Due to a case of bronchitis, the Taylor Swift concert, originally planned for July, was rescheduled for Tuesday Oct. 11, with James Wesley and Needtobreathe as the opening acts. The show was part of Swift’s “Speak Now” world tour, and she performed to a high energy, sold-out crowd at the Yum! Center.
Having never been to a Taylor Swift concert, I didn’t know what to expect. I had heard rumors that she sounded terrible live, but I was very surprised to hear that she sounded like she did on her album. Not only did her singing impress, but the overall theatrics of the show were unexpected. Taylor Swift gave a full concert experience. She wasn’t just standing on stage, moving around every once in a while for optimal photo opportunities; she had acrobatics, pyrotechnics and beautiful sets. The depth made the concert experience unlike any other.
Swift opened the concert with a fan favorite, “Sparks Fly,” complete with fireworks and followed it with a very humbling welcome speech. Even though Swift has completed three tours, two of them worldwide, she still seemed utterly surprised that there was a crowd of 15,000 who paid to listen to her sing. The astonishment on her face as she looked around the arena showed that she was a genuine artist and it took two or three songs into the set for her to get over the shock of playing to so many people.
After two songs from the “Speak Now” album – “Mine” and “The Story of Us” – Swift completed a quick costume and set change that transitioned into her more folk-style songs: “Our Song” from her first album and her hit single “Mean.” Swift also displayed her music versatility throughout the concert, playing the banjo with “Our Song” and “Mean” and playing a dramatic rendition of “Back to December” on a white grand piano with snow falling throughout the whole song. The lighthearted song “Better than Revenge” featured complex dance choreography that told a story related to the song and in “Speak Now,” sets were modified to show a wedding scene.
After “Speak Now,” Swift made her way through the arena, interacting with the crowd before making her way to a small circular stage with a lit-up tree. Swift sang “Fearless” on a ukulele and mixed in lyrics from Jason Mraz’s “I’m Yours.” Swift also combined OneRepublic’s “Apologize” with “You’re Not Sorry.” At recent “Speak Now” concerts, Swift sang with either an artist from the area or sang a song by an artist from the area. For Louisville, Swift sang a song by Kentucky native Dwight Yokum, “The Back of Your Hand.”
One of the most involved songs was “Haunted.” Three giant bells were brought on stage and Swift dramatically rang the bell to the beat of the song. Later, trapeze artists appeared from beneath the stage and performed gravity-defying tricks in the air. After a quick costume stage, Swift reappeared to sing “Long Live,” a tribute to her band and her fans. Swift used this song to introduce her band and to thank the crowd again for their support for country music.
Swift closed the concert with “Love Story.” At first, I was surprised that Swift would end the concert with a song that wasn’t on the new album, but after seeing how she performed the song, it completely made sense. Swift sang the song from a Renaissance-style balcony that was lifted on wires and circled around the arena. It was a great tribute to the song that sealed her success and was a huge crowd-pleaser. The concert was definitely more involved than the average concert and the extra dancing, set and costume changes made this concert experience the best I have been to.
Photos courtesy of Big Machine records