By Elise Schoening
A ticket to the 1989 World Tour this summer will buy you so much more than just two hours of Taylor Swift pop songs. Fans who have not previously attended a Taylor Swift concert should prepare themselves for a night of special effects, empowering speeches and countless surprises.
Before the show even starts, a look around the crowd will reveal that this is not your average concert. Almost every audience member is dressed up in an elaborate costume with an oversized, light-up poster to match.
At the MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., on Friday, July 10, fans were dressed as cats, cheerleaders and various characters from Swift’s music videos. I even spotted one group of girls dressed as trees, a tribute to Swift’s hit song, “Out of the Woods.”
Before taking the stage, Swift has had a number of talented pop musicians open for her each night including Shawn Mendes, Vance Joy and HAIM.
As the sun was setting, Swift hit the stage launching right into “Welcome to New York,” the first song off “1989.” The setlist for the night consisted of a lively mix of old and new songs.
“We have a lot of different people here tonight,” Swift said. “But the one thing I do know that we have in common is the fact that when we feel great amounts of joy or great amounts of pain, we turn to music — that’s why we’re here tonight.”
Swift paid homage to her past by incorporating older songs into the show. Classics such as “I Knew You Were Trouble,” “Love Story” and “We are Never Ever Getting Back Together” were remixed and performed with a refreshing, new sound.
It is during these remixes that Swift’s vocals truly shine. Her rock rendition of “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” is a clear departure from the bubbly pop hits she is known for. The new version of the song demonstrates how versatile Swift is, as well as how much she has grown as an artist since the release of her debut country album in 2006.
“Style” was another highlight of the show. Each night of the tour, Swift invited new surprise guests to walk the stage runway with her while the hit single played. Some of the celebrity appearances thus far include Lena Dunham, Ellen DeGeneres and Julia Roberts.
The crowd at MetLife Stadium was in for a particularly good night as the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team joined her on stage, following their world victory, along with supermodel Heidi Klum. The Weeknd also took the stage later in the night to perform his hit single, “Can’t Feel My Face.”
Swift truly puts on a show for her fans. She and her crew of backup dancers were on their feet the entire night with elaborate costume and set changes to match each song. In addition, each audience member was given a light-up bracelet upon arriving at the stadium. The bracelets changed color to sync with each song that played. To look around during the show into a sea of bright flashing lights and smiling faces was a great reminder of how special the night truly was.
Perhaps one of the best things about the pop star is how down-to-earth she is. Swift took frequent breaks between songs to connect with the crowd and offer words of wisdom and encouragement.
“You are not the opinion of someone who doesn’t know you,” Swift told the crowd. “You are not in any way damaged goods if you’ve made mistakes in your life and you are not going nowhere just because you haven’t figured out exactly where you want to go yet.”
That’s the thing about Taylor Swift — she goes out of her way to surprise and please her fans, whether it is through special guest performances or by hand-picking a select few audience members to hang out with her after the show. One way or another, Swift always finds a way to make each and every one of her fans feel valued.
The concert continued well after midnight with Swift performing a total of 19 songs. Despite sitting in the very last row of the MetLife Stadium, I had one of the best nights of my life.
While this was my first time seeing Swift perform, I truly doubt it will be the last. I can only imagine what kind of surprises she will prepare for the next tour but I know I want to be there to experience them live, hopefully from the first row.