Concert Reviews

Taylor Swift Isn't Like Other Pop Stars, and Thank God for That

Taylor Swift wowed the crowd Friday night.
Taylor Swift wowed the crowd Friday night. Mike Brooks

Hit song after hit song, giant snakes, sexy choreography, surprise performances and a whole lot of fire. For anyone who walked into sold-out AT&T Stadium skeptical of why Taylor Swift is the biggest pop star in the world, her two-hour show cemented her reputation.

Right on time at 9 p.m., Swift emerged in a black bodysuit with a black hood and black thigh-high boots uttering the five words, "Are you ready for it?" The audience, made up of little girls, frat boys, women there alone, all screamed in unison, knowing they had waited months for this.

Swift awed the crowd alone for the first half of "...Ready For It" until dancers and back-up singers joined her.

Each audience member was given a wristband upon entering the stadium for Swift's Dallas stop on her Reputation Stadium Tour.  The wristband would light up in different colors for her songs. For "Gorgeous," it was pink, yellow for "End Game," blue for "Delicate." Swift explained that even if you were on the top row in the highest section, she could see you because of the wristbands. Fans raised their arms to show Swift they were there.

The wristbands were just the beginning of the overall production. During "I Did Something Bad," fire shot out every time Swift sang the word "bad." During "King of My Heart," 3-D red snakes were on the screen. And during "Look What You Made Me Do," a giant cobra showed up on stage, all staying on brand with Swift's reputation of being a snake.

Swift sang her 2017 hit, "Look What You Made Me Do" only a few songs into the night. Other pop stars might have saved their biggest hit from their latest album for their encore, but Swift has enough strong material that she doesn't need to rely on her first hit.

While performing "Delicate," a slower song, she traveled via lit basket to the back of the stadium.

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Swift turned down the pace only twice. While performing "Delicate," a slower song, she traveled via lit basket to the back of the stadium. When she arrived, she performed "Shake It Off," "Dancing With Our Hands Tied" and her surprise song of the night, "White Horse." She explained that for each concert she chooses a song that she typically doesn't perform anymore to play with just her guitar. The crowd sang every word to the 2008 song, especially belting out the lyrics, "I'm gonna find someone someday who might actually treat me well."

Swift wasn't done playing to the back of the room, though. She then made her way to the other side of the rear of the stadium to sing "Blank Space" and "Dress," followed by a mash-up of "Bad Blood" and "Should've Said No" to carry her back to the main stage in a basket — this time shaped as a snake.

But just when your feet were starting to ache and you thought the show must be over, Swift continued at the same energy to perform "Don't Blame Me," which felt like a religious experience, and "Getaway Car."

click to enlarge MIKE BROOKS
Mike Brooks

Swift surprised the audience by bringing out Arlington native and country singer Maren Morris to duet on Morris' first pop hit, "The Middle." Swift stood about a foot taller than Morris, but Morris looked confident as she strutted onstage with Swift.

While other pop stars might leave the stage to entice fans to chant "Encore," Swift simply ended the show with "This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things." Other pop stars might end with the biggest hit of their career — for Swift that would be "Shake It Off" or "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" — but instead, Swift closed the night with a song off Reputation that hasn't even been a single. That's not only a testament to the power of Swift but also to her fans, who she knows will know every song on every album. She doesn't need to rely on her old hits. Because she's not like the others. And thank God for that.
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Paige Skinner has written for the Dallas Observer since 2014.
Contact: Paige Skinner