America's fluffy sweetheart pours on the saccharine
Oh my gosh … dropping one of her Grammys last month.
Photo: Jenny Evans
Photo: Jenny Evans
Acer Arena, February 6
Reviewed by Fenella Henderson-Zuel (aged 15) and Bernard Zuel (a bit older than 15)
ACCEPTING her Grammys last month, 20-year-old Taylor Swift, who writes million-selling songs about schoolyard crushes, boyfriends dumping you and exacting revenge on said ex-boyfriends in pop rock songs which pay lip service to country, was all omigosh, I can't believe this is for little ol' me. Repeatedly.
At Acer we saw another side of the same coin: a performer well schooled in working and milking a crowd (so much so that about
80 minutes of music extended to nearly two hours of show); much less of the surprised teen and much more of the star basking (that self-satisfied look she had often was instructive); and as adroit as any of the classy Disney factory in balancing cheesiness and well-practised sincerity (as in her hand on the heart declaration of ''I can't express how in love with you I am at this moment, Sydney''.)
From You Belong With Me, performed in High School Musical fashion with dancers and band in cheerleader/marching-band outfits and Swift in drum major threads ripe for being pulled off to reveal a spangly dress, to Should've Said No, nine outfits later, Swift was never less than on-message and in control.
Her voice may have no power or character when in regular mode but she has a belter setting which kicks arse. Her songs may be mostly generic but at least structurally, melodically and lyrically they feel like the work of a talented teenager not a Music Row hack. Her shtick may be old school but her audience is new school, and screamingly happy.
AS Taylor Swift rose on to the stage to tumultuous applause, she looked like just what she was: a girl living her dream, and having the time of her life. It didn't matter that her dance moves were slightly unco-ordinated, the constant rumpling of her famous blonde waves made her appear endearingly sweet and the audience felt like they were at the concert of the girl down the street. You couldn't help but be enchanted by her.
The Fearless Tour is neither as flashy as Britney, nor as sophisticated as Beyoncé, but the use of fellow teens Miley Cyrus, Demi Lovato and Texas heartthrob Lucas Till in a video montage preceding the main show helped set the mood of fluffy teenage fun.
But even an excited 20-year-old may find it hard to be forgiven when she stands basking in the applause one too many times and spends 10 minutes wading through a crowd of fans, hugging and clasping hands with anyone who gets close enough, leaving the rest of the audience to wait for her to return to the stage.
Still, the concert was a great night out, an excuse to wave glow-sticks and sing till you were hoarse, to be "taken back in time" for the fairytale Love Story and dream of the boy-next-door with The Way I Love You.
Be warned: if you break Swifty's heart, mess with her friends, or fail to admit that her new album is your current guilty pleasure, she will write a song about you.
But to any guy mentioned in her songs, just count yourself lucky you didn't date Lily Allen.