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On February 10th, Taylor Swift played her fourth out of five sold out shows at the O2 arena in London. The 24 year old singer finally brought the highly anticipated Red tour to the UK after a whirlwind and worldwide journey that started in March 2013 and is carrying on until mid-June this year. No one could argue that Miss Swift isn’t dedicated to her fans all around the world.
This was my third time seeing Taylor Swift, having seen her previously on her Fearless and Speak Now tours in Manchester, and I was extremely excited to see her again. Swift’s shows always offer amazing life performances, beautiful theatrical set designs and costumes, and a lot of fun and dancing for all ages; the Red tour was no exception. She kicked off with an energetic rendition of ‘State of Grace’, filling with choreographed dancing and fist-pumping. It was quickly followed by ‘Holy Ground’, complete with a heart-pounding drum solo, with musicians on wires swooping above Swift and her band. By this point, Swift had the 20,000-person crowd eating out of the palm of her hand.
Highlights of the show included a 50s style rework of ‘You Belong With Me’, complete with a full dance routine with Swift’s back-up singers and gorgeous sequinned red dresses. Another highlight was an extremely heartfelt rendition of ‘All Too Well’, which was performed after Swift gave a speech about her song writing habits, and how they usually centre around forgetting someone. There’s something about seeing a multi-millionaire superstar sitting on her own at the piano completely lost in a song so haunting and beautiful. Most of the crowd, including the thirty-odd year old man sitting in front of me, were in tears by the end of the first verse.
In L.A. and London there has usually been a mysterious special guest that comes on to sing one of their own songs with Taylor. So far in London fans had been treated to duets with Ed Sheeran, Sam Smith and Danny O’Donoghue from The Script, so there was much anticipation when Taylor teased early on the show that she had a few surprises for her fans. After being flown above the audience in a suspended platform for a sparkling version of ‘Sparks Fly’, Taylor introduced Emeli Sandé, who she had met at the Brit Awards last year. The two gave an incredible duet version of Sande’s hit song ‘Next To Me’, in which the vocals were truly astounding. A girl who can hold her own against Sandé’s powerful voice is truly a girl to be reckoned with.
After finishing with a circus-themed ‘We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together’, in which Swift dressed as the ringmaster, the crowd were left with a promise of a return to London as the singer descended below the stage. There were a lot of happy fans in London that night, as I’m sure there will be for years to come.