Taylor Swift combines slumber party fun with a killer pop show at Dublin’s 3Arena. Read TEN's review of Monday night's gig.
“Hello Dublin! My name is Taylor and if there is one thing you should know about me it’s that I was born in 1989!” Ok, so most of the Swifties in the 3Arena last night weren’t around in 1989 but pop’s Golden Girl sure knows her audience.
In a two-hour set, the Apple eating Queen of all Pop ranged from slumber party confessionals to big production numbers full of Broadway pizzazz. Taylor delivers pure pop with heavy doses of girl power and a froth of determined and infectious self-affirmation.
It’s a set heavy with songs from her 8.9 million-selling 1989 album and from opening song Welcome to New York, it’s all about visual spectacle but soul baring moments that sound like cherished advice from pop's ultimate big sister.
Taylor, dressed in eighties ra-ra skirt, glittery jacket and ankle boots, commands all the attention as she sashays and preens on a stage set which starts as New York’s Radio City but gives way to hydraulic platform to gymnasium to glittery ballroom.
13,000 Irish Swifties are eating out of her well-manicured hand within seconds and those wristbands, the ones that light up and pulse as soon as she hits the stage, provide some kind of immediate connection for euphoric tweens, teens and even nods of approval from impressed adults.
She breaks off into the first of many monologues to regale us with her own borrowed memories of the oft-maligned 1980s. Movies like The Breakfast Club and Pretty in Pink are name checked but Swift also shows her roots with a tender country interlude that reminds us that this non-threatening righteous babe started off as a Shania Twain wannabe with porch light and not mirror balls lighting her way.
Melissa Etheridge may have been another influence as Swift straps on an electric guitar and powerchords her way through a stand-out I Knew You Were Trouble. For I Know Places, she slips in and out of a series of doorways, goes all pastel pink and coquettish on How You Get the Girl, and then hints at a dark heart to all this sunshine pop with a brilliant Bad Blood.
Taylor may be critic proof and there is so much love in the room that she may also be also cynic proof. However, the frequent lapses into Oprah-talk sound overly rehearsed but the video inserts of famous Swifties such as Lena Durham, Selena Gomez, Cara Delevingne and Haim all expressing their undying respect for Swift are kooky and kinda touching. One of the biggest cheers of the night rings out when another clip shows Taylor struggling to herd her now famous cats, Meredith and Olivia.
At one point she makes a remarkable speech about the internet. Commanding the catwalk, which has now shifted into a revolving platform high above the audience, she tells her congregation about how much she enjoys social media as a way of staying in touch with fans but also warns that it can divide as much as bring people together, before concluding that “it’s incredibly difficult to be happy in 2015. We are so much meaner to ourselves than other people can be. You are not someone else’s opinion of you!”
Up on the command centre that looks like prow of a mighty ship (queen of the world indeed) she regales the audience with memories of her last Dublin visit and relays unifying tales of her own romantic experiences to the sound of a churchy organ.
She says that when it came to love, she was always “on the outside looking in”. A certain 6' 5" Scottish DJ, watching side of stage at the 3Arena, may have changed all that.
The inevitable and hugely enjoyable encore of Shake It Off ends an energetic pop spectacle. Swift’s rise from Nashville teen to universally adored New York pop sophisticate is complete. As a spectacle of self-affirmation and non-stop pop, a Swift show is a big arena event with the feel of a giant slumber party.
Click on the video link to watch TEN's report from the 3Arena.