Taylor Swift at the Xcel Energy Center, 6/14/11 and 6/15/11
|Photos by Steve Cohen|
The high-pitched uni-scream you read about in Beatles books was higher here--imagine the Psycho strings on helium--and crept up at random intervals, not just for a favorite lyric but for a knowing look outward into the dark. ("I love you," she told the audience at least once.) Swift moves like a composed Pippi Longstocking glamming it up--she really could be "us" up there. And she did better than saying she owed it all to the fans, instead telling a story about writing a song backstage on tour while listening "to the crowd make this beautiful, magical, long screaming sound. [pause] That's the one!"
In the seats that cost more than a camera, there wasn't a fan without one, and many girls (they were mostly girls) grabbed falling paper snowflakes from the air like baseball fans reaching for fly balls at the World Series. Were they already savoring the moment as a memory? There's nothing odd about a 21-year-old singer performing "remember when" songs about being 16 if you're a 10-year-old already collecting a mental scrapbook of when you were a slightly younger 10-year-old four minutes ago.
But the vividness of Swift's performance went way beyond star power or stagecraft or even funny songs about following your heart. Opening acts Randy Montana and Needtobreathe were good--they rocked well, and even made you ponder a little bit about class and genre identity. ("We're not a country band," said the singer of Needtobreathe. "We're redneck, not country.") But Swift communed with the moment. She's one of most natural performers there is, and obliterates every other worry or hang-up once her band kicks into a song. Maybe that's why she never stops touring.
Taylor Swift (a.k.a. T-Swift, Swifty, T-Tay, Tay, and T-Swizzle) performed two sold-out nights, Tuesday and Wednesday, at the Xcel Energy Center.