Taylor Swift, Heinz Field, Pittsburgh PA 7/6
It may seem impossible that an international superstar like Taylor Swift could have an intimate moment with all 57,000 people attending a concert, but somehow she managed to do just that. Being a long time Swiftie I knew she puts a herculean amount of effort and planning into every single detail of her concerts, but her show at Heinz Field was above and beyond any of my expectations, and anything I’ve ever seen before.
Swift’s claim to fame is writing intimate, personal songs about her heartbreaks and relationships that resonate deeply with her fans, so bringing that level of intimacy to a stage show without it ever seeming cloying or disgenuine is a feat that anyone can respect. The biggest aid in her ability to accomplish this was the tricked-out, Broadway-worthy stage itself. Every corner of the stage was equipped with trap doors, hydraulic lifts and the finest lighting design a billion-dollar tour can buy. The show opened with “State of Grace” and, seemingly out of nowhere, Swift and a drum line being lowered from the rafters and slowly brought down to the main stage. Oh, and fireworks.
The show was crafted to ensure that every audience member got a personal experience and great view of the action, no matter where they were sitting. My view of downstage was slightly obstructed due to the location of our seats, but with two separate three-story jumbo screens, even if Swift was out of direct view we didn’t miss anything. Not that she spent much time downstage, anyway. The thrust portion of the stage wrapped around the pit seating section and came out into the floor seats, and this is were most of the show happened, from ballet solos to Caitlin Bird’s amazing dubstep violin intro to hit single “Trouble”.
Not content to just connect with the fans with expensive tickets, Swift moved (via carefully-executed crowd surfing, carried by back up dancers, and surrounded by security) to a second stage in the rear of the floor for an “intimate” 4-song acoustic set. The second stage contained a rotating platform so that Swift could rotate and make eye contact with every single section of the stadium without missing a beat. With a production of this magnitude, everything is carefully planned and rehearsed, but Swift changes it up just a bit for each show and plays one non-standard song per night. We got a sweet, acoustic rendition of “Our Song” at our show, which Swift told us was a special request from “just the sweetest girl” in her meet and greet earlier that day.
Truly a Broadway-worthy production, not only did Swift change costumes multiple times, but so did her back up dancers. The final song of the night was a truly insane parade- with Swift as the majorette- to close out “We are Never Ever Getting Back Together”. Swift’s most favored look of the evening was high-waisted hot pants to show off her long, toned legs, and her sparkle-covered majorette costume was perhaps the best of the night. In addition to a mad circus of dancers spilling out from every trap door in the stage, the show also closed with quite a fireworks display.
Swift truly puts a level of care and attention to detail into her shows that is unrivaled by any other touring act today. The sheer joyous spectacle of it all was worth the price of admission alone.