Last night, my man and I shamelessly ventured downtown to the Staples Center to rock out with a bunch of parents and their six to sixteen-year-old children during the Los Angeles debut of Taylor Swift’s 1989 World Tour. OK, OK, you’re right, there were plenty of twenty-somethings there too. Most fans wore glowing Christmas lights tied around their waists, while groups of girls were bedecked with lit signs that, when pieced together, spelled out the name of either their song request, their nickname for Taylor (Baelor was one; a combo of bae and Taylor) or simply an 8×10 of Calvin Harris, Swift’s current beau.
Kicking off the first of five sold-out shows at the Staples Center this week, the leggy blonde with perfect features and pouty, signature red lips opened the two-hour long show with a bang, singing “Welcome To New York,” her anthem to the city that never sleeps and her new home with whom she was endlessly inspired to write her first full-length pop album, 1989. One of the two guest appearances of the evening included Ryan Tedder, of OneRepublic, a co-producer and co-writer on the album. They sang his hit “Counting Stars,” her only duet of the evening. The five-time platinum album, 1989, consists of drum programming, synthesizers, pulsating bass, processed backing vocals, and guitars — an important departure from her country roots.
The 25-year old powerhouse, who has graced magazine’s top whatever lists, also brought Apple to its knees earlier this year by gracefully yet succinctly insisting that they pay their artists for Apple Music’s free three-month trial period. The streaming service agreed within 18 hours of her Tumblr post.
Now a pop diva filling 15,000 seat stadiums, her show included twelve costume changes, bracelets and lights sold to audience members that were all synchronized and flashed color and white at the same time, a beast of a T-bone stage that both levitated, lit up and traveled all directions while she and her mob of shirtless male back up dancers were tied to it by poles. She lip-syncs some of the time, which is forgivable because she’s moving, dancing, and posturing so much. There are a lot of pre-recorded backing vocals that she adds verses to, and while her vocals are sometimes stunning, they are often quite mediocre. Again, forgivable, due to the fact that she is such an incredible performer, songwriter, producer and all-around interesting self-sustained human. Plus, she is delightful to gaze at, and she struts the stage like a catwalk.
Swift intercepts the flow of songs with pre-recorded videos of her girl squad (think opening act Haim, V.S. model Lily Aldridge, B.F.F. Karlie Kloss, Paper Towns actress Cara Delevingne, and Girls star Lena Dunham) with P.S.A.-type, highly edited footage of them discussing everything from Baelor’s cats, their affinity for eating (which feels contrived, given how thin all of these women are), and how women should have each other’s backs — which I secretly wished would be followed by the Katy Perry dis track “Bad Blood.” An impossibly young looking Selena Gomez hammered home how hard dating is when you’re Taylor Swift and famous and stuff.
Before the show, Swift’s mom surfed the crowd seeking out die-hard Swifties to take back to “Loft 89” after the show for a meet and greet with her daughter. True to her brand, Taylor using her family to lasso fans — or friends, as she calls us — brings warmth to your heart, and bruises to your feet as those aforementioned girls with lights tied around their bodies like butterflies caught in net, trample your feet for a photo with Andrea Swift.
In what is part of an ongoing parade of various guest appearances by girls from her squad and some randoms like Julia Roberts and Joan Baez, on Friday night, during “Style,” her ode to a short-lived relationship with Harry Styles of One Direction, Swift was accompanied onstage by Lakers star Kobe Bryant. He surprised her by revealing a banner commemorating her sixteen full-capacity performances at Staples Center, which is more than any other performer has done in the history of Staples Center. The banner will forever hang alongside the Lakers’.
An all-around enjoyable evening and electric spectacle filled with fun, movement, joy, screaming super fans, and general wholesomeness, Swift paused the pop magic to thank her “friends” profusely for making her so popular, and to give a bit of dating advice. SEE VIDEO BELOW.
Vance Joy and Haim opened.
Taylor Swift will be performing at the Staples Center through Wednesday, August 26th.
[TAYLOR SWIFT GIVES DATING ADVICE LIVE DURING 1989 WORLD TOUR, AUGUST 21, 2015, LOS ANGELES]
For super fans, here is Taylor’s set list from the show: