‘The lights are so bright but they never blind me, Welcome to… San Diego. Every seat in Petco Park was occupied on Saturday, Aug. 29th to see the legendary Taylor Swift in action. The night was to be filled with screaming, crying, perfect storms, and yes, bright lights. In the most unexpected and beautiful way, this concert was lit.
Every person in the audience received an electronic bracelet. When the lights went down and the intro to ‘Welcome to New York’ started, we soon discovered that lights in the bracelet flashed according to the music and were wonderstruck. More than 42,000 lights shined, the screaming color and booming music fully immersing the audience into the show. The concert had barely started and I was already in tears.
These bracelets had the power not only to connect a baseball stadium full of strangers to each other, but each of us to Swift. We were a part of the show just as the lights on the stage were, as her dancers were, as she was. Swift herself professed her love for the bracelets, enjoying the fact that she could see each and every one of us in the audience.
As the night rolled on, it became apparent that the bracelets would not be the only surprise. Swift’s new rendition of her hit single “I Knew You Were Trouble” started out slow and dark and later picked up a rock and roll vibe. And no Swift performance would be complete without flawless choreography to match. This was not only a concert, but a piece of art, with background dancers, costume changes, fireworks, and smoke machines. Not to mention her rising and rotating stage, which took her above the audience, ascending towards the skies among the heavens and angels- where she truly belongs.
Even her fingers emitted poise and grace as she struck each piano key with confidence and skill during the “Wildest Dreams” and “Enchanted” mash-up. And as if she wasn’t enchanting enough, Swift threw off her tulle skirt and strutted out from behind the piano, gleaming and radiant in a golden, bedazzled jumpsuit that shimmered under the spotlight like the sun emerging from behind a cloud after a rainy day. Needless to say, I was in tears all over again.
The show also included surprise performances from fellow pop stars Omi and Avril Lavigne, who sang “Cheerleader” and “Complicated,” respectively. The amount of pull that Swift has in the industry is definitely astounding, but the thing that I really got from her guest performances was this: The show is not all about her. This may seem counter-intuitive- it is , after all, her concert, and it is her who tens of thousands of people have come to see- but it’s true. The show was about us, the fans who had been loving her for quite some time and will continue to for many years to come. She was not obligated to bring a guest star, much less two, but Swift had made it happen for the fan’s experience.
As I realized this, I thought back to other events of the concert. While performing “Wildest Dreams”, Swift let the audience take lead vocals for a while as she played piano and sang back-up vocals.
Throughout the concert, she was not the Taylor Swift- singer-songwriter and pop-star extraordinaire. Swift had the aura of a cool older sister who loves cats, lets you borrow her clothes, and has dance parties with you in her room. We felt included, we felt appreciated, we felt loved. Swift’s skills lie not only in her musical talent and stage presence, but her ability to connect with the audience and make 42,000 strangers feel like best friends.
I will never get over the gleam in her eyes as she took in the glow of our bracelets or how beautiful her voice sounds live. The night was sparkling, and I will forever and always be proud to wear my 1989 t-shirt because of it.