Live Review: Taylor Swift in Glendale, AZ
Taylor Swift is easy to like, with her genuine demeanor, playful attitude and "Oh, gosh" approach to fame.
All of that is accentuated in concert, as seen on Wednesday (5/29), the second of two shows at Glendale, AZ's Jobing.com Arena.
She smiled her way through the two-hour show, taking the time between songs to pontificate about her love of writing songs and her adoration of her young fans. She was candid about her reputation for penning tracks after a relationship ends. (She didn't deny it.)
Swift's show was primarily comprised of songs from her 2012 album "Red" -- and there were splashes of crimson throughout the show. For the opening number, "State of Grace," Swift donned a black hat and shorts, a white shirt, a red guitar, bright red lipstick and red sparkly shoes (like a modern-day Dorothy), all behind a red microphone. Sparks flew (pun intended) as the song ended, with sparklers showing the stage. Her hat went to a lucky fan near the front rows.
The most striking song on the setlist came early -- namely song No. 2 -- "Red's" Holy Ground." Swift, along with her 15-odd dancers, pounded on lit-up drums stationed on the stage, while others zipped up and down, like a Broadway play, with the drums.
"Hi Glendale, Arizona, welcome to the 'Red' tour," Swift told 13,000-plus with a smile that was all aglow. She said there are few cities that warrant a two-night stand, but Glendale was one of them.
She asked how many fans had seen her before; a good number cheered. She followed that up by wondering who had not witnessed her show previously. It seemed even. But to the benefit of newbies, she said, "I'm Taylor. It's very nice to meet you." Swift said she was honored that "13,000 of you have opted in to hear songs about my feelings," the "soundtrack" to her "crazy emotions."
One of those "crazy emotions" was shared in the song that followed, "Red," which was accompanied by a glorious collective of dancers holding flags.
She digressed from the "Red" album to sing a Motown-inspired version of "You Belong with Me," complete with a shiny red mini-dress and long red gloves. She was accompanied by two female singers.
Swift quickly returned to "Red" for "The Lucky One," for which she was joined by a cast of dancers playing paparazzi and reporters, as she progressed from the stage to the catwalk that jetted out and around the audience, creating a small pit.
Sharing her dreams in a conversation she had with the crowd, Swift first thanked the audience for her recent Billboard Music Awards. Then she said one of her dreams was to rid the world of all the "mean" people -- the perfect segue for the song "Mean." She started the song alone, with just her banjo, until there was an explosion of sound from her backing band.
Swift explored her peers' music by mashing "Ho Hey" by the Lumineers with "Stay, Stay, Stay."
"This riff sounds a little familiar," Swift said coyly as her bassist began playing "Ho Hey."
The arena then went dark and a video screen at the back of the stage provided a retrospective of Swift's life, beginning with her as an infant. It counted up to, of course, 22, the title of her hit du jour. The performance was a chill-inducing celebration of dance; two of Swift's 15 dancers carried her through the crowd as she sang and onto an awaiting second stage at the back of Jobing.com Arena.
She abandoned her band to use the stage as a platform for an acoustic performance of the songs "Starlight," "Everything Has Changed" (with opener Ed Sheeran) and "Begin Again." Sheeran, whose stripped-down opening set was nothing short of incredible, and Swift apparently wrote "Everything Has Changed" in a Phoenix hotel room while the English singer/songwriter was in town with Snow Patrol.
Swift eschewed the crowd on her way back to the main stage by flying on a platform during "Sparks Fly." The one-two punch of "Sparks Fly" and "Trouble" injected the perfect amount of energy into the show after the acoustic set. "Trouble" was everything that Skrillex would have loved, as the song adopted a dub step-inspired feel.
Taking on break-ups (more so than usual), "I Knew You Were Trouble" and "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" book-ended "All Too Well" and the Dan Wilson-co-penned "Treacherous," to end the marathon performance.
Swift's set was incredible. Red illuminated blocks spelled out, well, "Red." Large video screens provided the backdrop to the show. For "Mean" and "Stay, Stay, Stay" the stage took on a carousel theme. The second stage, however, was simple. It was the right platform for her acoustic tracks.
Taylor Swift setlist:
"State of Grace"
"You Belong With Me"
"The Lucky One"
"Stay Stay Stay"/"Ho Hey"
"Everything Has Changed" (with Ed Sheeran)
"I Knew You Were Trouble"
"All Too Well"
"We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together"
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