Over The Weekend: Taylor Swift at Cowboys Stadium

Categories: Last Night
Taylor Swift, Needtobreathe, James Wesley and Charlie Worsham
Cowboys Stadium
October 8, 2011


Better than: Watching a Broadway Musical

TaylorSwift627_289383b.jpg
Taylor Swift
Surrounded by just under 50,000 adoring fans, Taylor Swift put on a performance Saturday night at Cowboys Stadium that was so big, it nearly dwarfed the sizeable venue itself.

It was the singer's Speak Now tour, an extravaganza of light and sound that turned each and every song into a theatrical experience. The lights were blinding, the sound overloaded with instrumentation and the sets so huge that it was hard to believe they could be disassembled in time for the next show.

In other words, it was an event.

But, like all spectacular musical experiences, one wonders if the songs fell victim to the show.

Look: Taylor Swift is a talented singer-songwriter. Plus, she's not bad to look at. But after seeing her in person, I feel kind of like I got run over.

Swift's relatively simple pop-country ditties have been kidnapped and reshaped into mini-Broadway musicals on this tour.

Take for example the title track from her most recent record and for this tour, "Speak Now." An entire wedding is arranged so that Swift can act out the lyrics in which an old boyfriend is preparing to tie the knot and the singer is about to speak now or forever hold her piece. It was an impressive piece of staging -- as was true of the entire show -- but was it all too much?

Sure, these days, shows that take place in arenas have turned into over-the-top spectacles that have to be more than just the music in order to justify the lofty ticket price. But there just has to be a time to pull things back a bit.

I know it will never come to pass, but I would like to hear Swift in a small theater with a tight four-piece band making songs like "Mine" and "The Story of Us" shine in a much simpler context.

Instead, everything is planned, rehearsed and executed with a precision that is almost frightening. Even Swift's initial "Oh my God!" reaction to the adoring crowd appeared scripted. You could almost just see someone backstage speaking into Swift's earpiece: "OK, say 'Oh my God!' in three, two, one..."

Of course, none of this mattered to the huge, mostly female, crowd.

Fans screamed at every syllable. Swift could have burped and received an ovation. She is truly a remarkable, pop culture phenomenon. Hordes of young women emulate every facet of the singer's persona, from make-up to dance movements.

No surprise there: Swift's one of the seminal performers of her generation. She is at the pinnacle of her career and she is only 21 years old.

But I still feel like I got ran over.

Critic's Notebook
Personal Bias:
I've never liked shows in stadiums. I feel like an ant lost in the ant hill. This was my first time in the Death Star, and I thought I would be more impressed. It's big and shiny but give me the Kessler or the Granada any day of the week.

By The Way: All three opening acts had good moments, but Needtobreathe's set was especially impressive. These South Carolinians seem arena-ready, and were unfazed by the cavernous surroundings.

Random Note: With the Rangers game taking place at the exact same time as this concert, there were roughly 100,000 people paying too much for food, beer and parking in Arlington on Saturday. At least Swift's fans didn't get rained on; Cowboys Stadium's retractable roof was thankfully closed on this night.

Location Info

Map

Dallas Cowboys Stadium

1 Legends Way, Arlington, TX

Category: General

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15 comments
grolmos
grolmos

The acoustics are terrible in that Stadium. When I went to George Strait Concert is was horrible and Taylor Swift was just a little better. It is a waste of money to go to a venue like this

MattL1
MattL1

I don't understand how people can go to a concert in a football stadium.  Seems like a waste of time and money.

Nshville12
Nshville12

Most artists show up, put on average show, make you wonder why you did not stay home and just liten to their CD. Taylor gave our family more show for less money than we could have expected. Anyone that has paid attention knows there are no handlers, that that how was put together by Taylor. Our family was blown away by that show.

Valeretruj
Valeretruj

We made the trip from far west TX and I am glad we did. She plays Lubbock this Friday and I cant imagine it being the same...I would love to catch the show and see how it compares. It by far exceeded my grandest expectations by far!

Corry
Corry

Darryl, if I paid almost $100 for a concert, I definitely want more than an acoustic set for the whole show tbh. Plus, didn't she had a mini acoustic set too in stage-B?

77samthomas
77samthomas

In keeping with Cowboy Stadium tradition, Swift fumbled her earpiece during a crucial point  late into the forth costume change after an inexperienced stage hand filling in for a injured roadie bobbled the toss. After taking complete blame for the blown chorus, Swift jumped onto a Vegas bound jet.

grolmos
grolmos

@77samthomas blah, blah, blah blah

TOM
TOM

FYI,  she actually played to over 55000 fans.Taylor is in a league of her own as a country-pop entertainer. As an older guy, with my daughter by my side, I was quite impressed by the stadium show. I enjoyed every min. Your biasedness really does show in this review. If you knew her from when she first came out playing small bars, and  just like she displayed in her acoustic set, Taylor has and can do minimal.

Jon Daniel
Jon Daniel

I think we are all in agreeance that biasedness is not a word

TOM
TOM

Haha, you are correct it is not. But this is no college paper, it's a blog.

Darryl
Darryl

I hardly considere myself biased when I call Swift a pop culture phenom and praise her as much as I did in this review. Obviously, her music is made for a younger crowd and as it was mostly women in their teens and early twenties at the show, it hardly matters what two old coots like us think! I just don't need all the visuals to have a good time at a concert. That's all I was saying,

grolmos
grolmos

@Darryl I think her songs were written as a pre-teen/young Teen, simple and innocent times as a young girl. Which is why she resonates with them.

TOM
TOM

I get what you're saying Darryl. I think she went above and beyond, production wise on this tour but she explained the reason for that on some GAC special I saw on tv. I would like to see her again in a small venue. However, I don't think her massive fanbase would be thrilled if they all couldn't see her in concert. Just my opinion.

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