Eddino Abdul Hadi
The Straits Times
9 November 2015
Watching the pop spectacle that is the Taylor Swift show, one can see that she really, really wants to be your friend.
And that is the kind of pull that she has over her burgeoning fanbase dubbed the Swifties.
She may be one of the biggest and most successful pop stars in recent years, but she will also have you believe that she is just an ordinary person who goes through the same concerns like all the mostly young people who listen to her music.
Her in-between song banter - and there was quite a bit of it during the 105-minute-long gig - was all about how distance might separate her from her fans in Singapore, but she is super appreciative of them investing so much of themselves in the music.
"We go through the same things, the same insecurities, the same doubts," she assured the 9,000 fans, most of whom were teenagers and young women.
Tickets to her two shows at the Singapore Indoor Stadium last Saturday and yesterday were sold out soon after they went on sale earlier this year - a clear sign of how popular she is here.
Amid upbeat, sprightly tunes including Welcome To New York and I Wish You Would, both from her most recent, mega-selling album 1989, she dished out plenty of advice - do not let strangers or haters get you down, surround yourself only with people who genuinely care and love you.
Jaded observers might find it all incredibly preachy. But it went down well among her fans because these motivational messages were wrapped up in a concert full of multi-coloured lasers, LED lights and her endless costume changes, most of which contained copious amounts of glitter.
Being on top of the pop game also meant it was not enough for the audience to hear her singing live, she had to give them a grand show.
She pulled this off splendidly, thanks mostly to a massive runway that not only rose high above the audience but also made 360-degree turns just so all the people in the audience, whether they were in the expensive or cheap seats, could see her up close.
All this while she and her dancers were singing, dancing, or playing the guitar or the keyboards.
The huge screens behind the main stage zoomed in and captured her face in close-up.
Her make-up was flawless and she was picture-perfect even while the dancers around her were sweating buckets. Her form-fitting outfits showed off her slender figure as she strutted down the runway.
She might not have the biggest range but her soprano cut through much of the bombastic instru- ments, played by a backing band.
Some of her big hits were subjected to makeovers. Cranked out by a white Fender Jaguar electric guitar, We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together sounded a lot heftier than the recorded version as Swift rocked out and got the audience to join in spirited singalongs.
Surrounded by chiselled and topless male dancers, she slowed down I Knew You Were Trouble a notch and gave the same treatment to Love Story, adding a new dimension to familiar tunes.
There were a couple of disappointments at the show.
One was the lack of an encore following the last song, a jubilant version of Shake It Off. The other was the absence of any surprise guests.
After all, her current 1989 world tour has been making headlines for featuring cameos from music celebrities like Mick Jagger to sports stars like Serena Williams.
All Singapore got instead were video interviews with members of her "squad", including actress- writer Lena Dunham, model- actress Cara Delevingne as well as members of indie-pop sisters Haim.
As expected, they were all effusive in saying how wonderful it was to be hanging out with Swift - it really pays to be her friend, it seems.
See more photos related to the article in the gallery below.
This article was first published on November 11, 2015.
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