage. At many points, the audience danced and sang along with him. He pointed his mic at the fans, encouraging them to sing along to the chorus of his song “Midnight Train.”

Next, Rina Sawayama began her action-packed set on the Honda Stage. She began her set with her titular song, “Hold The Girl,” from her album Hold The Girl, dressed in a white dress that matched beautifully with the aesthetics of her background visuals. On-screen, she had several flashing images of idyllic scenes of nature. After a dance break from her two talented backup dancers, Rina Sawayama came back on stage dressed in a white dress top and baggy jeans and introduced her next song, “Catch Me In The Air,” by saying it is “about a small girl making it in a big city.” Each song she performed had incredible energy, as Sawayama engaged the audience with her running across the stage and performing intricate choreography.

Before beginning her song “Minor Feelings,” she dedicated the song by saying, “This is for you and your heart” before she performed the song breathtakingly. Throughout the audience, fans were jumping up and down and screaming the lyrics to each of her songs. She held striking poses matched with prominent facial expressions as she beautifully performed each song. 

Near the end of her setlist, the crowd cheered as she ripped off her t-shirt and pants to reveal a skin-tight latex red bodysuit. She immediately began her song “STFU!”. Fans held the middle finger up as they screamed along to her song. Before transitioning to “XS,” Sawayama’s last song in her set, she had an interlude in which she had fans cheer as loud as they could, taunting, “The crowd isn’t loud enough” as she wore a red latex skirt on top of her bodysuit. Overall, Sawayama’s performance wasn’t one to miss.

Next was 90’s alternative-pop singer Alanis Morissette on the American Express stage. Before stepping on stage, Morissette played a compilation of various clips referencing her song “Ironic” on various shows like the Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Saturday Night Live, Carpool Karaoke, and a clip of Tina Fey teasing her for her confessional style of songwriting. 

As soon as Morissette stepped on stage singing “Hand in My Pocket,” the crowd stood up, dancing and cheering along to her music. Towards the end of her set, she played her notorious song “Ironic,” in which I pulled out my phone to FaceTime my mom, who is the original Alanis Morissette fan of the family. She immediately smiled and sang along to “Ironic” before it ended. Morisette also played her legendary song “You Oughta Know,” which is essentially a brutal roast of an ex who cheated on her. Her vocals on stage were amazing, as she hit every single note and lyric of the song. She ended her performance by showing tweets of fans showing love and thanks to her music before holding up a peace sign and running off stage.

At the IHG Hotels & Resorts stage, Amaarae began her performance. With a musical blend of R&B, Afrobeat, and electronic elements, the music had an impressive groove. She continuously engaged with the crowd as she was unimpressed with the lack of energy from the crowd and got them moving. She expressed to the crowd that it was her first time in Texas and immensely enjoyed the food. While her set did experience some technical issues, she persevered and performed amazingly.

Thirty Seconds To Mars began their performance at the Honda stage and came out with a shocking opening consisting of lead singer Jared Leto jumping off from the top of a platform on the top part of the stage. The band would go on to perform a great majority of their most popular and recent releases. Leto constantly interacted with the crowd, joking and engaging them during and after each song.

Leto would get the crowd to move to the songs throughout the band’s performance. There were many instances of the crowd singing and moving their hands in unison. Before the song “The Kill,” he invited the photographers to the stage. Which would be a continuous trend as he constantly invited people to the stage. 

One of his surprise invites was none other than Matthew McConaughey, who is one of his close friends. He came on stage before the last song, “Closer to the Edge,” and they worked together to fill the stage with fans, choosing people from the crowd. The performance ended with a spectacle of Leto running around while singing to interact with the fans on stage and the ground, ending their performance on a high note.

Also, on the Honda stage, Shania Twain performed as one of the main headliners of the night. A known country and pop music icon, she demonstrated her artistic prowess with her powerful vocals. Her vast iconic discography had the crowd dancing and enjoying themselves with the positive energy it brought them. The songs that especially got the crowd singing along were “Man! I Feel Like A Woman!” and “You’re Still The One.” The night ended with Twain’s vocals powering through the crowd and thanking the crowd for their support. 

Overall, this night was truly for the crowd! With stellar performances and constant crowd engagement, all the artists were getting the crowd moving. Make sure to check out our coverage of Day 1 of ACL. Please look forward to our coverage for Day 3 of ACL!

  • Andrea Diaz

    I'm a Senior at the University of Houston. I'm majoring in Marketing and double minoring in Public Relations and Management Information Systems. I enjoy the fine arts and love discovering new music!

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  • Isha Merchant

    Hi! My name is Isha. I am a Strategic Communications major, and I enjoy concerts, movies, and art.

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