Three songs into the third night of her sold-out RED Tour at Newark’s Prudential Center, Taylor Swift introduced herself to those seeing her for the first time.
“Hi, I’m Taylor. I write lots of songs about my feelings. I hear I have a lot of feelings,” she said. “By you opting to be here you have agreed to hear about my feelings for two hours so thank you!”
She then explained that she has always compared emotions to colors. Blue is sad, grey is lonely but red is the one that has inspired her latest music.
“I’ve been writing lots of songs about the emotion that this color describes. It can range from meeting someone, falling in love, passion. But it’s also danger, frustration, anger and jealousy,” she explained. “I have a theory that the ones that hurt you, these are the emotions that make us stronger and help you figure out who you are going to be some day and in my mind those emotions are right.”
With that she grabbed her bright red guitar as her band joined her center stage, all with matching red instruments, to perform her fiery album title track. But Swift and her band and dancers weren’t the only ones dressed in red. Thousands of fans donned red tutus, red football helmets, red dresses, red shoes and red cowboy hats, which was not lost on Swift.
“One of the things that hits me is the effort of all of the signs and costumes. It makes me happy and makes me feel like we have so much in common,” she said.
For Swift, her tour isn’t simply where she performs the songs off her new album Red, it’s where she brings each one to life. Before she began “The Lucky One,” a track which details a singer who decides to leave the bright lights for normalcy, a black and white film was shown in the background where Swift acted out the song.
“They don’t tell you when you’re twirling in front of the mirror as a child what the papers are going to say about you one day. They don’t tell you that they’re building you up just to break you down. But they haven’t yet,” she said on screen before she appeared at the top of a staircase surrounded by paparazzi.
Swift has lived all of her songs and though many are about heartbreak, she said this isn’t always how it plays out in her life.
“It came to my attention that I write a lot of breakup songs. I don’t only write breakup songs because sometimes love is good and people stay,” she said prefacing the lighthearted “Stay, Stay, Stay,” which segued into the Lumineers’ “Ho, Hey.”
Swift continued to show her versatility on a standout rendition of “You Belong With Me.” Channeling her inner ’60s singer, she slowed down her hit song and took it back in time. Complete with backup singers, it was a soulful version that brought to mind ’60s girl group the Shirelles.
Swift knows she wouldn’t be here without her fans and throughout the night showed just how important they are to her. Whether it was having her mom hand select the most energetic from the nosebleed seats to bring them down to the pit on the floor, or running throughout the crowd shaking hands during “22,” the magic never ended throughout her two-hour set.
Before “22” began Swift’s life was broadcast on screen from her first to her 22nd birthday. Showing the evolution of the toddler playing piano to getting her first guitar, it was evident how much of a role her parents have had on the superstar. In fact, they’re just as much celebrities as she is. Before Swift hit the stage her mom stopped to take photos with fans and her dad handed out guitar picks to the most decorated concertgoers.
Mid-show Swift went to a stage in the back of the venue by herself to play fan requests and transported the venue into her living room. “This part in the show it’s just me, a guitar and you,” she said. “I went online earlier to see what you guys have been requesting.”
And with that she played “You’re Not Sorry” and “Begin Again” as well as her standout collaboration “Everything Has Changed” with tour opener Ed Sheeran who she called “the voice of an angel.”
But that wasn’t the only surprise duet Swift had in store. Later, Train’sPat Monahan joined her on stage for the energetic “Drive By.”
For two hours, Swift brought her magical world to life combining an elaborate set which included circus characters, ballet dancers, princes, masked creatures, a carousel, tight rope, moving staircases, and many elegant costume changes.
She captivated the venue all the way to show closer “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together.” As confetti hearts fell from the sky Swift urged all her fans, “Please never get back with your horrible ex and please sing along loudly.”
Taylor Swift Set List
State of Grace
You Belong With Me
The Lucky One
Stay, Stay, Stay/ Ho, Hey
You’re Not Sorry
Everything Has Changed
I Knew You Were Trouble.
All Too Well
We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together