Taylor Swift shows Vancouver audience why she's a woman of influence

    1 of 1 2 of 1

      At B.C. Place Stadium on Saturday, August 1

      Spending an entire evening with someone who won’t stop bitching about their ex isn’t something any sane person looks forward to. However, it’s different when that someone is Taylor Swift—the biggest superstar in music and probably the most powerful woman on the planet.

      I used that “probably” qualifier because Forbes disagrees and ranks her as the 66th most powerful woman. But that list is pretty suspect as they rank Angela Merkel in the top spot and I’ve never fucking heard of her. Can you blame me? Merkel sends out Facebook updates to her paltry 1.1 million fans in German, and doesn’t even have an Instagram account. Tay, on the other hand, has 77 million Facebook fans, which is comparable to the population of Germany, and consistently pushes out great pictures and video across multiple platforms.

      Given Swift’s mastery of social media and the extraordinary commercial and critical success of her fifth album 1989, it’s no surprise she was able to sell out B.C. Place with ease. The 1989 Tour was Vancouver’s biggest concert since, well, two years ago when the 25-year-old phenom last graced us with a visit. Said another way, for the benefit of people born before 1989: this had the potential to be like catching Madonna’s Blonde Ambition Tour.

      The Swifties were decked out for what was sure to be the best night ever. Elaborate LED-laden outfits and signs were lovingly made well in advance. If, gasp, you didn’t have an article of clothing or sign that lit up, you were in luck as an LED bracelet was waiting for you at your seat. Following two opening acts, whose sole purpose served to get you there early and buying the uninspired merch, our bracelets all magically lit up in unison. It was time for the main event.

      Remarkably, the show started early—a first in Vancouver’s history. This was especially impressive considering Swift is so wholesome, she was probably busy the whole day healing kids stricken with blindness, leprosy, and paralysis at B.C. Children’s Hospital by merely smiling at them. Taking the stage in sunglasses, a purple skirt, and a sequined top and jacket, Swift opened with “Welcome to New York”. Deafeningly shrill squeals of “OMG” ensued and a new city record for selfies taken in a two-hour timespan was subsequently set.

      “Good evening Vancouver. I’m Taylor Swift and there’s really nothing in the world I love to see more than a sold-out stadium of 45,000,” she informed her giddy disciples before launching into “New Romantics”. This was but one of many times she addressed the faithful. Sometimes she even went on five-minute-long motivational sermons. (tl;dr: Don’t let your mistakes define you.) If that wasn’t enough, there were lengthy video interludes featuring Swift squad members Lena Dunham, Selena Gomez, HAIM, and others doling out even more valuable life advice. (tl;dr: Taylor Swift is a great human being and women gotta stick together.)

      T-Swizzle did pretty much all of 1989 with a spattering of hits from her previous albums. Notably, “Sparks Fly”, which hadn’t been performed on the tour yet, and “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together”, which had one of the more spirited singalongs of the evening.

      While this was happening, Swifties were treated to standard pop concert theatrics like costume changes, lasers, and a catwalk with neon trim that raised 25-feet in the air while rotating 360 degrees (Okay, that was a new one.) Joining her on stage were some other people, who appeared to be playing instruments, as well as a dozen male back-up dancers, whom she frequently had flirtatious exchanges with—even the eight-year-olds in attendance weren’t buying that, though. 

      Throughout the concert Swift teased there’d be a surprise guest. This was big news as at previous stops she’d invited out the likes of Lorde and the Weeknd. Was it going to be her beau Calvin Harris? Swift did seem to have a postcoital glow early on in the show. (Her squad can’t use this bracelet to track me down can they?)

      Instead we got Nico & Vinz. I’m far more familiar with the work Angela Merkel, but the three performed Nico & Vinz’s hit “Am I Wrong” and, like every song this evening, it was extremely well received. Swift also pointed out that the Norwegian duo were there of their own free will even though they weren’t getting paid—an affiliation with Tay is better than money. That’s why Keds had photo booths inviting people to take “shoe selfies” set up all over the concourse.

      The final song of the evening was, naturally, “Shake it Off”, which she performed on the raised catwalk with all 12 dancers. As she belted out her “fuck you, haters” anthem, confetti sprayed everywhere, fireworks went off, and the LED bracelets all went haywire. The people attached to the bracelets did too.

      Following that transcendent experience, 44,999 rabid Swifties jubilantly exited B.C. Place Stadium. Hell, even the middle-aged dads tasked with chaperoning weren’t looking nearly as downtrodden as they are at the conclusion of most pop concerts. But at the end of the day, this show was like most by-the-numbers pop concerts, and won’t go down as legendary performance by a superstar at the top of her game. Oh well, let’s try this again in 2017, Tay. Maybe Forbes actually does know what’s up and we should give that Merkel lady a closer look in the meantime.

