Last Monday (10th February), I had the pleasure of seeing Taylor Swift on tour at the O2 Arena, London. Being the penultimate concert of hers in London, I expected nothing less than a great performance from her. The capacity of the arena is est. 20,000 – it looked absolutely packed.
There was lots of merchandise on sale, I mean lots; T-shirts, Glow-sticks, Posters, Badges, Wristbands, Bags, Guitar Picks, all you could ask for.
By the time we located our very impressive seats it was 6.45pm. The Vamps were due on at 7.30pm, so we had a little time to waste. Once we looked round and took it all in – the amount of seats, the general size of the arena and the atmosphere, it was time for the (fairly new to the business), support act, The Vamps.
I’m not going to lie, I wasn’t too hyped for them performing prior to the event, but have to say they proved me wrong. The four-piece band performed a 30 minute set consisting of ‘Can We Dance’, ‘Wild Heart’, a cover of ‘Mr Brightside’ and a song called ‘Cecilia’. They were really sweet, sang extremely well and interacted with the audience (one of them actually fell off the stage – he was fine though). Overall, they were a great opening act for Ms. Swift and seemed very grateful for being the opportunity.
Opening the set with ‘State of Grace’, I could see from the start that Taylor Swift is definitely a natural performer. I was pleasantly surprised that she was in fact as good live (if not better) as she is on her records. Taylor has many different outfit changes through the night, these were all quite closely themed to the song(s) she was singing about. For example, when performing ‘Love Story’ she was wearing a ball-like gown and all her dancers were dressed accordingly.
Despite being called the ‘Red’ tour, T-Swift actually performed a fair few ‘older’ songs such as Fearless, You Belong To Me and Mean. This was good because I’m sure many others in attendance, all enjoyed her music prior to the Red era. However, I was a little disappointed and quite surprised she didn’t sing some of her more upbeat, perhaps even better known songs from the album. Missing from the set; ‘Starlight’ and ‘Begin Again’ were the biggest surprises for me. Someone actually had a ‘Starlight’ light-up banner. I’m guessing this was just a time issue, just a little disappointing seeing as she sang some of the lesser-known songs (IMO).
She didn’t stay still, either. Obviously there was the main stage, but there was also a little stage very near to where I was sat. When coming on to perform ’22’, she was carried past the crowd by her dancers and popped up on the mini stage for a dance party. Taylor performed a few songs there, much to my delight. Not afraid to change things up; she sang a song sat on a stall on a slowly-rising platform (which actually went quite high). When she had finished there, she got onto a small pod-type zipwire and went back to the main stage.
Taylor interacted with the audience during certain parts of the show. At the beginning she mentioned a ‘special surprise’ that we’d get later, which I’m sure everyone assumed to be a special guest seeing as she’d had one for her previous UK shows and all her shows Stateside. We had…Emeli Sande!
She was exceptional. I was so happy to have someone like Emeli Sande as the special guest at the show I attended. As you can imagine, she nailed every note, her and Taylor kinda did a duet on Emeli’s hit song ‘Next To Me’ which really got the crowd going.
I found it quite inspirational and strangely uplifting when Taylor was talking about bullies and those that tried to hold her down, because not only did it inspire me, it also shown me and I’m sure everyone else, that she has overcome a lot to become a massive international star. She talked about the first time she came to the UK (going back 7 years), saying that they (her & her management) weren’t sure if she would ‘work’ over here…now, seven years on she’s sold out FIVE arenas. Forget what the papers/media say about her, Taylor Swift seemed really genuine, stating that she’s a hopeless romantic but not delving any further than that. I was glad to see that she was down to earth and appreciated her fans that had come from all parts of the world to see the show.
Finally, I would just like to take a moment to mention how colourful the show was. It was not dull in any way or form. The visuals were incredible – a close second to Katy Perry’s ‘California Dreams Tour’. The whole essence of the show was fun, the costumes were varied in style and colour, there were fireworks and confetti, it was just a load of fun! Taylor Swift, herself, was exceptional. Her singing, dancing and overall stage presence is all any performer would dream of replicating. If you ever get a chance, make sure you see her live – you won’t regret it!
Support Act: The Vamps
Special Guest: Emeli Sande
22, Next To Me (Feat. Emeli Sande), The Lucky One , Mean and We Are Never Getting Back Together.
Songs That Weren’t Performed (from the RED album):
Begin Again, Starlight, I Almost Do, Sad Beautiful Tragic, Stay Stay Stay, The Last Time (feat. Gary Lightbody) and Everything Has Changed (feat. Ed Sheeran).