Last Friday, September 13, the PNC Arena was immersed in Red.
Returning for the third time in six years to Raleigh, Taylor Swift proved that heartbreak is a lifetime affair.
Opening with “State of Grace,” Swift stood behind a scarlet curtain that dropped dramatically to reveal her black hat and sailor outfit, which complemented the anchor shaped stage. The crowd couldn’t be tamed; a sea of eleven-year olds roaring Swift’s name. Pausing in awe, Swift couldn’t seem to believe every girl in the arena hadn’t spent their entire piggy bank to come and see her.
She stood for almost five minutes – giving the audience time to take her in.
Her performance was engaging but lacked humility. Swift announced she had been nominated for multiple CMA’s more than once and had sold out shows around the country. Her pride, however, wasn’t enough to waver her fans’ undying devotion.
Although some may argue her confidence was well deserved. Her voice has improved since she performed in Raleigh for the first time in 2007, and her lyrics have evolved with the hipster movement. Comparing “Our Song” from her debut album to “The Last Time,” from her latest one, Red, it is clear her songs have gone from a 2006 one-dimensional tribute to teenage crushes gone wrong to an emotionally developed sound.
Halfway through the show, and around the fifth costume change, Swift performed her released single, “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together.” Along with “22” and “Red,” her style was definitely a change from the mellow pace of her opener, Ed Sheeran.
While Swift was typical, Sheeran was phenomenal. Donning a black T-shirt and ripped jeans, his uncombed orange hair and one-man guitar show couldn’t be more opposite from the main act. The highlight of the evening came when Sheeran returned to the stage to perform “Everything Has Changed” with Swift.
Swift closed the show with songs such as “All Too Well,” and “Treacherous” which was sung by a barefoot Swift on a two-foot wide platform while her dancers attempted to ballet their way through the instrumental intro.
It is obvious that Swift has grown both in personal style and music taste, but her show was more about delivery of the song than the words and music inside of it. If she had sung more, and sound less rehearsed, the show could have lived up to her name. Without multiple costume and set changes, Swift would have been incredible. Nonetheless, she captivated her audience and left them burning red.