Taylor Swift - Red Tour Review
Last night I had the pleasure of seeing Taylor Swift’s Red Tour at one of her two stops at the Rogers Centre in Toronto. It was fantastic to enjoy her show with 45 000 other fans who were just as excited as I was.
Before the main act though there are not one, not two but three opening acts. Opening act for the opening act for the opening act as one guy on Twitter put it.
First up was a new Country singer named Joel Crouse who I have never heard of and who no one was aware was going to be there. That said, he was a pleasant surprise. Joel was gorgeous with a gorgeous voice to match, not a bad combo. His original songs were decent and his cover of Adele’s “Someone Like You” on the guitar was sublime.
Austin Mahone was up 2nd and we had been expecting him, though I wouldn’t say anticipating. The best way to describe him would be a 2nd rate version of Justin Beiber. The dancing was cheesy, the songs were trite and I didn’t enjoy his set at all. It just didn’t fit in with the vibe of the concert and the show could have done without him. There’s nothing like a sub-par opening act to ruin a little bit of your excitement for a concert you’ve been anticipating.
Lastly was the big guy, the actual opening act and someone who I had been waiting to see almost as much as Taylor. Ed Sheeran was as amazing as I had figured he would be and then some. He came right out and opened with “Give Me Love,” hands down my favourite Sheeran tune. His voice was just so lovely and he’s certainly a showman. He knows the audience is there for a good time and he puts on a fantastic show. He knows how to entertain and he does it so well with just his voice, his enthusiasm and his guitar. Ed clearly likes to change it up and doesn’t just play a set list straight, night after night, that much is obvious. It was really interesting to see what he did with something like “You Need Me, I Don’t Need You,” inserting bits of the hit “Thrift Shop” among other flair and musicianship. Of course there were also the hits, the songs people wait to hear and both “Lego House” and “The A-Team” were delivered fantastically. It was a fantastic set and almost worth the price of admission just to see him do his thing. What a fantastic, hard working young artist and I can’t wait to see what he does for years to come. Ed knows what music is about and he makes you feel it with every lyric.
Then of course we were finally treated to the main event, miss Taylor Swift herself. The girl certainly knows how to make an entrance and since I remained spoiler free with regards to the set list I was both surprised and delighted by her choice for the opening number. Taylor opened with the rather unexpected “State of Grace” but it worked perfectly. Right off the bat you got a taste of her strong, beautiful voice and got to hear a non-single from the album that gives this tour it’s name.
After the opening song Taylor went right on into “Holy Ground,” complete with an awesome, theatrical drum breakdown which again is both unexpected but incredibly cool. Once she finished her second song she addressed the audience. The usual pleasantries and of course she talked about the sizeable crowd, and how great it is to get to play in Toronto etc. She’s sweet, and obviously incredibly grateful for the fan support which is always great to see. After welcoming the crowd Taylor went into a speech about emotions, and how and what she writes songs about before launching into the album’s title track “Red.” The colour red Taylor explained represents extreme emotions, and the performance was again fantastic.
The best thing about the show was probably seeing the way she she set up each track, and how she chose to arrange it and keep things fresh and interesting. When she performed one of her earlier hits off of Fearless, “You Belong With Me” she completely turned the up tempo track on it’s head. She stripped it down and performed the song in 60s girl group fashion with her backup singers which was just awesome. A new arrangement of an older hit is always nice to see, people just love the hits but when you can keep them fresh it’s even cooler.
She performed most of the standard album tracks from Red, and a few more fan favourites including “Mean” where she accompanied herself on banjo. The crowd pleaser “Sparks Fly” off of Speak Now was also performed along with “Love Story” complete with Romeo. It was a good mix of the tracks from the album she’s supporting, and old favourites.
When I go to a concert one thing I love is when the artist does a cover or samples a bit of another song in one of their own hits. It’s just something a little different that adds a boost of excitement. During the sweet and simple “Stay Stay Stay” which was lovely on it’s own Taylor sung a bit of the Lumineers hit “Ho Hey,” and sung it well I might add. Just another unexpected twist that made the show that much more exciting.
After getting the crowd even more amped up with party themed “22” Taylor made her way to a small stage at the back to perform an acoustic set. During this portion of the show she performed her duet with Tim McGraw “Highway Don’t Care,” solo and quite beautifully. Then much to the crowd’s delight she brought back Ed Sheeran to perform their duet “Everything Has Changed,” which for me personally was the highlight of the night. Everything was fantastic but there’s something about the two of them together that is musical perfection.
One great, non-Taylor related thing about her show was the awesome musical interludes. Her band did a great job at keeping the crowd entertained while she changed. Before busting out with her hit “I Knew You Were Trouble,” we were treated to a wonderful violin performance by a female member of her band. Speaking of Taylor’s entourage her dancers were also top notch and really added to the performances throughout the night. There’s a line between watching a performance and being completely enthralled by one and all of the little things about her show really brought it together and made it enthralling. Taylor’s voice and her stage presence really made things come together. The girl can certainly put on a show and damn can she sing.
Towards the end of the show Taylor stripped things down again, and she got emotional. She put her everything, and every feeling into it while sitting down to the piano to perform the heart breaker “All Too Well.” I think most people can relate to the heart break and it was extremely poignant.
To end the night she performed a one-two punch of “Treacherous” which was just lovely and treated the raucous crowd to her massive hit “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together.” The crowd sang along to every track throughout the night but never louder than on the last one. The circus themed performance was big, it was flashy and it was fantastic. Capping it off with fireworks was also a nice touch. The only bad thing about it was that it signalled the end of an amazing night.
On top of being a gifted songwriter and beautiful singer Taylor proved that she is also an amazing performer. Most people can do a tour where they sing their hits but Taylor and her team crafted a fantastic and incredibly entertaining show. I enjoyed myself immensely and I would see her and Ed Sheeran again in a heartbeat. If you ever find yourself presented with the opportunity to see either of them live make sure you don’t miss you. Overall it was a wonderful night of music that I am very pleased to have had the opportunity to enjoy. Two thumbs way up for Taylor Swift’s Red tour.
State of Grace
You Belong with Me
The Lucky One
Stay Stay Stay / Ho Hey
Highway Don’t Care
Everything Has Changed
I Knew You Were Trouble
All Too Well
We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together