Taylor Swift, Haim, Vance Joy and Shawn Mendes at Metlife Stadium, July 10, 2015 – Concert Review
July 12, 2015
ZEALnyc Pop Music Editor
One of the most highly anticipated concerts of 2015 finally arrived at the ginormous Metlife Stadium and it more than lived up to the hype. Reigning pop princess Taylor Swift took New Jersey by storm and was accompanied by strong supporting artists Shawn Mendes, Vance Joy and Haim.
Starting off the festivities was 16 year old teen sensation Shawn Mendes who took the stage at 7PM and a played a tight acoustic 30 minute set to warm up the heavily teen crowd. He played his singles Life of the Party, Something Big and his latest Stitches all sounding crisp and clean. As he played, I thought to myself how much he sounded like Ed Sheeran in style and guitar strokes. Just as I had this thought, he announced that his next song is a cover of Ed Sheeran’s massive hit Thinking Out Loud which gained the crowd’s attention and was spot on. Another cover that he nailed was Hey There Delilah (Plain White T’s) which was a crowd favorite.
Vance Joy followed at 7:45PM with a similar acoustic 30 minute set that brought the crowd to their feet. The highlights were the new catchy single Mess is Mine, a cover of Sam Smith’s Stay With Me (a difficult song to sing with its complex range and notes) that was surprisingly good, and Georgia in which Vance displayed a perfect falsetto pouring his heart out. He ended his set with his hit Riptide playing the ukulele as the crowd was singing along to every word.
The third act was a few of Taylor’s current besties, indie-rockers Haim who bring a unique sound and style to their music. They took the stage at 8:30PM with a cool confidence and bravado, playing a 30 minute slam dunk set heating up the crowd for the hotly anticipated headliner.
Haim opened with the up-tempo rocker Don’t Save Me and followed with a guitar heavy smoking cover of the 1969 Fleetwood Mac hit Oh Well which featured a dynamic display of full guitar riffs. For a moment I looked on the stage expecting to see Peter Green (lead singer and guitarist for the original Fleetwood Mac), and I was in awe to find the 26 year old Danielle thrashing her guitar like a Guitar Hero.
Their hit The Wire was throttling with hooks and rhythms while Forever was spot on. All three sisters (Alana, Danielle, & Este Haim) really feel the emotion during each song especially bassist Este, known for her amusing facial expressions while playing. They ended their set with Let Me Go which was filled with full drum beats and then a very energetic and thunderous drum display by all three sisters resulting in deafening roars from the crowd. I overhead some screams of “That’s awesome.” It was an awesome killer performance indeed.
Momentum began to build as “Swift” anticipation filled the clean fresh air as Taylor prepared for her grand entrance. The 25 year old Swift took the stage at 9:30PM dressed in a green sequin jacket and funky glasses, playing a full 2+ hour, 19 song set. She opened with the appropriate Welcome to New York (although the venue was in New Jersey) to an eruption of cheers leaving the packed crowd in a frenzy.
One unique special feature of the show was the plastic bracelets that were handed out to all 60,000 fans upon entry that illuminated to the beat of each song, lighting up the stadium like an enormous Christmas tree. It was as magical as the heavenly stars in the sky.
Her shows are always large scale productions, and this one didn’t disappoint. It included choreographed dancers, massive light displays, shooting smoke effects, numerous oversized video screens and a runway that extended from the main stage to near mid-field, giving both Taylor and her fans an up close and personal experience.
This set focused primarily on her latest pop album 1989 and included a few older hits for diehard fans. She has mastered the transition from country to pop with ease which she seems to do with everything she pursues.
Among the new hits she performed, New Romantics had a dance beat feel while How You Get the Girl had catchy pop hooks. During the latter, Swift screamed “jump” and the crowd followed her command, jumping up and down in unison, and all you could see was a sea of illuminating bracelets lighting up the outdoor stadium. As a prelude to All You Had to Do Was Stay (which has hit written all over it) she told the audience there are two things to do in a troubled relationship: leave or stay. I Know Places was slower tempo and melodic, and for the ballads You Are in Love and Clean she played acoustic guitar while towering above her fans on an elevated lift.
But it was her well known anthems that sparked the biggest reaction. Blank Space sounded clean and crisp as Taylor walked down the runway to greet the crowd. I Knew You Were Trouble had a scintillating and sexy feel giving her an edge and maturity shedding her good girl image. The crowd absolutely loved it.
Taylor thanked the fans throughout the night for all of their support especially for “buying, caring about, and memorizing the words” to her 1989 album. She shared how her life changed tremendously a year and a half ago when she moved to New York City, which in her opinion is the greatest city. This was followed by a video montage of testimonials from some of her friends (including Selena Gomez, Lily Aldridge, Lena Dunham, Gigi Hadid snd Haim) each saying a few kind words about Taylor, how they met, and the impact that her 1989 album has had on them.
You can definitely see the impact of her time in the big city and the influence of her girlfriends as she now has a more edgy, free spirited and mature persona than she did before moving to NYC.
There were three cool highlights that blew me away. The first was Taylor introducing The Weeknd to the stage for an amazing duet of his new single Can’t Feel My Face which was full of disco beats and rhythmic bass jams. There was definitely chemistry between the two as they danced around each other swaying down the runway. The second and best moment was during Taylor’s #1 smash Style in which she wore a sexy white sequin mini dress with a plunging neck line sashaying down the runway like a Victoria Secret model. When she reached the end of the runway, she introduced former Victoria Secret supermodel Heidi Klum who also did her own runway walk in “style.” This was followed by members of the 2015 World Cup-winning U.S. women’s national soccer team, including Alex Morgan and Abby Wambach, joining Taylor on stage as they waved American flags. The crowd celebrated, chanting “USA! USA!” It was a once in a lifetime patriotic moment that brought chills. The third wow moment was when Taylor brought her latest video hit Bad Blood to life, bringing her gal pals from the video (Lily Aldridge, Lena Dunham, Gigi Hadid and Hailee Steinfeld) to the stage. The fivesome swayed down the runway arm in arm lighting up the stage. The crowd was singing along to every word.
She performed one of my favorites We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together (a song about her frustrations at an ex-lover who wants to re-kindle their relationship) in which she played electric guitar with a video backdrop of her singing in goth makeup. This was followed by a stripped-down piano medley of Wildest Dreams and Enchanted, in addition to the mystical Out of the Woods, complemented by a video backdrop of jungle scenes. To no one’s surprise, she closed out her set with her first crossover pop smash, the anthemic and catchy Shake It Off which had everyone on their feet singing and dancing along – the perfect ending to a perfect night.
Taylor Swift put on a show to remember and in this critic’s opinion, her best ever.