|published||September 20, 2013|
|description||There are many adjectives that could be used to describe Taylor Swift's Red Tour -- subtle and restrained are not among them.
Swift completed her first of three sold-out shows at Bridgestone Arena on Thursday night. From her fans dressed in waist-to-shoulders red balloons and outfits made to look like breakfast to her ability to transform nearly every song into a scene resembling a Broadway play, everything about the Red experience is a spectacle.
Before the show began, Swift met with Scott Borchetta, head of her label Big Machine Records, back stage for a pre-show party. After Borchetta finished telling the crowd comprised of Nashville journalists and Music Row executives that "there's not a better show anywhere, ever," Swift chided him for setting expectations too high.
"You're not doing the fire tonight," he asked, feigning surprise.
"I'm not doing the fire tonight," she shot back. "I only do that on odd numbered days."
Technically Thursday was Sept. 19 -- an odd-numbered day. And while Swift did not set herself on fire, she did have sparks rain down from the ceiling on the first song, an illuminated mini stage that hovered over the audience, too many costume changes to count, drummers suspended from cables, ballet and break dancers, and a circus tent.
And she had Luke Bryan -- he was the evening's special guest. Swift told the audience of largely little girls and their chaperones that Bryan flew across the country on his only day off to be there for the show. Bryan and Swift dueted on his hit "I Don't Want This Night to End."
In fact, Swift promised a special guest for each of her three shows.
The lights dropped at 8:47 p.m. and the little girls started screaming -- some of them sticking their fingers in their ears, squeezing their eyes shut and then seeming to compete to belt out the loudest, most earsplitting shriek.
Swift's music started and the circular wall that surrounds her stage blocking it from view was hoisted up to reveal a silhouette of the singer at the top of a platform through a red curtain. She struck a pose as she sang "State of Grace." The curtains were whisked away to reveal a stage that includes three tall staircases and elaborate video screens.
Swift finished the song and paused for several seconds to soak up the adoration from her audience before she moved into "Holy Ground," an up-tempo number that started with her in line with others pounding on an illuminated plastic barrels. As the song progressed, six percussionists suspended from cables drummed on barrels in the air -- and they're not stationary. The players had to stay in rhythm as the cables quickly raised and lowered in time to the music.
Following a lengthy explanation about how to her the color red represents the most extreme emotions, Swift performed her title track.
After that point, Swift changed the scene dramatically every couple of songs -- most of which had a vintage, sometimes Vaudevillian, feel.
She made her first costume change of the night for her hit "You Belong with Me." Wearing a red sparkling halter dress with long red gloves and backed by six singers, she gave the song a doo-wop vibe and transformed her stage into a '50s era movie theater for the delivery of it and "The Lucky One." But, she changed clothes again before she sang the latter.
Swift changed clothes again before she found her way to center stage with a banjo and perched herself on a trunk. She thanked fans for helping her get six CMA nominations and pointed out that she didn't always have "14,000 people wanting to hang out with me on a Thursday night."
"This is a new development," she said. "It's what I used to daydream about."
From there she set up her Grammy-winning song "Mean," by telling her audience that "it's not our job to make people like us if they don't want to."
"The one thing we can control is how we respond to meanness and cruelty," she continued. "I hope you make a mental note that you will never make someone else feel the way you felt in that moment."
Swift turned the stage into a carousel for the performance and for the first time of the evening her fans quit cheering long enough to sing along -- and they did so at a volume that was louder than the arena's speakers.
For "22," Swift changed into a Grand Ole Opry tee shirt before she was surrounded by break dancers and then down an aisle through the floor seats to her secondary stage. From there, she delivered songs including "Our Song" and dueted with Ed Sheeran on "Everything has Changed."
A floating platform suspended over the audience took her back to the main stage as she sang "Sparks Fly."Staging including chandeliers and dancers dressed in masquerade ball costumes reminiscent of "Phantom of the Opera" came later in the evening and housed a dubstep infused "I Knew You Were Trouble" and "All Too Well."
|title||Taylor Swift brings Luke Bryan and high drama to first night at Bridgestone|