Taylor Swift Red Tour: Los Angeles, CA August 19th and 20th (Repost)

Reposting some older pieces from my other blog.

My last post was a review of Taylor Swift’s most recent album and a confession of my new found love of her. This new semi-obsession would explain my latest fascination with all things red (lipstick, shoes, etc.), retro styles (50s inspired fashion) and black and white polka dots. I say “semi-obsession” because, while I have been listening to her music in increased levels and purchasing Taylor infused merchandise, I’m not to the point of wanting to tattoo her lyrics on my skin or showing up to a concert in full costume. “Semi-obsession” also covers purchasing tickets to her concert (twice). Here’s where I lose some credibility on my former claim.

I went to the first two concerts of her LA shows. They were back-to-back on Monday and Tuesday night. I could make excuses (we got tickets in November for the first show and I got tickets later because another friend of mine wanted to go) but the truth is I saw her perform live two nights in a row and I’m not embarrassed to admit it (okay, maybe I’m a little ashamed but not enough to let it bother me). I sacrificed sleep and a little dignity in order to do this but it was so worth it.

Setlist for Night #1:

State of Grace
Holy Ground
Red
You Belong With Me
The Lucky One
Mean
22
Ours
Everything Has Changed
Begin Again
Sparks Fly
Want U Back (Cher Lloyd)
I Knew You Were Trouble
All Too Well
Love Story
Brave (Sara Bareilles)
Treacherous
We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together

We (my cousin and I) purchased the VIP package for the first night (I know, losing credibility on “semi-obsession” claim) and that includes a “gift bag” which we got the week before (pictured below). In it was a “Red” blanket, some guitar picks, a light up baton, iPhone case (which I can’t use but is still awesome), phone sound amplifier, some bracelets, some greeting cards, a tote bag, and programs for each of her tours (Fearless, Speak Now and Red). The VIP package also included a signed cd which we received when we checked in, as well as access to the VIP lounge where they provided food and beverages (non-alcoholic) for us. Oh, and tickets for seats in the first 10 rows (we were in Row 9). The only drawback was that the tickets were will call only and my parents had to go down to LA Live (in Monday night traffic, ugh) because we used their credit card to purchase them (my parents must really love me). Despite this, I would say that the VIP package was very worth the price we paid.

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Swift opened with “State of Grace” and stuck mostly to other hits off of the Red Album (makes sense). She threw in a couple hits off of Fearless and Speak Now but nothing from her first album. Each number out spectacled the previous one. There were fireworks, strobe lights, and she even flew over the crowd at one point. She started off on the main stage, then during “22” she moved through the crowd to a small stage near the back of the stadium to perform a short set. While this sucked for the people in the front rows (namely us) I do have to say that this was one of my favorite things about the night. For one, it gave me an excuse to sit down for a few minutes and watch one of the four massive screens broadcasting the performance (oh my god, I’m so old!). Second, I think it’s awesome that she does this to reach out to her fans who paid for (or could only afford) the cheap seats. She doesn’t just pander to the ones who shelled out the big bucks but really tries to reach every corner of the crowd. After this short set, she gets in a lift that flies her over the audience, back to the main stage (while singing “Sparks Fly”) and finishes off the show.

She consistently has had guest performers during her shows and she did not disappoint this night. She had not one but two artist that stopped by to play their latest hits! First up was Cher Lloyd, whom I didn’t recognize by name but once they started singing “Want U Back” I instantly recognized her. The second guest was Sara Bareilles singing “Brave” which I screamed at the top of my lungs because I love her!

All in all, it was a great show. She is a certified entertainer and although there were no encores (my only real complaint) I had an excellent time and was extremely excited knowing that I got to experience it all again the next night.

Favorite Song of the Night: “Holy Ground.” The fast-paced dancing song was the second played and set the level of adrenaline needed for the rest of the night. The highlight was when drummers dropped from the ceiling and she joined them in a drum break.

Setlist for Night #2:

State of Grace
Holy Ground
Red
You Belong With Me
The Lucky One
Mean
22
Fifteen
Everything Has Changed
Begin Again
Sparks Fly
Closer (Tegan and Sara)
I Knew You Were Trouble
All Too Well
Love Story
Treacherous
We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together

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The only real criticism I can make about Night #2 is that the show is such a planned performance that there wasn’t much variety in the lineup (“Fifteen” instead of “Ours” and a different guest instead of Cher Lloyd and Sara Bareilles). That is hardly a real complaint though. Knowing what to expect did take a little of the magic out of the experience but I actually found that I could enjoy the music a little more the second night because I knew what was coming. The guest performers were Tegan and Sara, who played their single “Closer.” I hadn’t heard it before but they sounded good and there was an excited vibe in the stadium during the song.

Our seats were not the best. We sat on the side of the stage and had a limited view (something we were warned about when we purchased the tickets) so we couldn’t actually see the backdrop for the stage, or any of the four massive screens projecting the concert. However, we did get to see a little of the backstage action (a few costume changes and a sneak peek at her before the rest of the audience sees her).

I think my favorite part of the night was watching my friend Hannah go crazy. She is a huge Taylor Swift fan and the reason we went the second time. Her excitement was worth the cost of the tickets.

Favorite Song of the Night: “All Too Well.” This is my favorite from the album and what I personally think is her best piece of work. It was also the one performance where we didn’t get to see her at all because she played it on piano behind a piece of the stage blocking our view. However, hearing it live and letting myself get lost in the lyrics was an entirely emotional experience.

