Written by Robert Johnson (@RobertSatellite on Twitter)
May 16, 2013 at 08:00 PM
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ImageWhen she started her career, Taylor Swift was just a teenager with an acoustic guitar, writing songs about her life in high school. From the beginning, she had an undeniable ability to write a catchy hook, and lyrics that were easily relatable for listeners in their formative years.

Over time, she grew into a woman with a maturity beyond her years, and the message to her audience really began to resonate. As her popularity grew, her celebrity would also magnify, leaving her the subject of both immense praise and endless ridicule. Despite the ups and downs, Swift has maintained her strength, using music as an outlet, and her performances as a way to connect with her audience.

An Evening with Taylor Swift

Following the announcement of the Red Tour, Swift generated a buzz in Houston that could rival the likes of The Beatles or ‘N Sync. In fact, her show sold out in seconds, making it one of the fastest sellouts in Toyota Center history. On May 16, following months of anticipation, a sold out crowd of nearly 20,000 fans packed the venue for an experience they’ll likely carry for a lifetime.

A Talented Musician

Don’t let her critics fool you. Taylor Swift is a talented musician. Although many popular acts are labeled under the same umbrella, Swift stands out from the pack. While many of her contemporaries exclusively perform songs written by others, Swift writes or co-writes most of her songs. In Houston, she put her musicianship on full display. For “22,” “Fearless,” “Everything Has Changed,” “Begin Again,” and “Sparks Fly,” she really demonstrated her musical chops.

ImageIn “Fearless,” Swift donned an acoustic guitar on an elevated platform in the back of the venue. All alone, Swift swiveled on a stool in order to face each section of the audience while flawlessly performing each guitar and vocal riff.

For “Everything Has Changed,” Swift was joined onstage by Ed Sheeran. With no backing band, the two stood face-to-face, guitar-to-guitar, playing off one another with ease.

Whether she was playing solo acoustic, or a banjo with the full compliment of her band, Swift’s musical talent was front-and-center for the entirety of the show.

A Role Model

One thing’s for certain, Taylor Swift takes being a role model very seriously. Throughout the evening, Swift would stop between songs to talk about life, love, feelings, and expression. Again, Swift deviated from many of her peers who choose to focus on sex appeal and image. Instead, Swift spent time relating to the audience (primarily made up of teens and tweens) her life experiences and what she learned from them. The overriding theme? It’s okay to be yourself, share your feelings, and be vulnerable.

Said Swift, “The reason I write songs is because I over think everything… I end up coming up with all these metaphors for how I’m feeling.” Primarily, Swift notes the importance of making good choices. “When I make decisions, I play the tape forward. What will I be when I’m eighty [years old]?” She hopes her fans will take an introspective focus, and ultimately understand that a fear of an unpredictable life is ok. For introductions to “Red” and “Begin Again,” Swift really drove these points home, and the thousands in attendance were hanging on her every word.

The Entertainer / Performer

Taylor Swift is one heck of an entertainer. For the “Red Tour,” Swift and company pulled out all the stops. With extravagant effects, a massive stage set, dozens of dancers and backup musicians, those behind the “Red Tour” went out of their way to produce a memorable backdrop for the evening resembling something out of the Cirque du Soleil brand.

ImageHowever, even with all the effects in the world, no show is complete without a lead entertainer. Swift embraced this role and truly shined. Despite numerous costume changes and dance routines, Swift still maintained every bit of her energy and grace from the first song to the final note of the set. From riding elevated platforms while dancing and singing, to the more low-key moments of acoustic reflection, Swift brought a special feeling to each song. In fact, during a short break in “All Too Well,” an emotional Swift could be seen wiping a tear from her eye before continuing with a vocal performance even more robust than at the song’s beginning.

Even casual fans could leave the show impressed. Popular hit “I Knew You Were Trouble” played off an impressive Phantom of the Opera motif, while “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” playfully used circus-style costumes and dance routines to captivate the audience.

A Lasting Impression

Critics love to blast Taylor Swift, but the simple truth is that she is a talented, multi-faceted woman and musician. Her fans adore her and the music industry thrives with her in it. More than anything, Swift is authentic. Whether she’s singing about a breakup, or a life experience, Swift is herself every step of the way. What’s more, she truly appreciates her fans, and has an exceptional connection to them all. From the front row to the nosebleeds, Taylor Swift knows that you’re there, and she truly appreciates it.


State of Grace
Holy Ground
You Belong to Me
The Lucky One
Stay Stay Stay / Ho Hey
Everything Has Changed
Begin Again
Sparks Fly
I Knew Your Were Trouble
All Too Well
Love Story
We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together

Contact Robert at robert@starsandsatellites.com