Taylor Swift

Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, PA July 6, 2013

by Michael Rampa

Taylor Swift has certainly experienced her share of detractors. Many critics wondered if she could carry a stadium show.  Carry it? More like burns it down. Her show features scorching guitars, an electric fiddle and plentiful pyro. The ingénue has morphed into a mature pop star at the ripe old age of 23. Gone are the days of the adorable teen queen. Swift is now a seasoned sexy vixen who knows how to expertly work the camera and the record sellout crowds. The “Red” tour’s set list reflects her maturity. It is short on fairy princesses and heavy on life lessons. Only five numbers in the 17-song set were from her prior, teen angst filled albums. On this steamy night, Pittsburgh’s Heinz Field was the perfect venue.  The stadium named after the world’s most famous ketchup showcased all things red from the elaborate stage to her blinding lip gloss. She opened in sultry silhouette with the arena rock ready, “State Of Grace.”  The crowd was then treated to nearly two hours of mostly new music by pop music’s most grateful artist. Much of Swift’s appeal comes from the sincere appreciation of her fans and her good fortune in life.  She dedicates a portion of the show to a B stage and delivers a few numbers to the nosebleed seats. She then high fives her way back to the main stage and even kissed a baby on this trip. The title track was performed only three songs in. ”I Knew You Were Trouble” opened with a heavy metal electric fiddle intro played by, who else? a dazzling redhead. Swift displayed her own instrumental prowess with the banjo on ”Mean.” She can also go touching acoustic, on guitar or unaccompanied at the piano, as she did for “All Too Well.”  Costume changes were plentiful and varied. From the cheerleader innocence of “22” to the black leotard  sported on “I Knew You Were Trouble,” there was never a dull fashion moment.  She closed with one of her catchiest and arguably most irritating song to date, “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together.”


Prior to the show,  the crowd did  the wave while her Diet Coke and fragrance commercials ran on the video screens.  Whether she likes it or not, the Reading, PA native has become a cultural phenomenon. Having risen to stardom under the country umbrella, she is now clearly the world’s biggest pop star.


The trio of openers featured Austin Mahoney who reminded everyone of how horrendous the boy band days were. Thankfully, Indie star Ed Sheeran took over and lent some credibility to the tough time slot.