Photo from her 2011 stop in Vancouver.
Taylor Swift mania was at an all-time high this past Saturday evening as the pop superstar brought her 1989 World Tour to Vancouver’s BC Place stadium. A plethora of red lipstick-wearing women (myself included) and a smattering of fathers and boyfriends flocked to the large arena to watch the spectacle go down.
Kicking off the evening was Vine star Shawn Mendes, who played a short and sweet solo acoustic set that included some of his bigger radio hits like “Life of the Party” and “Stitches”. Mendes was perfect for the teen girl demographic in attendance while Aussie singer-songwriter Vance Joy was more fitting for the young adult demographic. Women were swooning whilst he played through a set of love songs including his new single, “Fire and the Flood”, and a cover of Sam Smith’s “Stay With Me”.
When Swift emerged, albeit 15 minutes earlier than expected, she started her lengthy set with the 1989 album opener “Welcome to New York”. She danced about the stage in a sparkly gradient-coloured number and white sunglasses with her dancers whilst a New York-themed backdrop was projected onto the stage screen, setting the bar extremely high for the rest of the evening.
Every few songs or so, there would be a short break to allow for a costume change or set change, and audience members were treated to video footage of the #SwiftSquad praising Swift and chatting about their friendship with her. Swift also took some of the breaks as an opportunity to thank her fans profusely and to get personal with them. There was talk of social media to see what her fans were up to, and prior to “Clean”, she talked about making mistakes and learning from them, which was fitting considering the song’s lyrics. At times, Swift’s words seemed a bit too preachy and contrived, but keeping in mind that her fans truly do find comfort in her songs and lyrics, it made sense that Swift would use this opportunity to give some nuggets of advice.
The first half of the evening consisted mainly of tracks from 1989, save for a sultry take on “I Knew You Were Trouble” and a toned-down performance of “Sparks Fly” that was a first for this tour. Swift sang the latter on a raised platform, which then levelled out and rotated whilst she sang a reworked version of “Love Story”. Gone were the country-tinged elements of the classic Swift song as more synth and 1989-esque hints were favoured.
Throughout the evening, whispers of anticipation for the special guest were heard throughout the crowd. Justin Bieber? Models from the #SwiftSquad? No one really knew anything and Swift teased the special guest’s appearance a couple of times throughout her set to build to crowd’s excitement. The time for the reveal finally came when Swift shared that the special guests, multiple, had chosen Vancouver and she stressed that they were doing this out of the good of their hearts for free. The guests at this stop? Norwegian duo Nico & Vinz, who performed their hit track “Am I Wrong” with Swift. With the calibre of special guests pretty high thanks to appearances by Lorde, The Weeknd, and models like Cara Delevingne and Karlie Kloss, this was a slight disappointment, but fans still seemed to enjoy the duo’s performance.
By this time now, it was time for the last handful of songs—cue the sad faces. A rousing rendition of “Bad Blood” started the tail end of the set and was followed by a straight up rock version of “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” that had Swift rocking out on a white electric guitar in front of some footage highly reminiscent of The White Stripes’ “Seven Nation Army” music video. And things mellowed out again as Swift switched over to a futuristic looking piano for a performance of “Wildest Dreams”.
A head-bopping “Out of the Woods”, complete with a number of large paper airplanes, came next and the two-hour set ended with the song that started Swift’s full-blown move into pop megastardom, “Shake It Off”. She obviously was going to end things with a bang and fans were certainly not disappointed. Swift and her troupe of dancers danced about the rotating platform as fireworks went off. Confetti fell and arms were held high in a collective dance party to the infectious track.
If there was one word to describe this tour, it would be slick. Everything from the stage production to the costumes to the bracelets provided to every single audience member that lit up was all put together exceptionally well. This certainly made for a fantastic and entertaining show that all her fans, old and new, will talk about for days to come.
Welcome to New York
I Knew You Were Trouble
I Wish You Would
How You Get the Girl
I Know Places
All You Had to Do Was Stay
Am I Wrong (Nico and Vinz)
We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together
Out of the Woods
Shake It Off