Taylor Swift | photo by Rachel Del Sordo
Taylor Swift enchants sold out crowd in Philadelphia two nights in a row
Taylor Swift flaunted her total world domination this weekend in Philadelphia with two sold out concerts at Lincoln Financial Field. These two nights had one hundred thousand people flocking to South Philadelphia in seemingly endless droves. Watching thousands and thousands of young fans decked out in personalized Taylor Swift gear, waving more customized poster board signs than a 2003 rerun of American Idol, made this pop star’s magnitude blatantly obvious. A lot of times attending large stadium concerts, a decent amount of people aren’t super familiar with their music. They might know the band’s hit singles or they might just be going to hang out with their friends.
This concert was not like that at all; there was a huge amount of respect for the artist, their music and the surrounding crowd. It was seriously refreshing to be around. That being said, nervous parents herding droves of children replaced drunk teenagers as the annoying crowd element in this situation.
Taylor Swift’s album 1989 has currently sold over eight million copies worldwide, a seemingly impossible feat in an age where music is seen as something that should be available for free. With these numbers under her belt, it’s not hard to say that Taylor Swift is probably the most influential pop star in the world right now.
The 1989 World Tour started with two openers. First up to bat was Shawn Mendes, a dreamy teen who hit the stage with nothing but an acoustic guitar. Obviously he went over very well with the young crowd, though his performance left a lot to be desired. While his vocals were strong he seemed almost lost on a stage of this size. His set featured a lot of covers, most notably “We Found Love” by Ed Sheeran. I couldn’t personally understand the appeal music but when the girl standing behind me proclaimed to her friends “he is like LITERALLY my husband” I understood why Mendes was asked to open this tour.
Next up was Vance Joy, who has seen tons of both mainstream and alternative success with his single “Riptide” and “Mess is Mine”. The whole performance wasn’t bad, but it was a bit sleepy. He also joined in on the cover game with by covering “Stay with Me” by Sam Smith. To me, the only thing this cover did was show off the fact that he did not have the same vocal prowess as Sam Smith. I felt his set peaked with the performance of his single “Georgia”; it was powerful and left me wanting to go home and download that song.
As the sun set over Philadelphia and music dimmed, fans moved to the edge of their seats, it was time for Taylor to take the stage. A large black background dropped and fans got the first glimpse of the stage set up, a few street lights and large 42nd and Broadway sign made it evident that “Welcome to New York” was going to be the first song tonight. With one bar of music, an entire New York stage set up was illuminated and Swift appeared on stage. Fans went wild.
“Welcome to New York” has been harshly criticized as being some sort of gentrification anthem. A problematic argument when you consider that it is being made by a lot of people that migrated to New York on more or less the same grounds as Swift. That being said, it is kind of an annoying song, so I was happy it was getting out of the way early. A dynamic live performance made it a lot more enjoyable.
While walking into the venue, audience members were given LED wristbands, not much was said about them except that fans should have them turned on before Taylor got on the stage. During the first verse of “Welcome to New York” I noticed my wristband start to light up in rhythm to song. Each fan became part of the light show for this concert, making for quite an amazing spectacle.
Swift’s second song was one I was unfamiliar with, a trackcalled “New Romantics” that is only available on the deluxe addition of 1989. It was an infectiously catchy song that carried the momentum of the show. After this Taylor treated fans with two of her mega hits, “Blank Space” followed by “I Knew You Were Trouble.” Swift reworked “I Knew You Were Trouble,” slowing down the tempo and making it one of the sexiest performances of the night.
The show hit a bit of a lull when Swift rattled off a few deep cuts from 1989 but quickly picked up as when she announced she had a surprise for the audience, a musical surprise. She brought to the stage breakout pop artist Rachel Platten. She’s responsible for “Fight Song” the newest track Top 40 radio stations are currently forcing down people’s throats. But she seemed completely awestruck to be preforming for so many people on a stage with Taylor Swift, and it was kind of incredible to watch someone have a life changing moment like that; it was obvious that Platten was overtaken.
Next it was time for Taylor to soar, literally. In a somewhat cliché act, Taylor’s catwalk turned into a moving platform and she took to the sky to play an acoustic version of “You Are in Love” followed by “Clean.” Fans went nuts as she continued to fly above the crowd. Her last song on the platform was her wildly popular “Love Story,” which she remade in the style of 1989.
This was the only song Swift played that predated her 2012 album Red. It was obvious she was trying to leave her country roots behind for this tour, an act that might have alienated some of her longtime fans.
After being lowered, Swift disappeared backstage, reappearing seconds later wearing a breathtaking short sequined dress. The dress was ready for the red carpet and the perfect accouterment to her next song, “Style” – a song more or less about an ex crawling back to you. Unfortunately, this was followed by the worst musical transition I had heard at a concert in a long time. Going from the upbeat hit, she moved into “This Love,” a quite subdued tack completely killing the mood from “Style”. Then Swift transitioned back to her new single ,”Bad Blood,” another upbeat track offering one of the most theatrical performances of the night, mirroring her new video for the song.
Swift rolled off a few more hits before she for her final song, “Shake it Off.” The performance came with a wild 80’s theme. Purple velvet clad dancers hit the stage as a the background featured images that seemed straight out of an ’80s workout video. Everyone got on the platform for one last mid air performance as fireworks went off from behind the stage. It was seriously an epic way to end the show.
The 1989 show offered everything you might expect in mega concert from one of the world’s most influential pop stars: fireworks, confetti canons, flying platforms, elaborate stage decorations and surprise musical guests. However, there was one thing that was a bit different. Swift seemed very aware that having tens of thousands of young female eyes on her brings great responsibility. Taylor used her breaks in between songs to talk to fans about things like learning from your mistakes, developing strong female friendships, and not allowing people in your life to make you feel like less of yourself. Love or hate Taylor Swift, I was really happy that this was the message being delivered to all the young teenagers around me. If they had chosen to go to another pop concert, the message being fed to them might have been totally different. This show seemed to maintain a theme of acceptance and inclusion, which left me leaving The Linc feeling very positive.
Welcome to New York
I Knew You Were Trouble
I Wish You Would
How To Get the Girl
I Know Places
All You Had To Do Was Stay
Fight Song w/ Rachel Platton
You Are in Love
We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together
Out of the Woods
Shake It Off