Philadelphia was overrun with red on July 20. Red cowboy boots, red shirts, red everything. This could only mean one thing: Taylor Swift’s RED Tour hit Lincoln Financial Field for the second consecutive night, and fans were going all out to make sure everyone knew where they were heading.
The “Swifties,” as her fans are called, ranged from 5-year-old girls to 50-year-old men. Every blond tween girl wore red lipstick to mimic her idol, while their dads painted their entire faces red for the event. Moms could be seen dancing in the aisles before the show even began, and guys in their 20s were prowling around the stadium hoping to get a glimpse of their dream girl.
Swift had two talented opening acts, both of which are nominated for a Video Music Award. The first was 17-year-old Austin Mahone. Sporting a blue jersey that said “Philly” on the front, he sang a few of his singles, including “What About Love.” He also did some acoustic covers on a red guitar, including “Beautiful Soul” by Jesse McCartney.
The second act was British singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran. Coming out in sneakers, white socks and a blue polo, flaming red hair all disheveled, Sheeran commanded the stage. With no backup band, his act included just his guitar and his voice. His main goal was to make the spectators lose their voices, and he succeeded by playing hit singles “Lego House” and “A-Team.”
After Sheeran finished, it was time for Swift to take the stage. Just as her massive stage was being set up, however, an announcement was made for everyone to take cover because there would soon be severe lightning and wind. Within minutes, the entire audience was packed like sardines into the back of the stadium. Thankfully, even a 45-minute rain delay didn’t get the Swifties’ spirits down. Moms were buying their excited daughters plenty of merchandise, and groups of girls could be heard throughout the area singing her songs to pass the time.
Finally, at about 10:30 p.m., the rain cleared and it was showtime. All the lights in the place shut off suddenly, making all the glowing signs in the audience shine brighter. It was a brilliant sight to see. Then, a skinny shadow with long hair appeared behind a giant red curtain. Swift emerged in tiny black shorts and a black hat, which seems to be her new, more conservative look. The crowd went nuts as she sang her opening number, “State of Grace.”
Not one song was a disappointment. For just about every number she had a different costume and an entirely different and elaborate set design. She played all of her hits. During her latest, “22,” she had backup dancers carry her through the audience to a back stage where she sang “You Belong With Me” on a stool with just her guitar. Sheeran even reappeared for their duet, “Everything Has Changed,” in which they rose up on a floating platform.
Taylor got very personal with the audience, talking to them and expressing the inspiration behind each song. She also expressed her love for Philly, which she considers her hometown because she grew up not far from here. She even apologized for the weather, telling the audience how while she was backstage she said, “Stop it, rain! I have to play in my hometown!”
The big finale was the breakup anthem “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together,” and what a finale it was. Taylor wore an elaborate circus ringmaster costume and floated over the audience on a long platform. Right before the end, fireworks erupted from the stage behind her. Finally, she and her amazing backup dancers took their bows. The crowd never stopped screaming for her.
It was a night that Swifties, both young and old, will never forget.