By Shari Perlstein
Taylor Swift can be described as many things: a serial dater, a cat lover, a feminist. However, above all the titles the media assigns her, first and foremost Taylor Swift is a singer, songwriter, and performer. Her remarkable performance skills were on full display during her most recent “1989” Tour.
Headlining an astounding five nights at Staples Center, Taylor Swift put on a consistent series of incredible shows. Each performance was filled with flying dancers, an elevating stage, and many, many flashing lights.
The concert began with a highly choreographed routine for “Welcome to New York” that featured Swift strutting up and down a huge catwalk and dancing with umbrellas. It ended with another highly choreographed performance for “Shake it Off.” Each routine contained some prop, (be it old time street lamps or a rotating catwalk), that either lit up or flew. The most memorable of these props were kites shaped like paper airplanes that flew through the air on poles controlled by the twenty dancers on stage with her. Confetti, also shaped like paper airplanes, fell on the sold out audience of 15,000 people. She changed outfits every two or three songs, sporting skirts, shorts, crop tops, and dresses that lit up. During these costume changes, they played videos of Swift’s celebrity and hometown friends talking about what it was like to be friends with Taylor Swift, and Swift herself talking about her two cats, Meredith Grey and Olivia Benson.
Her setlist contained all her songs from her fifth album, but each night she would sing a different grouping of three songs from her past albums. Each of her older songs were remixed to add more guitars and rock beats, giving them an edgier sound.
This round of tours, Taylor Swift did something special that no other artist has ever done. Normally, when artists perform in L.A. they have a special guest whom they bring up on stage to sing a song with them. Usually they will only do this while they’re in L.A. due to convenience, but Swift arranged for there to be at least one special guest at every single concert on the tour. With each guest, she sang a cover of one of the guest’s songs and one of her own songs. In Boston she had the band, Walk the Moon. On her second night at Staples Center in L.A. she had Uzo Aduba, Matt LeBlanc, Chris Rock, and Mary J. Blige, and on her fifth night, she had Lisa Kudrow, Selena Gomez, and Justin Timberlake.
Taylor Swift’s five nights at the Staples Center were monumental for more than one reason, the top being that she broke the record for most sold out nights. She has sold out a total of sixteen nights at Staples Center over the course of her five tours. On her first night, Kobe Bryant came on stage and presented her with a plaque from the Staples Center. She also has a banner permanently hanging in the arena next to the basketball player’s banners.
Taylor Swift has become a role model and uses her concerts to not only let her fans know how appreciative she is of them, but to give words of encouragement. She talks about how important it is to focus on the good when your day has gone bad. She tells you about her struggles with self image and confidence. Taylor Swift has evolved from an untouchable being to the older sister who will post her entire recipe for chai cookies on your Tumblr post. She is more than what the media calls her. She is a role model, a cat lover, and above everything else, a performer.
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