Taylor Swift’s “Fearless Tour” stopped in Jacksonville, FL last night and CountryMusicIsLove had the opportunity to review the show! People of all ages turned out for the show, but as you can imagine, the sold-out arena was full of young girls. The choice outfit for the evening: sundresses and cowboy boots!! It was cute to see all the girls dressed up like Taylor!
Before the show, I spent some time with the opening group, Gloriana. (We’ll have a video interview posted soon!) Michael, Tom, Cheyenne, and Rachel were extremely nice and loved all the questions the fans sent in. They also told me that they check CountryMusicIsLove.com on a regular basis, which was really cool to hear! After the interview, I took my seat to watch their set.
I have to say I was extremely impressed by Gloriana’s set! They really know how to work a crowd and they have great stage presence for being so new to the touring scene. Their harmonies are amazing and their sound is very unique. There’s a touch of bluegrass/country/pop in their sound and it really works for them. I like that they stand apart from other country music boy/girl groups…I have a feeling we’ll be hearing a lot more from Gloriana! If you haven’t checked them out yet, you need to! Head on over to their MySpace and take a listen to their single “Wild At Heart,” you won’t be disappointed.
Next up, Kellie Pickler… I’ve seen Kellie a few times before and like the other times I’ve seen her, I really don’t have much to say. She’s cute and bubbly and has a very likable personality…but as a singer/performer she’s just mediocre.
I love the girl, don’t get me wrong, she always makes me laugh and I sing along with her songs, but she doesn’t have that “wow” factor just yet. She fits in perfectly with Taylor’s tour and was able to get the crowd on their feet with songs like “Best Days Of Your Life,” “Red High Heels,” and “Things That Never Cross A Man’s Mind.”
Check out Kellie’s killer shoes! We all know she’s a shoe girl, but even she admitted last night that she has a feeling that one of these days she might fall down on stage! The shoes don’t mix with the ramp on either side of the stage!
Before Taylor Swift took the stage, an intro video filled with cameos by some of Taylor famous friends- Miley Cyrus, George Eads (CSI), Faith Hill, and Garth Brooks appeared on the giant screens on each side of the stage. Each celebrity talked about what “fearless” meant to them.
I have to admit, going into it, I had a few preconceived notions about the show. I had always thought that Taylor wasn’t a strong singer – I knew she could write songs and perform, but the other times that I had seen her live, I wasn’t that impressed with her voice. I also thought that all of the costume changes and theatrical dancing would have taken away from the show and that I would have really disliked it, but I have to admit, she made it work and I really enjoyed the show!
Taylor opened the show with her new single, “You Belong With Me.” The dancers dressed as cheerleaders and her band wore marching band uniforms. Taylor rose up from beneath the stage wearing a drum major costume and the crowd went wild. Taylor did one of her infamous costumes changes mid song which prompted the crowd to scream louder. Taylor took a few moments to take in the crowd as if she were in awe.
After the opening Taylor cranked out hit after hit and just about everyone in the crowd was singing along with each one. She sang “Our Song,” “Teardrops On My Guitar,” “Forever & Always,” and more. Taylor has the ability to really connect with the crowd – she literally tells the story of her fans’ lives in her songs and is very relatable to females young and old (there were A LOT of guys singing along too!).
Half way through the set, Taylor appeared in the back of the arena in the middle of the crowd singing “Hey Stephen.” I’m sure people sitting in the back had no idea they’d end up getting that close to Taylor, so it was a great surprise to them. She then proceeded to make her way to a small stage set up on the back of the arena floor. As she walked through the crowd, she gave hugs and hands shakes to everyone in sight.
Taylor had her favorite number, 13, drawn on her hand. She has mentioned in interviews that it’s her all time favorite (& LUCKY) number!
After she made her way back to the main stage, it was time for another costume change. This time, Taylor took us “back in time” for her hit “Love Story.” The castle appeared from behind the curtain – it was as if she re-created the “Love Story” video right in front of our eyes. I could do without the costumes, dancers, and props, but like I said, Taylor made it work.
Taylor squeezed in another on-stage costume change!
Taylor also busted out a piano for “You’re Not Sorry” mixed with Justin Timberlake’s “What Goes Around.” A few more dresses, a few more songs…
Gloriana and Kellie Pickler came back to join Taylor in singing “I’m Only Me When I’m With You.” They sounded wonderful together! It was great to see everyone on stage at once. Then came the confetti…
Taylor went out with a bang. She saved her hit “Should’ve Said No” for the last song of the night. Not only did Taylor have a “drum-off” with one of her band members, she also made it “rain” – just like her performance on last year’s Academy of Country Music Awards. I can’t believe she gets soaking wet on stage every night!
Overall, I have to admit, it was one of the best shows I have seen in a long time. Taylor is a true entertainer and knows how to work the stage. She is also very creative and finds ways to make her show stand apart from what we’re used to seeing.
If the Academy of Country Music decides to keep the Entertainer of the Year category fan voted, the trophy will definitely be in Taylor’s hands! Taylor took entertaining to a whole new level last night!