Fifteen thousand people cheered for two hours straight as Taylor Swift played to a packed Staples Center crowd last night. Though my brother is correct that she looked like a Who from How The Grinch Stole Christmas, I don't think any Whos down in Whoville could put on a show like she did.
See also: Our gallery of the show.
One thing that sets Swift apart from other current pop acts is the fact that she writes her own songs, and every one that made the cut on her most recent album, Red, is about love and failed relationships.
She also believes in channeling whatever emotion she was feeling at the time she wrote the song when she performs live, so naturally her emotions were running wild. But that's what made it interesting (aside from the constant costume changes, backup dancers/singers, and stage sets, of course). A sad fondness crept onto her face when she sang and ravished a red-stained piano during “All Too Well.” Even though she was dressed in an adorable, sequined ring leader outfit in the big top-inspired set for “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together,” she may as well have been dressed as the lion, because she looked like she was about to rip someone's head off.
However, this emotive quirk of hers may also be her biggest downfall when it comes to performing. In between songs she talked with her fans, and at the beginning of the set she honestly looked humbled by the turnout for her first of four nights at Staples. But as time lapsed, she fell into a sort of “woe-is-me” act that quickly became irritating. She talked about falling in love and getting her heart broken…a lot; she spoke of having low self-esteem, and before playing “Mean,” admitted that mean kids don't grow out of it. It's a human condition and mean people will always be there to try to bring you down, no matter the age.
Before she performed “22,” as she hurriedly changed outfits for the umpteenth time, a reel of Tay Swift family videos played on the large screens adorning the stage.
The snippets were time-stamped by age, showing how she's not only been entranced by music since she was an infant, but she began writing, performing and recording music as an adolescent. She released her first album when she was 16. All things considered, she's quite impressive. But hey, you're living the life most girls can only dream of. No one needs to throw you a pity party.
Aside from that flaw, Swift's performance was, we'll say it, spectacular. At times, it felt like watching a musical as she and her dancers acted out the songs; it was almost Cirque Du Soliel like, with dancers contorting to the music and marching on stilts.
The young chanteuse utilized the catwalk so she could be close to her fans. She even dedicated a whole chunk of songs to a smaller stage at the back of the crowd so she could spend time with the ones in the cheaper seats.
And, naturally, a levitating platform hooked up to a track on the ceiling floated her back to the main stage during “Sparks Fly.” She also treated her fans with a few surprise (and one not so surprise) guests. Opener Ed Sheeran came out and performed “Everything Has Changed” with her (he also appears on the recorded version), and she introduced her fans to Cher Lloyd, a spunky British artist. They played her single, “I Want You Back.” But near the end of her set she brought out another surprise: Sara Bareilles, and the two sang her empowering hit, “Brave.” It was adorable.
Personal Bias: Swift's a cat lady. She gets extra points from me for that.
The Crowd: Adolescent gurlz.
Overheard In The Crowd: The shrillest shrieks
Random Notebook Dump: Someone was wearing a shirt that said “Taylor Swift Or Die.”
Set list below:
State Of Grace
You Belong With Me
The Lucky One
Everything Has Changed (w/ Ed Sheeran)
I Want You Back (w/ Cher Lloyd)
I Knew You Were Trouble
All Too Well
Brave (w/ Sara Boreilles)
We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together