I would highly recommend seeing her live to anyone who is a fan. She is a veteran performer by now and knows how to put on a good show. Her songs are just as catchy live as they are on the radio. The differences is that live, you get to dance along and sing at the top of your lungs without attracting strange looks.

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#30DaysofFavorites: Favorite Albums (12-7)

I’m celebrating turning 30 at the end of the month by posting a bunch of my favorite things on this blog and my YouTube channel. Today I’m continuing the countdown of my favorite albums. If you missed my Favorite Movie Moments, click here for the first, second, third, fourth, and fifth posts. If you missed my first Favorite Albums post, click here.

 

 

#12 – One of the Boys

Katy Perry

One of the Boys

I saw Katy Perry guest judge on American Idol in 2010 (before her current role on the show), and I thought she was hilarious and insightful, while still being critical when necessary (something she didn’t really do on this last season of Idol). It was at that point that a friend of mine mentioned really liking her music that I gave her first album a listen. I’ve been a fan ever since and have had the pleasure of seeing her live several times.

Favorite Track:
“One of the Boys” is still my favorite track on the album. I love that it is a celebration of femininity, and embracing different sides of yourself.

 

 

#11 – Red

Taylor Swift

red

It took a while for me to warm up to Taylor Swift as an artist. I didn’t buy into her life philosophy and her obsession with falling in love. Then I actually started listening to her music, and really paying attention to her lyrics. I was hooked by the time Red came out, and I thought so many of the songs on this album were well crafted and showed tremendous growth for her as a musician. I still think it has her best songwrtiting, though there are a couple of duds (“I Almost Do” and “Sad, Beautiful, Tragic,” I’m looking at you). Overall though, it’s one of my favorite albums, and it was my favorite show of hers that I’ve been to.

Favorite Track:
I mentioned I think Taylor Swift showcases her best songwriting on this album, and I think “All Too Well” is her best written song to date. It is also my favorite of hers. Her word play on it is clever, and she paints such a vivd picture that it feels like you’re right there with her, reliving the memory of this relationship.

 

 

#10 – Walk the Moon

Walk the Moon

WTM

Walk the Moon was a pleasant discovery courtesy of a Panic! at the Disco concert. They were the opening band for a show I saw at The Greek Theatre in Los Angeles. They had such high energy and their songs were so dang catchy that I just couldn’t resist jumping up and dancing along. I of course immediately went home and bought their album (after actually listening to it via my friend’s Spotify on the way home from the concert). I still can’t help but feel energized and want to get up and dance around whenever I listen to this album.

Favorite Track:
So even though most of the album is high energy, and I like it because of that, my actual favorite track on the album is “Fixin'” which is a little sadder but with a good hook.

 

 

#9 – Vices & Virtues

Panic! at the Disco

vices

Panic! at the Disco is another band I resisted for a long time. I think in high school I found their use of the exclamation point in their name pretentious, and then the removing of it for the second album even more so. Still, I was blown away by their songwriting on Pretty. Odd. and followed them more closely afterwards. When Vices & Virtues came out, it was as though they had combined the best parts of the first two albums into one. It wasn’t quite the frentic rock of the first album but it had more energy than the songs on the second. It found the perfect balance between the two styles, and it had an overall more hopeful sound, which I love.

Favorite Track:
“Ready to Go (Get Me Out of My Mind)” is such a bouncy, uplifting song, and it feels like something you need to play whenever you want to get pumped up for something.

 

 

#8 – Raise the Dead

Phantom Planet

dead

Phantom Planet’s last album is ten years old this year. That makes me feel really old. The concept behind the album was to base a lot of the themes and marketing on cult followings. I was happy to be a part of that cult. While it isn’t the lowest energy album, a lot of the lyrics on it deal with much darker themes, such as depression. It was a bit of a break from some of their more happy love songs but I think it felt more personal. I don’t know the story behind every song, and as obsessed as I was with the band, I don’t know what all was happening at the time. However, it feels almost as though they knew things were coming to an end, and decided to write something deeper. That connected with me very much, and not simply because they were my favorite band but because of all their albums, this is the one I felt I could relate to the most.

Favorite Track:
The title track felt like a last chance call for fans to embrace the music, and “raise” it from the dead, which is maybe where the band felt they were heading while recording. It also touches upon an idea of an inner demon type of conflict (perhaps depression, or loneliness), and again an attempt to overcome that conflict. It is dark while still being hopeful.

 

 

#7 – Teenage Dream

Katy Perry

Dream

After finally becoming a fan of her first album, I was a bit skeptical when Katy Perry started releasing singles from her follow up album. They sounded a lot more poppy and there didn’t seem to be a trace of that punk rock girl that I liked so much from One of the Boys. Then, of course I listened to the album and realized I was actually a fan of Pop music. Or at least I was a fan of Katy Perry’s style of Pop. I think this is her best album musically, and thematically. She is a bonafide Pop star but she still writes her own music, and dang if it ain’t catchy as hell. Again I was impressed with her ability to surprise me and show me that just because it’s something different than what I usually listen to doesn’t mean it isn’t good, or worthy of my attention.

Favorite Track:
As much fun as I have with “Peacock,” I’m going to have to go with “Califoria Gurls.” As a California girl myself, I can’t help but sing and dance along to this song. It’s so fun and carefree, exactly how Southern California feels sometimes.

 

 

Stop by tomorrow to see the last batch of my Favorite Albums.