The RED Tour
RED was full of sonic shockers, so it was only natural for the eponymous supporting tour to match. By this point in her career, Taylor 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”).
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”, Taylor announced that she would launch a North American stadium and arena tour in early 2013 in support of her fourth studio album, RED. During a radio interview with WRVW, she teased that “it’s nothing like any other tour before.” Before embarking on the “RED Tour” alongside opening act Ed Sheeran, Taylor told Billboard:
“Of course, you know the tour will be a big representation of this record. 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.” — Taylor Swift
The “RED Tour” was flashy, incorporated circus elements and took full advantage of the stadiums that had now become the norm for her concerts, and was highly well-received critically. It also smashed the record for all-time revenue for a single tour by a country artist (even though most would probably agree she had fled the country coop by then).
Seeing Taylor live in 2013 was seeing a maestro at the top of her or anyone’s game. No other pop auteur could touch her for emotional excess or musical reach. The red sequins on her guitar matched the ones on her microphone, her shoes and 80 percent of the crowd. Her set was mostly new songs from RED, one of the slickest, smartest and just plain best mega-pop statements of our time. “Hi, I’m Taylor,” she said by way of an introduction. “I write songs about my feelings. I’m told I have a lot of feelings.”
Nobody could touch her for fan hysteria, either. The audience was part of the show, with their homemade red costumes, placards, Lite Brite codes and more glowsticks than an Inspiral Carpets reunion. For most of them, Taylor was the first girl they’ve seen play a guitar, a signifier that cannot be denied. Once the lights went out, the screaming never flagged, and neither did the star. But the best moment 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, just a girl and her piano and several thousand other girls singing along. It was the highlight of a show that was nothing but highlights.
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 performer really hit that pitch of happy/free/confused/lonely hormonal anguish with so much wit and empathy. Taylor was a true arena-rock goddess at an amazing peak.
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 sang a song that a fan from the pre-show Meet & Greet wanted to hear.
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