Swift's star power undeniable in Red Tour stop at Heinz Field
By Emma Deihle
Published: Sunday, July 7, 2013, 1:33 a.m.
Red lips pressed to a red-studded microphone held by red-painted fingers sang the opening verses of “State of Grace“ to kick off Taylor Swift's Red Tour on Saturday night at Heinz Field. Notice a theme?
Swift told the crowd of 57,000 that she sees red when she writes songs about what she calls the “crazy emotions,“ and fans of the 23-year-old singer-songwriter practically turned red from happiness and exhaustion by the time her near two-hour show came to a close.
Those at the concert couldn't get enough of the blue-eyed, blonde entertainer. Everyone was up and dancing by the second song, “Holy Ground.” When the tour-headlining single “Red“ came next, there was no turning back. The mania that Swift induced was in full force, and fans soaked up every second of it. Fans belted the lyrics and threw their arms to the sky during Billboard chart-topper “You Belong With Me.” “Mean“ allowed fans to vent their frustrations alongside Swift, who reminded them that those who cut you down do not have to have the final say.
Swift has come under media scrutiny about her songs' subject matter, but she has never tried to hide her true feelings, whether they're about negative or positive experiences. The majority of her songs center on falling in and out of love.
“I will admit that I do write a lot of breakup songs,“ she said, “but I write songs about love, because it's the most unpredictable concept.“
She championed the good parts of a past relationship with upbeat “Stay Stay Stay,“ and revealed that new relationships can outweigh the hurt from the old with soft, but meaningful “Begin Again.“
The Red Tour was not merely a show, but a spectacle. Ornate costumes, talented back-up dancers, advanced pyrotechnics, timely lighting and plenty of fan interaction set Swift's third major tour apart. The singer changed outfits constantly, among them a white button down with black high-waisted shorts and red Oxfords, a red dress over red sequined shorts with red elbow-length gloves, a sparkly white floor-length gown and a lacy black number for the dub step-infused “I Knew You Were Trouble.“
She crowd-surfed during hit single “22“ toward a miniature stage set up on the opposite side of the stadium where she then played her first No. 1 single “Our Song“ and “Everything Has Changed“ with opening act, Ed Sheeran. She took to the crowd again during “Sparks Fly,” where several lucky fans received hugs from the pop star.
Sheeran performed before Swift, contributing his ginger hair to the overall color scheme, not to mention lending his powerhouse voice to the appreciative crowd. Fans sang along to radio hit “Lego House,“ and even witnessed a song that Sheeran said he had never performed live, a cover of Britney Spears' “...Baby One More Time.“ Sheeran is a true artist. He performed with a single acoustic guitar, but used a sound machine to record the guitar and his voice as background music and play it as needed. By the time his first hit single “The A Team“ rolled around, fans had trouble bidding the Brit goodbye.
Austin Mahone preceded Sheeran, and had all of the young girls screeching with “Say Somethin“ and Jesse McCartney's “Beautiful Soul.“ His sound is reminiscent of an early Justin Bieber. His dance moves paired nicely with his set.
New artist Joel Crouse opened the evening with singles “Ruby Puts Her Red Dress On“ and “If You Want Some.“ His warm country sound got the crowd ready for an evening of fun.
Confetti explosions and red fireworks accompanied Swift's closing song, “We Are Never Getting Back Together.“ The happily hoarse fans at Saturday night's show would agree that Taylor Swift's star power is undeniable and the performance was RED hot.
Emma Deihle is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-320-7834 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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