Taylor Swift connects with Heinz Field crowd during 1989 World Tour stop
Taylor Swift sang to a stadium of 55,000 people Saturday night, turning Heinz Field into her living room and making you feel like you were invited to her special party.
Swift’s 1989 World Tour was her third stadium show in Pittsburgh, and she performed tracks on her latest album along with rocked-out remixes of favorites from earlier records. Vance Joy and Shawn Mendes opened, with each supplying great vocals. Joy worked the crowd with his hits “Riptide” and “Mess Is Mine.”
What makes Swift’s music so magnetic to so many was on full display Saturday. Mostly women, from young girls to moms, filled the crowd, giddy for their story to intersect with Swift’s for one night.
She personalized the show, telling fans what inspired her songs and asking them to sing along and dance to them with her. Audience members had rubber wrist bands that lit and blinked to her beats, extending the stage to the corners of the stadium.
The show was equal parts music and theater. Each one told a story, as Swift, and her trove of men, lit up, and danced out them out on stage.
Early, on, she reminded fans where she came from. They remembered.
“I was born in Pennsylvania in 1989,” she said to cheers. “I remember 10 years ago singing the national anthem in this stadium for a Steelers game.”
She opened the show with “Welcome to New York,” then slid into “New Romantics,” a bonus track on her 1989 album.
Her vocal range was best showcased on “Clean” and on several tracks she sang without backup on an elevated platform, playing guitar or the keyboard.
Swift performed and spoke to fans like they were on the couch with her. She thanked them several times for coming over and hanging out. This night, this party, she told the crowd, was its own kind of special.
She wove songs like “Bad Blood” and “All You Had To Do Was Stay” together with fireside-chat interludes, telling her audience how she got inspiration for her songs. She gave them a bit of history about their meaning and relayed the messages of empowerment, perseverance and hope. She hopes they glean from them: “You are not someone else’s opinion of you. … You are wiser because you make mistakes.”
Everything told the story of each song — the backup dancers, the props, the costumes, the lights. Her famous friends, Selena Gomez, Lena Dunham, Karlie Kloss, stopped over to say hi through video messages. Swift’s cats had a video cameo.
At one point, she sat at an ornate keyboard and sang a mash-up of “I Know Places” and “Wildest Dreams” with songs off earlier records, including “Fearless” and “Enchanted.”
Little Big Town made a surprise appearance, singing “Pontoon.” Their performance was the only hearkening to Swift’s country roots and, she said, an homage to Pittsburgh’s three rivers.
She bassed-out and put a hard-rock edge to several songs, including “I Knew You Were Trouble,” “Love Story” and “We Are Never Ever Getting Back to Together.”
“Style” pumped the show again, with strong guitar and dancers skating down the catwalk.
She ended the show with “Shake It Off,” and it became the ultimate 80’s music video dance party, capped with bursts of fireworks and confetti.
Swift and her fans danced and sang — to her, to each other — thrashing out the frustration, loneliness, bliss, happiness and romance in their own lives.
Katelyn Ferral is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-380-5627 or email@example.com.