Home » Tours » The RED Tour

The RED Tour


“The RED Tour” was Taylor’s third concert tour. Launched in support of her fourth studio album, RED (2012), the tour began on March 13, 2013 in Omaha, Nebraska, and concluded on June 12, 2014 in Singapore. It became the highest-grossing tour by a country artist in history, bringing in an overall gross of $150 million.
Seeing Taylor live in 2013 was seeing a maestro at the top of her or anyone’s game. “The RED Tour” was flashy, incorporated circus elements and took full advantage of the stadiums that had now become the norm for her concerts. Hipster costumes, advanced pyrotechnics, and plenty of fan interaction set her third major tour apart from her previous concerts. RED was also not only the title of her current album and show, it was the predominant color scheme favored by Taylor for her double-storey stage, the visuals and videos on her giant LED screen backdrop and multiple costume changes. The red sequins on her guitar matched the ones on her microphone, her shoes and 80 percent of the crowd.
Table of Contents

Background and Development

While she was immersed in promotional appearances for her new album, Taylor was already hatching plans for the concert tour. On October 25, 2012, in partnership with ABC News on the prime-time TV special “All Access Nashville with Katie Couric — A Special Edition of 20/20”, she announced that she would launch a North American stadium and arena tour in early 2013 in support of RED. “Of course, you know the tour will be a big representation of this record,” Taylor later told Billboard. “I’m so excited to see what songs the fans like the most and which ones jump to the forefront, because that’s the first step. We always see which songs are really the passionate songs and the ones the fans are freaking out over the most, and those are the ones that are definitely in the set list. I can’t wait for that.” She also teased that “The RED Tour” would look a lot different than her previous concert tours, the “Fearless Tour” (2009-2010) and the “Speak Now World Tour” (2011-2012):

«The visuals portrayed on this tour will be, I guess, more grown-up and a little bit more mature than things we’ve done in the past. I think on my previous albums and my previous tours, I’ve really liked to operate in the element of fantasy, and I think that this tour incorporates a little bit more reality into the visuals, which is nice.»

Tickets began going on sale Nov. 16 for Taylor’s original 58-date trek, which would be stopping at mostly arenas and nine stadiums. It was also announced that up-and-coming British singer-songwroter Ed Sheeran, who guests on the RED track “Everything Has Changed,” would be the main opening act for the North American  leg of the tour.

The Show

The audience was an important part of the show on “The RED Tour,” with their homemade red costumes, placards, Lite Brite codes and so many glowsticks that Taylor decided to just gift everyone in the audience a glowing wristband, come next tour. Seeing Taylor onstage during “The RED Tour” was witnessing a level of total commitment, total fan fervor, total connection between audience and performer. No other pop auteur could touch her for emotional excess or musical reach. By this point in her career, she was “feelin’ 22,” and made her growth clear by entering the stage to Lenny Kravitz’s “American Woman” (having previously used Tom Petty’s “American Girl”). Taylor was a true arena-rock goddess at an amazing peak.

Once the lights went out, the screaming never flagged, and neither did the star. Drums started to play, a guitar solo kicked in and Taylor’s giant silhouette appeared on a red curtain. When it dropped for the first chorus of “State of Grace,” she appeared, wearing a black hat, white lacey top, black leather shorts and sparkling, sequined ruby red oxford shoes, smiling, wide-eyed and full of wonder. As the ceiling over the stage exploded in a cascade of sparks, she took in the view of the crowd with amazement, even though she long ago sold out her first stadium.

It soon turned out that every song was its own mini-show. The impressive production techniques continued with Taylor grabbing a fluorescent, flashing drum to beat in the dark during the second song, the fan-favorite “Holy Ground.” 12 other drummers leaped between floor and ceiling, bouncing on harnesses as they pounded along.
Nobody could touch Taylor for fan hysteria, either. After darting around the stage for the first few minutes of the show, she made the first of a number of heartfelt speeches to her adoring crowd. “Hi, I’m Taylor,” she said by way of an introduction to the sound of thousands of screaming fans. “I write songs about my feelings. I’m told I have a lot of feelings.” She then gently warned the audience to “expect the unexpected” before topping off the opening segment with a rendition of “Red,” complete with an impressive flag-waving gymnastic routine from her dancers. A quick costume change and she returned with her early hit “You Belong With Me” before a set change to recall a bygone Hollywood era for “The Lucky One.”

Through her eight wardrobe changes during the show, Taylor added many other set design changes, which was meant to take fans through the story of her songs. In fact, she spent quite a bit of time talking to the audience. Before “Mean” she spoke about bullying and how she vowed to never be mean to anyone on purpose after she was treated poorly in school as a child. On a brighter note, she championed the good parts of a past relationship with an upbeat mashup of her own “Stay Stay Stay“ and The Lumineers’ “Ho Hey.”

The mechanics of the show involved everyone. There was an inner pit, where fans could stand in between the catwalks which jutted out of the stage. Those seats were only made available to members of her official fan club, but Taylor also had a B-stage at the back of the floor seating area where she performed a few songs. Her most recent hit, “22,” sent her around the side of the arena floor, through the screaming crowd, along with her dancers, to the small stage at the rear. She touched as many waving hands as she could along the way, singing all the while. It is a signature move of Taylor’s, to perform specially for the back of the stadium, and she exceeded expectations this time. Sitting on her sparkly red stool, playing acoustic guitar, the second stage rose high into the arena, and revolved, as she first sang a secret surprise song, then duetted with Ed Sheeran for “Everything Has Changed” and finally performed the ballad “Begin Again.” Then she launched into “Sparks Fly” and flew over the audience back to the main stage just in time for more fireworks.

