Music News & Reviews

Taylor Swift sets attendance record for Arrowhead concert in ‘girl-power moment’

Rolling Stone reports that facial recognition technology was used at a Taylor Swift concert to look for people stalking her. But the secret use of this technology raises privacy issues for some people.
Rolling Stone reports that facial recognition technology was used at a Taylor Swift concert to look for people stalking her. But the secret use of this technology raises privacy issues for some people. Kansas City Star file photo

Citing a lineup of “three incredible badass females” at Arrowhead Stadium on Saturday, Charli XCX declared that the concert headlined by Taylor Swift represented “a girl-power moment.”

The performances by Swift, Camila Cabello and Charlotte Emma Aitchison, the woman who creates music as Charli XCX, acknowledged and celebrated the struggles and aspirations of the predominantly female audience.

The show also marked a milestone in Kansas City concert history. Swift proclaimed that “this crowd tonight broke the all-time attendance record for this stadium.”

The official attendance of 58,611 is less than the capacity for the home games of the Kansas City Chiefs but represents the biggest turnout for a concert at Arrowhead Stadium.

The massive crowd witnessed an extraordinary spectacle. The main stage resembled an offshore oil rig outfitted with massive video screens. Most songs were complemented by an array of gaudy visual embellishments.

Swift zipped across the stadium in a skeletal snake during “Bad Blood.” She was flanked by aerial acrobats when she reached the stage.

The lavish display included an arsenal of fireworks, a phalanx of dancers, gales of confetti, and balls of fire that warmed the audience on a cool evening. Free wristbands distributed to all attendees emitted synchronized blasts of color.

Swift, 28, hasn’t always relied on pyrotechnics. She recalled that “I started putting out albums when I was 15.” Her initial efforts were aimed at the country market.

While Saturday’s set list included a few Nashville-oriented favorites, Swift has gradually drifted away from country in favor of a pure pop approach. Selections from her bold 2017 album “Reputation” are at the heart of what she called her “first full-on stadium tour.”

Swift’s interactions with the audience were unfailingly gracious, but a drawback of a nearly otherwise flawless two-hour production was revealed as Swift rendered tender songs on piano shortly after admitting she was suffering from a cold.

Her runny nose was documented in high-definition on the gargantuan screens.

Cabello, the singer of the lilting “Havana,” one of the biggest hits of the new millennium, and Aitchison, a British pop Svengali who co-wrote the generation-defining 2012 anthem “I Love It,” acquitted themselves well in opening sets.

The women joined Swift on one of two secondary stages for a joyous rendition of “Shake It Off,” the most irrefutably auspicious girl-power moment of the consequential concert.

Set list: ...Ready for It?; I Did Something Bad; Gorgeous; Style; Love Story; You Belong With Me; Look What You Made Me Do; End Game; King of My Heart; Delicate; Shake It Off; Dancing With Our Hands Tied; The Story of Us; Blank Space; Dress; Bad Blood; Should’ve Said No; Don’t Blame Me; Long Live; New Year’s Day; Getaway Car; Call It What You Want; We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together; This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things.

Next year’s Kansas City music calendar includes three stadium for Taylor Swift, Kenny Chesney and Ed Sheeran, plus plenty of other hot acts like Pink, Lorde, Miranda Lambert and more.

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