Here are five things we learned from Taylor Swift’s maiden concert in Kuala Lumpur on June 11.
1. She can sing live
At the 2010 Grammys, Taylor Swift was lambasted by critics for her off-pitch performance with rock legend Stevie Nicks. (The Los Angeles Times called it a “strikingly bad vocal performance”.)
But when the seven-time Grammy winner took the stage at Stadium Putra, Bukit Jalil, last Wednesday night with State Of Grace, not only was the 24-year-old songstress pitch-perfect, she exuded an unshakeable confidence. It’s as if she knew she sounded good … and she did.
“You’ll never hear her lip-synching. It’s not something she believes in,” said mother Andrea Swift at the backstage tour of the KL show, courtesy of lead sponsor AIA.
She testified about her daughter’s dedication, recalling an incident where the singer woke up while touring one day without her voice, yet insisted on singing live anyway.
“It’s her way of saying thank you to her fans.”
2. Her country days are gone
If there is one thing The Red Tour proves, it is that Swift is no longer a country singer. She is a pop star.
Naturally, many of the songs performed were pop-oriented as she was promoting her latest album, Red, that leaned almost entirely on the pop-rock genre but as a huge fan of country music, I can’t help but feel slightly disappointed.
If it’s any consolation, the Wyomissing, Pennsylvania-native did perform one (vaguely) country-sounding number, Mean, which sees her rocking a banjo. (Swift also took on older pop favourites like Love Story, You Belong With Me and Enchanted).
Nevertheless, given the fact that only so few country stars successfully make the leap from country to pop, The Red Tour is a celebration of her achievement in solidifying her place in the pop genre.
3. She changes into an outfit in 3.5 seconds
“Don’t even blink,” Andrea, who is affectionately known as Mama Swift, warned us, dropping hints that the singer will make a quick costume change on a song that has the word “trouble” in it. (She’s quite a tease, isn’t she?)
True enough, for I Knew You Were Trouble, Swift changed out of a white dress into a black sequined shirt-and-pant number at the drop of a hat. At 3.5 seconds, that was the fastest costume change in all her shows so far, Mama Swift shared.
With seven outfits to change into within the 75-minute show, no wonder she has to do it quickly! But with each costume change, the show reminds audiences that Swift is a serious fashion icon and not to mention she has a, well, red-hot, figure.
4. She is a multi-instrumentalist
“Nobody should touch this,” declared Mama Swift as we approached what looked like a rack filled with six guitars before explaining that each guitar has been tuned specifically for the song her daughter will perform later.
In addition to singing live, Mama Swift stressed that the singer believes all instruments must be played live. In the show, Swift herself plays the piano, banjo, hand drum and an assortment of electric and acoustic guitars from the rack.
5. She gets lonely sometimes
The show tries to make fans feel a sense of closeness to their idol. Besides talking to fans steadily throughout the show, Swift opened her life up to audiences with videos such as one at the start of her The Lucky One performance.
“They tell you you have everything, you are lucky, but no one tells you you are going to be lonely,” she revealed in the video before launching into the song documenting the price one has to pay for fame.
Is it just me or does it sound like something we’ve heard before from another older (and err … fallen) pop star? Just saying.