Her final five tracks provided even more highlights. Arguably the best moment of the night was the double-shot of “I Knew You Were Trouble.” into “All Too Well.” Taylor turned “Trouble” into a blast of razzle-dazzle choreography in fancy-dress masquerade-ball mode. Then she sat alone to play “All Too Well,” her most majestic ballad. “So this happened to me one time and I knew that in order to get past it I needed to write about it,” she said before the song. “So instead of trying to write how I felt about it, I just decided that it might be better to just write about what happened, because I remembered everything.” It was just her and her piano and several thousand other girls singing along. It was the highlight of a show that was nothing but highlights.

Love Story” and “Treacherous” followed, complete with a music box theme and an (almost) Cirque Du Soleil inspired routine with the dancers performing as wind-up ballerinas. Finally, the finale was truly outstanding. It was like Alice and Wonderland had wandered into a circus tent, with rabbits and stilt-walkers everywhere, and Taylor was their ring-leader in a red sequinned coat and top hat, clearly loving every sly moment of “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together.” The catwalk lifted up and spun her out across the audience, as heart-shaped red confetti canons exploded, and she led everyone in a deafening sing along, before saying thank you, good night, and disappearing back under the stage. There was no need for an encore — fans had already gotten everything they came for and more.

Secret Song

Every night, Taylor would sing a secret song — an acoustic version of one of her old songs. Fans could suggest songs online through Twitter and Facebook and Taylor would sing the most requested one. Sometimes she also performed a song that a fan from the pre-show Meet & Greet wanted to hear.

Surprise Guests

A fan of the concert cameo, Taylor welcomed many special surprise guests to her tour. Highlights include Carly Simon, who performed her classic hit “You’re So Vain” with Taylor at Gillette Stadium, Fall Out Boy, who appeared to sing “My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark,” and Jennifer Lopez, who brought the house down at Staples Center with “Jenny from the Block.”

The RED Tour Movie

The “Red Tour” remains Taylor’s only concert tour to never have been filmed. According to the CEO of her former label Big Machine, Scott Borchetta, he and the management never planned to film the concert or to put it on DVD. He said Taylor also never insisted to film “The RED Tour” due to her process of switching genres. Rumours online suggest that there was in fact a concert film in the works, but some serious allegations regarding the director got revealed at the time — which is why the project was permanently scrapped.

Club RED

Club RED was the name of the VIP backstage meet and greet for “The RED Tour.” As they did on Taylor’s previous tours, her Andrea Swift and members of Taylor Nation hand-picked fans that stood out the most during the concert: they had spent the entire concert screaming, crying, and bobbing mega-size Meredith cat heads in the crowd — hoping to get picked by Taylor’s team to go to the exclusive event. The setup for Club RED included a bar, fridges stacked with Diet Cokes (a nod to the main sponsor of the tour), dining booths, sleek silver and red décor, a photobooth and lots of free food, including pizza. Once Taylor showed up, she would chat with every fan in the room, sign one of their belongings, and take a picture with them.

Critical Reception

“The RED Tour” received positive reviews from music critics, with many citing Taylor’s atmospheric performances as a specific area of praise. Writing for Rolling Stone, Rob Sheffield praised her “emotional excess [and] musical reach”, while Rebbeca Nicholson of The Guardian gave a 5-star review, stating Taylor was “staggeringly nice” and a “consummate crowd pleaser”. Digital Spy contributor Emma Dibdin stated the tour combined “whimsical spectacle with Swift’s trademark emotional intimacy,” and that it “capitalises on exactly what makes Swift such a powerful figure for her audience, the sincere blend of aspirational and relatable.”


Taylor became the first solo female artist in 20 years to headline a national stadium tour through Australia, with the last being Madonna’s “The Girlie Show World Tour” in 1993. Taylor performed to a crowd of over 40,900 fans at the Allianz Stadium in Sydney, Australia, becoming the first female artist in history to sell out the stadium since it was opened in 1988.

“The RED Tour” also became the highest-grossing tour by a country artist in history, bringing in an overall gross of $150 million surpassing the prior country artist record held by double-billed Tim McGraw and Faith Hill “Soul2Soul II Tour” that brought in $141 million.
General Information
Associated Album
Start DateMarch 13, 2013
End Date
North America
No. of Shows86
Attendance1.7 million
Box Office
$150.2 million
Opening Acts
Ed Sheeran
Florida Georgia Line
Austin Mahone
Brett Eldredge
Joel Crouse
Casey James
Guy Sebastian
Neon Trees
Andreas Bourani
The Vamps
Nicole Zefanya
Meg Bucsit
Speak Now World Tour (2011-2012)The RED Tour (2013-2014)The 1989 World Tour (2015)
Tour Poster
Tour Trailer
Tour Teaser
Tour Rehearsals
Club RED


(Taylor's Version)

RED (2012)

RED Songs