Life's hard with a sister almost a decade your junior that you have to take to concerts. And by 'hard', I mean magical. On Monday night with our middle sister in tow, we pledged our allegiance to the community they call 'Swift Nation' and headed to the Adelaide Entertainment Centre to see Taylor Swift on her 1989 World Tour with Australia's own Vance Joy.
Starting the party, Joy opened with Wasted Time, getting the attention of a buzzing crowd with his dreamy curls and his equally dreamy indie pop. Alone with his guitar (and a backing track...and thousands of excited Adelaidians), his set included songs Mess Is Mine and Fire and the Flood, closing with his Triple J Hottest 100 topping track of 2013, Riptide.
He commented on the venue as being perhaps the most intimate of the tour, and even stopped the show when he forgot the words due to the overwhelming reception. 'Adelaide you guys were *thumb and pointer emoticon*. Thank you for singing along to my songs - so much that I lost my place in Georgia', he tweeted after the set.
While Joy's popularity was obvious, it was the country-singing sweetheart turned pop queen that everyone was waiting for. Swift opened with Welcome to New York; the big screen depicting a sweeping image of a glowing New York City. The AEC was a spectacular vision of it's own, with every concert-goer gifted a wristband programmed to flash different colours during each song.
Swift's performance was flawless; it was glamorous, bold, energetic, and above all, engaging, with her voice mirroring the quality of her records. If you weren't feeling the love in the room, you'd probably also be indifferent to kittens and rainbows. It wasn't too gimmicky, although, that being said, it wasn't without a rising, rotating runway, kite flying, and a sparkling, gold catsuit. Her male dance troupe even performed some umbrella-spinning and suspended-lamp post acrobatics that would give Gene Kelly a run for his money.
Crowd favourites included I Knew You Were Trouble, We Are Never Getting Back Together, and a danced-up rendition of her hugely adored Love Story. Before singing her deeply personal Clean, Swift spoke up about online bullying and criticism, telling the audience: 'You are not the opinion of those who don't know you, or care about you', to deafening applause.
Swift showcased her musical capabilities playing the acoustic guitar, electric guitar and keyboard, as well as dancing up a storm. In between set changes, clips played on the big screen of Swift's female friends, including the Haim sisters, Lena Dunham, and Cara Delevingne, speaking on the big topics of love, the importance of female friendships, and of course, cats.
Although I've been known to blast Our Song when it comes on my car radio for those 'slammin' screen doors', it's not hard to see there's more to like than just the music. Yes, she's a recording artist, but she's also an advocate: for self love; for kindness; for equality. She doesn't seem to be living up to anyone's expectations but her own, or performing for anyone other than her fans.
So, as we wave our wristbands in the air, confetti raining down on us, I'm glad to be here with my sisters. Because it's T-Swift's positive messages (and her illuminated outfits) that will help us to find our way Out of the Woods.
Taylor Swift moves on to Melbourne next. Find her upcoming tour dates here.
Header image from Taylor Swift's 1989 World Tour promotional photoshoot.