      Follow Michael Mann on Twitter @mmann.

      Comments

      We're now using Facebook for comments.

      29 Comments

      Darthbatman

      Aug 2, 2015 at 11:40am

      The writer of this article is everything that is wrong with this world today. This idiot is comparing a person who sings about relationships to a woman who basically runs the European union and says Taylor is more influential because of social media.... It is a sad world we live in when people who sing and dance are more important than people who actually run the planet, scientists, doctors, you know, people who really make a difference. So sick of this world being fascinated with entertainers. People who are really good at hitting a ball with a stick, or really good at singing, or really good at pretending "acting". These people don't make the world turn, they don't help the planet or the human condition or even decide where it goes, they are not role models or people to look up to they are just ENTERTAINMENT! The world needs to grow up already and start taking thinks seriously before it's too late.

      Proof read ?

      Aug 2, 2015 at 11:46am

      "Merkel sends out sends out Facebook updates"
      Good to see the Georgia straight doesn't read their own articles either.....

      John Keri

      Aug 2, 2015 at 12:08pm

      ...they rank Angela Merkel in the top spot and I’ve never fucking heard of her.
      Liar!
      Your comparison of a celebrity entertainer to a prime minister is damn, stupid and insulting to the celebrity.
      It is especially distasteful because you compared Taylor to someone she might even admire and respect.
      Then you compare yourself to Forbes magazine, just to prove my point.
      Why does the Straight put up with you is beyond me.

      Kristin1903

      Aug 2, 2015 at 1:47pm

      Are you for real? You're comparing a pop star to a powerful politician? If you seriously never heard of her you might wanna pick up a newspaper and educate yourself about the important things in life instead claiming that someone is most influential if they have 77 million Facebook fans. TSwift is great and surely deserves a spot in Forbes list of most influencal ppl but Facebook and Instagram fans won't let you rule the world!

      @darthbatman

      Aug 2, 2015 at 1:51pm

      The youth of today inherit the world of tomorrow, and they love entertainment so yes, Taylor Swift is more important than the Chancellor of Germany.

      Ignorance

      Aug 2, 2015 at 2:09pm

      Taylor Swift may have sway over millions of pre-pubescent girls, but that hardly makes her as influential as Germany's PM. Picking on Angela Merkel was obviously a bad joke, but was unneeded and in poor taste.

      rArthur d bradley

      Aug 2, 2015 at 3:13pm

      I LIKE YOUR STYLE! I`V NEVER EVEN HEARD OF ANGELA MERKEL, EITHER! AND THIS IS A FIRST FOR ME, " TAY". I LOVE IT. AND 77 MIL. WHO IS THE BOSS? THE FIRST TIME I HEARD "TAY", I SAID, THERE`S HOPE FOR HUMANITY.

      out at night

      Aug 2, 2015 at 3:23pm

      Whoa everybody, hold on! The comparison of Swift to Prime Minister Merkel was a writer's way of pointing out the fascination/obsession we as a society have with celebrity and as he goes on to compare how many Facebook followers each has the point seemed pretty clear to me: in our universe people like Taylor Swift are indeed revered more than any politician, among certain age, gender and other demographic strata at least. Want proof? Walk into a classroom (once school starts) and ask 30-odd 16 or 17 year-olds who Angela Merkel is.

      Michael Mann may need to sharpen his journalistic pencil some more (he's improving), but come on, it's a review of a pop culture phenom, so allow for some hyperbole, over/understatement, euphemism, irony and those other literary devices you should have learned about in high school (if only your teachers weren't so consumed with New Kids on the Block!).

      For the record I am old, wise and not taken in by Taylor Swift's so-called hookery. "Shake it Off" lacks any compelling melodic components and is essentially the same boring riff repeated far too many times with a whole lotta bluster and production gloss varnishing its threadbare structure. Like most of Katy Perry's catalogue.

      O RLY?

      Aug 2, 2015 at 5:26pm

      Some of you may be new here. Music Journalism, such as it is, isn't to be taken seriously---I mean, journalism isn't a serious profession, but music journalism is the bottom of the journalism barrel. So just relax...and I mean, I learned something, now I know who Angela Merkel is. I have to say, tho, I think that Taylor Swift is prettier, and if she were involved in politics, maybe people would pay more attention.

      ebrena

      Aug 2, 2015 at 7:43pm

      out at night-I am old too-but when I was young & if TAY came to do a concert. I certainly would have been taken in by Taylor's Swift's so called hookery. All thopse young girl's there will remember this concert for the rest of their lives. It probably gave them a rush like they never had before unless One Direction came to town.