Swift brings Red Tour to Prudential Center
Taylor Swift painted Newark, N.J., red on March 28 for the second night of her Red Tour’s three-show run at the Prudential Center. The excitement of screaming audience members with homemade, light-up signs and custom t-shirts was undeniable, as happy tears were found even before the lights went down.
Ed Sheeran, Swift’s Grammy-nominated British tour-opener, commanded the audience’s attention with his raspy, soulful vocals and amazing guitar skills upfront. Sheeran dubbed the crowd his “gospel choir,” setting up frequent group harmonies and sing-alongs. “You Need Me But I Don’t Need You” showcased his undeniable talent and his cover of “Thrift Shop” proved that he could cross genres seamlessly. Sheeran’s set ended with his first US hit-single, “The A Team,” a definite crowd favorite.
When Swift finally hit the stage with “State of Grace,” it was first only her voice and silhouette behind a curtain that were seen and heard. But once the curtain dropped revealing the country superstar in the flesh with men hanging from the ceiling playing the drums, there was no turning back.
Swift’s strong vocals and commanding stage presence made for an evening of high entertainment, but it was the beautiful set designs and production aspects that made the night magical. From a black-and-white film supporting “The Lucky One” to a virtual scrapbook documenting Swift’s life thus far before “22,” the night’s background elements made Swift’s personal lyrics come to life unlike ever before.
The 23-year-old ditched her classic sparkly dresses for ensembles that were more mature and yet laid back. She was able to wear simple jeans and a striped shirt at one minute and then effortlessly switch into a flowing gown that could be found on a red carpet event. Although her outfits were slightly different than what were found on past tours, Swift made sure to incorporate her famous mid-song costume change during “I Knew You Were Trouble” when she went from a vintage white gown to an edgy black one-piece.
While the show featured mostly songs from her newest album, “Red,” Swift was able to reinvent the classics to keep things fresh and interesting. She slowed down the usually upbeat “You Belong With Me” and made it more reminiscent of a “Dream Girls” performance than that of a country singer.
After performing a portion of her set on a separate stage at the back of the arena including “Everything Has Changed,” her duet with Sheeran, Swift came back to the main stage and announced that she had a surprise in store for the audience – a performance of Neon Trees’ “Everybody Talks” with the band’s front man, Tyler Glenn. The song was fun and spirited as it is, but the duet’s added elements of surprise and spontaneity took the act to another level.
Heart-shaped confetti flew through the arena as Swift ended the night with a circus-themed performance of “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together,” captivating the audience one last time before she waved goodbye.
Alexandra D’Aluisio can be reached at Alexandra.firstname.lastname@example.org.