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Taylor Swift – Paints Toronto Red

Taylor
Swift -Paints Toronto Red by Chuck Schultz
Taylor
Swift is a woman who knows what she wants. If there was anything made
abundantly clear during the 22-year-old country music crossover
sensation’s 2 hour set June 15th at the Rogers Centre in Toronto,
it was that the Pennsylvania native is no wilting lily when it comes
to the art of performance.
From
the very moment the curtain rose on Swift’s Red tour, revealing the
lean-and-leggy fedora-capped blond standing at the top of the
staircase in a white blouse, leather hot pants and ruby shoes
ensemble as she belted out “State Of Grace,” Swift was a master
of precision. With two projection screens next to a massive stage
that housed a small armada of support singers, dancers and an
eight-piece band, the camera was not only the instrument of
projection in providing her fans the clearest of vantage points
throughout the program, but Swift designed her presentation around
it.
Exuding
a way-beyond-her-years confidence that befits a superstar, Swift was
so concise in her mannerisms that every facial expression, every
gesture, every dance move, even every hair on her head, it seemed,
was expertly “Taylored” — if you’ll excuse the pun — to fit
into the grand scheme of the show.
What
appeared as — and should have felt as — so contrived instead
seemed perfectly genuine, due to Swift’s proficiency as a generous
entertainer and her earthy personality. Perceived as both star and a
pal — women view her more as the latter than the former — Swift
has struck an unusual allegiance with the fairer sex thanks to the
slice-of-life insight of her music.
And
just how devoted they are to her — the audience percentage ratio of
women-to-men was probably 90 to 10 — was made evident the fourth
song in, when a chorus of soprano voices suddenly rose to accompany
Swift for one of her familiar
Fearless
hits, “You Belong With Me,” reinterpreted in a glamourous Motown
style presentation with the singer and songwriter adorned in a classy
red gown and performing a coquettish dance routine.
Yes,
Taylor World covered many territories, from the over-the-top
melodramatic vignettes that gave the spectacle treatment to songs
like “The Lucky One” and “I Knew You Were Trouble;” to the
simple renditions of “Mean,” which began with Swift strumming a
banjo before it erupted into theatrics, her earliest hit “Tim
McGraw,” and an acoustic-guitar duet of “Everything Has Changed”
with animated opener Ed Sheeran, the latter two songs performed on a
small stage at the other end of the venue.
Where
it differed from other big-time stadium shows — Swift threw out the
figure of 45,000 in attendance for the second of her two sold-out
Rogers Centre concerts — and what grounded it was the conversation.
Taylor
Swift talked. A lot. This wasn’t mere “how ya doin’ Toronto”
banter between songs. After completing the opening “State Of
Grace,” “Holy Ground” (a heavily-percussive number that was
part Blue Man Group in terms of drumming) and “Red,” she spent a
good five minutes explaining how she chooses locations for her world
tours.
Later
in the show, she explained the concept behind her album and her show
Red, revealing that she writes about either love or breakups and sees
them in colors, with red representing “my crazy emotions.”
She
spoke long and often, whether it was to introduce songs like “Begin
Again” or “All Too Well,” and repeatedly advocated that people
take up the practice of expressing their feelings, “whether it’s
in a diary or in a song,” as a way to learn and grow.
By
the time the three-ring circus of “We Are Never Ever Getting Back
Together” signaled the end of the show (a jubilant send-off replete
with fireworks), Taylor Swift’s near-flawless execution of her
triumphant vision indicates that this is only the beginning of a
very, very, very long run at the top.
She’s
got the chops to become scary brilliant.
 Photo cred to Kelly E Schultz

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