This is the third Taylor Swift concert I have attended, all of them at Gillette Stadium in nearby Foxboro, and I can attest to the fact that they just keep getting bigger and better. The city of Foxboro is charmed enough by her that they changed city regulations so that the concert could go until 11:40 p.m. as opposed to the normal time of 11pm. Upon entering the concert, all attendees were given bracelets and told that they were “a gift from Taylor Swift.” The nature of these bracelets was not told outright, but became clear once we got inside and the opening acts were over, making way for Swift herself. During each song, the LED lights in the bracelet would light up, creating a field of color in the crowd. A bright red during “Bad Blood,” a pale pink during “How You Get the Girl” (to match Swift’s LED dress I presume) and, most often, an energizing shade of blue.
Gone are the days when artists use only strobe lights and spot lights. Swift uses the crowd itself as a visual effect in her concert. Sometimes, different sections were different colors, or even a section would have mixed colors. However, to hear Swift tell it, visual effects aren’t the only motivation: At various points, Swift paused to speak to the audience and explained that in the past, she played to dark stadiums, but the bracelets remind her that every light is a person, and with them she could see all 60 thousand of us.
Her speeches were not limited to the bracelets and often introduced songs. Prior to “Clean,” she gave a very inspiring speech about how mistakes do not damage a person, but rather cleanse them, and how we should never apologize for who we are. Before playing “You Belong With Me,” she explained that she was doing so as a thank you for all of her VMA nominations for this album, a tribute to her first-ever VMA award.
She also spoke before what may have been my favorite part of the concert, a remix of “Love Story.” It is no secret that with “1989” Swift is going in a completely different direction from her previous musical style. Swift made no apologies for this. However, Swift did explain that she felt she owed it to fans of her old music to incorporate some of her older songs. Hence she played a beautiful pop piano version of “Love Story.” While playing, Swift was on an elevated and revolving part of the stage.
Another thing that sets Swift apart is transitions. With a production as big as a world tour, there are numerous costume changes, and those take time. Unlike other performers, who rely on ads or protracted instrumental from their band, Swift used her friends for the majority of her transitions.
During the song transitions, three massive screens showed members of her “squad” answering questions about the superstar. Faces such as fellow pop star and actress Selena Gomez, model and actress Cara Delevingne and high school best friend Abigail Anderson, to name a few, appeared on these screens in the pauses between songs to talk about Swift. They spoke of her dedication to the album, its new sound and also some of her personal habits, such as her love of cats. Even Swift herself appeared on the screen, holding her pets.
Attending the 1989 Tour was more than just a concert. It was an experience, and one that I greatly enjoyed. I, for one, will definitely want to see Taylor Swift the next time she has a tour that rolls into town.