Taylor Swift rocks the Tacoma Dome
Concerts are best when they are big – big productions in big venues in front of a big audience. Taylor Swift brought her “Speak Now” world tour to town in a big way last night.
Unlike many concerts in Tacoma Dome, there were no black tarps covering the upper decks at this show. They were nearly full of fans, as was the rest of the arena.
Swift opened with “Sparks Fly” from her latest album, “Speak Now.” Wearing a shimmering gold dress, she bounced around the stage, microphone in hand.
The massive video screen behind the stage had digital fireworks going across it. Then three trapeze artists descended from in front of the screen, each holding devices that shot out gold colored fireworks. The screen was utilized extensively during the concert. The digital technology was stunning and enhanced what was already a great show.
A brief interlude allowed time to adjust the stage for “Mean.” Swift played banjo and wore an outfit suggesting a simple country girl performing on the front porch.
For the fifth song, “Back To December,” a bridge was placed in the middle of the stage. On it were violinists who began the song. Swift was in front of the bridge, wearing a long white dress and playing piano.
Backup dancers made numerous appearances. Unlike many pop stars who use dancers to simply grind and thrust about on stage, Swift used hers to convey the stories of her songs. An example was “Speak Now,” where she sings of a girl pondering an ex-boyfriend about to get married. Her dancers acted out the groom, bridge, minister and maids of honor.
The use of dancers and trapeze artists throughout the night amped up the energy level. Swift’s frequent costume changes brought a sense of style to the stage.
This was a concert crossed with a Cirque du Soleil performance, a fashion show and a Broadway musical.
Swift is clearly a pop artist, but she does have country leanings. This was apparent during a three-song segment where she appeared on a small “island” with a plastic palm tree in the middle of the arena. She did scaled down version of songs, playing ukulele on one, acoustic guitar on others. She was accompanied by a bass player on the main stage on two; on another, by a member of her band on harp.
Swift proved she does not need to rely on a massive, over-the-top production on every song.
The first song in the encore was “Fifteen,” which Swift began on acoustic guitar. The next and final number of the night was “Love Story.” A contraption that looked like the basket from a hot air balloon came down from the rafters. Swift stepped in and it lifted her into the air, singing as she was transported above the audience near the stage.
Throughout the night it was apparent how deep the connection is between Swift and her fan base, which is predominantly young and female. In her stage banter she discussed how thrilled she was to play before such a large crowd, with many audience members who had her lyrics memorized and sang along. Between many songs she looked out smiling, soaking in the standing ovations and screams of adoration.
I already knew she is a talented singer and songwriter. Now I know what a great performer she is. This just may have been the best concert I have ever attended. And I have been to a lot of concerts. Taylor Swift is a breath of fresh air in a music industry very much in need of one; a pop star who is genuine and humble, a performer who can deliver the razzle-dazzle but not let it overshadow her music.
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