The RED Tour
Table of Contents
Background and Development
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.
The RED Tour Movie
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.
|Start Date||March 13, 2013|
|No. of Shows||86|
Florida Georgia Line
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