TAYLOR SWIFT is the first artist that my daughter knew and admired. She would learn and sing Ms. Swift's hits. Of course, when a Taylor Swift concert in Manila was announced, this would be the first concert that my daughter would want to watch by her own choosing. I had bought these coveted tickets since November 2010, the first day of ticket release. The girl in front of me in the line just bought the last 4 Upper Box A tickets. All other areas with reserved seating were already sold out by then. Had to settle for Upper Box B tickets with first-come-first-served tickets, so we had no choice but to line up early in order to get good seats.
Yesterday, February 19, 2011, we were in Cubao by 3:00 pm. There was already a line forming outside the Araneta Coliseum. By the time it was 5:00 pm, the line had already snaked around the the driveway of Araneta up to the street. Good thing they started letting us get in already at that time. There was already a good crowd in the middle sections of Upper Box B when we got in. Fortunately, we were still able to get very good seats right smack center in Section 401.
Much later, even all the aisles and stairs were filled with people. They had sold standing room tickets, so by 8:00 pm, you could not move from your seat anymore. There were even people sitting in the seats behind the stage! This was a very full house, mostly with screaming tween and teen girls (and their parents!) Even celebrities like Kris Aquino and Vice Ganda had to content themselves with Orchestra Side seats.
Front-act was local teen star Sam Concepcion, who came out exactly at 8:00 pm. He sang 4 songs, including "Kung Fu Fighting" and a cover of Katy Perry's "Firework" (VIDEO). He had some pretty neat dance moves too. The girls in the audience seemed excited and were actually singing along with him. However, like any other front act, you got the feeling that everyone wanted him off that stage already. All the girls were screaming their lungs out Taylor's name. The momentum though was short-lived because the lights were turned back on for the final set-up for the main star of the show.
It was already past 9:00 pm when the Main Show started. I could not hear what Taylor Swift was saying in her voice-over because of the pandemonium of screams all over the Coliseum. Suddenly her shadow appeared on the stage curtain, and I can't believe the volume of the screams could even go up several notches! The sound level in the audience was deafening loud already when Ms. Taylor Swift finally appeared clearly visible from the very bright lights behind her. She was wearing a gold-glittery short dress. I kept seeing a young Nicole Kidman in Taylor, with her wild blonde curls and dramatic facial expressions.
Her first song was "Sparks Fly" (VIDEO). It was a very energetic start! Of course, it seems everyone was already singing along. The energy level went up some more with the next songs: "Mine" and "The Story of Us." She then sat down at the piano and talked about hurting someone she loved, and that led to "Back to December" (VIDEO). She integrated the chorus of One Republic's "Apologize" somewhere in there, which was very nice. She ended the set with another rocker song, "Better Than Revenge."
When Taylor came out again, now wearing a bright royal blue dress, there was a 50s vibe in her rendition of "Speak Now," with two female back-up singers. This time she mixed in some of Jason Mraz' "I’m Yours" snippets in it. With her ukulele, she sang "Fearless" (VIDEO). Then with a regular guitar, she sang "Fifteen" (VIDEO). Without an intro she suddenly launched into her huge hit "You Belong With Me" (VIDEO) which really set the crowd very wild. During this song, she even went down the stage to shake hands with those lucky people who spent 12-15 thousand pesos for those front seats. She ended this set with the plaintive song, "Dear John."
She came out again wearing white-glittery ballgown, which I'm sure was the fantasy prom dress for most of the girls in the audience. She sang "Enchanted." In the middle of the song, she ripped off the wide skirt to reveal a short glittery mini-dress underneath. After the song, she was given a shiny silvery guitar and she sang "Long Live" (VIDEO) which she dedicated to Manila. She introduced her band mates during the song. Quite unexpectedly, she said thank you and goodbye after this song and exited the stage already.
Of course, the audience would clamor for more! After a few minutes, Taylor came out again, this time in a simple white dress and sang her other big hit "Love Story" (VIDEO). After this song, she really bid her fans goodbye already. She climbed up the stairs, and at the last note, she vanished! That was already the last song of the concert. The show ended at around 10:30 pm. She only sang 13 songs.
I can see why the girls in the audience love her. She remains girly and was very feminine in all her clothes and actions. She seems to be a genuinely kind person. I found her a better performer than what I expected. Her voice can be shrill and thin, often drowned out in certain parts by the audience singing along with her. But it is her winning personality that completes the picture. Too bad she did not sing my personal favorites "Teardrops on My Guitar" or "White Horse." Anyhow, I was very much entertained with her show, far exceeding any of my preconceived expectations.