Show/Venue: The 1989 World Tour at MetLife Stadium
Date: Saturday, July 11th, 2015
Starring: Taylor Swift, Vance Joy, HAIM, Shawn Mendes
I’d always been a casual Taylor Swift fan, but as her music grew progressively more pop and less country, more of my pop culture fandom developed. So, I shelled out a lot of money to get tickets to her 1989 World Tour and went along with my friend, Emily (one of the biggest Swifties that I know). We made a nice day out of it and grabbed a ZipCar, had lunch at Chili’s, stopped by Target and picked up my friends, Jonelle & Erin for the drive to New Jersey. (Yes, it’s a bit ironic as the New York State Welcome Ambassador, Tay-Tay did not have a tour date in NYC.)
Having only been to the old IZOD Center in East Rutherford for Watch the Throne with Jay Z and Kanye, years ago, I was not ready for the sheer size of the MetLife Stadium. We setup camp with a few of Jonelle’s friends in the parking lot for a little T. Swift tailgating before the show. (Just like the college days, we threw around a football and grilled some hot dogs & burgers.)
Then, Em and I went in to catch the opening acts, of which I really only knew HAIM’s music. Shawn Mendes wasn’t bad and his music was pretty catchy. The Haim sisters put on a great show, with several of their hits from their last album and their new track with Calvin Harris (Taylor’s boyfriend). I knew I must be getting old based on the crowd’s reaction to Vance Joy and I didn’t even recognize his big “hit.” Oops.
Finally, the lights went down & the plastic bracelets we were given upon entering the stadium started to light up; changing colors when you moved & a bit synchronized to the beats of the music. Taylor entered in an amazing, sparkly green sequined jacket, sporting her now almost-signature crop top and flippy skirt to “Welcome to New York.” Of course the crowd went wild, because even though we were in New Jersey, so many of the audience members made the trek from NYC.
As a dance fan, I quickly scanned her dancers to see if I recognized any of them from So You Think You Can Dance, Dancing with the Stars or America’s Best Dance Crew, but didn’t. I was surprised that she only had male dancers on this tour, since it seems like most pop stars tend to have a variety for the various songs and performances. However, I really liked that she had b-boys on this tour that were able to throw some amazing tricks throughout the concert.
“New Romantics” was up next, and even though it was a bonus track on her album, the crowd really loved it. It had also been consistently praised by the music media as a great track, so that’s probably why she added it to the show. “Blank Space” brought out sassy Taylor with a killer black sequined jacket, as she flipped her hair and stayed everyone’s best friend by talking about her past relationships and being a women scorned. The audio team did a great job of delaying Taylor saying “Jersey” over the breakdown in the song (“Boys only want love, if it’s torture…Jersey! Don’t say I didn’t warn you…Jersey!); which was really cool and probably a chance for her to catch her breath.
A little remix of “I Knew You Were Trouble” was next; which kept the song a bit fresh, but made me long for the original version just a bit. Something about that dub-step beat might have mixed better with the 1989 tracks, instead of the rock version. “I Wish You Would” was up next and wasn’t one of my favorite songs until I heard her perform it live. The driving beat and drums made me really appreciate it and it somehow, creeped onto my current playlist. I guess I could say that I went through a similar experience with the next few tracks; on my playlists for July and August.
The crowd had already been buzzing about who Taylor’s special guest was going to be for the second night (the previous show, she had brought out The Weeknd) and some people were speculating that it might be The Boss himself, Bruce Springsteen. Taylor teased the crowd a little bit with “This is a person who is from Jersey. This is a person who I met when he was 15-years-old and guys, he’s definitely not 15 anymore!” I quickly figured it out and pretty much lost my shit. (In the video I have of this intro, you can hear me yell “OH MY GOD!!!”) “Give it up for Nick Jonas!” Then Nick came out and sang “Jealous” with Taylor, sporting his freshly shaved head for the second season of Kingdom, and they sounded great together! (Now, let’s be honest, I would have died more if Joe had come out, but he was probably in the crowd watching Taylor with Gigi Hadid and doesn’t have current material out to support.) They strutted down the runway, as the crowd went wild and I really enjoyed how Taylor’s voice sounded on this track with Nick. Right after Nick was done, I immediately texted all my best friends with “I HAVE NEVER SCREAMED SO LOUD IN MY LIFE!!!” Which might have been an overstatement, but it sure felt like it! This definitely beats when Joe came out to sing a Camp Rock 2 song with Demi Lovato at her show!
After all the Nick Jonas excitement, Taylor took it down a notch and got onto the light up runway, which then lifted and rotated over the floor audience while she sang “Clean” and “Love Story.” She was belted onto the platform, as it did rotate fairly quickly, and treated the crowd with one of Em’s favorites, “Mine” and another oldie, “Love Story.” (I kind of loved when she talked about how she wrote the song as a teenager and made it so Romeo & Juliet didn’t die, but got married. Pretty innocent and cute, which made for a great pop-country song.) Taylor really knows how to tell a great story and fill the space in between all the songs, costume changes, set changes; what a great distraction.
For the second night in Jersey, with “Style,” Taylor brought out some of her model friends; Karlie Kloss, Lily Aldredge, Behati Prinsloo, Gigi and a nice surprise, Uzo Aduba from Orange is the New Black, and as I know her, from Broadway’s revival of Godspell. They strutted down the runway before video footage of some of her friends talked about Taylor, interspersed with footage of her & her cats.
Speaking of cats, Taylor then came out in a black catsuit to rock out to a remixed version of “Bad Blood.” There was a group of girls in-front of us that had made their own band-aids with “band-aids don’t fix bullet holes” written on them, which I was a little bit jealous that I hadn’t thought of first; and they were really living for this song. The rock theme continued with an updated version of “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together,” as Taylor brought out an electric guitar and more hair flips.
Then going back to some slower songs, the crew brought out a really fancy piano, which Taylor described as “an alien,” and she played “Wildest Dreams” in a nude, sparkly bodysuit. This was another track that wasn’t my favorite at first, but quickly grew on me and is a great way to feel calm on a crowded L train subway ride to and from work. “Out of the Woods” featured some great video of trees and some elements from the “Style” video that seemed better suited here.
After a brief costume change, into a sparkly, fringed emerald crop top and pants, Taylor was back to close the show with “Shake It Off” and for everyone to dance their assess off! There was definitely a state of Taylor euphoria as we made our way back to the car, but everyone was in great spirits as various Taylor hits were being blasted from all the surrounding cars. Overall, it was a great show and I had a great time and I hardly even thought about all the money I shelled out for the tickets.
1. Welcome to NewYork
2. New Romantics
3. Blank Space
4. I Knew You Were Trouble
5. I Wish You Would
6. How You Get the Girl
7. I Know Places
8. All You Had to Do Was Stay
9. Jealous with Nick Jonas
10. You Belong with Me
12. Love Story
14. This Love
15. Bad Blood
16. We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together
17. Enchanted/Wildest Dreams
18. Out of the Woods
19. Shake It Off