Concert Review: Taylor Swift Live in Singapore

She may have been dumped by half the hot male pop and movie stars in Hollywood, but Taylor Swift is 100% LOVED by Singapore – if the reaction of the 10,000 or so mostly female, mostly pubescent, fans who attended her show last night at Indoor Stadium is anything to go by.
The concert – which sold out quicker than a teenage romance when tickets went on sale last fall – kicked off Swift’s world tour in support of her latest album, “Speak Now.” The mere mention of her name by Sezairi Sezali (who warmed up the crowd) brought screams of anticipation, and when Swift eventually took the stage wearing a sexy champagne-colored dress, the roof basically lifted off the place with a combination of shrieks, tears and unleashed Taylormania.
For her part, Swift delivered exactly what the crowd wanted. Lots of hits, lots of smiles, lots of hair-flipping and a few lessons in life and love.
Saying she always wrote songs about “love and heartbreak, heartbreak and love, love and heartbreak” she launched into angst-filled songs like “Never Grow Up,” “Speak Now,” “Better Than Revenge” and “Back to December.” The last one, she tactfully noted, she wrote to say sorry to a guy that she had dumped. Well, turnabout is fair play.
The staging was strong and the ginormous video monitor directly behind gave an intimacy to the performance that perfectly connected with fans. Through the course of the evening we saw many sides of the 21-year-old: pretty Taylor, sexy Taylor, jealous Taylor, earnest Taylor, happy Taylor, sad Taylor, defiant Taylor and wistful Taylor.
“Even though we don’t speak the same language, we all feel the same things,” she said, referring both to the universality of her themes and the fact that she was playing to an Asian audience for the first time (and obviously having already been exposed to Singlish).
Although Swift trades on a down-to-earth sweetness, we did at times detect a vengeful glint in her eye (not to mention her lyrics) that makes us wonder if she will one day consolidate power as Queen of the Tweens and send them all out like zombies to wreak havoc on anyone who has done her wrong (Jake Gyllenhaal, watch your back).
A highlight of the evening was an intimate set played mid-way through the concert at the back of the stadium. Taylor (bravely) made her way through the swarming crowd from the main stage to the sound booth, where a smaller stage was set with just a stool and a mike. There she strummed everything from 12-string guitar to ukulele (“for happy songs”) as she ran through crowd-pleasers like “Fifteen” and “Fearless.”
By the time she encored with “Love Story,” she was gushing “we love you Singapore” and seemed genuinely overwhelmed by the adoration in the room. It was hard for even the most cynical grown-up hearts not to have fallen a little bit in love with her, too. Taylor is the real deal. Talented. Obviously hard-working. Eager to please. If her material successfully moves from teen romantic angst to more sophisticated themes (for instance, adult romantic angst) she will be set for a long and interesting career.