Taylor Swift unleashed a double dose of theatrics (and special guests, of course) for her two sold-out shows at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville this weekend.
Steven Tyler, Alison Krauss and country singer-songwriter Kelsea Ballerini all joined the 25-year-old mega star on stage Friday night, which adds to the growing list of big-name artists Swift has assembled so far on her “1989 World Tour.”
After opening sets by Australian singer-songwriter Vance Joy and sister rock trio Haim, Swift kicked off her two-hour concert with the bombastic opener “Welcome To New York.”
“I’ve been waiting for this night the entire 1989 tour,” Swift told the crowd before launching into “Blank Space.” “I know you’re supposed to be cool … (but) I’m so excited to be playing this show that I can’t even deal with it.”
Like many other stops on her world tour, Swift promised the crowd she’d bring out surprise guests throughout the evening if they kept up the excitement. Kelsea Ballerini was up first with a duet of her debut single “Love Me Like You Mean It,” next was Steven Tyler to perform Aerosmith’s ’90s power ballad “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” and towards the end of her set, Alison Krauss joined Swift for a version of “When You Say Nothing At All.”
Almost every song evoked a new set and wardrobe change for Swift and her tribe of all-male backup dancers, which at times included a rainy backdrop with LED outfits and umbrellas for “How You Get The Girl,” flying lampposts and a 20+ feet tall spinning catwalk that stretched the length of the arena.
While Swift didn’t spend too much time traveling down memory lane, she did break out her acoustic guitar to perform her 2008 hit “You Belong With Me,” which Swift said was “a little awkward” since she’s now the one wearing high-heels. The country-turned-pop singer later ditched the acoustic guitar for a pop remix of “Love Story” while she traveled the arena on a spinning high riser.
After performing a string of recent favorites like “Bad Blood” and “Wildest Dreams,” Taylor closed out her eighth time playing the arena with her resounding 1989 lead single “Shake It Off,” while thousands of fans lit up the room with the LED bracelets provided by Swift that changed colors in sync with the music.
Swift has a knack for knowing exactly what her fans want, whether it’s a five minute spiel about “listening to yourself” or the million plus details that went into the two-hour show.
So say what you will about Taylor’s music, but after attending her concert Friday night there’s no denying this: she knows how to put on a damn good show.
Check out staff photographer Andre Rowlett’s photos of her performance:
For our full archive of shows at Bridgestone Arena, click here.
Follow Dylan Skye Aycock on Twitter at @dylskye.
Follow Andre Rowlett on Instagram at @arowgant.
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