Thursday 8 December 2016

Review: Taylor Swift fronts impeccable pop extravaganza in Dublin

Published 29/06/2015 | 22:59

taylor swift
taylor swift

The gale-force excitement that accompanies a Taylor Swift show has to be witnessed first hand to be believed.

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As the preternaturally perky chart-topper made her entrance at a beyond sold-out 3Arena, the shrieks – from children, adults, men, women, inanimate objects – rose somewhere past deafening.

When it comes to whipping fans into a good-natured frenzy One Direction and Justin Bieber are not even close. Behold pop's very own queen of scream.

Swift has the tunes to match the star power and, on the penultimate date of her European tour, fronted an impeccable pop extravaganza with endlessly dazzling set-pieces, including audience participation glowing wrist bands and an acoustic segment in which she crooned a ballad on a raised gantry (that rumoured Hozier cameo failed to manifest, alas).

However, none of it would have worked if Swift hadn't been so immensely likeable. As her historic, ultimately successful, royalties tussle with tech giant Apple demonstrated last week, Swift is arguably the most powerful individual in the music industry today. But before 14,000 swooning "Swifties" – yes, they have a name for themselves – she radiated girl-next-door charm.

She was also winningly human. Swift's dancing is nothing special and there was something endearingly goofy about the manner in which she twirled and pirouetted around her beefcake backing hoofers.

Even her occasionally risqué outfits suggested a Disney Princess's idea of scandalous – it was as if Swift was offering a wry commentary on pop's exhibitionist tendencies rather than herself participating.

If the evening lacked anything it was the touches of musicianship previously a feature of her live concerts.

Swift started as a Nashville songwriter but strapped on a guitar only twice at 3Arena.

Instead, she was here to celebrate her latter-day-incarnation as the ultimate 21st century pop icon – a celebrity we feel we know intimately via social media yet who, framed by a state-of-the-art production, seemed as faraway and impossibly glamorous as a black and white movie star.

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