Taylor Swift ‘speaks now’ at Staples Center
Taylor Swift. Whether you hate her or love her, there is no denying the girl knows how to perform. The 20-year-old country-pop superstar kicked off the California portion of her âSpeak Nowâ tour this past week with four consecutive sold-out shows at the Staples Center in LA Live.
The show, more of a performance than a concert, featured a full cast of actors/dancers/musicians, an elaborate fairy-tale set, glittering special effects, awe-inspiring surprise guests, and 10, yes 10, costume changes.
Swift inaugurated the show with a dazzling (literally, there were sparkles everywhere) performance of âSparks Flyâ from her new album, which immediately propelled the teenybopper crowd out of their seats and into a dance and sing along lasting the entire duration of the concert.
She followed with a selection of songs, all punctuated with moments of her innate quirkiness, from her latest album âSpeak Now,â dotted with a few older favorites including âOur Song,â âYou Belong with Me,â an encore rendition of âLove Storyâ and an acoustic version of âFearless,â the title track from her previous album.
Swift was joined onstage by a full ensemble of exceptionally talented actors/dancers/musicians who acted out the âstoriesâ in her tale-telling tunes. During âSpeak Now,â the song about a girl (Madame Swift herself, in this scenario) who ârudely barges inâ on the wedding of another woman to Swiftâs own true love, the cast re-enacted a full wedding onstage. Of course, Swift, always the starry-eyed underdog in her songs, successfully convinced her Prince Charming to ânot say a single vowâ and run away with her. Shocking, really.
Despite the clichĂ© inherent in the elaborate performances of her songs, they were fun to watch. The show was truly a glittering spectacle, and the energy and raw talent of each member of her cast, the star herself included, was captivating.
It just wouldnât be a Taylor Swift concert without a few surprise twists along the way. During a transition between songs, a confused-looking Ellen DeGeneres suddenly popped up onstage and joined Swift onstage for one of her songs, playing the triangle and shaking maracas in true Ellen style.
Toward the end of the show, Swift delighted the crowd by bringing out Nicki Minaj, clad in an alarming amount of neon spandex, and performed an unlikely duet of Minajâs hit song âSuper Bass.â Swiftâs previous guests for the week include Justin Beiber, Hot Chelle Rae and Jason Mraz.
For the young, die-hard Taylor Swift enthusiasts who constituted the majority of the audience, the concert was a dream come true. But even for those dragged along, there is something about seeing the young starlet perform live that makes her hard to hate.
Maybe itâs the disbelieving, doe-eyed expression on her face after every single song as she stares out into the screaming crowd. Maybe itâs the way she segues into songs with comments like âI love you LA. You guys are so nice, and I love nice people. You know what I donât like? When people are Meanâ (Cue the song: âMean.â) Perhaps itâs her characteristic red lips, lucky number â13â drawn on her hand or iconic hair-flips that would rival those any sorority girl.
Whatever it is, Taylor Swift is a born performer, and her âSpeak Nowâ show was nothing less than magical.