Taylor Swift parties like it’s 1989

Taylor Swift live on stage
Taylor Swift live on stage
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  • Taylor Swift
  • Manchester Phones 4 U Arena
  • Until July 27

Chart success and tabloid hype is no gauge for actual talent and rarely necessarily equates to such.

In the case of Taylor Swift’s 1989 World Tour visit to the Phones 4 U Arena in Manchester however, any lofty expectations held before the event were all somehow surpassed.

Every detail of this performance was mapped out to perfection – the choreography, the fireworks and flames, smoke and confetti cannon, oversized paper airplanes, even an on-stage rain effect.

Every person who entered the arena was given a wristband which would alternate colours together in perfect sequence to the music.

Swift fans, or ‘Swifties’, contributed their own neon signs and elaborate costumes inspired by her various music videos to date.

Alongside the unbelievable roar of approval from said fans, it all added up to an unbelievable and unrivalled atmosphere.

Even support act for the tour, Vance Joy, seemed a perfect fit for the occasion and got the crowd fired up with his cover of Sam Smith’s Stay With Me.

Taylor herself mouthed “Oh my god,” as soon as she walked on.

She later exclaimed that next time she tours it should just be five shows in Manchester and nowhere else! It really was incredible stuff.

Hours of video footage certainly helped keep the pre-show crowds happily entertained.

Some of the content was fan-made, some was of Taylor herself and some between songs later in the night was contributed by friends such as Selena Gomez and Cara Delevingne.

All of it was insightful, and an obvious effort to not only entertain the fans but also delve them into her world.

There was even a mechanical walkway, connecting the main stage and the B-Stage, which raised up and swooped high around the crowd ensuring that as many people got as close to the action as can be possible in an arena this large.

Other than a brief teaser intro of Wonderstruck for new song Wildest Dreams, there was only room for three full songs from albums prior to current hit 1989.

A wonderful electronic version of Love Story, a sexy and powerful version of I Knew You Were Trouble and a brilliant rock transformation of We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together with a leather-clad Taylor owning the electric guitar like a modern day Joan Jett.

Some may have been dubious beforehand that too many of her older hits were to be left out, but the end result was that it made for a more cohesive and altogether more memorable experience.

Just like on the album itself, everything seemed to fit.

Upon the final high of infectious single Shake It Off, the crowd departed feeling entertained, truly connected and spirits certainly lifted.

While Taylor spoke of her admiration of 80s-90s era Madonna and that people still talk of her tours they saw live by name, almost as a badge of pride, this in fact may well be her very own ‘Blonde Ambition’ moment.

This chart star is one who frankly deserves the adoration. There will be a whole lot more of it to come.

Lee Howorth