Taylor Swift’s RED tour opens in Omaha

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By Natali Bianco, Entertainment Editor

On Wednesday, March 13, Taylor Swift and Ed Sheeran took the stage at the CenturyLink Center for the first ever performance of the Red Tour.  Omaha fans sold out this two-night event, with a total attendance of over 26,000.
Ed Sheeran seemed like an unlikely pair-up for Taylor Swift.  He’s British acoustic-alternative-rap, while she’s some sort of pop singer with supposed country undertones.
But once heartthrob Sheeran took the stage, it was all too clear how their fan bases collide.  Swift’s main following is pre-teen girls, who swoon over Sheeran and his acoustic, heartfelt music.
Sheeran’s set was the highlight of the performance.  Audience members could feel his passion for music.  He played guitar while controlling recorded rhythms with a foot pedal.  His guitar doubled as a drum, as he would periodically keep a beat by banging on the hollow body.
He was moving so frantically around the stage and pushing out such amazing vocals that I had to question whether he was actually playing or it was being staged. But, all suspicions were halted when his guitar strings began to break.  Eventually, he got down to two strings, and it reflected in the music.  Somehow he made it work, until stage crews finally brought him a new guitar. Sheeran then had to pause the show for a couple of minutes while he tuned it.
Swift’s performance wasn’t so musically impressive, however.  With her career being based off her ability to write her own music, she now has turned all focus to visually compelling performances.  This show came off a little cliché.
Of the many different sets, nothing was all that original.  She did scenes that mimicked Chicago, while singing “You Belong with Me,” which made no sense, as Chicago is all about glamour and “You Belong With Me” includes lyrics like “She wears short skirts, I wear t-shirts…” and “She wears high-heels, I wear sneakers…”  Ironically, Swift sings this while wearing a red sequined mini skirt and dancing on top of a 20-foot high rise stage.
Swift performed her song, “The Lucky One,” in a manner almost completely identical to Britney Spears’ music video of her song “Lucky.” The content of the song was almost completely identical as well. Both songs are about how depressing it is to finally achieve fame.  Swift wore a white dress, made the set look like the 50s, and cut from scenes of being followed around by paparazzi to her brushing her hair in a vanity. This is, to the tee, exactly like the Spears video.
The people who paid hundreds of dollars for VIP tickets, which allowed you to stand right in front of the stage, were probably really disappointed when Swift had another stage set up at the back of the arena, where she spent nearly an hour of the performance.
Swift was sure to inform audience members that she had just been nominated for the Academy of Country Music’s Entertainer of the Year award, which is determined by fan votes.  She went on to say, “Let’s just say, if you were to go vote for me, I wouldn’t stop you.”
The performance was impressive, but I just can’t see anything country about it.  Her music isn’t country, her show wasn’t country, her outfits weren’t country, her audience wasn’t country.  It’s confusing, then, why she is competing with country stars like Miranda Lambert and Jason Aldean.
Swift’s first album, titled “Taylor Swift” was admittedly pop-country.  But, it is obvious by now that she has shifted completely to pop.
All-in-all, however, fans went home impressed.  The show was entertaining and very well-rehearsed.  Although lacking in originality, there is no doubt that the Red Tour will continue to sell out in cities across the United States.

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