Swift slays with ease


Not many artists can sell out two nights at the Scottrade Center on a weekend, let alone a Monday and Tuesday night. Yet, Taylor Swift did just that almost a year in advance of these shows. To say that people have been looking forward to these nights for a while would be an understatement. The eclectic crowd ranged from little kids accompanied by parents that weren’t as eager to be there, to college aged students who have grown up on Taylor’s music, to a handful of adults who simply enjoy fantastic pop music.

Vance Joy kicked off the evening’s festivities and his Australian, indie-pop music was the perfect choice to start off the night. He covered Sam Smith’s “Stay With Me” while also playing his own songs, including his two megahits “Mess is Mine” and “Riptide.” Throughout the half-hour set, he kept the banter minimal, but most definitely won over many new fans.

Next up on the bill was the trio of sisters known as HAIM. They are an indie band that, at first glance, might seem like an interesting choice to open for Taylor Swift. Any questions regarding whether or not they would do a good job were immediately put to rest. The sisters rocked the stage with their incredible musicianship and infectiously catchy songs. Before being on this tour, they were mainly a gem only known to hipsters. Luckily, Taylor wanted to have them on the tour, and introduced them to a much larger audience.

After HAIM performed, the anticipation was building for the main event: Taylor Swift. Just a minute after nine o’clock, the arena went black — illuminated by the color-changing wristbands fans received taped to their seats. These wristbands were synched with the music, and as Taylor stated, provided a chance to incorporate everyone into the show, from the front row all the way to the last row of the 300’s section. That being said, this felt as if it was one of the more intimate shows of her tour because of the Scottrade’s capacity of around 20,000 people, which is less than 1/3 the capacity of some of the stadiums she played this summer.

That feeling of intimacy didn’t have an effect on the extravagance of the show. Her opening song, “Welcome to New York” showed off the first of her many outfits of the night, her posse of a dozen male dancers who had incredible acrobatic skills, and her backing band, who had the magical touch that made her sound even more full and alive than on the record. Taylor was able to command a stage that spanned the length of the arena floor while nailing her choreography, singing flawlessly, and making it all look effortless.

The two-hour concert was heavy on material from 1989, with twelve of the thirteen tracks on the album performed throughout the show. These songs have no country flavor that past albums had, but that wasn’t an issue to any of her fans in attendance; they screamed along to every word that Taylor sang. It was as if this transition to solely pop music was a completely natural step in Swift’s career.

She didn’t forget about her past completely though, playing old favorite “Fifteen” with solely her acoustic guitar. She also played other old songs with a new sound that was more in line with the feel of 1989. One example of this was “Love Story,” which had some synth and loops added in, but sounded just as incredible as the original version.

Another highlight of Swift’s concert was her special guest, which she has been surprising her crowds with at almost every show on this tour. While the first night had no guest, those attending the second night were treated to St. Louis native Nelly, coming out and performing “The Fix” and “Hot in Herre” with Swift, and the ladies of HAIM providing backing vocals. Moments like these will never happen again, and made the night that much more special.

The award for best moment of the night doesn’t go to Nelly though, rather it actually came before Swift’s song “Clean.” She preceded the song with a lengthy speech to the audience about learning to love yourself and accepting who you are, imperfections and all. Seeing a star of this size sending such a positive message to so many young kids was truly inspiring, because so often today, we see pop stars with a negative impact.

Of course many moments throughout the concert stood out, but this seemed to resonate with the crowd the most. Hopefully her next album and tour are in the near future, but no matter how long the wait is, it’ll be worth it just as attending a concert on a Tuesday night was.

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