Concert Review

Taylor Swift rocks out in a friendly, glittering pop extravaganza

Taylor Swift performs during her sold out show on Nov 8, 2015.
Taylor Swift performs during her sold out show on Nov 8, 2015.PHOTO: TIFFANY GOH FOR THE STRAITS TIMES
Taylor Swift performs during her sold out show on Nov 8, 2015.
Taylor Swift performs during her sold out show on Nov 8, 2015. PHOTO: TIFFANY GOH FOR THE STRAITS TIMES
Taylor Swift performs during her sold out show on Nov 8, 2015.
Taylor Swift performs during her sold out show on Nov 8, 2015.PHOTO: TIFFANY GOH FOR THE STRAITS TIMES
Taylor Swift performs during her sold out show on Nov 8, 2015.
Taylor Swift performs during her sold out show on Nov 8, 2015.PHOTO: TIFFANY GOH FOR THE STRAITS TIMES
Taylor Swift performs during her sold out show on Nov 8, 2015.
Taylor Swift performs during her sold out show on Nov 8, 2015.PHOTO: TIFFANY GOH FOR THE STRAITS TIMES
Taylor Swift performs during her sold out show on Nov 8, 2015.
Taylor Swift performs during her sold out show on Nov 8, 2015.PHOTO: TIFFANY GOH FOR THE STRAITS TIMES
Taylor Swift performs during her sold out show on Nov 8, 2015.
Taylor Swift performs during her sold out show on Nov 8, 2015.PHOTO: TIFFANY GOH FOR THE STRAITS TIMES
(From left) Taylor Swift fans Sue Lynn Teh, 19, Kimberly Hoon, 19, Jasmine Lim, 26, Denise Tan, 25, and Nicole Aw, 25, dressed up for the 1989 World Tour at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.
(From left) Taylor Swift fans Sue Lynn Teh, 19, Kimberly Hoon, 19, Jasmine Lim, 26, Denise Tan, 25, and Nicole Aw, 25, dressed up for the 1989 World Tour at the Singapore Indoor Stadium. PHOTO: TIFFANY GOH FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

TAYLOR SWIFT: THE 1989 WORLD TOUR

Singapore Indoor Stadium

Saturday, Nov 7

Watching the pop spectacle that is the Taylor Swift show, one can see that she really, really wants to be your friend.

And that is the kind of pull that she has over her burgeoning fanbase dubbed the Swifties. She may be a glamorous pop star, one of the biggest and most successful in recent years, but she will also have you believe that she is just an ordinary person who goes through the same concerns like all the mostly young people who listen to her music.

Her in-between song banter - and there was quite a bit of it during the 105-minute long gig - was all about how distance might separate her from her fans in Singapore, but she is super appreciative of them investing so much of themselves in the music.

"We go through the same things, the same insecurities, the same doubts," she assured the 9,000 fans, most of whom were teenagers and young adult women. Tickets to her two shows at the Singapore Indoor Stadium on Saturday and Sunday were both sold out soon after they went on sale earlier this year - a clear sign of how popular she is among fans here.

Amid upbeat, sprightly tunes like Welcome To New York or I Wish You Would, both from her most recent, mega-selling album 1989, Swift dished out plenty of advice - do not let strangers or haters get you down; surround yourself only with people who genuinely care and love you.

Jaded observers might find it all incredibly preachy. But it went down well among her fanbase because the feel-good, motivational messages were wrapped up in a concert full of multi-coloured lasers, LED lights and Swift's endless costume changes, most of which contain copious amounts of glitter.

Being on top of the pop game also meant that it was not enough for the audience to hear her singing live, she had to give them a grand show.

And this she pulled off splendidly, thanks mostly to a massive runway that not only rose high above the audience but also made 360 degree turns just so everyone in the audience, whether in the expensive or cheap seats, could see her up close. All these while she and her posse of dancers were up there, singing, dancing, or playing the guitar or the keyboards.

There were huge screens behind the main stage that zoomed in and captured her face in close-up - her make-up was flawless and she looked picture-perfect even while the dancers around her were sweating buckets. Her form-fitting outfits showed off her slender, supermodel-esque figure as she strutted down the runway.

She might not have the biggest range but her soprano cut clearly through much of the bombastic instruments, played by a live backing band.

Some of her big hits were subjected to makeovers. Cranked out by a white Fender Jaguar electric guitar, We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together sounded a lot heftier than the recorded version as Swift rocked out and got the audience to join in spirited singalongs.

Surrounded by chiselled and topless male dancers, she slowed down I Knew You Were Trouble a notch and gave the same treatment to Love Story, adding a new dimension to familiar tunes.

There were a couple of disappointments at the show - one was the lack of an encore following the last song, a jubilant version of Shake It Off. The other was the absence of any surprise guests. After all, her current 1989 world tour has been making headlines for featuring cameos from anyone from fellow music stars like Mick Jagger to sports luminaries like Serena Williams.

All we got instead were video interviews with members of her famed "squad", including personalities like actress/writer Lena Dunham, model/actress Cara Delevingne and members of indie-pop sisters HAIM. As expected, they were all effusive in praising how wonderful it is to be hanging out with Swift - it really pays to be her friend, it seems.