Not only a concert, the set he was about to perform was also a movie, tv show, and Broadway musical. Oliver Tree has a laser focus on his trajectory as a multi-media artist and how he wants the crowd to feel. In three acts, the show started with the album Alone In A Crowd (2023), then Cowboy TearsDrown the World in a Swimming Pool of Sorrow (2022), and lastly, Ugly is Beautiful (2020). The Oliver Tree lore is stacked on top of each other. The three acts included Tree’s alter-egos Cornelius Cummings, Shawny Bravo, and Turbo.
Oliver Tree was a high-energy performer, covering the length of the stage repeatedly, guiding the crowd through nothing short of a calisthenics class. The Met filled with happy, bouncing, arm-waving fans, many of whom cosplayed Tree. Between acts there were opportunities for video shorts as in the opening skit, like an AI Trivago-looking guy pretending to be the condescending CEO of Alien Boy Records, interviews with the various Trees, and The Chadwick Report with Chad Chadwick.But the peak Oliver Tree moment was when he rode onto stage on a cow, all denim-clad with some fringe, and then stood on the saddle during “Cowboys Don’t Cry.” Think Beyonce riding in on a silver horse during the Renaissance tour.
Oliver Tree | photo by Megan Matuzak for WXPN
Somewhere towards the end of Act 2, Tree started asking the crowd if they wanted to hear one more song between every song, which (successfully) gaslit the crowd into thinking they were unable to identify when the set would end. When it seemed like it was over, Oliver Tree returned to the stage after getting the crowd to loudly sing “Ole.” “I’ve always wanted to do that,” Tree said.
Saturday night was something of a hometown show for Oliver Tree, who lived in Philly until he was 6. His family sat up in the balcony cheering, and with them was a birthday girl: 97-year old Grandma Tree. Beseeching the crowd, he asked The Met crowd if they would sing “Happy Birthday” to her and counted them in. “Come on guys this might be her last one,” Tree said mid-tune.
Before ending the night with “Life Goes On,” Oliver Tree motivated the crowd from the heart, telling them to do whatever has been on the back burner, and listen to themselves. And not let others try to mold you, because, as he put it, “something special won’t happen if you listen.”
(JK, Tree came back out for a scooter trick, left, then the 7-minute credits — with even more shorts — rolled as the crowd exited.)