SWIFT IS SWEET & SASSY IN C’VILLE
Taylor Swift emerged wearing a drum major uniform as the band played and cheerleaders tumbled on the opening number “You Belong With Me.” It looked like something straight out of High School Musical. And that was just the beginning. Utilizing costume and set changes and incorporating clever video montages Taylor took us on a magical journey Saturday night at JPJ Arena in Charlottesville.
We visited a high school class room where Taylor was ignored by a handsome young man who did homework and danced with someone else while Taylor sang “Teardrops on My Guitar.”
In a re-enacted interview Taylor discussed how she frequently writes songs about her relationships saying, “Guys don’t have anything to worry about if they don’t do bad things.” Taylor sang “Forever and Always,” - a song written after a painful break up. Then she tossed a chair off the upper level of the stage, walked down the stairs, out to the end of the catwalk, got down on her knees and reached out to the crowd.
Always appreciative of her fans, Taylor sang “Hey Stephen” in the middle of the 100 section then made her way to the rear of the arena to sing “Fifteen” and her first number one hit - “Tim McGraw.” I noticed her mom lovingly smiling up at her as she sang.
When she walked back to the main stage through the crowd she not only shook many outstretched hands but stopped and hugged a lot of fans along the way, especially the young ones. I guess I can’t begrudge her the long wait for the concert to continue. After all, those little girls will remember this night forever.
The setting for “Love Story” was a feast for the eyes with a castle, lords and ladies dancing, Taylor in a beautiful ball gown and even the band members decked out in Victorian dress.
Throughout the evening Taylor was charming and flirtatious, toying with the audience like a seasoned performer. Her vocals were excellent even though the frequent tossing of her golden tresses were often a distraction for me.
The encore held a surprise ending. As Taylor sang “Should’ve Said No” she backed up and continued to sing beneath a shower of water like she did on the 2008 ACMA’s.
Opening for Taylor was the 2009 AMA Breakthrough Artist of the Year Gloriana – a group of 4 very talented individuals: Tom Gossin (guitar, vocals), Mike Gossin (guitar, vocals), Rachel Reinert (vocals), and Cheyenne Kimball (vocals, mandolin). They are most known for their hit “Wild At Heart” although “How Far Do You Wanna Go” is currently climbing the charts. Their harmonies are tight and their voices blend beautifully. Gloriana is energetic, fun and is definitely going places.
Next up was Kellie Pickler, stand out from American Idol Season 5. She opened with “Best Days of Your Life” followed by “Things That Never Cross A Man’s Mind” and her current single “Didn’t You Know How Much I Loved You?” just to name a few. She perched on a stool to sing “I Wonder” and closed her set with “Red High Heels.”
Despite the malfunction in Kellie’s ear monitor and her self-consciousness over her snug black leather stretch pants that caused her to apologize for the view to the crowd behind her, Kellie’s performance was quite good.