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Taylor opened for Rascal Flatts and other huge country acts when she toured in support of her self-titled debut album, Taylor Swift, from 2006 to 2008. By the time she released her sophomore album, Fearless, in November of 2008, she had already rocketed to headliner status on the strength of hits including “Tim McGraw,” “Teardrops On My Guitar,” “Our Song,” “Picture to Burn” and “Should’ve Said No.”
Prior to launching her “Fearless Tour”, Taylor warmed up by playing two shows in Texas (including a sold-out gig at the “Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo” in front of nearly 71’000 fans) and one in Florida. She also played several dates in the UK and Australia, including two shows at the Shepherd’s Bush Empire in London.
Background and Development
Before the show started, video montage of Taylor and some of her friends (including Faith Hill and Lucas Till) started playing, where they each shared their own definition of being fearless. Then the show opened with the stage decorated as a school hallway. A curtain lifted and Taylor appeared at the top of the stage to the sound of thousands of screaming fans. Performing in a marching band uniform, she began singing her hit “You Belong With Me“. During the climax of the song, dancers removed her outfit to reveal a sparkling, silver dress. “Our Song” and “Tell Me Why” were performed next, before Taylor gave a speech about her high school crush Drew and his girlfriend. The backdrops of the stage turned into a library where she performed her breakthrough hit “Teardrops On My Guitar” and continued with “Fearless“, before leaving the stage for a costume change.
The “Fearless Tour” included 15 months and 110 performances on three continents and the show ran for more than 90 minutes. If Taylor was ever ready to retire the show, you wouldn’t have guessed it from how hard she worked to put across the songs. When she wasn’t acting out the songs with skits, she could really burrow into them. One of the most exciting segments began with Taylor in a red dress and “an interviewer” on red armchairs. After being insulted by a question, Taylor threw one of the armchairs across the stage, threw a fit and then proceeded to sing “Forever & Always“.
Taylor performed songs in varying locations in the stadium throughout the night. At one point, the lights were dimmed, and while the crowd was waiting for the next song, there were videos playing, mock interviews and skits. Then, screams of delight erupted in a upper level seating area. Spotlights soon revealed Taylor standing amongst her fans; there to perform “Hey Stephen” for them up close and personal. In the middle of the song she walked through the crowd, hugging and thanking everyone for attending along the way, and walked up to a B-stage. For “Tim McGraw” and “Fifteen,” a tender paean to adolescent heartache, she performed with just an acoustic guitar. The effect was magical: It was as simple and direct as the song’s heroine. The act ended with Taylor returning to the main stage, singing “White Horse“. During the song, Taylor usually looked like she might start crying. With her mouth agape and her eyes misty, she stood stock-still to survey the sight and sound of thousands of fans roaring her name every night night. She earned the adulation. For someone who had already picked up every award a 20-year-old performer could imagine, Taylor remained in awe of her fame.
The third act began with Taylor and her dancers in Renaissance attire during a performance of “Love Story”, one of the highlights of the night. She then changed into a white “wedding” gown for the final chorus of the hit song. After another quick change (this time into a purple mini-dress), she went straight into “The Way I Loved You“. At a piano, which was at the top of the stage she performed a dramatic rendition of “You’re Not Sorry“, with elements of Justin Timberlake’s “What Goes Around…Comes Around”, as her dancers, in black, performed acrobats on the bottom stage surrounded by stage fog. “Picture to Burn” and “Change” were the inofficial closers to the show, the former with fire on the backdrops, as Taylor exited for a final costume change.
During the encore, Taylor appeared on top of the stage again, in a black gown, performing “I’m Only Me When I’m With You” with her supporting acts Gloriana and Kellie Pickler; during shows in 2010, she sang “Today Was A Fairytale” alone. She then gave a speech about an ex who cheated on her and sang the final song of the night, “Should’ve Said No“. During the performance, fake rain comes from the roof of the stage and Taylor closed the show completely soaked, waving to the crows as the curtains were drawn.
At every stop on the “Fearless Tour”, six workers took five hours to transform a cinder-block holding room into an exotic tented emporium to greet fans, called the “T-Party”: a central column was decorated with snapshots of Taylor and her friends, and swaths of purple, yellow, green, and red silk were draped from the top, Maypole style, forming a billowy ceiling. Virtually everything in the T-Party room was picked out by Taylor herself.
On the “Fearless Tour”, a tradition for Taylor’s shows started: Her mother Andrea Swift or an assistant scouted the arena and selected the most enthusiastic fans. She gave each lucky fan a wristband and invited them backstage later. The idea behind the T-Party dates to Taylor’s early years, when she was opening for other country stars — Rascal Flatts, Brad Paisley, George Strait. “She would wait until the headliner got back to his bus, was having his nightcap, and was going to bed,” Andrea Swift told The New Yorker. “And that’s when we would hit the concourse level for her to sign autographs.” She said that Taylor was unimpressed with the way meet and greets usually worked. “She was, like, ‘You know, if I was ever a headliner I would want to pick out people in the audience that were just so crazy and fanatical—they’d be the ones that got to come back.’ She didn’t want you to V.I.P. your way in or bribe someone or sob-story your way in. It’s just basically the fans who it would really mean the world to just sit down and have fun and talk to her.”
Journey to Fearless
|Start Date||April 23, 2009|
|No. of Shows||118|
TAYLOR SWIFT CONCERT CHRONOLOGY