Taylor Swift at the Staples Center Saturday Night

Taylor Swift at the Staples Center Saturday Night
Christopher Victorio/OC Weekly

Taylor Swift

August 27, 2011

Staples Center

Every pair of brown boots in LA and Orange County let their owners wear them to see 21-year-old country cutie Taylor Swift in her Speak Now World Tour. This tour started on February 9 this year; by its completion in March 2012, Taylor will have performed all over the world yet again.

That being said, last night's show at Staples Center brought out tons of young kids, teens, "young adults" and of course, their parents. Most of the kids were dressed in Taylor-inspired outfits, tiaras, matching homemade t-shirts, and kids with the number 13 written on their bodies (because apparently, 13 is Taylor's favorite number). A few were carrying "We love you Taylor" signs complete with light-up effects. It was quite a sight to behold.

Taylor Swift at the Staples Center Saturday Night
Christopher Victorio/OC Weekly

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The moment every preteen in the audience was waiting for all night was signaled by the red curtain dropping; every $5 glow stick started twirling in the air. Taylor then popped up from the stage with smoke surrounding her and began to sing "Sparks Fly."

I can only describe the sound at Staples Center at that moment as deafening. The theatrical show seemed like you were watching a musical on Broadway complete with pyrotechnics; the background changing constantly, and the stage was set with winding staircases.

Taylor stopped the show several times to look at over the crowd, in awe by the size of it while shaking her head in disbelief. That's odd, because she's been selling out venues all over the world. It's hard to imagine that she was really about to fake cry looking out over the Staples Center.

She almost even mustered up a tear--but come on, her perfect Cover Girl make-up would get ruined and we all knew that wasn't going to happen. She played the Disney character part to perfection, with every feeling staged, and no room for improv. She said to the crowd, "I have thing for playing in LA. You all are the most loudest and the most bounciest crowd!" As an adult, it was laughable but as a kid...well, the screaming spoke for itself.

After about six wardrobe changes (with every outfit matching her shockingly red lipstick), I stopped counting. As she belted out all of her hits throughout the show, she moved from the stage to a lit up tree descended from the ceiling to the back of the arena. (The people who paid over $800 for their pit seats probably weren't too stoked about that, but it was nice for her fans to get a chance to be closer --even if they only paid $200 to sit in the back of the Staples Center).

While on "the tree," she sang "Fearless, "which was mixed in with "Hey Soul Sister" by Train and "I'm Yours" by Jason Mraz. I was thinking Axis of Awesome might want to look into that. She also covered "Betty Davis Eyes" by Kim Carnes (which none of the kids knew) and Maroon 5's, "This Love."

After a ton more wardrobe changes, a cameo performance by Ryan and Nash from Hot Chelle Rae, a massive set list, a ho-down the dancers, a mock wedding on the stage, and millions of paper confetti sprinkling down on us, Taylor said good night--but we knew it wasn't over yet.

After the resounding pre-pubescent chants of "Taylor! Taylor! Taylor!" she was back on the stage in a gold ball gown surrounded by her bandmates to sing, "Fifteen." The on stage, projections of pictures of the band at the age 15 and now flashed while all hands were in the air clapping and swaying to the beat. A "one man balcony" then came down from the ceiling and Taylor climbed in and flew around the Staples Center above the crowd singing her final song, "Love Story." I think I even saw a few tears drop from her fans who probably wanted this night to never end.

I will say this, it was a pretty amazing stage show. I couldn't tell if Taylor was lip-syncing but I did find it amazing that she could run around the stage and sing without ever breaking a sweat. She maintained a vision of perfection the whole show and while she didn't gain a new fan from me, I will say there was something awesome about looking around a packed house filled with kids and their parents enjoying the night together.

Taylor Swift at the Staples Center Saturday Night
Christopher Victorio/OC Weekly

Kicking off the show was Josh Kelley, who performed "Naleigh Moon" (which he wrote for and dedicated to his daughter), an odd country version of the "Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" theme song, and even odder country remix of Snoop Dogg's, "Lodi Dodi." He was pretty decent, but he asn't  who this young crowd came out to see and it was obvious.

The next opener was a band called Need To Breathe. This rocking country act, comprised of longtime friends (and a sibling) sang songs like "Let Us Love," and "Lay 'Em Down." While they had good voices and great skills instrumentally, this crowd was chanting for Taylor the whole time. Especially the little shits beside me who no doubt have laryngitis today.

Critic's Bias: Every eight to 16-year-old I knew was soooo jealous I went to this show.

The Crowd: Was there a memo sent out that I didn't get about wearing brown boots? I guess there is also something called "T-Party with Taylor" where the craziest fans would be picked to hang out with Taylor in some secret room. Trust me, plenty of kids knew about it. They carried "We want to T-Party with Taylor" signs and screamed at every person who walked by just in case they were the mystery person who could take them to meet Taylor.

Overheard in the Crowd:

"I LOVE YOU TAYLOR!"

"My friend sat down in the pit last time she saw Taylor and got a picture that was practically up her vagina!"

"This is my first concert! I am so excited!"

"Now that was incredible and super cool! O-M-G I love her!!"

"Look over there! Ashton Kutcher sighting!"

Random notebook dump: "Fall Down" count- Two people ate shit coming down the stairs by us and one person actually fell up the stairs. Love it.

Setlist:
Sparks Fly

Mine

The Story of Us

Our Song

Mean

Back to December

Speak Now

Fearless

Last Kiss

You Belong With Me

Dear John

Enchanted

Haunted

Long Live

Fifteen

Love Story

Follow OC Weekly's music blog, Heard Mentality, on Twitter @ocweeklymusic and like us on Facebook!


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