Kelly Lamano

Feeling like a schoolgirl, I couldn’t wait to go see Taylor Swift take the stage this past weekend at the Amway Center—to complete my life for a second time.
This April marked the second month of her 2013 “Red” tour. As soon as I entered the arena, I immediately went to the merchandise stand to buy a t-shirt like a typical, needy fan.
Every concert-goer was decked out in some sort of Taylor-appreciation outfit, whether it was a girl in a red dress and boots, a glittery cheer shirt with Swift’s lyrics on the back, or a brother or boyfriend with a homemade, black shirt with cutout photos of the performer. Everyone was just as excited as I was to see the country crossover star take the stage.
To open up the night, last-minute addition Brett Eldredge performed three country songs to get fans pumped up for the show. While I wasn’t much of a fan of him, he had a positive attitude and stuck around to sign albums and take photos with wide-eyed fans after the performance.
Next up was crazy British guitarist Ed Sheeran. His riffs were so clean and fast with smooth lyrics. He engaged the audience by shouting lyrics to repeat back to get the crowd involved and loud as we waited for his set to end and Swift’s to begin.
The crowd was building with intensity and restlessness as we waited for a good 15 minutes. As the lights went out, the sold-out arena exploded into screams and cries. The Ed Sheeran banner was gone, and all that could be seen were three giant letters rising above the stage: “R E D,” burning in red, neon lights.
Opening up with the first track off her Red album, “State of Grace,” it was a strong start. She sang with passion and excitement, walking out with a black bowler hat, a white collared shirt and high-rising black shorts.
After performing “Holy Ground,” another song off of the “Red” album, Swift exclaimed, “13,000 people in a sold-out arena have all come here to hear me sing about my feelings for the next two hours.”
She wasn’t kidding when she said she would give us two hours. She performed a good twelve out of the fifteen songs off the album, two songs off of Speak Now, two from Fearless and one from her first, self-titled album. It was more than enough to fuel the fangirl in me.
Swift seemed to have changed immensely since I had seen her back in 2010, when she was performing in glittery dresses, boots and long curly hair. She was younger and less experienced with the world back then.
While she still had a sweet, friendly glow about her at this concert, Swift seemed more mature with quirkier remarks. She certainly incorporated the red theme throughout, with red lipstick, red dresses, a sparkly red electric guitar, and a red acoustic.
Swift had certainly changed, singing about “dressing up like hipsters,” but it wasn’t all bad.
She traded in her signature flowy, girly dresses paired with cowgirl boots for some red skinny jeans, straight hair, white and black shirts throughout the show.
Swift wore a glittery red dress, red gloves and backup singers to give the performance of “You Belong With Me” with a 60’s cabaret feel to it. It was a poor rendition of such a cute, hit song, but I quickly got over it when Swift brought out the ole banjo.
After talking some more about her feelings and thinking that the bullies would go away once she grew up, she played a crowd-pleasing “Mean,” sticking it to any bullies, paparazzi, or reporters who put her down.
She brought us back to her cutesy, country days with the twang and spunky lyrics. Packing a punch like always with, “All you are is mean, and a liar, and pathetic, and alone in life, and mean.”
Claiming that she has some good experiences with love and that good songs do come out of those happier times, “Stay Stay Stay” was a fun, acoustic jam as she acted out the lyrics with her bandmates on stage.
At the end of “22,” Swift danced along over to a smaller stage, just to the right of where I was sitting, and chaos ensued as girls and mothers alike scrambled to get a closer look at the singer.
She settled down with a few acoustic songs, bringing fans way back with “Our Song.” Shortly after, Ed Sheeran joined her for a sweet duet of “Everything Has Changed” as the stage rose into the air, leading into “Begin Again” and “Sparks Fly.”
Swift was brought back to the main stage on a small, floating stage to lead into a dramatic opening of “I Knew You Were Trouble.” Swift’s fiddler, Caitlin Evanson, played a classical piece, leading into dubstep and Swift walked on the stage as the crowd rocked out to the song.
Swift ended the show with “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together.” The song entailed a quirky, circus theme, ringleader outfit and all, reminding me of Britney Spears.
Red heart confetti fell from the ceiling of the arena as fans, including myself, excitedly jumped and grabbed one to keep for themselves.
Maybe Swift will give us a new shade or trend for us to indulge in. Since she has consistently released an album every two years, I can’t wait to see what she has in store for us in 2014.