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Taylor-Made

Posted on Aug 2, 2015

She was born in 1989. That’s one of the things Taylor Swift wants you to know about her. Another thing she wants you to know is that all of your mistakes make you cleaner. Okay, just try to follow along, I’m honestly not trying to lose you.

The Taylor Swift concert tonight was like marriage – so full of good things and bad things that you can’t tell which is which sometimes. For example, I thought she was going to come on at 9. She came on at 8:45 – and completely caught me off guard! I was delighted, but would have been annoyed had I not already been at my seat. 

The light-up wristbands that were controlled by who-knows-what were a magical touch – it was amazing to see the whole stadium light up with different colours, the same colours, and synchronized colour schemes. And as soon as we left the stadium, they died. Or at least mine did, and my son’s, but my daughter’s still lights up every time she touches it, so maybe the ones from the floor section keep working. Whatever. It’s a cool keepsake for her. It was a special treat, there’s no doubt.

Not only did the audience light up, so did the stage. For one particular number, there was a lighted umbrella and lights on the dancers’ clothes that gave it an animated feel. When Taylor’s cute pink dress lit up, my son said “I want Taylor’s dress! I want to take it from her.” Awww, how sweet. He’s all about the costumes though. He did NOT like it when they had the steam blowing up from beside the ramp – “I don’t like the volcanos!” he said with a pout. Hah! He only expresses dislike when he’s tired, so I knew he was about to pass out. Which he did right when the special guests came out.

When Nico and Vinz came out to sing with Taylor, they set that place ablaze with their energy! The crowd loved them, they loved the crowd, and that song was the ONE act where Taylor really let loose. Were you there? Do you know what I’m talking about? Did you get the natural fun vibe during that song? It was probably the only part of the entire 2 hour show that was not pretentious! While it was probably rehearsed, it was not polished and plastic like the rest of it…

Now, now, calm down, I am not saying it was BAD. What I’m saying is that it was an exact replica of every other show she’s done on this tour. Sure, she substituted the name “Vancouver” in the correct places, and sure she knew she was here 2 years ago (or at least that’s what they told her), and sure she knew how many people were in the stadium. But aside from those little tidbits, the rest was all photocopied, and yes, sometimes even poor!

The entire time I watched her, all I could think was “she is so phony!” But then I think “who cares if she’s phony?! She put on a damned good show and every screaming kid in there thought that she was talking and smiling and waving directly at THEM, and that’s the feel-good way I WANT them to walk away – on cloud 9. 

But I’m not a screaming teenager, I’m an adult who can tell a well-rehearsed and disconnected show when I see one. She told stories that were, on the surface at least, heartfelt and sincere. They were not. Every word was calculated, every smile, every wink, every turn of the head was carefully planned. There was no spontaneous anything, save that one specific dancing instance with Nico and Vinz. 

She walked like she’d taken modelling classes (or as the pole-dancers refer to it, the stripper strut), with the leg being kicked upward at the end of the stride and lifted high in front, with a little almost skip when the hip juts out. This walk works well for her stature, but looks awkward and put-on simply because she is who she is – I would’ve been more impressed if she’d skipped down the catwalk in Keds rather than strutted in those heels. 

Add to that her gaping mouth, which looked less sultry and more like she was lacking oxygen, and you have a recipe for uncomfortableness. This whole shtick is something Katy Perry or better yet, Rihanna, can get away with – they’ve got a certain sexy factor and swagger that Taylor tried for but just can’t pull off. The same goes for the choreography. The dancing lessons have not paid off, but I certainly can’t fault her for it – her timing is right but she doesn’t quite have the technique yet. The head didn’t snap to the side like it should have, and when she ran her hand down her torso it made me cringe. I am thankful there weren’t any hip thrusts or dry humping though. Whew!

Yes, the show was all contrived. But that’s what a show is – it’s a hightly choreographend, over-produced, professionally crafted work of art. It’s rehearsed for months until it’s ready to be performed in dozens of cities in the exact same way. The show was undeniably GOOD. The music and the singing were amazing, the cosutmes and set designs and lighting and backup performers were all incredible! Undeniably incredible. Impressive as hell!

But what disappointed me was how incredibly hard she tried, which simply came across as phony to me. And now I’m questioning everything I’ve always believed about her. I saw a random headline on social media this week that suggested Taylor Swift was manipulative and calculating, that she’s orchestrated and staged every single thing you’ve read about her. But I scrolled past, intending to go back and read it, then forgot. Now I wish I had read it, because I have a feeling I might agree with it…

And in the end, who gives a crap?! The music was fantastic, the show was one of my favourites, and I’m still going to love Taylor Swift (though I likely won’t be watching any of her videos, but I don’t think she really cares if I do or don’t. Haha!)