On Monday, July 13th, Taylor Swift arrived in town for the first night of two at National’s Park in D.C. on her 1989 World Tour – her biggest tour thus far in her ten- year career. It has been two years since Taylor’s previous performance in D.C. on her Red Tour.
Taylor Swift may have come to D.C., but it felt as if Taylor Swift and the sold out crowd of 45,000 people were all just hanging out in New York City. Opening her act with “Welcome to New York,” Taylor brought her new home of New York City with her. The stage was set up like a New York City street with lamp posts, benches and the cityscape in the background. Many fans welcomed Taylor to D.C. with posters and signs playing off the song lyrics, saying “Welcome to D.C., it’s been waiting for you.”
Thunderstorms were in the forecast, with every time one rain drop fell from the sky everyone pulled out their rain gear and were ready to rock out in their ponchos. However, 13 must really be a lucky number, as no more than a few rain drops fell during the entirety of the show. Taylor states that she believes that 13 is the luckiest number of them all – being that she was born on the 13th of December in 1989.
The rain however did fall prior to the show, causing a malfunction to occur with Taylor Swift’s stage. The catwalk lifts up and it supposed to spin like a helicopter propeller over the crowd, however due to rain, it was only able to be lifted up slightly and got stuck. Taylor handled the stage mishap with such grace, performing three songs while stuck on the catwalk and interacted with her fans until it was able to be lowered. She addressed the crowd on the stage’s technical error, and pointed out that this makes this performance a unique one.
The seven time Grammy Award winning artist performed a total of 19 songs. Only three songs from previous albums were performed, “I Knew You Were Trouble,” “Love Story” and “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together.” These previous hit singles were performed as they had never been heard before – Taylor rewrote the music for these songs to match her writing style of 1989. “Love Story” was performed in a synthetic pop style as opposed to the original country version. “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” was performed in a hard rock style, with Taylor dawning a guitar and a rock and roll attitude. “I Knew You Were Trouble” was reworked as a very modern style. The remaining songs in her set were all off her latest album, 1989, making this tour completely pop. There is absolutely no note that resembles country music.
Attending a show on this tour is an absolute experience full of amazing surprises and showmanship from Taylor from the second when you walk in the gates to the very end.
As you arrive, you’re handed a bulky high tech bracelet to wear during the show. These bracelets are programmed to light up with Taylor’s music – the colors change based on the mood of the song and flash to the beat of the music remotely by Taylor’s production team. Taylor mentioned that the bracelets illuminated every single person in the park, making her really happy, and that this was a moment she will be look back upon when she isn’t feeling her best. Taylor stated,”I love being able to look you in the eye and thank you so much for caring about my album and memorizing the lyrics – you’ve changed my life.”
The best part of experiencing a Taylor Swift show is how she humanizes the artist and fan relationship. In between songs, she talked with the crowd and jokes around. “I feel like I am standing here with 45,000 of my friends,” stated Taylor.
Taylor loves to surprise fans, especially with guest appearances. With each night of the tour being a different guest, you could get anyone! “Oh tonight is a good one,” Taylor teased. She gave hints of who it would be – stating that the surprise artist flew 19 hours from her hometown to join her on stage and had won Grammy Award for Song of the Year in 2014. Yup, you guessed it. Lorde was the surprise artist, arising on stage singing “Royals.”
Taylor’s performance is paired with visual effects like pyrotechnics and smoke. She ends her set with fireworks being set off to “Shake It Off.”
“There are so many people in here from all walks of life, but we turn to music, that’s what we all have in common. It’s the highest honor you chose to turn to my music,” said Taylor, thanking fans for their endearing support over the years and stating the important message that music connects us all.
Speaking of connecting, here are a few fans I connected with while at the show who dressed to impress! It was so cool to see all of the creativity and hard work some put into their attire for the show and talk about the inspiration behind it with you.
16 year old Canadian pop singer Shawn Mendes started the evening off at 7pm sharp. He took to the stage by himself with an acoustic guitar. He serenaded the crowd with his hit singles “Stitches” and “No Real Love.” He also did a couple covers, Ed Sheeran‘s “Thinking Out Loud” and Plain White Tees‘ “Hey There Delilah.”
Vance Joy, 27 year old Australian singer-songwriter James Keogh, graced the stage with his band, performing mellower indie music than the pop sensations to follow him. He melted the crowd with his hit song “Riptide” and later surprised fans when he walked right through the floor seating after his set.
HAIM, American pop rock band from California consisting of three sisters Este, Danielle and Alana, rocked the stage for a short thirty minute set before Taylor took the stage. Performing songs from their debut album, Days Are Gone, the energy they brought was perfect for getting the crowd warmed up for Taylor Swift. How cool is it that Taylor has a few of her best friends opening up for her on tour? These sisters really jam out hard on stage together, ending their set with all three of them performing a drum jam session along with their drummer. HAIM made the huge park full of 45,000 people seem intimate when they proposed, “Nationals Park is the HAIM living room and we are all homies.”